The role of government, as taught in university

welcome to the dark ages

I like studying the arguments of those who disagree with me, mostly because of the proof that they provide, that the American educational system is worthless, even at its highest levels. In my earnest opinion (and I think most would agree), Americans should not spend a penny on anything that is worthless, and they certainly should not be forced to do so.

The modern “progressive” professors, perhaps in different words, are telling me the following consistently: not only is big government a reality, it is preferable to limited government, and it is the proper choice for people in this country–the people need big government. From a slightly related project that I felt worthy of posting here, I give you my response to a major university class on policymaking:

“I was disappointed to learn that the current expansive roles of government, many of which have been stolen from the unsuspecting individual, have become an assumption unworthy of discussion in America’s university setting. Expansive government is accepted among many so-called intellectuals as an unavoidable reality, like the presence of air, or the passage of time–theoretically, these realities can be removed, but there is a dependency in humankind that keeps us from beginning their removals, for fear of suffocation in the case of air, fear of boredom in the case of time, or in the case of removing government excess, fear of choices.

Dependency on government is not a creation of post-Enlightenment wisdom (boldly assuming that such a thing exists); it is ancient and awful, morally corruptive and mentally corrosive. Dependency has locked the door to a vast room called freedom (a room we loved for its superior rewards, despite its pitfalls), and allowed us only to enter a narrow space that seems comfortable to some at first, but is ultimately restrictive to everyone. This narrow space is a high-tech world of limited products, limited jobs, limited entertainment, limited incomes, limited choices, limited words, and even limited thoughts–all limited by the anti-competitive forces that shape this narrow reality, distract the rational human mind with cheap excuses for education, progress and entertainment, and keep locked the door to freedom. Most of government is unnecessary imposition, and its number one priority is to keep those imposed upon from realizing how sorely they are being screwed.

The belief that the role of government is limited to the protection of individual rights and private property is now seen in the “intellectual community” as a primitive ideal; it has been relegated to the rank in the U.S. that it served in numerous fascist and totalitarian regimes. Just as the philosophy that advocates individual liberty, classical liberalism, has been viciously (and correctly) called anti-slavery, anti-monarchy, anti-German, anti-English, anti-Soviet, and anti-Italian in the past, it is today earning the title “anti-American”, not because of its unwavering principles, but because of the disappearance of America’s principles. This is saddening when we realize classical liberalism is the ideal philosophy upon which the country was founded.

“But,” we are told, “democracy allows the people to vote for new roles of government–roles the people want government to assume.” It is as if we are supposed to believe a warped version of history in which, against all evidence to the contrary, the horrific decisions of the masses–from enslavement to inquisition to lynching–are absolved, and the perpetrators are proven wise. I am not buying it.

Progress should not be named for its conformity to public opinion; it comes only in the advancement of individual liberty for every individual party. An increase in market competition can be called progress, as can the emancipation of individuals from bondage, but something like the coercive confiscation of individual property (and by this I am referring to the taxing of an individual’s labor) should never by called progressive. A tax levied on an individual’s income is always restricting to individual progress, whether or not public opinion supports it. Even those who may appear to benefit from the redistribution of printed labor are restricted from production by the realized incentives of laziness. Moreover, the confiscation of individual property (your labor is your property) is precisely what America, in its foundation, was trying to escape and avoid forever.

Big government is old and unnecessary, and America proved it. For hundreds of years the people of England and France tolerated high taxes and endless international conflicts under the “protection” of their kings. Monarchy was popular. It was, in the opinions of the so-called intellectuals of that era, necessary and proper. It seemed good, but it never really was good, was it? People began to realize this, and they became “enlightened.” People will soon become enlightened again about the unnecessary impositions of yet another sour government. History points to a lengthy, violent and impoverishing end to the narrow confines in which Americans suddenly find themselves, as they realize the growing illegitimacy of U.S. democracy, and understand that their democratic choices are only illusions; I hope, however, with faith in the wisdom of good Americans (despite the coercions of their rulers), for a reasoned and rational end to the exponential growth of government, and if I did not believe that were possible, I would not be writing for it, because my pen would be an insufficient weapon for the battle.”

Clearing a path to affordable living

Standing between you and your living

Markets are most advantageous to individual participants in a state of perfect competition, where we find fair wages, fair prices, and fair opportunities.  Perfect competition is unattainable in any market. However, this does not mean our society should not strive to attain it.  With the passing of Sherman Anti-Trust legislation in 1890, Congress first recognized the public’s need for competition.  Congress recognized that some extremely large corporations were creating insurmountable barriers to entry for competitors.  The government knew that the best way to promote competition in a market is by minimizing that market’s barriers to entry, and therefore passed anti-trust laws.  Current Anti-Trust legislation protects against the abusive strangling of competition that was prevalent in the pre-income tax days of the late nineteenth century; but today, competition’s adversaries are subtle, suffocating forces, that the old competition laws do not address. These newer anti-competitive forces, though subtle, are undeniably more numerous, more pervasive, and more restrictive than the old tactics of the “robber barons.”  Moreover, these anti-competitive measures have used and seek to further use the government, which exists only for the benefit of the public, as a means for stifling competition.  Why would a corporation seek–even write–legislation that restricts its own industry, but for the restriction it puts on its competitors and the protection it provides itself?

It is still true, as any economist or well-educated politician will admit, that maximizing competition involves recognizing and breaking down barriers to entry; in order to walk the proper path, we must first blaze and cut the trail, and we will find it necessary to dispose first of the largest and thorniest impediments.  When the task is so simple as cutting a literal trail in the woods, the greatest obstructions are visible to all; but when we are asked to clear the severely mangled path of the invisible market, the prickles and roots must be uncloaked, and the path’s participants (the public) allowed full view of them. They might be surprised to learn that the largest obstructions are called “taxes” and the most vexing weeds “regulations,” which multiply so quickly that the eye cannot watch them, and the mind cannot fathom their extent.  In almost every market’s path, individuals will find–upon diligent examination–that the elimination of only taxes and regulations would leave a clearing so starkly contrasted to the brush that currently lies before them, that it would be cause for celebration.  They could imagine themselves skipping where those obstacles once stood.

After this honest presentation, market participants are left with real choices: they may try to maneuver through the cramped, bladed monstrosity; they may become frazzled, and sit in their place as eternal sideliners, watching with amazement or amusement as others awkwardly navigate the improper market; but eventually, having their unoffending humility tortured to action, they shall realize the utility of hatchets and chainsaws, and choose a delegation to take up axes or machete, and begin destroying the offensive contrivances that stand in their path, replacing tax and regulation with opportunity and innovation–economic revolution.

Holocaust Museum, Yad Vashem (05.14.08)

I continue to be frustrated by the nature of holocaust conversations.  The sole intent of such discussions is almost always the provocation of emotional reaction and attachment.  To me, if we simply become attached to the victims emotionally, we unwittingly blind ourselves to the condition of the perpetrators.

Our guide Moshe asks, “How could people have allowed this to happen?  How could they have done it?”  He then admits he has no answer, and seems never to have searched for one, for a brief inquiry into German history will quickly cure his perplexion.

In a democracy, successful politicians must carefully place the blame for societal maladies on anyone but themselves, and offer solutions to those problems.  After nearly a half century of relatively dormant anti-Semitism, Germany faced great economic and political strife after World War I, and the political establishment of that country was in need of a scapegoat, the identity of which was chosen out of convenience more than anything else.

The facts that are ignored at Yad Vashem–the most important lessons of the Holocaust–and which are also ignored by most supposed torchbearers of the phrase “never again” are these

  • Governments lie
  • Governments kill
  • Government propagandize
  • Governments exist in spite of the goodness of human society, and seek primarily to maintain and grow themselves.
  • Governments get the benefit of the doubt when the subject of truth is in question.
  • No government is immune to these diseases.
  • When a government requires secrets, NO ONE is safe.

My first attempt at poetry: “I am a human”

Perhaps the most important thing I have learned from Shakespeare is that the leading edge of social reform is always artistic.  Shakespeare created individualism before it was ever really known.  I write social commentary all the time, but I have never tried to form it in a more attractive, presentable, widespread way.  “I am a human” is my first attempt at poetry, and I hope the literary types will keep that in mind as they read.  It is short, simple, and important (I think).  Here:

To whom it may not concern:

I am a human.
I want peace.
I want love.
I want song, dance, and laughter.
I want health.
I want rights,
to live happily ever after.
I want friendship.
I want opportunity.
I want to learn on my own.
But the only thing
I really need
is for you to leave me alone.
I am a human.
Who are you?

Your humble servant,
We the People

Letter to the neo-American

I wrote the following to a dear friend and fellow American who will remain anonymous:

When I reflect on our conversations, and consider the compassionate and insightful person I know you to be, I find it hard to believe that you sincerely support the hostilities in Iraq, or that you cannot see through the confines that social planners have built around you. I would like to believe that this world is a bad dream, that the free and prosperous people of our continent could not be so overwhelmed by the narrowness and greed of an unpardonable elite. I would like to think that Americans have always refused to initiate violence–that we, as a nation, have always done what was right for everyone. I would like to wake up tomorrow morning, and be in a country where there are no talking points, no significant news concerning the federal government, no significant power or money in Washington, where the middle class feels accomplished and alive and fearless and capable every single day, and candy bars cost a penny, and freedom really does ring–it is a dream that once was near reality, in the nation firmly built on the philosophical foundations of Adam Smith and John Locke, in the constitution. Instead I will wake up to what, in this nation, should be only possible in a nightmare. I will have to gather my tax information together, and file a 1040, and write a check to the U.S. Treasury, knowing I will never see that money again, and reflecting that it may be spent killing an out-of-work delivery person in a place far away, or bailing out wealthy bankers who got a little too greedy, or throwing more money at a problem no amount could solve, or taking the home of an elderly couple so that it may be bulldozed, and the land granted to some Congressman’s golfing buddy, who specializes in developing strip malls. I will endure the artificially high prices of a market handcuffed by collusion and regulation, and hear about a recession from bank-employed market strategists whose jobs are in no danger; and through all of this, ordinary Americans will come to know the difference between being broke and being impoverished–between being a slave with a generous master, and being a slave with a discontented one–when with all of their honest labor and goodness, the people of this country should have known neither. It is difficult today to read the words of Jefferson or Paine, Goldwater or Reagan, and not become frustrated or saddened by the nuttiness of a nation that has given up on the idea of liberty, only to serve the ever-changing, highly propagandized collective ideal made up by a tiny elite in a city hundreds of miles away. My aim in writing you is only to ease the sadness and frustration I feel for the individuals of our society, and restore my own confidence in my worldly pursuits; I know these things don’t interest you all that much, and I certainly will return the favor by humoring your repulsive stories of creepy crawlies inside dead bodies. But, I feel that if I can awaken you to these issues–that if you, the American _____ ______, in your infinite compassion and enviable wisdom, can recognize the recent errors of our nation’s ways and want to see them corrected before they become our greatest mistakes–liberty may still find a rightful home here. So tell me, am I crazy?


The Road to 1984: Corporatism and the International Police State

Below is an excerpt from my upcoming book (title undetermined): 

Washington, D.C. is broken. The tweaks and levers of contemporary politics offer no fixes for the economic and social problems the United States faces, as they are more of the same. The more energetic a government becomes, the fewer freedoms its citizens enjoy.  Still, the petty partisan battles for power continue at the expense of liberty.

Which Republicans are perverts? Which Democrats are hypocritical tax evaders? Who is flip-flopping? Who accepted money from an entity of questionable character? Any Congresspersons up for a friendly game of “Pin the Tail on the Racist”? At such a serious time in history, I am put off by the partisan banter. There is one idea almost every politician in D.C. can agree on: if they spend enough money, they can rid the world of whatever ails it.

The only things scarier than the fake battles being fought in Washington are the real ones. What will we teach your children? What limits should be enforced against users? What can you watch on television? What sort of books are evil people reading? As terrorists lurk among us, what’s the best way to watch and listen, and catch them? After we catch them, do they really deserve a trial or a defense? Why shouldn’t we torture them? They wouldn’t have been arrested if they weren’t up to something. We should help them meet their virgins sooner than they anticipated.* What is suitable for radio broadcasts? How many polar bears are there? Which cancer treatments can you have? Should you be allowed to use incandescent light bulbs? Should you be allowed to use that much gasoline? Should you be allowed to purchase a firearm? What’s the best way to overthrow a foreign elected leader who disagrees with our global vision? How should we control oil prices? How much of your money should you be allowed to have? Where should we go to war next? If an American disagrees with U.S. foreign policy, at what point is he emboldening the enemy and considered dangerous enough to arrest? Who doesn’t deserve our trade? Where are the moderate Muslims?

“What’s the answer to ninety-nine out of a hundred questions? Money.” All of the questions above-though different-have similarities. All are completely unnecessary, and all contain answers that corporations love to hear, because all require the federal government to grant them more lucrative contracts. No entity can waste money like the U.S. government, and that is why corporations have taken it upon themselves to start running the show in Washington. Businesses are in business to make a profit. When the private sector will not purchase their goods or services (meaning those products have no consumer value), there is a good chance that, after some lobbying, the government will. The market does not hold these corporations accountable, allowing them to do slow and shoddy work, without fear of losing their customer (the government). Washington attracts and breeds all of the following economic parasites: entrepreneurial con-artists, administrative cheats, lazy workers, inferior products, and ineffective services.

A Congressperson needs not read a bill before enacting it. A lobbyist, representing whichever corporation or industry stands to financially benefit from that law (at the expense of the citizen), will always visit the Congressperson and tell them exactly why the law is necessary, elegant, and great for the United States. Voting for it often helps that Congressperson get re-elected.

The difference between the citizens and the corporations, with respect to government, is that the citizens blame government, believing it to be something; and the corporations laugh at government, knowing it to be nothing at all. The United States has a two party system made up of Democrats and Republicans, who, though they are opposed, are still united to keep up the common mystery. The Democrat despises the Republican, and visa versa, and each prescribes certain remedies for the symptoms of America’s illness, but neither of them dares to mention the cure (less government-don’t tell.)

In America, the democratic republic itself is now a smokescreen for corporate greed. War is peace. Ignorance is strength. Freedom is slavery. The media is a key component of corporatism, and one of the major beneficiaries of perpetual war and widespread economic strife. News about peace and prosperity does not sell.

*apologies to Fred Thompson

If interested in pre-ordering a copy, let me know.

Huckabee, Schmuckabee

null“The handcuffs are on government not people…the government’s position is hands off in either preferring one religion to another or prohibiting one.” – Mike Huckabee

It would be nice if Huckabee practiced what he preached. This statement directly opposes a marriage amendment. How does banning gay marriage in the U.S. enhance freedom or limit government? It doesn’t.  Let’s call the marriage amendment what it is: a meaningless political tool, designed to amass political support without discussing any consequential political issues.  Huckabee engages in doublespeak. I recommend basing your political decisions on political issues, not religious impositions.

Huckabee also lied when he said he was the only Republican who predicted a recession during the Michigan debate. He actually stole that argument from Ron Paul, who had been saying so for months. Paul actually predicted the sub-prime mortgage crisis in 2002. It is nice to see Huckabee listening to the only visionary statesman in Washington. Unfortunately, Huckabee won’t acknowledge his sources, deliberately ignores truth, perverts his religion, and selfishly encourages his followers to abandon everything God-given within themselves, so that they may engage in idolatry.

Mike Huckabee hath lied and contradicted himself on economic and social issues numerous times without explanation, and ye self-described Christians still believe his every word, as though there is mystical truth in His contradiction.  “Here is idolatry even without a mask: and he who can calmly hear, and digest such doctrine, hath forfeited his claim to rationality–an apostate from the order of manhood; and ought to be considered–as one, who hath, not only given up the proper dignity of a man, but sunk himself beneath the rank of animals, and contemptibly crawl through the world like a worm.” – Thomas Paine

At best, Huckabee’s supporters are Christians in the way that the Taliban’s supporters are Muslim, and if times were desperate, their “Biblical” ideals would become as frightening as the Taliban’s, if not more so.