Potpourri, Issues 101 – 118.

Potpourri From the Editor’s Desk

Potpourri from Other Issues: 33-48 | 52-68 | 69-96 | 101-118
[This page made possible through the work of Diego Julien. Thanks Diego!]

101-1. “Everything Depends On A Change In Public Opinion”

“The size of government does not increase because of any objective causes over which ideas have no control, and certainly not because there is a demand for it. It grows because the ideas that prevail in public opinion of what is just and what is wrong have changed. What once was regarded by public opinion as an outrage, to be treated and dealt with as such, has become increasingly accepted as legitimate.

“[The tax-state] cannot be fought by simply boycotting it, as a private business could, because an institution devoted to the business of expropriating and exploiting does not respect the negative verdict revealed by boycotts. And it also cannot simply be fought by countering its aggression with defensive violence, because the state’s aggression is supported by public opinion. Thus, everything depends on a change in public opinion. The private property ethic: the idea that private property is a just institution and the only means of creating economic prosperity, and of the state as an outcast institution that is destructive of wealth-formation, must be revived, and again inspire people’s minds and hearts.”

—Hans-Hermann Hoppe, THE ECONOMICS AND ETHICS OF PRIVATE PROPERTY (1993), pp. 46, 59-60.

101-2. “The Organized Crime Plantation”

[Statesmen and politicians] will invariably intrigue, connive, dissemble and, like any caged rat, constantly fret over how to achieve unlimited wealth and power. This is the pathology of all mobsters of all history.

They can never be content with what they have. They want more—more of everything. They want more rackets. They want more turf. They want more power. They want, they want, they want. Does another mobster have a bigger castle? More square miles of dominion? A larger band of trained killers? More spies? More gold? Oh, really? Then there must be a war to take it. But, how to get the “field slaves” to do the dying and killing is the trick. Why of course, the “house slaves” are called in to set it up. It has worked forever; why should it not work again?

And what do the “house slaves” do for their mob masters to get the field hands to risk life and limb for an “attaboy”? They tell lies. They say things like: “He is worse than Hitler.” “Fight him now or fight him later when he has nukes.” “Fight for democracy in Kuwait.” “Fight for the American way of the mob plantation.” “Fight for our top mobster to become the absolute Godfather of the global mob plantation.”

Consent of the governed? The duping of the dumb and the gulling of the gullible.

You want to understand every U.S.. Government war of the 20th century— hot or cold? Simple! Our mob masters took something from another mob or had to protect the global mob plantation system from revolutionary “field slaves” who have tried to get out of it. This is the sum and substance of all so-called “geopolitics,” from the big stick to the twisted shrub. This is the so-called “national interest.”…

—Ace R. Hayes, “Plantation Politics,” PORTLAND FREE PRESS, Mid Spring 1991 and May/June 1998.

101-3. “The Nightmare Is About To Begin!”

“The National Identification Card (NID) is already in the works. The law requires that all states begin issuing drivers licenses to carry Social Security numbers and other security features by October 1, 2000. … [Having all licenses linked to Social Security numbers is only the first step toward the development of a national identification card. Others include:] You will have to have a national identification card to get a job.

To obtain a passport you must have a NID.

To buy an airline ticket you must have a NID.

To obtain a Driver’s license, you must have a NID.

All gun purchases will require an NID.

“Also authorized and under development is Federal Biometric Coding. It’s proposed that a magnetic strip on the NID card will contain positive identification of the bearer by a digitized fingerprint, retina scan, voice print, or other Biometric identification.

“There is much more, but I think these highlights will give you some idea of what’s coming…. Surely this brief outline of public information will convince even the most skeptical person of the Government’s ultimate intentions—absolute, total and positive control of every person in the United States…. The next step in all this will be the requirement to have a NID to have a bank account, buy/sell real estate, write a check or have an account with a public utility…

“All the public comments supporting the new NID are about controlling illegal immigration, locating deadbeat dads, finding criminals, etc. This is a pure smoke and mirrors operation by ‘Uncle.’ Next they’ll say this is to save the children, improve education and control drugs! This is all hot air to confuse the fact that ‘Uncle’ wants a NID to totally control the lives of every person in the United States.”

— Fred Rowe, “Privacy” in the House of Onyx, Inc. (Late Summer 1998), Box 261, Greenville KY 42345.

101-4. “The Emphasis Should Be On Responsibility Not Liberty”

“As I see it, libertarianism is primarily about responsibility and only secondarily about liberty. As Edmund Burke has memorably pointed out, ‘Society cannot exist unless a controlling power upon will and appetite be placed somewhere, and the less there is within, the more there must be without’ In other words, in proportion as we control our behavior and abstain from violating the rights of others, we are entitled to enjoy the fruits of liberty.”

— Thomas Szasz in “Facing Up to Coercion,” in LIBERTY, January 1999, p. 48.

101-5. “An Old Bulgarian Anecdote”

“A businessman could not sleep and he visits the doctor. The doctor told him that his problem was psychologically based. ‘You have to do something and you have not done it,’ said the doctor. The businessman went to the Tax Office, paid $60,000, and said that this was his tax liability for the previous year. Then he went to a church, lit a candle and said, ‘God, if I am not able to sleep in a week I shall pay the rest as well.'”

— Gueorgui Smatrakev in Robert McGee (ed.), THE ETHICS OF TAX EVASION (South Orange: The Dumont Institute for Public Policy Research, 1998), p. 317.

101-6. “The Sovereign Territorial State: [Its] Right to Genocide”

“The main thesis of this chapter is that the sovereign territorial state claims, as an integral part of its sovereignty, the right to commit genocide, or engage in genocidal massacres, against peoples under its rule, and that the United Nations, for all practical purposes, defends its right. To be sure, no state explicitly claims the right to commit genocide… but the right is exercised under other… acceptable rubrics, notably the duty to maintain order, or the seemingly sacred mission to preserve the territorial integrity of the state.”

— Leo Kuper, GENOCIDE (1981), Chapter 9, p. 161.

103-1. “Without Politics: Separate and Free”

The following excerpts were written by Paul Weyrich, President of the Free Congress Foundation (717 Second Street SE, Washington DC 20002). They originally appeared in a public letter of February 16, 1999, and in an “Outlook” article in THE WASHINGTON POST, March 7,1999. Despite Weyrich’s incomplete rejection of political and electoral methods, his realization that “politics has failed” has many voluntaryist implications.

“… In looking at the long history of conservative politics, from the defeat of Robert Taft in 1952, to the nomination of Barry Goldwater, to the takeover of the Republican Party in 1994,1 think it is fair to say that conservatives have learned to succeed in politics. That is, we got our people elected.

“But that did not result in the adoption of our agenda. The reason, I think, is that politics itself has failed. And politics has failed because of the collapse of the culture. The culture we are living in becomes an ever-wider sewer. In truth, I think we are caught up in a cultural collapse of historic proportions, a collapse so great that it simply overwhelms politics.

“That’s why I am in the process of rethinking what it is that we, who still believe in our traditional, Western, Judeo-Christian culture, can and should do under the circumstances. Please understand that I am not quarreling with anybody who pursues politics, because it is important to pursue politics, to be involved in government. It is also important to try, as many people have, to re-take the cultural institutions that have been captured by the other side.

“But it is impossible to ignore the fact that the United States is becoming an ideological state. The ideology of Political Correctness, which openly calls for the destruction of our traditional culture, has so gripped the body politic, has so gripped our institutions, that it is even affecting the Church. It has completely taken over the academic community. It is now pervasive in the entertainment industry, and it threatens to control literally every aspect of our lives….

“[T]he United States is very close to becoming a state totally dominated by an alien ideology, an ideology bitterly hostile to Western culture. … [W]hat Americans … found absolutely intolerable only a few years ago, a majority now not only tolerates but celebrates. … I do not believe that a majority of Americans actually shares our values. …

“I believe that we probably have lost the culture war. That doesn’t mean that the war is not going to continue, and that it isn’t going to be fought on other fronts. But in terms of society in general, we have lost. This is why, even when we win in politics, our victories fail to translate into the kinds of policies we believe are important. …

“So what is to be done? Continuing with a strategy that has failed is folly and guarantees defeat. Instead of attempting to use politics to retake existing institutions, my proposal is that we cultural conservatives build new institutions for ourselves: schools, universities, media, entertainment, everything – a complete, separate, parallel structure. In every respect but politics, we should, in effect, build a new nation among the ruins of the old.

“As to politics, of course cultural conservatives should remain engaged. If we do not, the cultural Marxists can and undoubtedly will mobilize the full force of the state to destroy us. Like all ideologies, political correctness has totalitarian ambitions, as can be seen on many a university campus.

“What we are changing is what we expect from politics and, therefore, what we put into it. In a strategy of separation, politics is defensive. The object is to prevent government from taking certain actions, actions designed to destroy freedom and impose ideology. Thanks to our system of separation of powers, it is much easier to stop something through politics than to achieve something through politics. Once again we see the wisdom of the Founders and of their profound distrust of government.

“The bulk of cultural conservatives’ energies should go elsewhere, into creating the parallel institutions we need. An excellent example of what can be achieved this way is the home schooling movement. Had the parents of the million children now being home-schooled kept their kids in the public schools and fought the battles over values and standards in the curriculum, they would have lost. Those children would have received a poor education. Worse, required by political correctness, which is what most public schools now see as their main function. Instead, because they have been schooled at home, a million children have gotten good educations and learned the sound values inherent in our traditional culture. They provide solid hope for the future. …

“The same thing is happening in other areas. Some people are getting rid of their televisions. Others are setting up private courts, where they can hope to find justice instead of ideology and greed. …

“It is not only political conservatives who are troubled by the disintegration of the culture. I gave a speech not long ago in which I was very critical of what was on television. Several people who described themselves as liberals came up to me and said, ‘Well, I know I don’t agree with your politics, but you are absolutely correct on this and we don’t allow our children to watch television any more.’…

“I think that we have to look at a whole series of possibilities for bypassing the institutions that are controlled by the enemy. If we expend our energies on fighting on the ‘turf’ they already control, we will probably not accomplish what we hope, and we may spend ourselves to the point of exhaustion. The promising thing about a strategy of separation is that it has more to do with who we are, and what we become, than it does with what the other side is doing and what we are going to do about it. …

“Don’t be misled by politicians who say that everything is great, that we are on the verge of this wonderful, new era thanks to technology or the stock market or whatever. These are lies. We are not in the dawn of a new civilization, but the twilight of an old one. We will be lucky if we escape with any remnants of the great Judeo-Christian civilization that we have known down through the ages.

“The radicals of the 1960s had three slogans: turn on, tune in, drop out. I suggest that we adopt a modified version. First, turn off. Turn off the television and video games and some of the garbage that’s on computers. Turn off the means by which you and your family are being infected with cultural decadence.

“Tune out. Create a little stillness. …

“Finally, we need to drop out of this culture, and find places, even if it is where we physically are right now, where we can live godly, righteous and sober lives.

“Again, I don’t have all the answers or even all the questions. But I know that what we have been doing for thirty years hasn’t worked, that while we have been fighting and winning in politics, our culture has decayed into something approaching barbarism. We need to take another tack, find a different strategy. …” [Let’s try separate and free.]

103-2. “A Prophecy Come True!”

“[I]n a free government almost all other rights would become utterly worthless if the government possessed an uncontrolled power over the private fortune of every citizen.”

Editor’s Comments: No government is “free;” some are just less arbitrary and despotic than others. The main point, however, is well-taken: Private property is the wellspring of freedom and liberty. This statement was written by Judge Joseph Story in his COMMENTARIES ON THE CONSTITUTION OF THE UNITED STATES (Boston: Hilliard, Gray and Company, 1833) vol. 3, p. 664.

103-3. “Constitutional Implications”

The United States Constitution was written with a provision “forbidding the states from enacting any law ‘impairing the obligation of contracts’.” By implication, this power was left to the federal government which has used it. Enforcement of federal legal tender laws are a prime example of “impairing the obligation of contracts.”

103-4. “Free Market Potatoes!”

J. R. Simplot’s business was sorting potatoes. You see, before potatoes can be sent to market, someone has to throw out those that are too small or deformed or otherwise inferior. This wastes a lot of time and a lot of potatoes, but Simplot discovered that although such potatoes may be poor for some uses, they are just fine for others.

As George Gilder tells the story in his book RECAPTURING THE SPIRIT OF ENTERPRISE, Simplot learned of a process to produce dried potato flakes, that is, instant mashed potatoes. He immediately saw two benefits: dried foods are cheaper and easier to store and transport, and the whole potato crop becomes usable. He grasped the opportunity for increased efficiency and invested all he could in the appropriate equipment. The industry boomed and everyone involved prospered—from the farmers to the distributors to the consumers. In this way, Simplot created wealth that had not existed before.

Hence, we see another great virtue of capitalism: It provides the framework and incentives for people to create wealth. Wealth is created when someone mixes human capital and natural resources either to produce a new product or to produce an existing product more efficiently, just as Simplot combined a new technology and a previously wasted resource to create a new and useful product.

It is crucial that those concerned about economic justice understand this aspect of capitalism. Rather than viewing wealth as a static “economic pie” to be divided up among a few, capitalism provides a way to “grow the pie” and, in this way, to provide economic opportunities for many more.

-Fr. Robert Sirico in the September 1999, ACTON NOTES (161 Ottawa NW, Grand Rapids MI 49503)

103-5. “The Non-Voters Are Right!”

In cooperation with McFarland & Co., a publisher in Jefferson, NC. I am putting, together an anthology on non-voting. It is to be published in late 2000. One of the pieces that will be included is Chapter 4, “On Underwriting an Evil,” from Frank Chodorov’s OUT OF STEP. This piece was previously reprinted in Whole No. 99 of THE VOLUNTARYIST with a note that the copyright holder could not be located. To set the record straight: Devin-Adair Publisher is still in business selling books by Chodorov and others. The book is currently in print and available from them at 6 North Water Street, Greenwich CT 06830. Cost of the hardback is $12.95. They publish other titles on “National and World Affairs” and “Classic Conservatism.” Tel.: 203-531-7755.

103-6. “Is Public Education Necessary?”

The answer is obvious: it was not needed then, and it is certainly not needed today. Schools are necessary, but they can be created by free enterprise today as they were before the public school movement achieved its fraudulent state monopoly in education. Subject education to the same competitive market forces that other goods and services are subjected to, and we shall see far better education at much lower overall cost. Instead of a “crusade against ignorance” to reform the world, we shall have schools capable of performing the limited and practical functions that schools were originally created to perform.

The failure of public education is the failure of statism as a political philosophy. It has been tried. It has been found sorely wanting. Having learned from our mistakes, would it not be better to return to the basic principles upon which this nation was founded? Education was not seen then as the cure-all for mankind’s moral diseases. But it was on that premise that the reformers built the present system. They were wrong. The system cannot work because in a free society government has no more place in education than it has in religion. Once Americans grasp the full significance of this idea, they will understand why the return of educational freedom is essential to the preservation and expansion of American freedom in general.

—Samuel L. Blumenfeld, Old Greenwich: The Devin-Adair Company, 1981, p. 249.

105-1. “Books Received for Review”

THE REVENGE OF CONSCIENCE: Politics and the Fall of Man by J. Budziszewski (Spence Publishing Company, 111 Cole Street, Dallas, TX 75207, Tel. 1-888-773-6782, $ 22.95). See the author’s discussion of “Expropriationism” on pages 92-93 and your Editor’s correspondence with the author about taxation and theft in this issue.

DISCOVERING AMERICA AS IT IS by Valdas Anelauskas (Clarity Press, 3277 Roswell Rd. NE # 469, Atlanta GA 30305, Tel. 1-800-626-4330, $ 18.95). The author, a Lithuanian and anti-Soviet dissident, came to this country with a socialist mindset. He rapidly discovered his dissatisfaction with America’s mix of socialism and capitalism, which he describes as “socialism for the rich, and capitalism for the poor.” His views comparing political propaganda in Lithuania and the United States are interesting:

Generally, I have found the American education system to be full of ideological indoctrination and political propagandizing. Personally, I was shocked that Americans are taught from early childhood to pledge allegiance to the flag, and to discover that my daughter, in first grade was forced by the teacher to sing patriotic songs almost daily in front of the U.S. flag. The flags are hoisted in every classroom. I grew up in a totalitarian pseudo-communist system, but when I was in first grade I didn’t have to pledge allegiance to the red Soviet flag. We didn’t even have those flags in our classrooms. While one couldn’t say that there wasn’t any ideological indoctrination of kids in the former Soviet Union, there definitely was not much more than here in America. The only difference is that the Soviet-style indoctrination was perhaps more open and straight-forward, rather than the poisonous sneaking into a child’s mind which goes on in America by the excessive honoring of symbols which, in themselves, stand not for values, but simply for group identity, (p. 179)

105-2. “Note from the Free State Constitutionists”

“Your latest [No. 101, p. 2] contains a statement that the only true solution to the problems resulting from big government is public opinion. It especially strikes a respondent chord with me because I have stated for a long time that the income tax issue is one that will be won politically, not in the courts because of the corruption which has permeated all three branches of the government at all levels. [I]t will be corrected only when enough people become informed of the deception that has been practiced on them by the government with the cooperation of the legal fraternity (who profits from it), and by the news media (who appear to be reluctant to take a position contrary to what is generally believed by the masses).

“The whole issue of oppressive government, not just the fraud of the income tax, is a battle for the minds of men and women.

“Socialism, the philosophy espoused by those who want government to have the power to take from those who produce, and to give the forcefully-extracted wealth to those non-producers who always increase in numbers as more and more people learn of the free ride given to the non-producers, is a system that eventually leads to economic chaos as the government ‘wagon’ becomes overloaded with non-producers.”

– John Sasscer, 47 Delrey Avenue, Baltimore, MD 21228

105-3. “Jesus’ Third Way”

“When the court translators working in the hire of King James chose to translate antistenai as ‘Resist not evil,’ they were doing something more than rendering Greek into English. They were [purposefully] translating nonviolent resistance into docility. … The Greek word is made up of two parts: anti, a word still used in English for ‘against,’ and histemi, a verb which in its noun form (stasis) means violent rebellion, armed revolt, sharp dissention…. The term generally refers to a potentially lethal disturbance or armed revolution.

“A proper translation of Jesus’ teaching would then be, ‘Do not strike back at evil (or, one who has done you evil) in kind. Do not give blow for blow. Do not retaliate against violence with violence.’ Jesus was no less committed to opposing evil than the anti-Roman resistance fighters. The only difference was over the means to be used: how one should fight evil.

“There are three general responses to evil: 1) passivity, 2) violent opposition, and 3) the third way of militant nonviolence articulated by Jesus. …

“Now we are in a better position to see why King James’ faithful servants translated antistenai as ‘resist not.’ The king would not want people concluding that they had any recourse against his or any other sovereign’s unjust policies.”

-Walter Wink in Angie O’Gorman, THE UNIVERSE BENDS TOWARD JUSTICE (Philadelphia: New Society Publishers, 1990, pp. 254-255).

109-1. “Fear of the Future”

[T]he risks of not having something can be equal or greater to the risks of having it. Indeed, one might reasonably interpret the precautionary principle to mean precisely the opposite of what most of its proponents now think. That is: Since the vast majority of scientific advances have proven of untold benefit to the human race, precaution requires that no new product be restricted until sufficient time has passed to allow meaningful consideration of its risks and benefits.

— From an editorial in THE WALL STREET JOURNAL, February 10, 2000, p. A18.

109-2. “Some Thoughts About the Internet”

Like the telephone and telegraph, new technologies are only changes of quantity, not quality. They change the speed with which we can transact, and therefore possibly the number of transactions, but not their nature. Neither technology nor the Internet will make us more honest, genteel, noble, or just, nor does technology justify any innovation in morality. The quality of mankind does not change, now or ever. The moral nature of mankind’s relations never changes, nor the law that governs them. Technology must accommodate morality, not vice versa.

Finally, I’m fed up with hearing and reading that all wealth begins and ends in the Internet. That’s not just because I am a sour curmudgeon, but because it’s not true. No national economy can be founded on producing “services.” Hogwash. The wealth of the world consists of things men dig out of the ground. In the beginning goods must be created, for absent goods – services are without form and void.

— Franklin Sanders, “Is the Revolution Really Here?” in MONEYCHANGER (Box 178, Westpoint, TN 38486), February 2000, p. 11.

109-3. “Why Does the State Persist?: Because So Few People Believe We Can Do Without It”

There were periods—not long ago as historians measure time—when the state did not exist, and when no one was concerned that it did not exist. In those times it was the man without a family or a lord, without membership in a local community or a dominant religious group, who had no security and no opportunity, who could survive only by becoming a servant or a slave. The values of this kind of a society were different from ours; the supreme sacrifices of property and life were made for the family, lord, community, or religion, not for the state. The organizing power of such societies was less than ours; … . There was a strong sense of reciprocal obligation among those who knew each other personally, but this sense of obligation faded rapidly with distance….

[By the seventeenth century, the European] state had become a necessity of life. It had gained the primary loyalty of its subjects. The intensity of loyalty varied, but even those who gave only passive obedience could not conceive of a world without a state. [Thus,] Western Europe was psychologically prepared for a strengthening of the organization and an increase in the functions of the state. Policies might be attacked; governments might be overthrown; [but the state survived because] no politically important group doubted that the state had to be preserved and strengthened. For those who were skeptical about the divine right of monarchs there was the theory that the state was absolutely necessary for human welfare,… .To weaken or to destroy the state was to threaten the future of the human race. Therefore a state was entitled to take any steps to ensure its own survival, even if those steps seemed unjust or cruel.

-Joseph Strayer, ON THE MEDIEVAL ORIGINS OF THE MODERN STATE, Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1970, pp. 3-4, 108, and 111.

109-4. “Ultimately It’s Your Responsibility”

In an article in the Spartanburg, S.C. HERALD-JOURNAL (April 30, 2000, page Cl), homeschooling parent, Lucy Anne Adams, was quoted as saying:

My husband and I have always believed that God has given responsibility to the parents for a child’s education. Whether you put them in a public school or a private school or you teach them at home, what they learn is ultimately your responsibility.

After reading this, I remarked to my wife, Julie, that this seemed to imply that most parents do not consider their children’s education a part of their responsibility. Julie, and her father, who happened to be here at the time, agreed that probably 95% of American parents do not consider themselves responsible for the education of their children. They both asserted that most people consider their parental obligations fulfilled when they send their children off to school at age 5 or 6. What the children are taught becomes the responsibility of the school teachers and administrators. With that attitude, it is no surprise that we live in a totalitarian society. When you have little or no concern about the values, facts, or philosophy your children are taught, then it becomes extraordinarily easy for State propagandists to brainwash the children into believing anything they [the teachers] want.

109-5. “Here’s a Plan to End Microsoft’s Dominance (No Lawyers Needed)”

Private entrepreneurs have developed a competitor to Windows called Gnome. “The folks at the Justice Department might be interested to know that Messrs. [Miguel] de Icaza and [Nat] Friedman [who have developed Gnome] don’t want to see Microsoft broken up. ‘It stinks,’ said Mr. Friedman says. ‘I wanted to beat them without government assistance’.”

—THE WALL STREET JOURNAL, May 15, 2000, p. B1.

109-6. “Albert Jay Nock’s Economic Theory of Political Institutions”

There are two ways of making a living, Nock explained. One is the economic means, the other is the political means. The first consists of the application of labor to raw materials so as to bring into existence things people want, the second is the confiscation of the rightful property of others. The State is the group of people who having got hold of the machinery of compulsion, legally or otherwise, use it to better their circumstances; that is, by use of the political means. Nock would hasten to explain that the State consists not only of politicians, but also of those who make use of politicians to further their own ends; that would include all those we call pressure groups, lobbyists, and all those who wangle special privileges from the politicians. All the injustices that plague “advanced” societies, he maintained, are traceable to the workings of the State organizations that attach themselves to these societies.

—Frank Chodorov, OUT OF STEP (1962), pp. 147-148.

109-7. “Visa and Voluntaryism”

Edward Stringham, in an article on “Market Chosen Law” in the Winter 1998-1999 issue of THE JOURNAL OF LIBERTARIAN STUDIES, refers to the private credit card systems, such as Visa, Mastercard, Discover, and American Express, as real world illustrations of “integration of local and nonlocal services.” He offers this as an example of how community defense service businesses might integrate their activities into networks of national and international protective services, without the need for any compulsory national state to provide internal and external defense for its citizens. “Markets already enable many individuals and their respective banks to interact. It is common for customers to subscribe to local services, yet these banks make arrangements with non-local systems that enable customers to use their charge cards almost” anywhere in the world, (p. 62)

No firm or individual is forced to pay taxes to a state monopoly in this realm, and these companies have discovered a way to make their cards acceptable in all civilized countries. If a customer wants to reap the benefits of Mastercard, he can chose to do so, but he is not forced to do so. Customers can pick Mastercard, a competitor, or they can eschew credit cards entirely. The individual who does not use credit cards does not hurt others; he simply cannot conduct business with certain firms. The market allows people to voluntarily conform to standards, but it does not compel anyone to do so. Although it would be difficult for all businesses to investigate each individual customer’s credit history, the credit card market solves this seemingly overwhelming task with ease. A business does not need to know a thing about a customer’s financial situation or history, except for the single fact that the customer uses a reputable credit card. The retailer relies on the credit card companies to deal with the customer’s credit, and is guaranteed payment by the credit lender, [pp. 62-63]

In short, Stringham concludes that a “variety of legal choices does not mean chaos.” If we can rely upon voluntaryism to solve as complex a problem as gaining universal acceptance of credit cards throughout the world, then we ought to be able to rely upon voluntaryism to solve other real-life problems that the State uses as justification for its coercive monopoly over our lives.

109-8. “Cicero on Natural Law”

There is in fact a true law – namely, right reason – which is in accordance with nature, applies to all men, and is unchangeable and eternal. By its commands this law summons men to the performance of their duties; by its prohibitions it restrains them from doing wrong. Its commands and prohibitions always influence good men, but are without effect upon the bad. To invalidate this law by human legislation is never morally right, nor is it permissible ever to restrict its operation, and to annul it wholly is impossible. Neither the senate nor the people can absolve us from our obligation to obey this law, and it requires no Sextus Aelius to expound and interpret it. It will not lay down one rule at Rome and another at Athens, nor will it be one rule today and another tomorrow.

But there will be one law, eternal and unchangeable, binding at all times upon all peoples; and there will be, as it were, one common master and ruler of men,…. The man who will not obey it will abandon his better self, and, in denying the true nature of a man, will thereby suffer the severest penalties, though he has escaped all other consequences which men call punishment.

— DE RE PUBLICA [THE REPUBLIC], III, xxii, quoted in Arthur L. Harding (ed.), ORIGINS OF THE NATURAL LAW TRADITION (Port Washington: Kennikut Press), 1953, pp. 23-24.

109-9. “More Roman Stoicism”

Courage appears in its highest development in the face of tyranny and death. It is the tyrant’s boast that he has men in his power: but the brave man is an exception. His rank and his property may be taken away; he may be subjected to torture; his life may be forfeited; but the soul, that is the man himself, is beyond the tyrants reach. To pain he answers ‘if I can bear it, it will be light; if I cannot bear it, it cannot be long.’ Amidst all the extremities of fire and rack men have been found who never groaned, never begged for mercy, never answered a question, and indeed laughed heartily. Of death the Stoic has no fear; not only it is not evil, but it is to be welcomed as part of the course of nature; ….

— E. Vernon Arnold, ROMAN STOICISM (Cambridge: at the University Press) 1911, p. 308

110-1. “On Paper Money”

Our dollar is neither a silver dollar nor a gold one. The government will not redeem a dollar bill for anything other than another dollar bill. The dollar is simply fiat currency. The dollar rests on the power of the government and the faith of the people who use it—faith that it will be able to buy something tomorrow, faith that the U. S. government will continue to exist and to accept dollars in payment of taxes and pay them out in expenses, and faith that other people will continue to believe in it. Aside from that faith, nothing backs up the dollar.

-Jack Weatherford, THE HISTORY OF MONEY New York: Crown Publishers, Inc., 1997, pp. 179-180.

110-2. “To Measure the Cost of Taxes”

In my article, “Hard Money, Soft Money, and Government Money!” in No. 38 of THE VOLUNTARYIST, I pointed out that although we pay our taxes in Federal Reserve notes, the real cost of taxes is measured by the goods and services that we are not able to purchase because our money has been taken from us. This logically leads to the question: If governments did not exist, how much—on average—would we have to spend on roads, postal service, police, fire protection, external defense, etc.? In other words, if government was not there to provide these and other goods and services, what percentage of our income would go towards providing them?

It is probably impossible to ascertain the answer with any degree of accuracy. First of all each person’s answer will vary, for the simple reason that not everyone would patronize free market services to the same extent that they presently use (or at least, pay for) government services. For argument’s sake, however, let us assume that the demand for these services remained the same. Consequently, the question then becomes: how efficiently does government use tax money to provide goods and services? Some measure of this might be arrived at by comparing the service fees of United Parcel Service with the United States Post Office, or comparing the service fees of private garbage collection or private fire protection service with that of government sponsored services. My gut instinct tells me that free market services are probably provided 50% more cost effectively than their government counterparts, but I have made no effort to statistically verify this. If 50% is a reasonable estimate, then that means that we are paying approximately twice as much as we should be for these services. If this is true, then if you pay 30% of your income in taxes, without the state you ought to be able to have the same level of services and still have about 15% of your income available for other purposes.

Does anyone have any additional thoughts on these questions? If so please write c/o THE VOLUNTARYIST.

110-3. “Deadbeats”

How does the free market protect itself from those who abusively exercise the privilege of writing checks? It blacklists those who write fraudulent checks or those who owe the banks money as a result of their check writing activities. ChexSystems is a database owned and operated by the check printing company, Deluxe Corp. Over 80% of the branch banks in the United States subscribe to its database.

They report fraudulent or high risk customers to ChexSystems, which holds these reports on file for five years. If that customer tries to open an account at another bank, the second bank (assuming it also subscribes to ChexSystems) will review that customer’s activities and possibly deny their application for a new checking account. An article about ChexSystems appeared in THE WALL STREET JOURNAL, August 1, 2000, p. Al.

110-4. “Moses and the Slaves”

Moses wanted to turn a tribe of enslaved Hebrews into free men. You would think that all he had to do was gather the slaves and tell them that they were free. But Moses knew better. He knew that the transformation of slaves into free men was more difficult and painful than the transformation of free men into slaves. The change from slavery to freedom requires many other drastic changes Moses discovered that no migration, no drama, no spectacle, no myth, and no miracles could turn slaves into free men. It cannot be done. So he led the slaves back into the desert, and waited forty years until the slave generation died, and a new generation, desert born and bred, was ready to enter the promised land. [Editor’s Note: This passage implicitly points out that unless the ideas, attitudes, and mentality of men and women are changed, they are likely to continue to accept their own enslavement, regardless of what circumstances or environment they find themselves in. And it is the rare individual who will break out of his or her mental strait jacket of habitual acceptance of tyranny. Hence, the importance of teaching and explaining voluntaryism to our children who have not yet been brainwashed by the State.]

— Eric Hoffer, WORKING AND THINKING ON THE WATERFRONT, (New York: Harper and Row Publishers, 1969), p. 179.

110-5. “Letter to the Editor”

I read with great interest the August 2000 issue of THE VOLUNTARYIST (No. 105). I grew up in Santa Ana, CA and had the opportunity to meet R. C. Hoiles, founder of THE REGISTER newspaper. He would talk with us high school kids, and once we all got together to help defeat a school bond issue. We students wrote letters to the editor railing against the bond issue. I think the bond issue failed by five votes. The teachers were not very happy with us, to say the least. Fun days.

I also read your exchange of letters with J. Budziszewski titled “Is Taxation Theft?”. Though I agree with you that taxation is theft, I would point out to you that one can prove stealing is wrong by other than referring to the Ten Commandments, Stealing is wrong simply because a society based on theft cannot exist – if everyone is busy stealing from everyone else, nobody has time to produce any goods and services, and thus pretty soon there is nothing to steal. It seems to me that this is the best argument against stealing. Rules of conduct and behavior can be gleaned from human nature. Claiming that stealing is wrong from a religious viewpoint is fine, but of course it excludes all of us who don’t believe in religion and what it teaches and preaches…. I think the premise here is certainly as important as the argument. Again it seems to me that one should use reason in the premise as well as in the argument: otherwise, what’s the point? I would say that stealing is wrong, not because some guy supposedly came down off the mountain and proclaimed it so according to what his god told him, but rather because it is counterproductive to human existence and progress. What would you say to this argument?

signed/ David Pearse

[Editor’s Reply: In “The Fundamentals of Voluntaryism” I noted that “Epictetus, the Stoic, urged men to defy tyrants in such a way as to cast doubt on the necessity of government itself. ‘If the government directed them to do something their reason opposed, they were to defy the government. If it told them to do what their reason would have told them to do anyway, they did not need a government.'”

Substitute ‘religion’ for ‘government’ and you have the point you are trying to make. The Hebrews might not have listened to Moses coming down off the mountain, if what he had said to them hadn’t already made good common sense.]

110-6. “State Schools and Communism”

A radical principle underlying the state school system is its unadulterated communism. The assertion that the state has the right to educate at the common expense one class of children to the practical exclusion of another class, is communism in its worst form. Every argument adduced to justify it in relieving parents, in one line of duty, of burdens they are able to carry, may be brought forward to relieve them in other lines of duty. It is the duty of the father … to feed, to clothe, to shelter, and to educate his children. … [F]rom the principle of state schoolism [one is able to justify] state tailorism. Children in Chicago who plead that they cannot go to school for want of suitable clothing, are supplied by that city of socialistic tendencies with state trousers, frocks, and shoes. Herbert Spencer in SOCIAL STATICS argues:

If the benefit, importance, or necessity of education be assigned as a sufficient reason why government should educate, then may the benefit, importance, or necessity of food, clothing, shelter, and warmth be assigned as a sufficient reason why government should administer these also?

When parental responsibility abdicates in favor of governmental responsibility, encouragement is lent to mendicancy, and the breeding of pauperism begins. Shutting our eyes to this unwelcome truth does not make it less a truth. Having drifted away from the sound practices of our American forefathers who believed in paying for the education, secular and religious, of their children we find ourselves swept along in a flood of pernicious political principles.

– B. J. McQuaid in his article “Religion in Schools,” NORTH AMERICAN REVIEW, April 1881, and reprinted in his book CHRISTIAN FREE SCHOOLS (Rochester, 1892), pp. 148-149.

111-1. “Roving Bandits, Stationary Bandits, and the State”

If the leader of a roving bandit gang is strong enough to take hold of a given territory and to keep other bandits out, he can monopolize crime in that area; he becomes a stationary bandit. The advantage of this monopoly over crime is not mainly that he can take what others might have stolen; it is rather that it gives him an encompassing interest in the territory… .

The encompassing interest of a stationary bandit leader who can continue to keep out not only other criminals but outside tax collectors as well gives him an incentive to behave very differently.

First, it leads him to reduce the percentage he takes from each victim of his theft. As we have seen, the criminal who is only one among many will take 100 percent of the money in any till he robs. By contrast, the stationary bandit with continuing control of an area wants to make sure that the victims have a motive to produce and to engage in mutually advantageous trade. The more income the victims of theft generate, the more there is to take.

— Mancur Olson, POWER AND PROSPERITY (New York: Basic Books, 2000), pp. 7-8.

111-2. “The Life of Murray N. Rothbard”

The first biography of Rothbard has been written by Justin Raimondo. It is titled AN ENEMY OF THE STATE. It was published in 2000 by Prometheus Books, 59 Glenn Avenue, Amherst, NY 14228-2197. Tel. 1-800-853-7545.

111-3. “Schools and Education”

To educate is not the function of the state, and we do not recognize the right of the state to tax its citizens for the support of schools to which they cannot in conscience send their children, or have no children to send. It is no more the business of the state to educate our children than it is to feed or clothe them, and it has no more right to make the education, than it has the support of the children, a tax on property. Education is the right and duty of parents, and to take it from them and give it to the state is to strike a severe blow at the sacredness of the family, the basis of society.

— Orestes Brownson, Brownson’s Quarterly Review, July 1854, as reprinted in Vol. 10 of THE WORKS OF ORESTES A. BROWNSON (1882), p. 573.

111-4. “More Influential than Armies, Navies, Parliaments, and Kings”

He was born in an obscure village, the child of a peasant woman. He grew up in another obscure village, where He worked in a carpenter shop until He was thirty. Then for three years He was an itinerant preacher. He never had a family or owned a home. He never set foot inside a big city. He never traveled two hundred miles from the place where He was born. He never wrote a book, or held an office. He did none of the things that usually accompany greatness.

While he was still a young man, the tide of popular opinion turned against Him. His friends deserted Him. He was turned over to His enemies, and went through the mockery of a trial. He was nailed to a cross between two thieves. While He was dying, His executioners gambled for the only piece of property He had – His coat. When He was dead, He was taken down and laid in a borrowed grave.

Nineteen centuries have come and gone, and today He is the central figure for much of the human race. All the armies that ever marched and all the navies that ever sailed and all the parliaments that ever sat and all the kings that ever reigned, put together, have not affected the life of man upon this earth as powerfully as this ‘One Solitary Life’.”

— Anonymous

111-5. “Census Resistance”

“I refused to give the census collector any information this time. I would not even give him the number of people who lived in the house, not even my name. They first called me selfish, because I would not allow the count and that I was depriving my community of $3,000 per person over the decade. I responded that I was allowing $3,000 to remain in their pockets untaxed by not complying. I have been threatened with a fine, but I have not received any as of yet.”

— Anonymous submission to THE VOLUNTARYIST

111-6. “Whiskey and Freedom Hang Together”

The traditional moonshiner “who was handed the craft from his father and grandfather … considered it a God-given right not subject to federal intervention. Indeed, in legal terms, moonshining has been defined by federal law as malum prohibitum, which means that it is bad because there is a law against it, not bad in itself. Into this legal category, for example, fall offenses against our tax and parking laws. What the moonshiner does when he makes ‘likker in the woods’ is to avoid payment of taxes. Hence he is a tax violator rather than a criminal, whose crime is defined as malum per se, or malum in se, bad in itself. …

“As the late Horace Kephart, the great chronicler of the Great Smoky Mountains, observed in his classic book, OUR SOUTHERN HIGHLANDERS:

The little moonshiner … fights fair, according to his code, and single-handedly against tremendous odds. He is innocent of graft. There is nothing between him and the whole power of the Federal Government, except his own wits and a well-worn Winchester or muzzle- loader. … This man is usually a good enough citizen in other ways, of decent standing in his own community, and a right good fellow toward all the world, except revenue officers. Although a criminal in the eyes of the law, he is soundly convinced that the law is unjust and that he is only exercising his natural rights. Such a man … suffers none of the moral degradation that comes from violating his conscience; his self-respect is whole.”

— Joseph Earl Dabney, MOUNTAIN SPIRITS (Asheville: Bright Mountain Books, 1974), p. xvi.

114-1. “We’re All Outlaws”

Whatever we do, though, we must remember that we are all, already, outlaws. Not one of us can be certain of getting through a single day without violating some law or regulation we’ve never even heard of. We are all guilty in the eyes of today’s “law.” If someone in power chooses to target us, we can all be prosecuted for something.

The only way we’re going to get off this road to Hell is if we jump off – if we personally, as individuals, refuse to cooperate with evil. How we do that is up to each of us. I can’t decide for you, nor you for me (unlike congresspeople who think they can decide for everybody.)

But this totalitarian runaway truck is never going to stop unless we stop it.

Stopping it might include any number of things: tax resistance; public civil disobedience; wide-scale, silent non-cooperating; highly noisy non-cooperation; boycotts; secession efforts; monkey-wrenching; computer hacking; dirty tricks against government agents; public shunning of employees of abusive government agencies; alternative, self-sufficient communities that provide their own medical care and utilities.

There are thousands of avenues to take, and this is something that most of us still need to give more thought to before we can build an effective resistance. We will each choose the courses that are right for our own circumstances, personalities, and beliefs.

— Claire Wolfe, from “Land-Mine Legislation” as posted on the Internet, July 14,1998.

114-2. “Sovereign Risk and Default”

Don’t listen to people who tell you the United States government has never defaulted. That’s hogwash. At every historical juncture when the U.S. government has found itself in a bind, it has stiffed the bondholders. During the Revolutionary War government stiffed the whole country by inflating the currency. During the War Between the States the Yankee government stiffed the bondholders by 1) inflating the currency (the Greenback Act and the National Banking Act), and 2) reneging on its promise to pay the bond principal in gold. During the Great Depression the government stiffed the bondholders by 1) reneging on its promise to pay interest in gold; 2) reneging on its promise to pay principal in gold; and 3) inflating the money supply to cheapen the value of the dollars it repaid. Since the Great Depression, the U.S. government has steadily, day in and day out, month in, month out, year in, year out, stiffed all its creditors [and those holding its currency], by a conscious policy of cheapening the dollar by inflation. It borrows dollars worth 100 cents and repays with dollars worth 95 cents. Since 1940 the dollar has lost all but about one-twentieth of his value. The government has inflated the value away on purpose, not through error, poor management, or ignorance.

—Franklin Sanders in THE MONEYCHANGER, Box 178, Westpoint,TN 38486, Tel. 1-888-218-9226 (12 issues – $ 95).

114-3. “It’s Just BASIC ECONOMICS”

A society in which only members of a hereditary aristocracy, a military junta, or a ruling party can make major decisions is a society that has thrown away much of the knowledge, insights, and talents of most of its people.

Contrast that with a society in which a farm boy who walked eight miles to Detroit to look for a job could end up creating the Ford Motor Company and changing the face of America with mass-produced automobiles – or a society in which a couple of young bicycle mechanics could create the airplane and launch the aviation industry. Neither a lack of pedigree nor a lack of academic degrees nor even a lack of money could stop ideas that worked, for investment money is always looking for a winner to back and cash in on. A society which can tap all kinds of talents from all kinds of sources has obvious advantages over societies in which only the talents of a preselected few are allowed to determine its destiny.

No economic system can depend on the continuing wisdom of its existing leaders. A price-coordinated economy with competition in the marketplace does not have to, because those leaders can be forced to change course – or be replaced – whether because of red ink, irate stockholders, outside investors ready to take over, or because of bankruptcy court. Given such economic pressures it is hardly surprising that economies under the thumbs of kings or commissars have seldom matched the track record of capitalist economies.

—Thomas Sowell, BASIC ECONOMICS (2000), p. 67.

116-1. “Compulsory Roads vs. Voluntary Highways”

American Government never should have interfered with highways. Americans had created a free, mutual association, the American Automobile Association, which was dealing competently with all the new questions arising from the invention of automobiles. Private enterprise originated and built the first trans-Continental American highway; free manufacturers and car-owners would have covered this country with highways, as free Americans covered it with wagon roads. Americans wanted cars and highways; no police force was needed to take their money from them and spend it for highways. And it is injustice to the Americans who do not own cars, to compel them to pay for highways.

— Rose Wilder Lane, THE DISCOVERY OF FREEDOM (1943), p. 213.

116-2. “Books Received”

Robert Klassen, a subscriber, has sent me two books he has written. The first, ATLANTIS: A Novel About Economic Government (1997), describes a privately owned city built on a Sioux Indian Reservation. The second, ECONOMIC GOVERNMENT (2001), contains short stories and essays about a new paradigm for economic government, not coercive government. For more information see http://www.nugvdigm.com.

Chris Matthew Sciabarra has written TOTAL FREEDOM: Toward a Dialectical Libertarianism (2000). Part II, “Libertarian Crossroads” (pp. 191-362), contains an extensive discussion of “The Case of Murray Rothbard.” For more information on Sciabarra’s work, visit his website: http://www.nyu.edu/projects/sciabarra.

116-3. “She, Too, Refused Social Security”

[Isabel Paterson] was given an annual pension of $1980 [in 1949], which the Herald Tribune reduced to $918 by subtracting from it an amount equal to her Social Security benefits. These benefits, however, were purely notational, because Paterson refused to accept them. She was opposed to the whole idea of government’s making itself responsible for people’s security: “I will not subscribe to any such scheme, which anyone but a fool must know will ultimately contribute to the destruction of my country.” The Social Security card that was issued to her remained in an envelope marked “‘Social Security’ Swindle.” She had invested modestly in real estate, and she intended to prove that she could provide for herself in spite of the costly and enforced benevolence of the state.

— Stephen Cox, “Introduction to the Transaction Edition” of Isabel Paterson, THE GOD OF THE MACHINE (1993), p. xxix.

116-4. “Anarchy Tried and Found Tolerable in 1774”

[We of the British Parliament] wholly abrogated the ancient [colonial] government of Massachusetts. We were confident that the first feeling, if not the very prospect, of anarchy would instantly enforce a complete submission. The experiment was tried. A new, strange, unexpected face of things appeared. Anarchy was tried and found tolerable. A vast province has now subsisted, and subsisted in a considerable degree of health and vigor for near a twelvemonth, without Governor, without public Council, without judges, without executive magistrates. How long will it continue in this state, or what may arise out of this unheard-of situation, how can the wisest of us conjecture?

– Edmund Burke, “On Moving His Resolutions for Conciliation with the Colonies,” House of Commons, March 22, 1775, cited in Philip Kurland, Ralph Lerner (eds.), Vol. 1, THE FOUNDERS’ CONSTITUTION (2000), p. 6.

116-5. “Taxing Beyond This World”

Los Angeles County Assessor Rick Auerbach is attempting to impose local property taxes on eight $100 million satellites manufactured by Los Angeles County-based Hughes Electronics. Not only were they not launched from Los Angeles County, but their celestial orbits bring them nowhere near California. “Mr. Auerbach argues —
with a straight face, no less — that the [satellites] are subject to local property taxes because ‘no one else is taxing them’.”

— “Pigs in Space,” THE WALL STREET JOURNAL, July 17, 2001, p. A18.

116-6. “Tax Relief or Legitimacy Device?”

The United States Congress made a decision in early June 2001 to send a tax rebate check to every American who paid federal income taxes for the year 2000. What a tremendous propaganda coup for the government: it has brainwashed most taxpayers into believing that taxes are not theft, and now it demonstrates its concern for them by rebating some of their money and lowering tax rates. Here we see the cunning of government at its worst: bribing us with our own money which it has previously stolen. Government depends on public acceptance. What better way to maintain or increase its legitimacy in the eyes of the taxpayers, than by giving them some of their money back!

116-7. “The Free Market Is Not A Panacea”

It does not eliminate old age, and it won’t guarantee you a date for Saturday night. Private enterprise is fully capable of awful screwups. [However,] both theory and practice indicate that its screwups are less pervasive and more easily corrected than those of government enterprises.

—Gene Callahan, “What Is An Externality?” THE FREE MARKET, August 2001, p. 7.

116-8. A Preview of Totalitarianism

[T]he first twentieth-century preview of the totalitarian state was provided by the United States in 1917-18 after we joined the Allies in the war against Germany. Not even the Kaiser’s military-political order, much less that of either England or Prance, reached the totality of the war-state that America did in extraordinarily short order once war on Germany was declared. The relentless forces of centralization, nationalization, and collectivization of political power reached literally every significant area of American life; the economy and the government in the first instance, but hardly less the communications system, education at all levels, entertainment and recreation, even and especially religion, where the spectacle of preachers presenting arms became overnight a common one.

To this day, few Americans have any genuine awareness of the sheer totalitarianism of the American war venture in 1917-18. Industry-labor councils with absolute powers over wages and prices, 175,000 Four-Minute Men with orders to invade any assemblage whatever for propagandist purposes, sedition laws, systematic mobilization of teachers, clergy, artists, writers, actors, and the like, arrests, with heavy fines or imprisonments, in the name of “Pro-Germanism,” and above all the infectious spirit of a centralized collectivism fighting for a great moral objective – all of this and more offered a preview to what would become grim reality in Russia, Italy, and Germany.

—Robert Nisbet, “1984 and the Conservative Imagination,” in Irving Howe (ed.), 1984 REVISITED (1983), pp. 188-189.

116-9. “Live Free Or Die”: Taxes in Revolutionary War New Hampshire

The Revolutionary War “drove taxes to levels not even Tories had predicted…. Even after inflation is taken into account [Peterborough’s] town taxes had increased more than thirteen times over what it had been before independence. The new taxes brought increasing trouble with taxpayers who could not pay, and with collectors who could not or would not collect,…. By 1781, tax refusals, delinquencies, and malfeasance had driven arrearages statewide to nearly 400,000 pounds. Some towns tried to avoid paying by not electing assessors or collectors. With the offices vacant, they reasoned, the taxes could not be collected. In April, 1781, the [New Hampshire] assembly countered by making the property of each individual in a delinquent town liable for the whole amount the town owed and by authorizing state and county treasurers to sue any two or more residents of a delinquent town, ‘such as they shall judge proper,’ and to seize and sell their property for the town’s taxes. The unfortunates so chosen could then sue the rest of the town to recover their losses plus damages and expenses.”

The above quote is taken from pages 130-131 of Robert A. Becker, REVOLUTION, REFORM, AND THE POLITICS OF AMERICAN TAXATION, 1763-1783 (Baton Rogue: Louisiana State University, 1980). It was confirmed by obtaining a copy of THE LAWS OF NEW HAMPSHIRE (edited by Henry Harrison Metcalf, Bristol, NH: Musgrove Printing House, 1916). See Chapter 20, passed April 6, 1781 on pages 386-387 of Volume Four, Revolutionary Period 1776-1784. The law was repealed June 20,1792. How would you like to have your property held hostage for the non-payment of your town’s taxes?

116-10. “The Voluntaryist Insight”

The problem of how to make law fully effective with respect to groups which possess power is one, I would emphasize, which exists in every legal order. Even within a modern state, with its array of sophisticated legal institutions, it is one thing to compel one or a few individuals by force to comply with the law. It is something else again to compel large or well-organized groups, particularly if strongly held values are at stake. The capacity of law for effective coercion decreases as the groups involved increase in strength and influence. For an example of this process at work, one need look no further than Poland; and for its ultimate result if unchecked, one need look only to contemporary Lebanon. The point of the lesson is that in the long run the effectiveness of law in any society depends less on the powers of coercion at its disposal than on a general public acceptance of the law as an essential and respected element of orderly social existence. Only when such a general acceptance—or at least acquiescence—provides a foundation, is it possible to invoke coercion successfully in particular instances.

—Richard Young, “World Perspectives in International Law,” in W. Lawson Taitte (ed.), THE CITIZEN AND HIS GOVERNMENT (1984), pp. 227-228.

116-11. “Authors’ Rights versus Copyright”

The expressions used in other languages to denote “copyright” (derecho de autor, droit d’auteur,…) literally translate as “authors’ rights,” which include the notion of copyright in the narrower sense (the right to control reproduction of the work), though it also implies a broader range of rights. These include the so-called “moral rights” of the author, which view literary and artistic works as extensions of the author’s personality, and encompass the following protections: (1) the right to be identified as the creator of the work (so-called “paternity rights” of authorship and protections against plagiarism), and (2) protections against unauthorized alterations or mutilations of the work (so-called “integrity rights” of authorship). As opposed to mere copyright, these two moral rights of authorship have always been regarded as inalienable and perpetual….

Opposition to copyright in the narrower sense does not imply opposition to the moral rights of authorship, which are ancient legal concepts. Copyright, on the other hand, is a fairly recent notion which dates from about the time of the invention of printing. Whether or not we regard the right to control the reproduction of creative works as a “natural right” of authors, the historical fact is that, prior to the invention of printing, this right was not regarded as implicit in the concept of authorship. Copyright law was created by specific acts of legislation,….

— Julio Cole, “Patents and Copyrights,” 15 JOURNAL OF LIBERTARIAN STUDIES (Fall 2001), pp. 95-96.

116-12. “The State as an Instrument”

During the fifty years leading up to the French Revolution the belief spread that the units in which humanity lives ought to be states – and, increasingly, that people who did not live in states, as was the case outside Europe, belonged to inferior “tribal” civilizations and were scarcely human. …

In day-to-day life, the question whether one was a citizen of this state or that became one of the most important aspects of any individual’s existence besides the biological facts of race, age, and sex. As late as the end of the ancien regime, Lawrence Sterne, author of A Sentimental Journey, was able to travel from Britain to France, even though they were at war with each other; and having arrived there, to be received with every sign of honor in the social circles to which he belonged. However, the nineteenth century put an end to such civilities…. All states during wartime, and some during peacetime too, imposed restrictions on whom their citizens were and were not allowed to marry; while hostilities lasted, enemy nationals were likely to be interned and have their property confiscated. The time was even to come when not to be accepted as a citizen by one state or another turned into one of the worst of all possible fates. Such people were literally deprived of the right to live; always subject to deportation, sometimes shuttled from one country to another …, or concentrated in refugee camps, or left to starve in no man’s land.

—Martin van Creveld, THE RISE AND DECLINE OF THE STATE (1990), pp. 185-186.

118-1. “The Justification of Private Property”

Private property in real and personal property exists because if not so owned, the property cannot be bought and sold and disposed of in the ordinary course of trade. If the world is prepared to go back to Plato’s condition of a little town with inalienable family holdings and each holding self-supporting, with no trade or exchange of property in the town, with every householder owning enough forced and unpaid labor to cultivate the land and produce everything necessary for the family, it would be a very easy matter to get rid of private property. But this social organization is a dream, it could never be attained. On the other hand the history of law and general history teaches that the institution of private property is in accordance with a developed human mind, in accordance with developed human institutions. Nothing is more silly than to say that the law made private property. The fact is the exact opposite. Private property came to exist and it made the law. Until that human mind can be changed, it is idle to think of abolishing private property. If the law should attempt to prohibit the transactions of human life based upon private property, no one would obey the law.

– John Maxcy Zane, THE STORY OF LAW (2nd edition, 1998), pp. 146-147 (final paragraph of Chapter 8)

118-2. An Alternative Institution: “The Royal National Lifeboat Institution”

Founded in 1824, The Royal National Lifeboat Institution is “the world’s oldest lifeboat service.” It is “a privately funded, volunteer lifesaving service that protects mariners in much the way the Coast Guard does in the United States. … It has saved thousands of lives without spending a penny of taxpayers’ money…. [The] RNLI has 224 lifeboats sited all around the coasts of Great Britain and Ireland, with lifeboats providing 24-hour service up to 50 miles offshore.” It never garnered governmental support and “was forced to finance its activities through private donations and charitable legacies from wealthy individuals and organizations. … [I]ts mission [was] never compromised by politics.” During World War II, it continued its lifesaving activities, “despite some fierce objections from outside the institution, to rescue those in peril – irrespective of their nationality – in accordance with a long-held institutional policy personally endorsed by Winston Churchill.”

—Excerpts from “The Rescuers,” by Keith Pritchard, SAILING Magazine (December 2001), pp. 42-46.

118-3. “Open up! It’s the police!”

“Open that door;” again the voice at my door said. “Open! Police. We want to speak with you for a minute.”

“All right, all right. Coming.” I begin to doubt that there are some people still left on this earth who are not policemen or who have no connection with the force. The police are supposed to maintain quiet and order, yet nobody in the whole world causes more trouble and is a greater nuisance than the police. Chasing criminals, and thereby killing innocent women. Keeping order, and throwing a whole town in the middle of the night into an uproar. Nobody drives more people crazy than the police. And just think, soldiers are also a police force, only with another name. Ask me where all the trouble in the world comes from.

—B. Traven, THE DEATH SHIP, The First Book, Section 7 (1934).

118-4. “How War Has Transformed the American Dream Into A Nightmare”

Unfortunately, there are relatively few persons today [1953] who can recall those happy [libertarian pre-World War I] times. In his devastatingly prophetic book, Nineteen Eighty-Four, George Orwell points out that one reason why it is possible for those in authority to maintain the barbarities of the police state is that nobody is able to recall the many blessings of the period which preceded that type of society. In a general way this is also true of the peoples of the Western world today. The great majority of them have known only a world ravaged by war, depressions, international intrigues and meddling, vast debts and crushing taxation, the encroachments of the police state, and the control of public opinion and government by ruthless and irresponsible propaganda. A major reason why there is no revolt against such a state of society as that in which we are living today is that many have come to accept it as a normal matter of course, having known nothing else during their lifetimes.

—Harry Elmer Barnes, “Revisionism and the Historical Blackout,” in Harry Elmer Barnes (editor), PERPETUAL WAR FOR PERPETUAL PEACE (Caldwell: The Caxton Printers, Ltd.), 1953, pp. 3-4.

118-5. “From the Mouths of Babes”

“It is quite obvious that there are certain inherently governmental actions which if undertaken by the sovereign in protection of the nation’s security are lawful but which if undertaken by private persons are not…”

Notarized Response, Former President Richard Nixon, March 9,1976 [Cited in Athan Theoharis, SPYING ON AMERICANS (Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1978, p. 230.]

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