Monopolies and Individual Liberties: Incompatible Extremes and Approaches
-noun, pl. -lies
Origin: 1525-35; Latin monopolium Greek monopolion right of exclusive sale, equiv. to mono- + pol(ein) to sell + -ion n. suffix.
When considering what a monopoly is, we must first consider what it does. A monopoly by its very nature has exclusive control or possession over something. Accompanying exclusive control or possession is total determination. That is, if you alone control a particular thing, or you alone possess a particular thing, you have sole power where that thing is concerned. No one else may have any input or say so.
It is critical, therefore, to understand how monopolies relate to individual liberties within a republic. Individuals within a republic are given wide latitude for their liberties; indeed, while the government’s powers under the United States Constitution are specifically enumerated, the individual’s powers are not specifically enumerated in a total fashion. There are other rights reserved to the individuals not specifically enumerated by the Bill of Rights.
Traditionally speaking, however, broad expansions of individual liberty have come in the form of amendments. No one would argue that the Bill of Rights denied freedom and self-determination to Negro slaves, because Negro slaves were not considered people under the Constitution. The same would go for women, who were considered lesser from birth. Consequently, the right to freedom of speech, the right to assemble, the right to worship freely, and a host of other such rights were denied to individuals springing from groups not considered to be men or even human on some level. The great characteristic of racism and racist ideology is a tendency to reduce target groups to the level of animals, to dehumanize them.
We may justifiably say, then, that the Bill of Rights was applicable to white males who owned property and were therefore considered men and citizens under the law. They held a monopoly on individual liberty and self-determination, if you will. The monopoly was significant in that it excluded other classes of individuals by categorizing them in an unprivileged manner which denied them possession of those rights and liberties contained with the Bill of Rights.
However, we may find many extant precedents of females facing charges and receiving rights as it were under the Fifth, Sixth, and Eighth Amendments. The fact was that exceptions were made to the exclusive denotation of rights being reserved per se for white landowning males. Men had one important right, however, that women clearly did not have: the right to vote.
(Author’s note: Interestingly enough, the Constitution does not say anything about a gender exclusive monopolization of the right to vote on Representatives in Article I, Section II, Clause I. Nor does Amendment XVII. Both mention people, but the reality of the matter is that a person was understood in this case to be a man.)
This right was not spelled out in the Bill of Rights, but rather in Article I, Section II, Clause I initially. Later on, with passage and ratification of the 17th Amendment, the voting process for selecting senators was evolved from the legislatures who had previously selected members of the Senate to the people.
In any event, one can rapidly see that monopoly busting leads to a dispersal of power from the single or the few to the many. Monopoly creation leads to the inverse; that is, it leads to the consolidation of power out of the hands of the many into the few or one single entity or individual. Therefore, in many respects, monopolies are the great question of our society. When are they appropriate? When does power need to evolve from the many to the few for practical purposes? When does power need to devolve from the few to the many, and why?
Examining these questions and considering their ramifications leads naturally to a consideration of individual liberty versus collective interest. At the core of any monopolist argument is the notion that individual liberties get in the way of what is best for the majority. Monopolists point to the benefits of convenience to majorities in order to excuse whatever encroachment their power may make on the rights of the individual or the minority interest. This is always true.
Monopolies are therefore the province of pragmatists; pragmatism as an ethical or moral approach is the betraying characteristic of the Left in this country and within the larger world. Monopolies ultimately portray their benefit as a means of driving power to the majority, but while this may be the case in theory, in practice, monopolies lead to the inverse result in that minorities emerge with staggering power over everyone else.
In Soviet Russia, the party bosses did not stand in line for bread. Communist Party bureaucrats throughout Russia attained built-in advantages simply by virtue of their belonging to the Communist Party. Far from abolishing class, communism ensured class stratification on par with that of the aristocracy the Bolsheviks replaced.
It is the same in the current day. In the name of reducing violence, monopolies of gun control have been proposed both at the state and international level. Quite simply, the idea is to disarm everyone but the government or the entity to which all power in the area of firearms or munitions must be granted in the eyes of gun control advocates. This will not eliminate violence due to firearms or munitions; it will merely ensure that only one group has the ability to utilize violence with firearms or munitions in order to coerce others to comply with their goals.
In the name of peace or in the name of reducing violence, the U.N. and various municipal, state, and federal government entities have proposed monopolies of firearms. The end goal of gun control is never the elimination of firearms or violence; it is instead the monopolization of the power of violence to coerce or to defend. That monopolization always ends up in the hands of the government, which then proceeds with cavalier indifference to the wishes of the people.
Politicians do not fear ballots so much as they fear bullets. You can, if you are a politician, defeat a ballot. A bullet is a little more difficult to dodge. Politicians seek only one thing by their very nature: the accrual of power through the removal of any obstacles to their power. Individual gun ownership is the biggest obstacle to consolidated power faced by politicians in any society. The political class is always the greatest danger to individual liberty, and individual gun ownership is the greatest defense against the political class that individuals can possess.
Disarmament is never about peace; it is instead about the removal of any capacity for violent reaction against coercive statism on the part of individuals. When politicians seek to advocate for peace, it is not because they they seek to have total peace. They seek to monopolize violence in order to force a peace upon everyone else.
This is the reality of the political class everywhere, and the rest of society must be vigilant and wary against the unwarranted influence of the political class and the interests standing behind that class. The political class is forever wrestled over by two competing interests: the voting majority and the capital majority. Regardless of which of the two competing interests prevail, the individual and his liberties are always under siege.
The great problem with American perception in particular where monopolization of power is concerned is this: individuals assume that voting majorities are on their side. We may assume that capital majorities are against us as they seek to eliminate obstacles to profit, but the simple truth is that there is no assurance that voting majorities will respect individual liberty.
Nowhere is this more apparent than in the voting majority’s tendency to vote to spend like liberals while simultaneously voting to tax themselves like libertarians. And that, more than anything else, is the greatest indicator that tyrannies are not confined to minorities. Americans have routinely evinced a majoritarian liberalism which threatens the property rights of others who fall outside of the majority.
There is nothing in the American ethos of the current day which would tend to indicate that Americans have a problem with taking from the rich to give to the poor. Reciprocity is entirely appropriate as policy, if election results are to be believed. A justification can always be constructed to legitimize taking from one to give to another. Implicit within the ideal of taking from the haves to benefit the have nots is the power to do the inverse. If you acknowledge the right of the government to take from one individual or group under certain circumstances in order to enrich or benefit another group, you also acknowledge the power of the government to do the same thing in the inverse way. That is, a government may take from many to give to the few or steal from the working poor and middle class in order to give to the financiers.
Welfare for the rich leads to welfare for the poor and vice versa, and the more you cede monopoly control over a particular issue or concern to a government, the more you voluntarily surrender your own liberties, because in the end, they will come for you and yours. For individuals to be free and secure in their lives, liberties, and property, the government must exist everywhere in the chains of specifically enumerated powers.
Monopolies are fundamentally incompatible with individual liberty and the free flow of capital because they ultimately constrict both in order to preserve their own control of whatever issue or concern they oversee. The self-perpetuation of the monopoly depends on the destruction of obstacles to that monopoly’s continuation. Chief among these obstacles are any means which might give an individual or a group the ability to effectively object or contend against the monopoly.
In the area of gun control, which might more accurately be characterized as gun monopolization, we see the end result of a government already in possession of monopoly powers seeking to arrogate ever greater amounts of power to itself in order to prevent any effective contention against its policies or practices. We see the true tyranny of democracy at work, because increasingly within America, democratic majorities seek to obliterate individual rights and liberties in order to get their way. Either way, both overreaches must be stopped.