Saturday, January 1, 2011

Rantings and Fulminations Against the State and Society

Rantings and Fulminations Against the State


Much of what passes for the Democratic base nowadays is in fact that activist base of that party, as the Democrats out in Iowa are not apt to support such exotic programs of statist intervention like affirmative action, or such procedures as partial birth abortion. Quite simply, if all politics is local, as legendary House speaker Tip O’Neill once famously claimed, the Democrats are a bit out of touch with locality.  One does not need to reach the Netroots Nation, because their overall influence is completely pathetic.  They make hay, and little else.  


Democrats have built their constituencies over the past seventy years or so on platforms of divisiveness, and while they wrapped these platforms of division in the language of unity, the fact remains that one had to accept a lesser standing as a white male before the platform if one wanted to be a good little foot soldier in the Democratic Party.  The sins of your father were your fault.  All around, there was hand-wringing to be done, and blame to be distributed for the failures of one demographic of victims after another.  


What no one wanted to acknowledge was that while blacks were subjected to the scourge of crack cocaine as a result of a drug smuggling operation involving former Contras who operated with the knowledge of the DEA and the CIA, no one forced blacks to pick up the pipe or cook the stuff up in the first place.  The black community, despite the best attempts of idiots and ne’er do wells within the state to rescue them by consigning them to Section 8 housing, remains woefully mired in the muck of poverty and cultural degradation precisely because its leaders fail to recognize that the culture is the problem.  


What passes as a leader in the African-American community these days is indicative of the problem: we have right reverends fathering children out of wedlock, falsely accusing police officers of gang rape, and extorting corporate America of money to line their organizational coffers with trumped up charges of racism.  We have normal black men fathering children out of wedlock at a higher rate than the general population, although the general population is struggling mightily to catch up.  We have normal black men and women complaining about the undue scrutiny of police officers on their kind, in the form of profiling, and blaming this scrutiny for the fact that police officers actually catch them in possession of illegal firearms and drugs quite routinely.  


That’s not to say that the police are anything other than bullies towards minorities, because they are.  Even if there are no drugs or firearms, the police tend to find some reason or another to harass and arrest people of color.  If you doubt my assertion, go on a ride along with a person of color in an urban setting for a week or so.  The closer to the black neighborhoods of the municipality in question, the better.  Let us talk about the nonsensical automatic crimes that result in a one way pass to jail for people of color; the possession of firearms and drugs being among the most common ways for a person of color to wind up in jail.  


So what?  So what if a convicted felon has a gun?  So what if he has pot?  Has he shot anyone with the gun?  Has he forced anyone to smoke the pot over their objections?  Leave him be!  So what if his gun isn’t registered, or if he doesn’t have a concealed carry permit.  I don’t care, because my objection to such requirements is clear enough: I don’t want the state licensing the exercise of a right.  If I have to register my firearm, or gain the state’s approval for a license to carry that firearm in certain situations, what’s to stop the state from licensing speech or requiring permits to exercise one’s right to avoid self-incrimination?  Oh, that’s right: with no-refusal DUI stops, the state is already obviating self-incrimination.  If you refuse to consent to a test whereby you will be hanged for having a BAC in excess of whatever subjective level the state determines equals out to impairment, you’re guilty of impairment anyway!  Your refusal to give them the opportunity to prove as much is proof in and of itself!  


If a person shoots at someone, or shoots someone with a firearm, then he should go to jail, no questions asked.  He should go to jail for the rest of his life.  There are certain things that we ought not tolerate, and gun violence is one of those things, unless gun violence is used in self-defense of one’s person, property, or liberties from an imminent threat.  That may seem broad to you, but my attitude is this: if the civil authorities were aware that their public declarations could constitute a perceived immediate threat to liberty, they’d ratchet down the inflammatory rhetoric and stop promoting an agenda that threatens said liberties, lest they wind up gunned down for their trouble.  I don’t feel that we should be encouraging the passive-aggressive behavior of would-be tyrants in elected office or bureaucracy who feel insulated by the fact that the election is eighteen months away.  The possibility of justifiable homicide in protection of one’s liberties would do wonders to lessen the enthusiasm of ninnies who want to regulate every area of our lives.  


I’m a libertarian extremist, an anti-statist who believes in the efficacy of force because the state’s own history offers up heaps of evidence to demonstrate that force works.  I’ve noticed something about my own militant attitude in personal dealings: people do not take liberties with me face to face.  I give off the impression that I will resort to violence, and therefore I live a rather peaceful life because few people want to give me the opportunity.  


I’m civil enough, for I’ve never been arrested.  So long as you don’t violate my person, my property, or my liberty, we won’t have an issue.  I do not wait for the day when states perish to declare my own autonomy.  I am autonomous today.  To the extent that I’m plugged into the state, I render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s.  I have no problem with paying taxes for the services I use, like national defense, infrastructure, and education.  


I went to college on a scholarship and a Pell Grant.  It was a fantastic use of tax dollars, because I became a productive, employed, responsible citizen with a higher rate of income as a result.  People who have higher incomes pay more taxes.  I think the state has made its money back on me, and will make even more over the course of my life as I pay off my law school loans with interest.  Isn’t it interesting, though?  The gall of the state is that they loan you back the money they take from you through confiscatory taxation, as though they have their own pool to draw from, and then charge you a rate of interest to finance their expenditures on other programs.  The state is a parasite, albeit one that offers a purportedly symbiotic relationship with its hosts in the form of grants, loans, and programs that constitute the crumbs while others better connected to the state than the average man feast from the seat at the table.  


The Democrats exist in fear of people like me.  I’m not after a handout, because I refuse to commit myself to voluntary enslavement.  I’m not after reliance on the state.  I’m after self-sufficiency, because my ethos commands self-sufficiency and self-reliance.  If the state collapses, I must be prepared to fend for myself and my kin.  


Interestingly enough, Ashton Kutcher recently gave an interview in which he noted his own preparations towards this end.  He’s buying guns, and learning self-defense in preparation for a stateless society that comes about as a result of cataclysmic collapse.  He’s preparing to take his family away from modern society to a place where they’ll be safe if the state and the modern conveniences associated with it collapse.  


This is a man who promised his fealty to the President not long ago, and he’s reading the writing on the wall.  Our state can’t deliver a solution to the current crisis, because it is paralyzed by ideological gridlock.  We are governed by the weakest men and women among us, people who seek power through division and fear with appeals wrapped up in the language of unity around some imaginary and mythic view of the state.  We shouldn’t challenge the state, because we’re weakening the nation.  We shouldn’t question the state’s methods, because doing so hurts the troops.  What hurts the troops is a state that expends over $700 billion on defense yet can’t be bothered to ensure that the troops are equipped with adequate armor and plentiful ammunition in combat theaters.  


We imprison more of our citizens than any other state on the planet.  Think about that: even in states with bigger populations and totalitarian governments where freedom is in scarce supply, there are fewer prisoners than in the United States.  You can go to jail in China for speaking out against the government, but in the United States you can go to jail for exercising your right to gun ownership under certain public policy exceptions.  We all witnessed the recent case of Brian Aitken, a man whose offhand remark to his mother led to police pulling him over and arresting him for having two unloaded handguns in the trunk of his car.  Aitken got seven years for lawfully owning and transporting handguns because a judge refused to allow the jury access to the statute which provided a moving exemption for handgun owners.  The jury, thereby denied access to the law which could have informed its verdict towards a result consistent with the actual law, rendered a guilty verdict and Aitken was sentenced to jail for lawfully owning and transporting a firearm.  


People are polarized precisely because they expect the state to deliver a just result to them in every situation, when the state is incapable of providing such a guarantee of justice or consistent legal treatment.  Ashton Kutcher tied the disenchantment of the population to its dependence on modern convenience, but I would reply that our disenchantment stems from our reliance on the state itself.  When the state delivers an incompetent, absurd, and altogether ludicrous result, we don’t know what to do.  After all, we suck at the teat of the state for everything.  


If we’re parents, we rely on the state to subsidize our parenting with tax exemptions related to our status as parents. If we’re homeowners, we rely on the state to subsidize our homeownership with mortgage tax credits and interest exemptions.  If we’re businessmen, we rely on the state to subsidize us with tax exemptions for our depreciations.  If you lose money in business, you can claim it against your tax liability!  How is this anything other than an incentive to fail?  If you’re a senior citizen, the state underwrites your retirement by robbing others of their earnings in order to provide you a benefit in your old age, along with heavily subsidized healthcare and drugs.  Social Security and Medicare are theft, plain and simple.  You didn’t pay into anything.  You consented like a fool to the theft of your earnings back when you worked, and you get indignant when others with more sense than you object to be stolen from to pay your way.  


Remove any of these exemptions or subsidies, and you’ll see the indignation of parents, homeowners, businessmen, and seniors turn into a frothy rage.  They feel as though they have been robbed!   The fact that their tax credits and exemptions are underwritten by borrowing that will further rob future generations of their earnings is no matter to them.  The state is ubiquitous in our lives, and if it is appropriated by liberty-minded men and women who try to draw back its tentacles in order to limit it to the constitutionally mandated role of the federal government, the general population will revolt.  They don’t know how to live without the state assisting them in some way or another.  


The pernicious legacy of the state is that it inculcates weakness within constituencies and demographics in the name of strengthening them.  It indoctrinates us into a culture of dependency.  


Witness the indignation of victims who cannot understand why it took the police or emergency services so long to arrive on the scene; and understand that the courts have held that the police owe no responsibility to show up after at a 911 call in a timely manner.  Stop waiting for the state to fix your problems: get a gun and blow the bastards away when they break into your home, threaten your life and your safety.  Be a self-reliant man or woman rather than a state-dependent slave.  


It’s more than an option: it’s your fucking responsibility.  If you have children, or a spouse, you have a duty of care to see to it that they are taken care of, and that includes defense against unlawful behavior.  Don’t believe that the state is going to magically fix anything.  The police aren’t going to come on time, and they certainly won’t get there faster then you can draw a gun and kill an intruder.  


Stop shoving shit down your gullets in the form of food that is poisonous for you and yours.  If you’re buying McDonald’s for your children on a regular basis, you’re their fucking problem.  If you justify the purchase of fast food on the grounds that your life requires you to work long hours, perhaps your expenditures are beyond your fucking means.  There is more to life than living in a certain type of house and owning a certain type of car.  If your life has enslaved you to the point where you don’t even have the time to prepare a meal for your own children, don’t blame the state. Don’t blame society. Don’t blame consumerism. You slid the plastic, you bought the high-priced home, and you chose the expensive car.  You chose a life and lost yours by virtue of the life you chose.  


Most of all, if you’re a fat, overweight slob of an individual who preaches personal responsibility while carrying fifty pounds of evidence to the contrary around your waistline, shut up.  Lose some weight before you tell me how to live my life and conduct my affairs.  I’ve cut my calorie count to under 2,000 a day in order to lose weight myself, and I’m 6’0  and 193 pounds.  I ride a bike to my destination whenever I can.  My goal is to get to 175 pounds, which would be 35 pounds less than I weighed at my peak.  


I’m utterly stunned to realize that people consider a $4.00 cup of coffee to be their entitlement in life.  That’s the sacrifice they make, if there is a sacrifice to be made.  A daily latte.  And they resent it!  We have this pessimism in America, as though our way of life is being undone, and yet we don’t bother to question whether that way of life is worth preserving.  


I didn’t agree with Phil Gramm at the time he made his statement about America being a nation of whiners, because the context of his remark was that America was whining about banks and fat cats who had abused the system.  But the fact of the matter is that we are stronger than ever relative to the rest of the world, and we’re in a better position to weather this storm.  Will we retrench? Will there be some form of short-term sacrifice?  Yes.  Is it wrong that banks and financial institutions have gotten through this storm largely scot-free for their systemic abuses?  Yes.  


The answer isn’t to whine and bitch.  It’s to mobilize and move forward in order to tackle the future head on with an attitude of empowerment rather than fear.  Civilization isn’t on the verge of collapse unless you resign yourself to such a fate.  The problem is that we’re in a state of existential paralysis, and nobody wants to acknowledge that the way things were and still are has to change.  You can’t live on credit at 24.99% interest. This is a point I’ve warred with my own wife over time and time again.  It’s the biggest point of contention in our marriage, to be honest.  She believes that strength means the ability to instantly buy whatever you want, but she doesn’t question the notion that buying it on credit is a compromise of strength.  The debtor is slave to the lender.  Period.  


The person who looks to the state for a solution is going to be disappointed, at least until average people start looking at the state and contemplating how to take it over for themselves in order to make it work according to their interests. For me, that means engaging the state and taking it over politically and practically, in order to prevent the state from being used to throw people like Brian Aitken in jail even if there is a law on the books that would enable such an outcome.  


During my first semester of law school, one of the first cases we examined contained within it an idea that I will never forget: the law does not exist to give rise to an absurd result.  Damn right.  We legislate everything in this country, and it’s time to turn back the tide.  There are certain things we can agree on: we don’t want shit or carcinogens in our water.  It’s disgusting and dangerous.  We shouldn’t even have to have an argument about the degree to which we should go to protect our water supply.  It’s just common sense.  We go as far as we need to go to keep our water clean, or at least reclamation ready.  That is, if you can’t filter whatever it is that you’re leaching into the water out, you don’t put it in the water.  


The same is true of our air.  I’m all about the idea of clean coal, but after some level of study on the subject, I’ve come to the conclusion that clean coal is bullshit. Burning coal releases mercury into the atmosphere, and mercury can get into our water supply and wreak havoc.  I don’t believe in energy independence at this point either, because while we’re making some promising strides towards new technologies that could replace fossil fuels, we aren’t at the destination yet.  


Moreover, we need to understand that energy efficiency is paradoxically part of the problem.  Whenever you make it easier for people to use more of something, they will.  That’s not to say that we should roll back progress in order to go backwards in time, but we need to dispense with the illusion that energy efficiency is energy conservation. It actually expands demand for energy, to be honest.  


I’m an environmentalist to the degree that clean air and water are necessary for my health and survival.  It’s a matter of self-interest, not some esoteric belief system in Gaia or an Earth Mother.  And I’m sorry, but when average Americans can set their tap water on fire, we have a problem.  I don’t give a damn what Halliburton or anyone else says, I’ve seen it with my own eyes, and it’s always in proximity to a fracking operation. I know that I don’t live next to a fracking operation, and no matter how many times I’ve tried to set my tap water on fire in my apartment, it hasn’t worked.  I’m from Alabama, and seeing that phenomenon just piqued my natural curiosity and made me wonder: “What if?”  


I don’t know why we even have to argue over a good many of the items that seem to divide us, to be honest. I’d think it would be obvious that taking a baby three quarters out of the way of its mother’s vagina and suctioning its brains out to collapse its skull is infanticide.  End of story.  The individual who performs the procedure belongs in jail, and the woman who seeks the procedure belongs in a mental hospital.  It’s macabre and beyond revolting.  

Let’s be honest: it’s wrong for a white male to get his position or his salary level because of his race or his gender, and it’s wrong to do the inverse in order to correct the issue.  Bigotry itself is one thing, but practically applied bigotry is unacceptable, and those responsible for implementing bigotry in the workplace are nothing less than traitors to the Constitution and the principal idea upon which any lawfully ordered society rests: that all men and women are equal before the law.  You can’t pay a woman less than a man for doing the same job, or pay her the same for doing less than a man because she holds the same job title without violating that fundamental ideal.  In my time working, I’ve seen it cut both ways.  


The male cashiers always had to clean the restrooms at the end of the night when I was in retail management, while the girls got to straighten the shelves.  That is, unless I was the manager on duty, because roles were quickly reversed.  This wasn’t because I was a misogynist, it’s because they both made the same money and should be required to share in the duties of the job.  When the point was raised that I wasn’t cleaning the restrooms as a manager, I raised the counterpoint that I did my share of restroom duty as a subordinate.  I paid my dues then, and I earned my way into my current position as a result of my performance.  


It’s called common sense, and the problem with America and the world at large is that everything is wrapped up in ideological abstraction. People can’t make simple connections and understand basic arguments anymore.  They get the ideology of imperialism, of deconstruction, of feminist criticism, of paleo-conservatism, and they know how to apply those theories to the present day in order to argue for their pre-existent position, but when it comes to plain and simple common sense divorced from ideology, they can’t function.  I am so sick and tired of hearing a graduate dissertation on gender politics and roles whenever I talk with people about what ails our culture and our society.  


The other day I had a brief encounter with a girl in a coffee shop and she, all of 16 years old, quoted Paglia to me as a means of bolstering her feminist viewpoint that women were everywhere in chains.  Her point was that Paglia’s insistence on feminism being wrong about the woman as victim was in fact proof that women were victims, since if women were not victims, there would be no need to mount a defense of the idea that they were not victims.  This sort of idiotic logic is similar to that employed by Ari Fleischer when he insisted that the onus was on those who denied the existence of Iraqi WMDs to show the world where the WMDs were.  


There is little within the way of an epistemological viewpoint being taught in schools today which offers such young people, intellectually precocious and well-read though they are, any means of distinguishing between good opinion based on reality and absurd opinion.  It’s not even that there is a lack of good opinion rooted in fact, the simply truth is that today’s intellectuals are incapable of anything other than fiat declaration as a means of proving their point, and this attitude has leached down to the populists and the youth.  It’s why Sarah Palin curries such favor among the masses who turn their noses up at the intelligentsia in reciprocation.  It is, because I say it is, and I say it is because it is what I feel, and mere feeling legitimizes whatever pops out of my mouth.  


Somewhere along the line, we confused the ability to weave webs with language with genius, and in doing so, we lost the ability to distinguish between orators and charlatans.  We have grifters masquerading as modern Demosthenes, all flowery soaring rhetorical genius disguising the reality that in saying something and doing nothing, one is essentially saying nothing.  If the actions do not match the professions, the words themselves have no merit.  


It’s not just the Democratic Party that is failing, because we in America have exalted our politicians to modern day godhead, and we worship their personas.  John Thune has no accomplishment to speak of other than his persona, which includes a chiseled face that certain media types have referred to as “central casting.”  That is, he looks presidential, and in today’s television climate, that is enough to be president.  See our present White House resident.  


All John Thune has to do is demonstrate some way with the word, and he’ll skate into the White House as Americans don’t so much endorse him as they happen latch on to him as the alternative to a President whose administration seems inept to the task of dealing with the fiscal insolvency of the United States and its allies abroad.  He has to sound the way that he looks, and that’s all the merit he will need to become the next golden calf to be fawned over and worshipped by media punditry and the electorate at large.  What we are witnessing is not merely a failure of parties, but a failure of American culture, insolvent and bankrupt of anything other than the ability to recognize celebrity and elect it to responsibility on the grounds that celebrity itself is merit.  

Let us pause for the night...

Posted via email from momus1978's posterous

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Fascism Distinguished From Nationalism

A good bit of the heated rhetoric that passes around the various political and non-political movements we are examining blurs the line between fascists and nationalists.  In their true form, nationalists seek the promotion of the nation as a whole and understand the nation to be comprised of the terrain, the culture, traditions, values, and the various peoples.  Within the general strain of culture, tradition, and values that pass for the common ideals we all agree upon, there are any number of divergences and separations.  In the United States, this is as it ought to be, for we are a pluralistic nation with the attitude that a man ought to be left to his own devices to worship and associate according to his own conscience.  


It is why we work as a society, and, insofar as the State which claims the nomenclature of our nation has departed from this central idea of individual liberty in association, worship, and overall action, it is why that State is failing.  In an earlier piece I differentiated between the State and the Nation where matters of security were concerned in order to highlight that the State’s motivations are inevitably different from and in competition with those of the people who make up the Nation.  


We must go further to examine the distinction between fascists who claim the national identity and the true nationalist.  The fascist ultimately is grouped according to his grievances and a victim mythology rather than any common ideal shared generally among the larger population.  The fascist seeks to blame others for the shortcomings of the State he venerates to no end.  The nationalist understands that the blame lies with the State and its bureaucracies, for their failures are the reason the World Trade Center was bombed twice.  It was the corruption, ineptitude, and utter incompetence of the State which led to such failures.  


For the fascist, nothing could be further from the truth.  The State is never to blame, for the State is is the Nation.  The fascist believes in State power, State aggression, and State encroachment on individual liberties as a means to security.  Expansions of State power are always the panacea for the fascist.  The fascist hates the Nation, for he denigrates entire demographics of the nation in order to blame Jews, Muslims, liberals, leftists, and the like for the failure of the State.  If the State fails, it is always due to the subterfuge and sedition of disloyal elements within the Nation who are seeking to destroy the State and oppress the fascist.  


No true nationalist ever venerates the State.  Nationalists understand that an attack on one group within the whole is an act of aggression against the entire whole, and it is because of this that we oppose fascism.  You come for the Jews, you come for us, and we will respond accordingly.  You come for the Muslims, you come for us, and we will respond accordingly.  The great failure and shame of the Nation is that we did not respond with force against the Statist aggression against the Japanese and other segments of the American population which occurred during World War II.  It is antithetical to the national ideal that Americans of any sort should have spent a period in confinement or internment.  There is no justification for such aggression against our liberties.  


Security exists solely to secure liberty, due process, and the equal treatment of all men and institutions before the law.  If security is perverted to erode any of these concerns, it is no longer security, it is authoritarian tyranny.  I am a nationalist, insofar as I believe in the ideals of the Nation, and I am proud of those ideals.  The fact that the history behind them is complicated is of no concern to me: my land, my soil, my Nation is within my heart, and my commitment to the people who make up the Nation is not conditioned on their color, their religion, or any quality which renders them part of some other.  


I see the emergence of fascism within my Nation, and the struggle of all true nationalists must be with the fascist who seeks to build constituencies by driving wedges of fear into the Nation.  We will not be grouped according to our grievances and our hysterias, for the Nation that I belong to serves as a call to fearlessness.  We fear nothing, for we are free of mind and free of body, and there is nothing we will kill for more readily than the defense of our freedom.  


I will not stand for aggression against any segment of my Nation, for the Nation is me, and I am the Nation, and an attack on the Nation is an attack against me.  I am not a Muslim by belief, but by virtue of my association with the Nation, I am a Muslim when a Muslim faces aggression from fascists or those who would attack his liberty, his due process, and his equal standing before the law.  Let me be utterly clear: an attack on any group within the Nation by fascists, by foreign governments and states, or by the State that denigrates our Nation with its claim is an act of war against us all.  


The fascist has no claim to my Nation, for his loyalty is only to his kind within that nation, and his commitment stops at defending their liberty, their due process, and their equality before the law from encroachment.  He is perfectly fine with the erosion of those three concerns for others.  In point of fact, the fascists agitate daily for the erosion of liberty, due process, and equality before the law where those others are concerned.  These dogs are the enemy of the Nation, for their nation is only made up of others who look as they look, act as they act, behave as they behave, and think and believe as they think and believe.  There is no room for dissent in their pathetic nation.  


They seek to magnify their minority viewpoint at all times by seizing the apparatus of the State in order to direct its disproportionate power at those groups whom they hate.  The State is held by fascists, directed by fascists, and coveted by fascists.  Those who love the Nation understand that the State is their enemy.  We do not covet the State; we despise it.  The State is the prize of those small-minded dogs and vermin who seek to monopolize or direct its power according to their petty bigotries against others.  To be a partisan is to be a fascist, for it is to place yourself in a category that supersedes the Nation.  


I am fully comfortable with one designation that supersedes the Nation: human.  I am a man, gifted by God with the capacity for comprehension and the ability to articulate my convictions with no fear.  I answer to no State.  The State answers to me, for it exists solely to serve me, and its ministers are my subordinates placed in authority as stewards to administer my wishes.  I live in the greatest Nation on earth, with others who think as I do, and we share a firm commitment to universal rights, liberties, due process, and the core conviction that all men and institutions are the same before legitimate law.  If there is no equality before the law, the law is illegitimate.  If the law gives privileged standing to certain groups while reducing other groups, it is no longer legitimate.  It is an instrument of tyranny and aggression, and we as men and women within our Nation are called to defend the unique ideals and defend the Nation from those fascists who seek to divide us.  


They tempt us always with the notion that we are not the ones facing profiling, fore we have done nothing wrong. That may be true, but the overwhelming majority of those individuals reduced to a lesser standing before the law have done nothing wrong either.  Why should they be treated differently?  The answer of the fascist is to erect universal reductions in liberty, whereby we are all required to submit to humiliation before full body scanners.  The fact that you have maintained equality by rolling back liberty and due process for everyone does not legitimize your actions.  Our equal standing before unwarranted expansions of State authority does not legitimize the expansion.  The fact that we are all slaves to the State does not make the State’s enslavement of us consistent with freedom or the ideals of our Nation.  


It is time for true nationalists to stand belligerent and bellicose to the encroachment of the State, whether partial or universal, in a violent rejection of fascism of all stripes.  We are human beings, endowed by our Creator with liberties and rights by virtue of our common humanity.  The State exists only to acknowledge and promote those rights and liberties, but we have arrived at a place in human history where the incontrovertible evidence exists to show that every State inevitably comes to put itself and its concerns before those of the Nation.  The State is therefore obsolete, and a threat to the Nation.  It is the vessel of fascists who seek to make of their own kind a royal or privileged class at the expense of the larger Nation.   


The soft aggression of statutory exceptions for the wealthy, the poor, the various races, the corporations, the small businesses, religious groups...these are the weapons of fascists who seek to splinter the Nation and humanity itself into armed and paranoid camps.  The cost of passively accepting this, of allowing fascist aggression to proceed unimpeded while we forever debate how to respond, wringing our hands indecisively forever and ever, are the lives and the liberties of peoples all around the globe.   By failing to act with moral clarity, we are complicit in the crimes of fascists and the State they seize to do their bidding.  Seize the State and begin its undoing by preventing it from being deployed by fascists!  Many of our differences are cosmetic, brought about by the demagogues among fascist and Statist types who seek to build constituencies from false resentments by erecting scapegoat myths, giving us straw men to blame for our own failings and shortcomings.  


God does not call men to weakness, He calls us to strength!  We are not meant to reject reality and fail to acknowledge that we have sinned, and through our sin we have indebted the Nation so that we could have our thirty pieces of silver in the form of a tax rebate when the State had to borrow money at interest in order to refund money to us that in many cases exceeded the amount of tax we had paid in!  We have no held our State to an account for its rampant corruption, and we have not exercised the power vested within our hands to combat the State effectively when it rampaged for forty consecutive years of deficits!  Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa!  


We have a universal interest in being allowed to live our lives free, to exercise our autonomy and worship and associate voluntarily according to our own interests and conscience, and the State has no business building constituencies for itself by fomenting resentments out of our differences.  Our shared commitment and interest in living our lives as we see fit is the tie that binds us into the Nation!  Our Nation, especially in those ideals that make up our Constitution and the Bill of Rights, is built on a common commitment of ordinary citizens to rise and defend the encroachment of any aggressor on those rights, or any State which seeks to transgress against the limits of the Constitution.  These principles and ideals mean something to us all, for they are the binding agent, the common ideal which most of us share!  


I hear no call to martyrdom.  I heed no call to martyrdom. Let those who perish, if there are to be any who perish in the coming fight between the fascists and the Nation, be on the other side.  I will not stand for further aggression against my Nation, whether it comes from within or without.  I will not stand for further aggression against my Nation, though it may bear the imprimatur of state-sanctioned legitimacy in the form of a spending increase by Congress, or a deficit increasing tax cut by Congress. Just because it passed a law-giving body does not make it right.  We must measure the acts of Congress, indeed, we must measure the acts of any State bureaucracy, and we must ask ourselves whether or not the acts thereof are in the interest of the Nation, or whether they are only in the interest of a few within the Nation!  


We are entering an Era of Decision, where men must decide whether they really belong to a Nation built on free ideals or whether they have exchanged their freedom for the yoke of the State.  The Nation needs no State to exist.  The State only appeals to the Nation in mythical terms to legitimize its unlawful, fascist aggression and overreach.  It appeals to groups within the nation to build majoritarian consent, as though majoritarian consent to unlawful action can wash away the stain and remove the patina of illegitimacy.  Democracy does not trump the individual in our Nation, and though 99 may say so, if it involves the erosion of liberty, due process, or equal protection before the law for the 100th, I am bound to take up the sword and contend for him against the horde.  If you would call yourself a member of the Nation, a member of humanity who shares a common commitment to the ideals that men ought to be free, and that the Law exists only to provide a framework and a scaffold to support and outline their freedoms, then you must join in the defense of that 100th man against the overwhelming odds as well.  


Majorities built on fear and cowardice are not insurmountable.  When they encounter resistance, they do not know how to conduct themselves.  Their courage is bound up in their numbers, and when their numbers alone are not enough to deter those men who refuse to submit before tyranny, they will capitulate to the few who possessed the courage to fight back.  


War in defense of the Nation, against the encroachment of the State against that Nation and the against the fascist partisans who seek to divide us with their lesser appeals to our fears and bigotries, is the only answer to the threat confronting us today.  I am unapologetically of the Nation, and am I unapologetically a Man.  God made me what I am, and I have no compunction about fulfilling His plan for my life.  


Do not be misled by false distinctions: to be a Nationalist does not mean fascism.  Be proud of the ideals that make the Nation what it is today, for they are fine ideals to believe in and worth championing.  I may despise the State, but I am always proud of my country, my Nation.  Even when we arrive at a day where States no longer exist, and we stand before our Maker to answer and give an account of our lives, I will be proud to say that my life was spent within the Nation, defending those core ideals and beliefs that make America unique.  Are we perfect in our execution?  Absolutely not.  Have we always been right? Certainly not.  But the superiority of the American ideal, the Nation of ideals and convictions that I believe in fervently, is the built in acknowledgment that amending the vision is necessary in order to eventually get it right.  


Now is not the time for fear and trembling. The fight ahead requires that you gird yourself in the courage of your forefathers and in the selfless patience and dedication of your mothers, and defend this Nation and what it embodies and represents at its finest for the world from the besmirching, defamatory actions of fascists who place their race, religion, and selfish interests above the Nation and even above humanity itself.  We are dealing with people whose view of freedom is that it is mutually exclusive to our own, and they believe that they are entitled to subsume our freedoms as a natural consequence of exercise their own self-determination and self-interest.  If they are allowed to succeed, America will fail, and despite all of her flaws and warts, all of her hypocrisies and shortcomings by virtue of her State apparatus and the interests directing those apparatuses, an America made up of those decent individuals who believe in equality before the law, due process, and individual liberty is still the best hope the world has.  Our values must not perish.  Our ideals must live on.  Our Nation, embodying those ideas and carrying them forward to a New Epoch where men across the world see our example and appropriate it for their own lives, must live own and for that to happen, this State, and those fascists who have run us and the  world at large into polarization must be dealt with.  


God does not call us to weakness, to fear.  He calls us to confidence in the face of overwhelming odds as a sign and seal of our faith that His strength coursing through us is sufficient to guide us to triumph.  These are difficult days, but no obstacle is set in front of us that we cannot overcome.  God does not set us up to fail when we rely on Him, and in the decency of ideals which emanate and flow from values instituted by God on this earth.  It is decent, right, and moral that we should contend for equality before the law for all men and institutions.  It is decent, right, and moral that we should fight to see due process restored for all men and institutions.  It is decent, right, and moral that we should violently and vehemently oppose the erosion of liberties for one group or individual no matter the utilitarian justification offered up by proponents of such an erosion.  It is decent, right, and moral that we should fight to have an atmosphere of transparency and integrity in our markets and in our government, so that people should know what they are investing in in both arenas.  


There are those of you who may read this and recoil at the talk of God, for your personal convictions may lead you to believe that God does not exist.  That is no matter to God, and it is no matter to me.  We believe in you, and I believe in your freedom to believe whatever you choose, and I would fight for that freedom if I saw you under attack.  Do not group yourself according to resentments, but understand instead that when a believer is attacked, it is the problem of the non-believer because you are faced with an aggression which fundamentally disrespects the right of any individual to worship or believe according to his own conscience and conviction.  There are times in life when we must rise and fight for our convictions and principles, and I have never been so convinced as I am today that the current time is one of those unique moments in human history where it is necessary and vital to fight.  


We can no longer afford a policy of disengagement and disillusionment with the State. If for no other reason than to prevent the State from being appropriated by those who believe it is proper to deploy the power of the State against those who exercise their liberties in a way that you or I may not agree with, we ought to rise up to take the offices, the bureaucracies, the party infrastructures and everything else in order to hold the State in check and gradually wind it down into near non-existence or complete non-existence.  Free men who exist in the shadow of a State will always find themselves on the cusp of conflict whenever they exercise their freedoms.  It is time for us to reject this looming threat once and for all.  


I may not agree with you entirely, and you may not agree with me entirely, but I am certain that we agree on certain core ideals, one of which is the right of men and women to exercise their rights over their lives, their property, and their consciences without fear of coercive retaliation by a state.  I may not agree with their use of their property, but so long as it does no harm to my adjacent property, it is none of my concern.  I may not agree with their decision to end their own lives, but it is not my life nor my choice to make. We are each called to answer for our own actions, and our lives and how we live them are the testament of what we view as right and good.  We do not require the state to make a declaration of our morality, for this is the concern of our day to day life and the way we conduct ourselves publicly.  Let others look upon the fruit thereof and draw their own free judgments, while being respectful and refraining from trying to appropriate government and law to legislate our free exercise of conscience out of existence.  


The State, insofar as it exists within human society, will always present this temptation to humanity.  It is impossible to say that human beings will resist the opportunity to transition from nationalists to fascists and partisans who rightly recognize that the State is the means by which a Nation or a society can be totally remade through coercion.  We have evidence aplenty that the State is forbidden fruit, and men will inevitably proceed to pluck it for themselves in order to gain and deploy its power for their own interests, even at the expense of the liberty and equal standing before the law of others.  Privileges and exemptions will be erected, and with those privileges and exemptions come restrictions and exceptions for others who have no access to such favored standing. 


To say otherwise is to deny reality itself, to reject the cumulative lessons of human history in order to construct a fantasy whereby the State can be rehabilitated and restored.  For a time, that may be possible, but inevitably, the State is transmogrified back into a malignant entity, metastasizing in power and authority at the expense of the Nation and the individuals within the Nation.  There is no reason to believe in fairy-tales when an abundance of evidence exists that thoroughly destroys any foundation for believing that the State can be a force for permanent good rather than a threat to the ideals it is established to uphold and honor.  The greatest criminal entity a Nation ever faces is the State itself, for the State violates more laws in the course of its dealings than any individual could ever hope to break. 


It is time to come to a reckoning with such realities, and to determine in an orderly and decent fashion how to move forward.  It is time to stop hurling invective at each other when we share common interests in individual liberty and freedom, but what we do to fascists and partisans is another matter entirely.  They are not going to surrender the ability to control and direct the lives of others through the the power of the State without a fight.  The entire meaning of their lives is bound up in statism, and we are going to have use aggression of our own to wrest the State from their grip in order to gradually unwind the State.   We can either start participating in government and partisan politics in order to make inroads towards our goals, or we can fight on externally.  Fighting externally hasn’t yielded any real gains.  Protesting and ranting in the streets isn’t going to get the job done.  Sabotage and outright revolution carries with it the promise of a heavy toll for human lives.  


Moreover, such methods only serve to provide statists and fascists with ammunition, an enemy or a blame-myth around which they can coalesce and foment more support within the larger population for their coercion and repression in order to foster some meaningless security.  It would be simpler, better, and more productive to simply begin learning how to engage the machine of the state by running for City Council, County Commission, school boards, and occupying the positions of local, state, and national political parties.  We don’t have to toe their line.  We can prevent the State from being deployed altogether when people run afoul of its ridiculous, anti-liberty, anti-freedom, and anti-human regulations and rigamarole.  It’s time to stop engaging in fratricide with each other, but if you want to take down the fascists and statists who genuinely believe in freedom through repression and regulation, go right ahead.  But if you have that common thread of commitment to defend each other’s liberties, equal standing before the law, and access to due process, then don’t go after each other.  


There is a substantive difference between the Nation that I know and the nation contended for by fascists.  There is a substantive difference between the Nation that I love and the State that I despise.  It’s time to begin articulating those differences in a manner that can lead to proselytization for the wider spectrum of individuals who are just waiting to be recruited to the stateless movement.  There’s a dearth of real ideas about how to move forward, and a vacuum where ideas about how to truly break from the state-dominated past are concerned.  If you articulate statelessness in a palatable way, we can have a stateless society within our lifetimes. At the very least, we can have a society that feels close to stateless.  


At the end of the day, isn’t that what we want? Do we not all want a society that reflects our common commitment to shared ideals, where we face the law on equal footing and understand our mutual obligations to first do no harm to others with the exercise of our liberty over our bodies and our property?  Can we not reach a consensus from the general to the specifics of these ideals in our communities that is liberty-expanding and freedom-affirming?  I believe that we can, but the proper distinctions are needed in order to proceed, which is why I’ve written these pieces which outline my present opposition to statism and my evolution towards a minarchist viewpoint.  

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Monday, December 27, 2010

Against the State IV: Engaging the Controls

If you’re fighting a tank as one man, which of the following would be the better strategy: to stand in front of the tank as it rolls forward, or to jump on the tank, open the hatch, toss out the driver, and take control of the tank yourself in order to bring it to a stop or run it into some obstacle so as to render it inoperable?  If you’re fighting the state as a minority, and you want to take control of the tank that is the state before it runs down your property rights, your ability to hawk your homemade goods on the street, and your ability to choose where and how to educate your own children...why wouldn’t you try to get on the school board, or the City Council, or any number of other organs of state power?  


Now, let’s say you want to do this, and you’re an anarchist, or a minarchist, or a libertarian-how, exactly, are you going to campaign?  Are you going to be a fire-breathing revolutionary, taking City Hall to task and quoting Nozick and Rothbard in your stump speeches?  Are you going to have anarchist symbol on your campaign signs?  What is the point?  Do you want to win for your cause, or guarantee failure and marginalization?  


If you want to win, you’re going to have to put aside your your radical appearance.  If you’re walking around in a ripped T-shirt with an anarchist symbol and your hair is in a purple and pink mohawk, it’s time to set aside your concern with cosmetic non-conformity to advance the cause of non-conformists in a real and concrete way.  The world is full of people who have been bullied by the state, by City Hall, by zoning boards, and by county commissions.  Government has enemies everywhere, and it’s earned every last damned one of those enemies.  


Get a haircut, a clean shirt, and a suit coat and some slacks.  People expect their leaders to look like they’re together.  People expect their leaders to be together.  If you’ve got unpaid bills and a history of financial delinquency, you need to get it together.  If you can’t manage your own finances, how are you going to manage those of an entire city or bureaucracy? Most importantly, learn to talk civilly with people you disagree with vehemently.  Go find a Republican in your neighborhood and practice by having a beer or some coffee with him.  Hell, go find a Democrat if you really want to test your self-control.  


There are uses to these techniques beyond learning to keep your cool when you’re baited.  You’re learning to talk to quote-unquote regular or ordinary people, to identify their fears and concerns on a local level.  This is important: they’re going to be your constituency.  You need to learn to focus on what’s relevant at the local level: people want to feel safe in their life, liberty, and property.  They want a police presence, but they don’t want the police to be bullying the hell out of them during traffic stops.  While you may recoil at the idea of being part of the machine and working within the system to achieve things, you can either stand in front of the tank and get run over, or you can drive the tank.  

People want to feel as though their tax dollars are going to the things they use: education, police and fire services, infrastructure like roads.  They do not want to feel as though their tax dollars are going to build a state power structure that exists to transfer their tax dollars to developers and businessmen over and above their consent.  This is where your strength lies: City Hall is out of touch precisely because City Hall is built on back room deals and under the table agreements whereby public dollars are taken from Peter to pay Paul.  People resent corruption and the appearance of corruption.  All you have to do is find examples of wealth transfers from regular folk to wealthy folk and talk about those examples.  


You can talk about tax abatements that enable the Wal-Marts of the world to avoid paying for the construction of their big box stores, and you can contrast that with the truly capitalist local business owner who assumes all the risk in building his own store and stocking his own inventory without the benefit of a ten to fifteen year tax abatement on sales and property taxes.  He’s getting driven out of business because the local government favors an out of town retailer at his expense!  He’s your natural constituent.  So are his employees and the local vendors who supply him.  


You have two options: you can either insist on the same deal being cut for local merchants, or you can insist that Wal-Mart and other big box retailers compete on their own merits and pay for their own construction costs.  Never underestimate the power of xenophobia towards out of town retailers who come in and force their costs on a local tax base in the form of abatements given without the consent of the local citizenry.  Fair is fair. The benefits are multiple: you force City Hall to either obstinately refuse to render the same deals for its own locals, or you force City Hall to concede and cut the size of government to accommodate the reduction in revenue.  After all, you and your constituents aren’t going to tolerate City Hall mortgaging the future of your municipality by borrowing to finance deficits.  Every possible outcome gives you ammunition going forward to roll back and challenge your local government and the power structure it represents.  


Moreover, you can insist on a sunshine clause going forward, whereby every single abatement and concession to businesses is put out on the table and into the public record.  Transparency always sells, because citizens like to feel as though their government answers to them and owes them an explanation of its actions.  Those who fight you on this will look like they’re in the vanguard of a corrupt, unaccountable regime that doesn’t want to provide an explanation of its actions the very people who finance those actions with their tax dollars! There will be resistance and opposition, but there are ready answers to the sort of trite objections raised by advocates of the status quo: when advocates the new Wal-Mart protest that Wal-Mart will just go up the road, point out that Wal-Mart employees consume over $2.5 billion in welfare a year, even though they work for a company generating in excess of $11 billion a year in profits.  


Why should Wal-Mart get a free ride in the form a tax abatement, especially when its employees will be relying on free school lunches for their children, food assistance for their families, and subsidized medical care due to the fact that Wal-Mart doesn’t pay them enough?  Wal-Mart doesn’t generate tax revenue, it keeps that revenue to pay for its construction costs, even as it stresses local and state services for the poor.  That’s socialism: something for nothing! Now, you might be recoiling right now, because you’re a liberal, even a bit of socialist yourself.  It doesn’t matter.  You’re fighting a street fight, and there is no such thing as a fair street fight.  You are to seize on any and all options to paint your opponents in the worst light in order to erode the status quo and advance the cause of less government, less coercion, and less state power over the lives of individuals.  You need to raise these issues, because they resonate with average people.  Average people respond viscerally to certain labels and terms.  Use them.  


Let’s talk about the police power of the local governments, specifically the licensing arms and the police power.  Why should street peddlers have to have a license to operate a business?  Why should anyone have to have a license to operate a business?  Why should you have to pay City Hall for doing something so beneficial to the bottom line of the community?  You’re generating investment, tax revenues, and hiring people!  You’re providing for yourself at the very least as a street vendor, taking initiative and your own subsistence into your own hands! If anything City Hall ought to be getting out of your way and allowing you to provide for your own living, not holding its hand out for a peddler’s license fee!   


Do you see how phrasing is important?  Do you see how a word fitly spoken or written recasts and reframes the debate in a way that resonates with the naturally anti-authoritarian streak within every normal human being?  Let’s say you want to build a tree house in your own front yard.  It’s a large tree house, striking in its proportions, but it’s on your property and you’re paying your own money to build it.  Do you know that there are municipalities that would try to force you to tear it down after the fact for your failure to secure a permit?  Why should you have to ask the local or state government for permission to build on your own land?  You aren’t building a residence; you’re building a tree house for your daughter!  Even if you’re building a tree house for your own edification and enjoyment, so what?  Do you want the city to come in and tell you you have to install sprinklers in a tree house?  This actually happened in Fall City, Washington!  The stupidity is obvious.  


Let’s say your neighbor reported you by running and tattling to the city building inspector.  Do we really want a local government that exists to assuage tattle-tales and ruckus raising fools?  Most people have a live and let live attitude, and depending on how you phrase the matter, you can stir their indignation at such overreach.  


The bottom line is that even if something does happen, you’ve assumed the liability from a civil standpoint.  It’s perfectly fine for individuals to assume the individual risk associated with their action: we don’t need municipal government coming into every area of our lives, robbing us of the enjoyment of our land and our property with legalese and regulation.  


If you’re a candidate, these issues resonate.  People don’t like a tattle-tales, they don’t like Big Government, and they really and truly despise statism if and when they encounter it personally.  They identify with the little guy, because they generally are the little guy.  If you’re a minarchist, an anarchist, or a libertarian, you don’t have to talk about theoretical gibberish or have fancy slogans.  All you have to do is communicate that you stand with the average, red-blooded individuals who make up your community and just want to be left alone by their government when they build treehouses or sell their crafts on the sidewalk.  If anything, it is the duty and obligation of City Hall to provide a framework for such commerce to thrive in the form of weekend fairs where local vendors and craftsmen can come out and sell their wares.  City Hall ought to be supporting rather than restricting commerce of this nature.  City Hall ought to be celebrating the elaborate treehouses and landmarks that reflect the creativity and industry of local landowners.  


Victory in war is made up of an endless series of skirmish triumphs, and those who keep a long view are the ones who see the larger picture.  You replenish your will to fight by seizing on small victories.  


When you confront the police, and any worthy anti-statist will inevitably confront the police, you do so by doing what the police dread: allowing any average citizen to record their conduct while barring any city district attorney from using tax dollars to prosecute them for doing so.  You can also bar the use of city and county facilities like courtrooms for any hearings or trials on the matter conducted by state or federal level attorneys.  The police hate transparency, because they can’t act like a bunch of overbearing thugs if they’re under constant independent scrutiny.  You can control the recording of average citizens.  You can’t go back and record over their independently recorded version of events, or erase their copies of what you said or did.  


What the police dread more than anything else is the emergence of an independent narrative external to their control.  That’s why police departments will vehemently protest a citizen recording their conduct even though they have dash mounted video cameras in their cruisers.  


But there’s more: you can insist that the police, like any other service provider, face an independent survey rating their response time to calls, their conduct on those calls, and the perception of the general public to their police department.  Using these scores, you can link their positive image in the community with their funding and salary and benefit increases.  Make them earn it.  Moreover, you’ll be providing an independent means for average citizens to voice their complaints.  If they have to go to the police department to file a complaint against an individual officer, they won’t get anywhere.  If they file out a survey and mail it in anonymously to an independent agency or company retained by the city, you have a better chance at documenting their grievances and holding the feet of abusive officers to the fire. 


When the police object, and when their unions go through the pat motions of calling you anti-police, just point out that if they’re doing their jobs lawfully and professionally, they have nothing to worry about.  They’re still going to be afforded due process and a real investigation, but the investigation of abuses won’t be contained within their department: it’ll be an independent audit, absent the prejudices and corrupting connections of a local Internal Affairs unit.  If anything, it’ll be fairer and more impartial.  The greatest deterrent to police abuse and overreach is transparency.  Sunshine is the best disinfectant.  Moreover, you’ll be reaching your constituents in the community who want a more responsive and more professional police department with a better, more service-oriented attitude.  


Everything is incremental, and gradually, as you roll back the overreach of your local and county governments and the attached bureaucracies, you’ll be increasing freedom at the expense of state power.  That’s a worthy goal to work towards, but more importantly, you’ll be driving the tank in a way that doesn’t allow ordinary people to be run over by their local government.  In short, you’ll be taking that government and turning it away from statism and towards a proper role of service to the average citizen.  

Eventually, as you have success over time, you’ll realize that the government no longer looks or feels like a government.  


But most importantly, you and your other liberty-minded peers who take the steps to drive the tank in the right direction will realize that you’re obtaining invaluable experience to move to the next level.  You’re learning how to govern, and how to use the levers of state to achieve real progress towards less and less statism.  It may not be the fire-breathing revolution you hoped for, and it might not be the overnight change you envision, but real and lasting revolutions rarely take place overnight.  They involve prolonged struggle.  Moreover, if you want to limit the consequences for average people, and fight a humane revolution where blood doesn’t run in the streets, you’d do better to advance incrementally rather than immediately.  There is a human cost to everything that we do in our fight with the state.  We must never lose sight of this essential truth.  


To those of you who are reading this I would say the following: get in the tank and seize the controls.  Our time is now to prepare for the coming years when we will be able to achieve greater and greater progress towards our ultimate goal: a stateless society where individual freedom and self-determination are paramount.  



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