Statism and Liberty – Applying the Message

               Libery Rebuilds Civilizations

               When writing about current events from the libertarian anarchist point of view, whether politically, Geo-politically, or even rhetorically focused, a difficulty arises.  When the mainstream media and the blogosphere are focused on the problems of Statism, as expected the debate is centered on Statist solutions. Speaking only for myself, as a libertarian anarchist, it becomes very difficult to apply libertarian principles to the average popular political debate. Especially when it comes to issues that only arise under a State dominated world, such as immigration. I wrote this article, discussing an older essay by Walter “Don’t Call Me Dr.” Block regarding immigration. He rightly pointed out that borders are arbitrary, and without them there is no such thing as immigration, or emigration, it all becomes simply, migration.

                Accepting and writing about this theory, as I think many libertarian anarchists do, myself included, does not lend itself to a productive spreading of the message of Liberty. I assert this only because of evidence in my own life; I was brought to the message of liberty through thoughtful applications of libertarian political theory with regards to current events. The huge success of the Ron Paul awareness campaigns was based precisely upon his ability to do just that; He made libertarian theory apply to current issues. I think we can all agree it worked, Presidency be damned.

                I am in no way suggesting that the brave and principled men and women who work tirelessly to spread the message of liberty should lay their principles aside. I am suggesting however that we put our heads together and work towards incorporating more libertarian theory   into the mainstream. As any blogger knows, site traffic increases dramatically when this method is practiced. Mainstream Democrats and Republicans that might be interested in libertarian theory are more likely to read an article discussing the issues they feel are important, but from a libertarian point of view.

                We must be honest with ourselves, there are many issues that ‘Mainstream Democrats and Republicans” (MD&R’s) feel are very important that are in fact merely a charade of distraction from the real issues. As libertarian anarchists we understand that the underlying problem in the majority of these issues is the State itself. However, the MD&R’s are unlikely to be persuaded based on the recent NSA leaks to abolish the State entirely on the theory that all governments are parasitic and doomed to tyranny. The minarchist libertarian position on government secrecy is appealing to everyone, including MD&R’s. That is: A government of, by and for the People is not entitled to secret courts, secret laws, and limitless surveillance without a warrant.

                A libertarian anarchist does not sacrifice his principles by promoting minarchist libertarian applications to the Statist world we live in today. We must fight towards freedom, and excusing ourselves from the popular political debates based on strict anti-Statism in its purest form cannot help to spread the message of liberty.

                Many libertarian anarchists would probably respond with an overwhelming pessimism that is hard to resist, and until recently I felt the same way.  They might say, “The idea that the State’s dominance is so overwhelming that spreading the message of liberty at this point in history is futile”.

 It is here that my mind has recently changed. I understand the overwhelming sense of dread when facing Leviathan head-on, seemingly alone. There are many within this movement that desire to leave the country, I am not one of those. I refuse to let a bunch of criminals that have probably never even visited my hometown, chase me out of the mountains I was born and raised in. You might call this a desire to “go down with the ship”, and you would be right. But in the meantime spreading the message of liberty is equivalent to building lifeboats. If we want to come out the other side of this sinking ship we call the State, we have to prepare the lifeboats of liberty.

– Adam Alcorn, Founder/Editor of the Humane Condition

Author can be reached at thcondition@gmail.com or on twitter @AdamBlacksburg

Practicing Political Pacifism: The Immorality of Voting.

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Up until recently, I had never missed a political election that I was eligible to vote in (to be fair, I’m only 20).  Philosophically, I’ve considered myself to be what some call a “voluntaryist” for over three years.  However, for much of that time, I also considered myself to be a “pragmatic libertarian” who was willing to combat the government through the system of voting.  I now realize that, ultimately, voting is incompatible with a voluntary society and that it constitutes an act of aggression.

To understand these conclusions, one must understand the nature of the political process.  Libertarian theorist Murray Rothbard summed it up nicely when he wrote that “libertarians regard the State as the supreme, the eternal, the best organized aggressor against the persons and property of the mass of the public. All States everywhere, whether democratic, dictatorial, or monarchical, whether red, white, blue, or brown” (For a New Liberty).  How exactly is the state the “best organized aggressor against the persons and property of the mass of the public”?  Again, Rothbard has the answer.

For centuries the State has committed mass murder and called it “war”; then ennobled the mass slaughter that “war” involves. For centuries the State has enslaved people into its armed battalions and called it “conscription” in the “national service.” For centuries the State has robbed people at bayonet point and called it “taxation.” In fact, if you wish to know how libertarians regard the State and any of its acts, simply think of the State as a criminal band, and all of the libertarian attitudes will logically fall into place. (Rothbard, For a New Liberty).

However, if governments are in fact a “matrix of coercion,” why would disengaging in the facility of government that gives me some voice be the morally correct thing to do?  The answer to this lies in the libertarian axiom of non aggression.  It is also referred to as the Non Aggression Principle and holds that all initiations of aggression against humans are immoral.

What does this have to do with voting?  To put it simply, voting is not self-determination.  I was not just selecting who I wanted to represent me when I went to the 2012 New York primaries and voted for Ron Paul.  I was also attempting to select a person who would “represent” 330 million other people (it is important to note that politicians don’t actually “represent” anyone seeing as their policies are enforced via coercion).  Therefore, even though I voted for a voluntaryist, I attempted to enforce a ruler on everyone else.  This did not sit well with me when I first realized it and for good reasons.  If it is immoral for me to force another person to live a life that I deem fit for them, how is it any less immoral for me to support someone who would then force another person to live a life that I deem fit for them?

However, I did not stop voting after drawing that conclusion.  Instead, I started to just write my own name on the ballots in an act of reclaiming my “personal-sovereignty” and to show my disgust with the choices being offered.  I eventually realized that even this act of the “protest vote” violated the NAP.  After all, I was writing my name on a ballot that would give the winning person the power to rule other people.  By writing my own name down, I was just as guilty as the politicians who sought those government positions of power.

This just leaves one question to answer; how should one go about changing the current state of affairs if not through voting?  The answer is through voluntary interactions among those whom are needed to change the world in the way that you see fit.  Don’t attempt to change the world through voting or through the use of government.  After all, government is force and brute force is the lazy way to solve any problem.  Regardless of the immorality involved, an idea that requires forced cooperation of the people involved is probably not that great of an idea.  What would you prefer? A world you changed dramatically through the instruments of coercion or a world you changed minutely through voluntary interactions?  Jeffrey Tucker summed it up on his Facebook page when he wrote

You know what’s evil about politics? It turns people into enemies when they should and would naturally be friends in a normal society. In the marketplace you are happy to cooperate with anyone to mutual betterment. But in politics, it’s all about hating your neighbor… a person who believes all of civilization rests on a Romney win would naturally and rightly regard all Obama voters as mortal threats, wreckers of the good life itself. And the demographics of voting are rather predictable. You can often tell quickly how a person will or will not vote, by appearance alone. That creates prejudice, bias, and hate. So politics creates these stupid battles between people — for absolutely no reason — and wars against the brotherhood of man. It creates the divisions it pretends to heal.

– By Will Shanahan, Contributing Editor for the Humane Condition

Contact Will: wshanahan.student@manhattan.edu

The Real America: Executive Power, Foreign Policy, and a Domestic Police State.

***This article was inspired by a conversation among friends and family during a recent gathering. Naturally, the conversation geared towards political matters, and while there was some early disagreement, the majority of our grievances regarding recent political events were commonly held. The group consisted largely of conservative leaning folks, all of us sharing an anti-Obama sentiment. Despite these areas of agreement, the nature of the discussion quickly became one of serious and passionate disagreements. In my opinion the majority of these disagreements stemmed from a wide divergence in the information each individual relies upon to understand current events around the world. I intend in this article to present my understanding of the real issues that should concern free individuals in the world today. Perhaps this will allow myself, my family and friends come to an agreement, and hopefully it will help many others fully grasp the threats to individual liberty and freedom that we are all facing. ***

The Emperor Has Political Body Armor

                The IRS has been caught with their pants down targeting enemies of President Barack Obama and the Democratic National Committee with unlawful scrutiny. In this process the IRS successfully delayed the approval of tax-exempt status to groups that associated with the American Right. By effectively using illegitimate Executive powers to silence his opposition, he was further enabled to win reelection. As Ron Paul pointed out, it really isn’t surprising that the IRS is so often used as a political tool, considering the amount of power given to the tax collectors. “…The power to tax involves the power to destroy…” – Chief Justice John Marshall wrote in the McCulloch v. Maryland decision1, and Chicago politics has always been about destroying the opposition. This administration has shown it is willing to trample the sacred First Amendment rights recognized in the Constitution for power. Former Federal Judge Andrew Napolitano brilliantly describes the nature of libido dominandi, or the lust for power in this conclusion to his book.

                The Associated Press and Fox News “reporter” James Rosen were spied on by the U.S. Dept. of Justice. Documents were seized, phones were tapped, and families were scrutinized. This direct attack on the freedom of the press was accomplished also through illegitimate Executive power. It was Thomas Jefferson who said “Were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers, or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter.”2, and the Obama administration understands what he meant. The intimidation created by the release of this news alone stifles the freedom of the Press in immeasurable ways. We may never know who, in the future may refuse to report something based on fear of potential prosecution. We can no longer tell ourselves that we have a ‘Free Press’. Not only has the mainstream media consisted of big government Leftists for as long as I can remember, but now the Obama administration is targeting the freedom of those who threaten his political power. A bought-off press may still be free and biased, but an intimidated and prosecuted press is toothless.

Foreign Policy

                Does it seem odd to you that the only thing congressional leaders from the Democrat and Republican parties can agree on is foreign policy? Typically bipartisan policies are those that the majority of the voting public support. That is absolutely not the case in this instance. Barack Obama was elected on several failed promises, but let us recall only a few. First and most glaring was him promise to close Guantanamo Bay prison camp, and he possesses the sole power to do so. Five years into his presidency we have learned in spite of a mainstream media blackout, there has been a hunger strike ongoing for over one hundred days. The Miami Herald has done great work in tracking the hunger strike (as of today, 5/29/13, there are a total of 103 hunger strikers, 7 have been hospitalized, and 35 have been forcibly kept alive via feeding tube), and Glenn Greenwald of The Guardian has written extensively about the illegal detainment that the U.S. government imposes without filing charges or providing anything remotely recognizable to due process.

Obama’s responsibility for the Guantánamo disgrace extends… More than half of the remaining 166 detainees at the camp are Yemeni. Dozens of those Yemenis (along with dozens of other detainees) have long ago been cleared for release by the US government on the ground that there is no evidence to believe they are a threat to anyone. A total of 87 of the remaining detainees – roughly half – have been cleared for release, of which 58 are Yemeni. Not even the US government at this point claims they are guilty or pose a threat to anyone.”- Glenn Greenwald (3)

Campaigning Barack Obama also promised to bring the invasions and occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan to an end as soon as possible. Instead he endorsed General David Petraeus’ “Surge” in Afghanistan while continuing to fuel a civil war in Iraq. President Obama has expanded the Drone Assassination program to encompass nearly all of the Middle East and North Africa. To read more about the specific assassination of a 16 year old American citizen who has still not been accused of any wrongdoing or suspicions thereof, click here. It has also been reported by the New York Times that Obama uses a “kill list” to help his team of national security advisors decide who to illegally and immorally assassinate without due process via Drone strike. The Obama administration has also redefined “enemy combatant” to mean any military aged male killed by the strike. Tom Engelhardt, co-founder of the American Empire Project and author of several books regarding American foreign policy, wrote that “In less than three years under President Obama, the U.S. has launched drone strikes in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Pakistan, Somalia, and Yemen.  It maintains that it has carte blanche to kill suspected enemies in any nation.” 4 This is obviously very disturbing to any of us familiar with the blowback that can be expected from this foreign interventionism, but it gets worse. After several months of refusing to acknowledge the assassination by drone of the above mentioned 16 year old American citizen, someone from the Dept. of Justice leaked what came to be known as the “DOJ White Paper”. In reviewing this document, Constitutional lawyer and author John Whitehead wrote the following:

As president, Obama has gone beyond Guantanamo Bay, gone beyond spying on Americans’ emails and phone calls, and gone beyond bombing countries without Congressional authorization. He now claims, as revealed in a leaked Department of Justice memo, the right to murder any American citizen the world over, so long as he has a feeling that they might, at some point in the future, pose a threat to the United States.

Let that sink in. The President of the United States of America believes he has the absolute right to kill you based upon secret “evidence” that you might be a terrorist. Not only does he think he can kill you, but he believes he has the right to do so in secret, without formally charging you of any crime and providing you with an opportunity to defend yourself in a court of law. To top it all off, the memo asserts that these decisions about whom to kill are not subject to any judicial review whatsoever.” – John W. Whitehead 5

To read more about Obama’s cowardly and morally bankrupt escalation of drone warfare, click here.

Abdulrahman Al-Awlaki assassinated via Drone Strike

Abdulrahman Al-Awlaki 16 yr. old Assassinated via Drone Strike

Does this foreign policy make us safer? If the answer wasn’t so obvious perhaps a more detailed description of ‘blowback’ would be warranted, but we can attain this obvious answer by looking only at Syria. Most are familiar with the “civil war” in Syria and the political debate in America that is focused on what form of intervention is called for (notice the lack of non-intervention in the debate), but what people are less familiar with was pointed out concisely by the President of the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity Daniel McAdams:

“Anyone really paying attention to US policy in the Middle East these past several months must be wondering whether Washington has gone insane. US foreign policy under the triple threat of Susan Rice, Samantha Power, and Hillary Clinton has gone to openly supporting what the German intelligence services (echoed in several prominent and panicked mainstream German media sources) have found to be predominantly al-Qaeda-backed terrorist attacks inside Syria. Americans can be forgiven for scratching their heads at the reality that the United States government is actively supporting in Syria what it has spent the last eleven years fighting just a few thousand miles away in Afghanistan”.Daniel McAdams6

As if there was any doubt that the American government would soon make its cooperation with jihadists an overt alliance to topple the anti-Western Assad, Senator John McCain made a trip to visit with the al-Qaeda affiliated groups in Syria on Memorial Day.7 There is no doubt he was assuring American weaponry at the very minimum. It is very telling that the only thing these Senators can agree on right now is that arming al-Qaeda is the right thing to do.

                If you remain unconvinced that the actions of our “bipartisan” foreign policy actually make us less safe, than I ask you how will we pay for it? Federal Reserve Chairman Bernanke is inflating our monetary base to the tune of 85 billion dollars per month8 further debasing the currency and indirectly stealing from savers, investors and entrepreneurs. Levels of taxation only continue to increase, and with the poorly named Affordable Care Act being enacted at this very moment the unfunded liabilities of the Federal Government are utterly unsustainable. Even if the world were full of terrorists that hated us simply for our freedoms (as absurd as that is) it does not justify robbing the wealth of future generations to pay for pre-emptive, offensive acts of war.

Domestic Police State

                It was widely accepted after 9/11 that in order to gain security it becomes necessary to give up “some liberty”. Benjamin Franklin wrote that “Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.”9 While understanding the full context of this quotation may still be up for debate, it seems clear to me, and the last decade has proven it true in the spirit commonly accepted.

                The Fourth amendment of the United States has served its purpose remarkably well throughout the history of the American Government. Again we will turn to Judge Andrew Napolitano to place this issue in its historical context and explain how this government has stripped away this integral protection of individual liberty:

“After the Founders won the Revolution, the framers wrote the Constitution in large measure to assure that the new government in America would not and could not do to Americans what the king had done to the colonists. Hence the Fourth Amendment’s requirement that only judges issue search warrants and only after the governmental agency seeking the warrants presents evidence under oath of probable cause of crime. Regrettably, that was weakened after 9/11 with the enactment of the Patriot Act.

The Patriot Act – written in defiance of the Constitution and in ignorance of our history – permits federal agents to write their own search warrants, just as the king and Parliament had permitted British soldiers to do. Those agent-written search warrants are intended to be limited to the search for evidence of terror plots and are theoretically limited to the seizure of physical records in the custody of third parties, like lawyers, doctors, hospitals, billing clerks, telephone and Internet carriers, and even the Post Office. (Did you know that federal agents can see your mail and your legal and medical records without permission from a judge?) This abominable piece of legislation sacrificed freedom for safety and enhanced neither.” – Judge Andrew Napolitano 10

The Patriot Act was bad, but do not fool yourself into thinking that with the exit of Bush signaled the exit of the Police State. The TSA is in high gear trampling you’re fourth amendment rights. Since the illegal and perverted gropings occur daily, there have been many gross abuses caught on film. Take a few minutes to watch this video and decide for yourself, are these free individuals?

                While the above video is incredibly disturbing because of the sheer number of people whose rights are being violated every day, another incident is disturbing for the opposite reason, the use of illegitimate Executive power to target an individual’s freedom based solely on speech. Adam Kokesh is a well-known libertarian activist. He is a veteran of the Iraq War, working as a Civil Affairs Sargent in Fallujah around 2004. He saw the horrors of war, and he understands war as the health of the State. In recent weeks Kokesh announced his “Open Carry March on Washington”  scheduled for July 4th 2013. In an unrelated political protest at which Kokesh was the keynote speaker, multiple angles of video footage show that he was singled out and targeted for arrest, likely because of his planned demonstration. The original charge he was detained for was “Assault on a Federal Officer” despite the countless video accounts that proved the charges were frivolous. You can see for yourself here:

After a huge outpouring of suppport, protest, phone calls and donations to legal funds Adam Kokesh was released after nearly a week of detention. His charges were reduced to mere citation fines of approximately two hundred dollars. While this story may have had a happy ending, it goes a long way towards revealing the political thuggery that infests every level of government, and especially its enforcement arms.

                And just to be sure I don’t leave out your favorite of Obama’s abuses; Benghazi, Stimulus I & II, Solyndra, recess appointments while Congress was not in recess, failure to produce a budget despite Constitutional obligation, trillion dollar annual deficits, etc… The point is you could go on forever with this guy, he really is a propped up dope that can’t do anything right. Many Americans see and understand this, but the only other obvious choice is a Republican Party that is old, tired, and absolutely lacking a consistent political philosophy, and likely to get us into pointless wars. Barack Obama and the DNC have deftly maneuvered themselves into a place of political dominance that will lead to a system of One Party Rule if nothing is done to stop them.  I am not suggesting that Obama will not relinquish power in 2016; the DNC is too powerful to risk their existence on one man. He will be replaced with more hope, and more change. His sponsors however, will remain in place pulling the same strings that are forcing Obama to dance right now.

Political Action

The ruling “Political Class” has put itself in position to maintain power until the whole thing comes crashing down around all of us.  The Emperor lost his clothes a decade ago and Obama’s hope and change only disguised him for so long. It is corrupt political power that will keep him in office, and the same political power will install the next puppet of the political elite. The Obama administration and all administrations after his will survive purely via political body armor. The will of the people has done little to affect change of policy in recent history, and the government has grown less responsive and more tyrannical.

                We can reverse the trend if we refuse to play the rigged game. It is naïve to think that we can vote the government smaller. We can no longer play by their rules because this is not a game for us. I am not going to pretend to offer a detailed strategy here, but I do wish to express my optimism. Through education, demonstration, and exemplification it is possible for us to throw off the chains of Washington. It is necessary for every freedom loving individual to sacrifice time and energy towards these goals. We must redefine political action outside the paradigm of Left vs. Right, outside of the mainstream media, and outside of the authority of Washington D.C.

               I cannot speak for anyone else, but I’m sick of paying for a parasite class to restrict our freedoms, perpetuate fraudulent wars, and drive our society into economic ruin.

 by Adam Alcorn, Founder/Editor of the Humane Condition, @AdamBlacksburg

As always the author can be reached at thcondition@gmail.com

murray-rothbard-enemy-stateDr. Murray N. Rothbard

NOTES:

  1. McCulloch v. Maryland Decision, http://www.ourdocuments.gov/doc.php?flash=true&doc=21&page=transcript
  2.  The Papers of Thomas Jefferson. Edited by Julian P. Boyd et al. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1950–. http://press-pubs.uchicago.edu/founders/documents/amendI_speechs8.html
  3. http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2013/apr/15/obama-guantanamo-hunger-strike-moqbel
  4. http://www.tomdispatch.com/blog/175454/
  5. http://lewrockwell.com/whitehead/whitehead71.1.html
  6. http://www.lewrockwell.com/blog/lewrw/archives/116720.html
  7.  http://ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/neocon-watch/2013/may/27/mccain-spends-memorial-day-with-al-qaeda-allies.aspx
  8.  http://www.moneynews.com/FinanceNews/Schiff-Fed-stimulus-economy/2013/05/24/id/506207
  9.  Benjamin Franklin, Historical Review of Pennsylvania, 1759
    US author, diplomat, inventor, physicist, politician, & printer (1706 – 1790)
  10. http://lewrockwell.com/napolitano/napolitano99.1.html

The Forgotten Tyrant: Woodrow Wilson

The Forgotten Tyrant: Woodrow Wilson

The Forgotten Tyrant: Woodrow Wilson

The Federal Reserve, World War I, the League of Nations, Conscription, and the Income Tax.

That is a legacy that makes you a Progressive God. It also is the context in which he can be framed as most damaging American tyrant of the  20th century.  The Great Depression, attributable directly to the increased centralization and intervention sponsored by the Glass-Owen Bill (Federal Reserve Act), has been conservatively estimated as the cause of death by starvation for 12 million Americans. These deaths cannot be laid entirely on Wilson of course, but he was hardly an innocent bystander.

In the years leading up to the passage of the Glass-Owen bill, it was a Republican policy. Nelson Aldrich, token representative of the Banking families in the U.S. Senate, sponsored the “Aldrich Plan” and did his best to ram it through congress under the Republican presidency of William Howard Taft. It was due to the ‘Old Right’ Republicans such as Rep. Charles Lindbergh and the boisterous Progressives of the ‘Bull-Moose’ vein criticizing the Aldrich plan that urged its failure to achieve even a vote on the floor. This was the very same plan designed on the now infamous Jekyll Island meeting between Senator Aldrich and representatives from the Warburgs, Rothschilds, Kuhn, Loeb & Co., the Rockefellers and others.

The plan seemed dead when the Progressives gained ground in the legislature and was accompanied by the election of Woodrow Wilson. This is perhaps the first, best example of how the Left/Right paradigm in America only represents two wings on the same bird of prey.  The “progressive” party of the “common man” picked up right where Aldrich left off. The similarities between the Glass-Owen bill and the Aldrich plan are more numerous than are the differences. Certain blocks of text from the two proposed bills are identical. The Republicans lost their chance to impose the centralization of reserves to their cronies, so Wilson and the Democrats jumped on the opportunity.  Wilson signed the bill into law on 23 December, 1913.

It might be harder to place direct blame on Wilson for the 16th amendment and the establishment of the Federal Income Tax, but he also doesn’t escape without some criticism. It was a Progressive proposal through and through, and it was an attack on the basic principles that America was founded upon. If the government has a right to ANY percentage of your income, based on a majority vote or anything else, then the government is claiming to own you. The Income Tax is bureaucratic slavery. We are still living under the consequences of this claim on our personal sovereignty, and we are losing the fight.

As if we weren’t already sick enough of Woodrow Wilson, lest we not forget the Selective Service Act passed on 18 May, 1917. Perhaps the progressive legislature and President Wilson were not satiated with only bureaucratic slavery. Whatever the real objective of this conscription act, signed into law by Woodrow Wilson himself, we know the outcome. The outcome is real slavery, and legal slavery.

To conclude a disgusting discussion of yet another Progressive God, let us not forget the ill-fated League of Nations. No, it was never ratified in the U.S. thankfully, but it would serve as the holy grail of progressive globalists for years to come. The United Nations is to the League of Nations, what the Aldrich Plan was to the Glass-Owen Bill. A precursor of worse things to come.

Forced economic depression, economic and physical enslavement, and globalist progressivism. That just about sums up Woodrow Wilson, the Forgotten Tyrant.

–          the Humane Condition

This article was written by Adam Alcorn, founder of the Humane Condition, as part of an ongoing series started by contributor Will Shanahan called “The Forgotten Tyrants”. Click here to view his original piece, about FDR.

Contact: thcondition@gmail.com