Potpourri From the Editor’s Desk
[This page made possible through the work of Diego Julien. Thanks Diego!]
151-1. “Live As If Life and Love Are One”
In the evolution of humanity love has played a highly important role. Except, however, for rare thinkers such as Charles Sanders Peirce and Petr Kropotkin, the roles of love and cooperation in human evolution have been wholly neglected. In an unloving and alienated world wracked by strife and violence, such an idea appeared both unreal and ludicrous. There can, however, be little doubt, especially when one studies the food-gathering, hunting peoples of today and other antiviolent and nonviolent peoples, that no early population of human beings could have survived had it not been for the dominant role that love and cooperation played in holding them together. Indeed, it is quite evident that human beings are designed, as a consequence of their long and unique evolutionary history, to grow and develop in cooperation, and that the future development of humanity lies not with increasing conflict with but increasing love, extended to all living creatures everywhere.
It is, in a very real sense, and not in the least paradoxical sense, even more necessary to love than it is to live, for without love there can be no healthy growth or development, no real life. The neotenous principle for human beings, indeed, the evolutionary imperative, is Live as if life and love are one.
– Ashley Montagu, GROWING YOUNG, 2nd Edition, 1989, p. 74.
151-2. “The Sovereign Individual”
You must become aware that no one may rule your life without your consent, no matter what the excuse or argument, smoke and mirrors notwithstanding. You must recognize that no one knows better than you what is best for yourself; that there is no political authority above you; that you don’t have any owners, and therefore, that you don’t need to pay tribute to obtain your liberty or tranquility. And when that realization comes, you will say to yourself, I am a sovereign individual!
… Tyranny ends when we cease to support voluntarily our own serfdom.
… [I]t is not necessary to change the world or create a nation of sovereign individuals. What matters – and what one can do right now – is to live as a sovereign individual, staying close to those who respect you as such, and avoiding the manipulators and those who desire to live as parasites on your energy, talents, and virtues. Therefore, we may achieve freedom to a large extent during our lifetimes, independently of any eventual failure to end the serfdom perpetrated by the state. If you behave as a sovereign individual in your personal relationships, you will be contributing to your happiness and also the transmission of the concept of individual sovereignty. That chain of good, I am certain, will abolish the chains of evil.
– Heli Beltrao in THE FREE MARKET (May 2010), pp. 3-4.
151-3. “The Greatest Engine of Economic Continuity”
The free market, by decentralizing the decision making process, by rewarding the successful predictors and eliminating (or at least restricting the economic power of) the inefficient forecasters, and by providing a whole complex of markets, including specialized markets of valuable information of many kinds, is perhaps the greatest engine of economic continuity ever developed by men. That continuity is its genius. It is a continuity based, ultimately, on its flexibility in pricing scarce economic resources. To destroy that flexibility is to invite disaster.
– Gary North, THE FREEMAN (May 1971), p. 312.
151-4. “Read’s Law of Readiness; Chamberlain’s Law of Openness”
Readiness comes from a condition of inner and outer freedom. It might be phrased as the Law of Openness. If nobody stands in the way, someone, somewhere will spring into action to satisfy a want.
– John Chamberlain, THE FREEMAN (August 1973), p. 508.
151-5. “Lies and Truths”
[M]ost of the things in which I’d been taught to believe were lies. Marriage licenses are a lie. The driver’s license is a lie. Social Security is a lie, … . The stuff we use for money is a lie. …
Learning the lies taught me some truths. I learned that voluntary participation equals endorsement. I learned that cooperation with authority legitimizes the authority. I learned that accepting authority as truth instead of accepting truth as authority is a big mistake. … I learned that fighting evil with evil guarantees that evil will win.
… I learned that the thugs in authority don’t care if people complain just so long as they obey.
– Samuel Aurelius Milam III, FRONTIERSMAN (June 2010).
151-6. “Crime In America”
It is up to those who believe in private property and individual liberty to set an example for others by living what they preach. Each of us must root out from his own behavior those actions which run counter to voluntary trade among men. We must forswear any attempt to force others to our will. And, if we succeed with applying consistent principles of morality to our own lives, then perhaps others will be inspired to do likewise. Crime will decrease only to the extent that individuals begin to accept the principles of the free society where each man lives his life as he wishes, trades voluntarily with whom he pleases and respects the right of other men to do the same.
– David Walter in THE FREEMAN, September 1971, p. 549.
156-1. “Inflation: Who Is Responsible For It?”
Everyone says he is against inflation. …
Defining inflation properly is critical to our understanding of it. The typical American thinks inflation is “rising prices.” But the classical, dictionary definition is “an increase in the quantity of money.” In this discussion, changing the definition changes the responsibility! If you believe that “inflation” is “rising prices,” and then asked, “Who raises prices?” you’ll probably say that “Business raises prices, so business must be the culprit.” But if you define “inflation” as “an increase in the quantity of money,” and then ask, “Who increases the money supply?” you are left with only one answer: GOVERNMENT! Until we understand who does it, how can we ever stop it?
– Lawrence W. Reed, THE FREEMAN, November 1979, p. 651.
156-2. “People Are Imperfect and Government Employees Are People”
Governments, composed top to bottom of imperfect people wielding power, are very imperfect. There are of course, a million examples, big and small, of how government can damage the actual nature and character of the citizenry and only because there was just a commercial on TV telling me to gamble will I mention the famous case of the state lotteries. Give government the right to reap revenues from the public desire to gamble, and you’ll soon have government doing something your humble local bookie never had the temerity to try: convince the people that gambling is a moral good. They promote it insistently on local television, undermining any remaining reserve among our citizens not to play the numbers, not to develop what can become an addiction. Our state government daily promotes what for 2,000 years was understood to be a vice. No bookie ever committed a crime that big.
– Peggy Noonan, THE WALL STREET JOURNAL, October 9-10, 2010, p. A15.
156-3. “You Cannot Create Wealth By Printing Money”
We study history but we do not learn from it, and therefore we try political approaches that have failed and failed again. A good example here is the way the central bank is trying to use monetary depreciation to give the economy a jolt. This has been tried from the ancient to the modern world, and the tactic fails every time. You cannot create wealth by printing money. The attempt leads to economic disaster. This seems like something everyone should understand, and yet our leaders keep trying it again and again.
– Rev. Robert Sirico, ACTON NOTES, Nov./Dec. 2010, p. 2, “President’s Message.”
156-4. “The Five Precepts or The Six Commandments”
“According to Buddhism the minimum code of ethics regulating the life of its adherents is the pancasila, the Five Precepts: abstinence from killing [harming living beings], stealing [taking what is not given], sexual misconduct [concerning sense-pleasures], false speech, and intoxicants [unmindful states due to alcoholic drinks or drugs]. If one practices these virtues one can have the satisfaction of leading a righteous life to a great extent. Refraining from doing to others what one does not like others to do unto oneself is the basic principle underlying these virtues.”1
“A full moral road map for society, no matter the faith, or the secular beliefs, of its individual members” is found in the Judeo-Christian commandments:
You shall not murder.
You shall not commit adultery.
You shall not steal.
You shall not bear false witness.
Honor your father and mother.
Also, you shall love your neighbor as yourself.2
1 Lily de Silva, “One Foot in the World,” Section 1: A Layman’s Happiness (1986 and 1994) and Peter Harvey, AN INTRODUCTION TO BUDDHISM (1990), p. 199.
2 Greg Easterbrook, “The 60% Solution,” THE WALL STREET JOURNAL, February 4, 2005, p. W 13.
156-5. Doing Business with Integrity
Never bounce a check. If you knowingly write a bad check you are a crook; if you are unaware you didn’t have the money, you are a lousy businessman.
Don’t ever say: All’s fair in business. It isn’t. If you don’t have integrity, you don’t have anything.
Don’t lie. If you tell somebody the check is in the mail, put it there yourself.
When you can’t do, call. Let people know if and when you can’t do what you told them you would do.
Handle the bad stuff as soon as possible. It won’t get any better by waiting.
Pay something. Pay a little on every bill, even the big ones, to let people know you are at least trying and haven’t forgotten them.
Don’t do anything to make people wave the “crook flag” at you. Be up front with people and be ready to show them the proof of what you have done.
Eat a little crow when you are wrong. Apologize for your error and don’t let it happen again.
Be humble when you are right. Remember you are not perfect.
Put yourself in the other guy’s shoes. How would you like to be treated if you were in his spot?
Don’t make long term monetary commitments on the basis of how business is right now. Consider worstcase scenarios when making business decisions.
Be honorable. Keep in mind that you might end up on the front page of the paper or on You Tube.
Be dependable. Be there for your customers, employees, and your family.
– Paraphrased from Terry Greenhut, TRANSMISSION DIGEST, June 2011, pp. 50-52.
156-6. Free Riders or Robbers?
If there is truly a demand for government (and all the things that it provides – security, schools, roads, postal service, a standardized money system, infrastructure) must people be forced to support it rather than voluntarily pay for what they want? Who or what forces people to support shoe factories, farmers, grocery stores, the Audubon Society or the March of Dimes campaign? If you say that there will be free riders, that people won’t contribute – you might be right! Some people may be too lazy, dumb, greedy, or simply too obstinate to want to help out. But should they be forced to co-operate, even if they somehow benefit? Are there not other ways to influence their behavior – such as ostracism or refusing to insure them? Is unleashing violence and threatening them with jail the only way? Furthermore, if you choose some people to forcibly collect money, might they not be too lazy, dumb, greedy, or simply power hungry themselves? Might they not act as sinners, rather than saints when in positions of power? Are we better off having some not contribute to privately provided (public) services rather than risk the results of giving some the power to ‘legally’ steal from others?
Which would you rather see: a bunch of free riders or a State-sanctioned system of stealing?
– By Carl Watner.
158-1. “The Problem with Government Education”
While there may be a thousand—or ten thousand— particular explanations for the deterioration of education in the United States, there is one basic reason which underlies most, if not all, of them. Virtually every public problem associated with education today is traceable to forced schooling and the extensive and increasing use of force in support of schooling.
For example, why has the quality of textbooks declined? Because as force became a dominant factor, the emphasis shifted from quality to quantity. Because schooling tended to replace education, since education is always qualitative while schooling is quantitative. Because you can force people to attend school, but you cannot force them to learn in any meaningful sense. Because quality of education and equality of schooling are incompatible with one another. Because textbooks are provided free of charge and their selection is largely dictated by political considerations. Because if forced schooling is even to appear to succeed, what is taught, and the books used to teach it, must be geared toward the lowest common denominator of students. Because each step downward in the desperate effort to reach this lowest common denominator has ramifying effects which extend upward to affect the following years of schooling, the quality of teachers, the quality of administrators and so on. Because ultimately, even the writers of textbooks will be deficient in that level of understanding which is necessary to produce quality textbooks, even if there were any significant market for them.
It would be possible to trace out many of the other effects of forced schooling in a similar fashion, but there is not space to do so here. Perhaps, it is unnecessary to do so, however instructive the attempt might be. Perhaps, the reason can be sufficiently summed up this way.
The state, i. e., government, is incompetent to serve as schoolmaster. Allow me to cast my net wider, however, so as to make the point more expeditiously. Government is incompetent as a provider of economic goods and services. This incompetence has been exposed in theory, demonstrated in practice, been tried on vast scales and found unworkable, and can be illustrated with mountains of evidence. The incompetence of government as a provider of goods and services is directly attributable to its use of force. Force is inefficient in the production of goods and counterproductive in the distribution of goods.
Hence, the incompetence of the state as a provider ofgoods and services.
– Clarence Carson in “Missing Chapters from American History,” THE FREEMAN, August 1981, pp. 489-498 at pp. 490-491.
158-2. “Try this on Your Friends and Enemies”
The State jealously guards its power and right to use deadly force to punish the violation of every one of its laws, from murder to jaywalking. People will get upset with you if you press them on this point, but try it. Pick the most petty infraction imaginable, ignore it, and eventually you will have a warrant issued for your arrest. If you fail to get into the arresting officer’s car ‘co-operatively,’ see where you wind up. Resist your arrest and you will be subdued. Try hard enough and you will be tasered or shot. What did you do wrong originally – jaywalk? No, you failed to be a good and obedient ‘citizen.’
– Paraphrased from Harold Thomas.
158-3. “A Better Idea”
[T]he use of force to battle an idea tends to generate it rather than to kill it. I doubt if an idea has ever been killed by means of force. The enemy of the free market is an idea – the belief that controls can serve the freedom of man. …
Any law or regulation will be nullified whenever enough persons judge it to be unwise and improper, and not until then. Not every person needs to become convinced that it is unwise. Not even 51 per cent of them need to become convinced. All that is necessary is for a few thought leaders in all walks of life to become convinced because they are the ones to whom many others turn for guidance and advice. It is this understanding among the thought leaders that we now lack and that we must have for success in regaining freedom … .
– F. A. Harper, “Gaining the Free Market,” Vol. II, ESSAYS ON LIBERTY (1954), pp. 116-117.
158-4. “The Law(s) of Violence”
The first law of violence is continuity. Once a man has begun to use violence he will never stop using it.  The second law of violence is reciprocity. Violence creates violence, begets and procreates violence.  The third law of violence is sameness. Every violence is identical with every other violence.  Condoning violence means condoning every kind of violence.  Once we consent to use violence ourselves, we have to consent to our adversary’s using it, too.  Violence begets violence. This is the fourth law of violence. Violence is par excellence the method of falsehood.  The fifth law of violence is this: The man who uses violence always tries to justify both it and himself.  Finally, violence never attains the objectives it announces as justifying its use. 
– Jacques Ellul, VIOLENCE (1969), pp. 84-113.
158-5. “My Freedom Depends On Yours”
Freedom is destroyed between two persons to whatever extent either one uses violence or the threat of violence to impose his will or viewpoint upon the other. Regardless of who is the aggressor and who is the victim—or whether the violence is legal or illegal— freedom is still infringed.
If you have rendered me helpless by throwing me to the ground and sitting on top of me, everyone understands clearly that my freedom has been severely curtailed. But what is not generally understood is that your freedom is also curtailed as long as you must spend your time and effort to hold me down. You thereby restrict your own progress and improvement just as you do mine.
Freedom is a reciprocal relationship based on voluntary agreements and actions. This applies in all human relationships, even though they are seldom as clear and dramatic as person to person violence. The only real possibility for complete freedom for yourself as an individual is for you to refrain from initiating violence or the threat of violence against anyone else. This is the vital first step toward a condition of mutual no molestation— a step that any one of us can take as soon as he is ready.
– Dean Russell in THE FREEMAN, Nov. 1978, p.660.
158-6. “Can Something Be Both Voluntary and Coercive At the Same Time?”
Everyone recognizes that an act cannot be both “rape” and “lovemaking” simultaneously. Rape requires force, because the victim is unwilling; lovemaking does not. Because no action can be both voluntary and coercive at the same time, statists cannot appeal to the principle of “voluntarism” when defending the violence of the State. Statists cannot say that we “agree” to be taxed, and then say that taxation must be coercive. If we agree to taxation, the coercion is unnecessary – if we do not agree to taxation, then we are coerced against our will.
– Stefan Molyneux, PRACTICAL ANARCHY, Raleigh: Lulu Enterprises, no date, p. 73, Part 2, Introduction: The Six Questions.
159-1. “Books Received”
WHY PEACE? (Edited and published by Marc Guttman, 2012) This anthology explores aggression and the evolutionary process to peace. It presents stories of war, invasion, and political repressions – from the North Korean gulag to exiled journalists, to soldiers at war. Seventy-eight people, from thirty-four countries on five continents, share their stories here. They all come to a similar conclusion: peace is best for all and its time has come. (Paraphrased and quoted from the back cover.) ISBN: 978-0-9849802-0-8. Available from the editor at Box 623, East Lyme, CT 06333.
LIBERTARIAN ANARCHY: AGAINST THE STATE by Gerard Casey (London: Continuum International Publishing Group, 2012). “Most human beings for most of history have lived in a state of anarchy; most of our daily interaction with our family, friends, and neighbors and colleagues is framed by anarchy, and anarchy is the only mode of organization that is consistent with our accepting responsibility for ourselves, our families, and our communities in an adult way. … This book includes a history of the concept of anarchy, an examination of the possibility of anarchic societies and an articulation of the nature of law and order within such societies.” (pp. 147 and back cover) Highly recommended as a basic primer, arguing that the modern state is an illegitimate institution and should be replaced by voluntaryism. (www.continuumbooks.com)
159-2. “Remember, quite simply, …”
Between men there can exist only two relations: logic and war. Always demand proof, proof is the fundamental respect you owe yourself. If they refuse, remember that you are being attacked and that every means will be used to make you obey.
– Paul Valery, MONSIEUR TESTE (1947 and 1964), (end of Chapter 6, “Dialogue”) pp. 74-75.
159-3. “Transportation Security Is Not Security”
It’s not even a charade of security. It serves but one purpose: to make sure that all the little people out there know exactly who’s in charge – the government. … It’s just programming, training people to submit to authority, desensitizing them to further erosions of freedom. Sometimes the tactics are blunt, sometimes far softer.
– From “Sovereign Man – Notes from the Field,” August 14, 2012.
159-4. “Which way do you prefer?”
We human beings always seek happiness. Now there are two ways. You make yourself happy by making other people unhappy – I call that the logic of robbery. The other way, you make yourself happy by making other people happy – that’s the logic of the market. Which way do you prefer?
-Zhang Weiying in THE WALL STREET JOURNAL, October 13-14, 2012, p. A11.
159-5. “Non-State Law vs. State Law”
On the surface, state law is characterized by its authority to use force, … . And that is the main difference from non-state law, which is unable to implement the state’s monopoly on the legitimate use of physical force to fulfill its obligations. But the fact that non-state law develops from a social agreement should not mislead one to believe that disobedience will be accepted without any consequences. Whenever someone violates accepted rules of behavior, the ‘perpetrator’ should always be prepared to experience various forms of social isolation as an outsider. In sum, the validity of non-state law is based on the general acceptance that certain forms of behavior are right.
– Oliver Lembcke, “Regulating the Living Will,” in van Schooten and Verschuuren, INTERNATIONAL GOVERNANCE AND LAW (2008), pp. 192-193.
159-6. “Is Ownership Just and Necessary?”
In fact, the general question as to what is just arises, and can arise, only in the context of ownership and entitlement. Where there is literally no ownership and no entitlement, then the question as to what is just simply does not arise. If no one owns anything, then a question of the form, ‘Whose is this?’ is irrelevant and, if even the notion of ownership is absent, meaningless. In a society where, quite literally, no one in any way owns anything whatsoever, the question as to what is just simply cannot arise. So we may ask: Is ownership just? Is it just that humans own things? The question seems at first sight clear but on reflection turns out to be very strange. If a just situation is one in which each quietly possesses what he owns, a situation in which no one owns anything cannot be just. The question of justice is irrelevant. Neither is such a situation unjust, for an unjust situation is one in which at least one person does not quietly possess what he owns. If literally no one is entitled to anything, no one can be deprived of their entitlement and there is neither justice nor injustice; again, the issue of justice is an irrelevance.
We consider, however, that ownership of some kind is necessary for, and unavoidable in, communal human living. We take it that ownership has been and is present in all societies, that is, that humans have always owned -that is, have always been entitled to- things, although what they own and how they own them changes over time. There is no human community in which ownership does not exist, and no evidence that there ever has been. It is sometimes claimed that among such and such a people there is no ‘private property’ but this claim usually means that property is not owned in the way that it is owned in the writer’s community. Land, for example, in a hunting and gathering community is not owned as it is in a community of nomadic pastoralists or in a settled agricultural community or in a community in which people make their living dominantly through exchanging one thing for another. But in each of these types of communities, land or property is owned in the sense that there exist various types of entitlement to it. Even when a group tries to own literally everything communally, time and use are generally, perhaps necessarily, overlooked. Is the cup of coffee that a person has just poured for himself, in no sense whatsoever, his? Are the clothes that he is now wearing, in no sense whatsoever, his for the time being? …
The assumption is simply that humans have always owned, or been entitled to, things. … Effectively, for a person to own something requires that both that person and others accept both the practice of ownership that prevails in the society, and the fact that the person owns this particular thing. …
The important point is that for ownership, and indeed any entitlement or right, actually to exist it must be communally accepted.
– Garrett Barden and Tim Murphy, LAW AND JUSTICE IN COMMUNITY (2010), pp. 45-47.
159-7. “Does Government Increase or Decrease the Amount of Thuggery in Society?”
If there were two gangs in a particular city, and the people of the city viewed one gang as a bunch of nasty thugs, and viewed the other gang as a legitimate “government” with the RIGHT to boss people around and take their stuff (in the name of “legislation” and “taxation”) which gang would be more effective at controlling and robbing people? The answer is obvious. What makes the state far more dangerous than any other criminal gang is that most of the VICTIMS of the state hallucinate legitimacy to the “legal” thuggery and extortion it commits, and so they proudly COOPERATE in their own subjugation and enslavement. If tomorrow, no one imagined that the I.R.S. had the right to extort [money from] a hundred million Americans, the “income tax” would immediately fall. Does anyone imagine that a gang of 100,000 thugs, only 2,000 of whom are even armed (I’m talking about the IRS) could continually [steal from … ] a … HUNDRED MILLION people by brute force alone? Not a chance. But when the victims believe in the lie called “government,” it allows for an enormous increase in thuggery and extortion. The problem is not what the gang of thugs calls itself; the problem is what the general public IMAGINE the gang to be. When they imagine it to be “government,” it will get away with a drastically higher level of robbery and assault before the victims will even consider resisting.
(And no, voting between Tweedle-Dum and Tweddle-Dee is not resisting.)
– Larken Rose in an email, December 11, 2012.
159-8. “Four More Years of Barack Obama”
Obama’s second term tells us that there is not going to be anything after the welfare state. Once it is set up, there is no going back short of revolution, and revolutions usually produce something worse.
Government redistribution of wealth must now be the central moral feature of our society. Somebody is always responsible and that is the government. Government will define who gets what and who pays for it. Thus, ever increasing percentages of the citizens of the country will be directly dependent on the government. This is what the government has strived for. It prevents much dissent if all livelihood originates from the state. The state is not only in the business of distributing wealth but in the business of informing us what we must do or hold to receive the largess. Little discussion of producing wealth comes up because the new state realizes its security depends not on production but on distribution. It is perfectly comfortable with shortages as they generate more power for the state.
– Father James Schall, SJ in CATHOLIC FAMILY NEWS (December 2012), p. 27.
159-9. “Guess Who Said This?”
It is rather strange, that unless one has a criminal mind and no respect for other people and their property, no one claims it’s permissible to go into one’s neighbor’s house and tell them how to behave, what they can eat, smoke and drink, or how to spend their money.
Yet, rarely, is it asked why it is morally acceptable that a stranger with a badge and a gun can do the same thing in the name of law and order. Any resistance is met with brute force, fines, taxes, arrests, and even imprisonment. …
Government use of force to mold social and economic behavior at home and abroad has justified individuals using force on their own terms. The fact that violence by government is seen as morally justified, is the reason why violence will increase when the big financial crisis hits and becomes a political crisis a well.
First, we recognize that individuals shouldn’t initiate violence, then we give the authority to government. Eventually, the immoral use of government violence, when things go badly, will be used to justify an individual’s “right” to do the same thing. Neither the government nor the individuals have the moral right to initiate violence against another, yet we are moving toward the day when both will claim the authority. If this cycle is not reversed society will break down.
– Ron Paul in his Farewell Speech to Congress, November 14, 2012.
159-10. “What Do Coercive Schools Do to Parents?”
We cannot have a peaceful, progressive, prosperous society when too many individuals in that society shirk their responsibility. And when parents come to believe that someone else should pay for the education of their children rather than bearing the full cost or having someone voluntarily help pay the cost, then it is only natural for the parent to believe [that] coercion is the honorable way to get other things. Then it is only natural for them to believe that they should be protected against competition in their line of business. When they get into the habit of running to the state to do the most important things in their live -namely, educating or training their children- then they are inclined to run to the state … to help them in planning their lives. Then they cease to believe in a state [which requires] the consent of the individual and tend to come to believe that the state determines right from wrong; that the state is the master rather than the servant of the citizens. Then they sooner or later come to believe that the end justifies the means; that might makes right and that the state that has a majority can do things that they know would not be just or honest or decent if done by an individual; that we can promote justice and peace and goodwill by coercion. Then they come to believe that evil -that coercion- can produce good.
– R. C. Hoiles, “Better Jobs,” THE REGISTER, September 21, 1953.
160-1. “There Are Many Reasons to Expect Private Property Rights Will Be Recognized as the Dominant Rules of Obligation in a Customary Law System”
Customary law requires neither a written constitution nor legislative authority. Indeed as Hayek suggested [in Vol I, LAW, LEGISLATION, AND LIBERTY (1973), p. 55], “Individual freedom, wherever it has existed, has been largely the product of a prevailing respect for such principles which, however, have never been fully articulated in constitutional documents. Freedom has been preserved for prolonged periods because such principles, vaguely and dimly perceived, have governed public opinion.” … The fact is that through much of history custom has been much more important in determining rules of conduct than written constitutions, legislation, or precedent.
– Bruce Benson, “Customary Law with Private Means of Resolving Disputes … ” Vol. IV, JOURNAL OF LIBERTARIAN STUDIES (1990), p. 26.
160-2. “Guess When This Was Written”
Let it not be thought that I am opposing a state monopoly of education because I am against education. It is a race between education and catastrophe. It seems to me that it is because we have not been getting a moral education and cannot get ethical education from the public schools, that we are in the precarious position we are in today. If we were educated on moral questions and moral law as set forth in the Declaration of Independence, we would not have the mounting debts we have; we would not have the government taking [over] one-third of our national income; we would not have long periods of unemployment; we would not have subsidies; we would not have increasing juvenile delinquency; we would not be limiting production; we would not have so much planned economy; we would not have it a crime to own gold; we would not have irredeemable paper money that is consistently worth less and less; would not be drafting soldiers; would not have almost continuous war. No believer in giving the government supreme authority in education can explain why we have the above conditions. They cannot explain [it] because they are instrumental in the cause.
– R. C. Hoiles, “Better Jobs,” THE REGISTER, December 1, 1953.
160-3. Where Are We Headed?
Credit Suisse AG, one of the largest Swiss banks, “is telling German clients it will stop doing business with them if they don’t provide evidence that their accounts comply with tax reporting rules.” Their German clients “are being asked to submit … tax certificates to prove that their funds have been taxed.” (THE WALL STREET JOURNAL, April 8, 2013, C3) Similar tax compliance requirements have been imposed by other banks on citizens of the United States, France, the United Kingdom, and Italy among others.
It is already impossible for an American citizen to open a domestic bank account or even obtain a prepaid debit card without a Social Security number (which is probably used at some point for IRS tracking purposes). As described above, it appears that the goal of the taxing authorities in these countries is to make all banking activities totally transparent. There is no stone to hide under, even if you bank across borders.
Where could this principle of transparency take us?
First, it rests on the idea that everything you own and produce belongs to the State, and that you must pay whatever the State determines you owe. Second, it is based on the premise that you are no longer innocent until proven guilty. Before you can buy or sell anything, you must prove that the tax authorities have approved.
…It could lead to the demand for a universal national identification card which would not be issued to a person until they both reveal all their taxable assets to the government revenue collectors, and pay whatever back taxes they owe.
…It could lead to banks demanding tax compliance certificates before they open an account, or even rent you a safe deposit box.
…It could lead to the demand that at every financial transaction (from the purchase of groceries, a car, a house, or applying for a mortgage on a house) you prove that you are tax compliant.
In sum, it makes you a complete slave of the State with no personal room in which to operate freely.
160-4. Walter Block on Bitcoin
So if you ask me if I like bitcoin, I ask: “Compared to what?” If the comparison is with a gold coin system, I’d rather have the gold coin. If the comparison is with the US dollar, which is going the Zimbabwe route, I’d rather have the bitcoin. Now, other monetary authorities around the world seem to be debauching their currencies faster than the US is destroying the value of the US dollar, so the dollar appears strong in foreign exchange. But that doesn’t change the fact that each dollar in existence is made worth a little less with each new dollar created. So compared to that, I’d still prefer the bitcoin. …
I’m very reluctant to tell anyone to invest in anything at all – even bitcoins. Even if the bitcoin system itself were to prove unhackable, governments could still arrest people who use them and put them in jail, call them terrorists or something. They are capable of anything.
– Walter Block: “Doug Casey Is an Optimist” circa April 18, 2013 at www.caseyresearch.com/cdd/walter-block-doug-casey-optimist
160-5. “Isn’t It Stealing Even If It Isn’t Wealth Destroying?”
The issue for me about taxes is justice. I do not receive any more services from the government now than I did when I was making $600 per month [in my last year as CEO of BB&T Bank, I made over $400,000 a month], and yet today I pay a huge amount of taxes. I am certain that a large percentage of the money I spend on taxes is wasted and, in many cases, worse than wasted – that is, it is wealth destroying. I would rather give out money to random people on the street than to pay taxes to a destructive government. It is not the money. It is the principle.
– John A. Allison, THE FINANCIAL CRISIS AND THE FREE MARKET CURE (2013), p. 196.
160-6. “Nationalism – The Bane of the Modern Age”
Americans, perhaps more than any others, are immersed in nationalism, drenched to the bone. It follows them everywhere — to school, to work, to their amusements and entertainments, even in many cases into their churches. They wallow in it, and they wallow happily. The merest village idiot takes pride that “We are #1,” whatever such a declaration might mean. Usually, sad to say, it means only that the idiot’s rulers in Washington have their hands on the levers and buttons that allow them to dish out violent death and effective intimidation on a global scale. Hooray for us, he proclaims; we’re the biggest, baddest bully in the history of mankind. Yet, this pathetic individual, and the hundreds of millions who resemble him more or less, are really nothing at all. Their inner selves are entirely ersatz; their moral core is devoid of real substance. They have effectively surrendered their souls, their minds, and their capacity for living a moral life to politician/rulers who shamelessly pull the strings of their identity.
Nationalism and its fruit — the powerful welfare/warfare nation-states that now infest virtually the entire planet — are the banes of the modern age. Their fundamental resources are violence and fraud, and their most indispensable fraud is the conviction they have inculcated in their subjects that the people’s very identity, the very essence of who they are, derives from and depends on the nation-state that dominates their lives.
– Robert Higgs on the Independent Institute’s “The Beacon” Blog, April 27, 2013.
161-1. “The Casualties of War Go on Long After the Cessation of Hostilities”
Why did the animosity between the Hatfield and the McCoys turn to bloodshed? “All answers lead back to the Civil War. Not in the commonplace sense that the war pitted one people against another: Almost all Hatfields and most McCoys supported the Confederacy. It was the war, though, that sanctified theft and murder, especially the guerrillas and other ‘irregulars.’ The lawlessness of war gave Devil Anse Hatfield license to take what was not his and to kill those who stood in the way. ‘The Feud’ reminds us, among other sad realities of the human condition, that the casualties of war go on long after the cessation of hostilities.”
– From a book review by Barton Swaim in THE WALL STREET JOURNAL, June 7, 2013, p. A13.
161-2. “The First Axiom of Choice Theory”
The only person whose behavior we can control is our own. In practice, if we are willing to suffer the alternative – almost always severe punishment or death – no one can make us do anything we don’t want to do. When we are threatened with punishment, whatever we do we rarely do well.
– William Glasser, M.D., CHOICE THEORY (1998), p. 332.
161-3. Books Received
IN DEFENSE OF CHAOS: THE CHAOLOGY OF POLITICS, ECONOMICS, AND HUMAN ACTION by L. K. Samuels. Chaos theory is applied in various branches of science to demonstrate “that apparently random phenomena have an underlying order.” The author’s thesis is that chaology and complexity science provide scientific evidence that voluntary action works far better than action prompted by coercion and threats of violence. In other words, the seemingly unplanned chaos of the spontaneous order is actually the result of millions and millions of mutually beneficial exchanges. Published by Cobden Press (2013). Available at www.fr33mindscom. ISBN 978-1-935942-05-4.
161-4. “My Dream”
It is my dream that someday a young man or woman will come to work for me and, when payday comes and he has earned $ 500, I will be allowed to write a check for exactly $ 500 and place it in his hand — value for value, with no deductions, our relationship governed only by the free contract between us and the mutual respect that such an agreement requires. Our eyes will meet and each of us will see that sense of oneself as a free person that is the foundation of pride, rational and moral choice, of responsibility, and also of joy.
– Bill Anderson, HOW THE GOVERNMENT GOT ITS HAND ON YOUR PAYCHECK (1995), p. 28.
161-5. “De Tocqueville on the Taste of Liberty”
That which, in all times, has so strongly attached the hearts of certain men to liberty is its intrinsic attractions, the charm that it possesses in and of itself, independent of its benefits. It is the pleasure of being able to speak, act, breathe without constraint, … . He who seeks in liberty anything other than itself is made for servitude.
Certain people pursue liberty obstinately in the face of all sorts of perils and misfortunes. It is not the material goods that it offers them that these people then love in it; they consider it itself as a good so precious and so necessary that no other good could console them for its loss and that they find, in tasting it, consolation for everything that occurs. Other peoples tire of it in the midst of their prosperity; they allow it to be snatched from their hands without resistance, for fear of jeopardizing by such effort the very well-being they owe to it. What do they lack with regard to being free? What, indeed? The taste itself for being free. Do not ask me to analyze this sublime taste, it is necessary to experience it. It enters of its own accord into the great hearts that God has prepared to receive it; it fills them, it inflames them.
– Alexis De Tocqueville (1805-1859) in his THE ANCIENT REGIME AND THE REVOLUTION (1856) as quoted in Paul Rahe, SOFT DESPOTISM, DEMOCRACY’S DRIFT (2009), pp. 279-80.
162-1. “An Anarchist Is One Who Minds His Own Business”
I believe in every man working for the good of self; and in working for the good of self, he works for the good of all. To think, to see, to feel, to know; to deal justly; to bear all patiently; to speak cheerfully; to moderate one’s voice – these things will bring you the highest good. They will bring you the love of the best, and the esteem of that Sacred Few, whose good opinion alone is worth cultivating. And further than this, it is the best way you can serve Society – live your life. The wise way to benefit humanity is to attend to your own affairs, and thus give other people an opportunity to look after theirs.
If there is any better way to teach virtue than by practicing it, I do not know it.
Would you make men better – set them an example.
– Elbert Hubbard, JESUS WAS AN ANARCHIST (1939), pp. 6, 8-9.
162-2. “What My Father Knew About Politics”
When I was growing up and got old enough to think I knew something about politics and to express opinions about politicians, he [my father, Jess] used to infuriate me by simply saying, “They’re all crooks.” I’d think, “What does he know about it?” Fifty years later, I am inclined to think that he knew practically everything he needed to know about politicians.
– Robert Higgs, “William Jess Higgs,” THE INDEPENDENT BEACON, March 31, 2009.
162-3. “Work and Character”
Joblessness is a personal crisis because work is a spiritual event. A job isn’t only a means to a paycheck, it’s more. “To work is to pray,” the old priests used to say. God made us many things, including as workers. When you work, you serve and take part. To work is to be integrated into … daily life … . There is pride and satisfaction in doing work well, in working with others and learning a discipline or a craft or an art. To work is to find out who you are. In return for performing your duties, whatever they are, you receive money that you can use freely and in accordance with your highest desires. Work allows you to renew your life, which is part of the renewing of civilization. Work gives us a purpose, stability, integration, [a] shared mission. And so to be unable to work – unable to find or hold a job – is a kind of catastrophe for a human being.
– Peggy Noonan, “Work and the American Character,” THE WALL STREET JOURNAL, August 31-September 1, 2013, p. A13.
162-4. “Chicago’s Archbishop at the Barricades”
Cardinal Francis George takes a particularly dim view of what … intrusion by government could mean for church and state relations. More than once he has warned for dramatic effect that, “I expect to die in my bed, my successor will die in prison and his successor will die a martyr in the public square.
– Nicholas G. Hahn, “Houses of Worship,” THE WALL STREET JOURNAL, August 23, 2013, p. A11.
162-5. “An Early Example of Political Jugglery”
About 16,000 people out of a total population of 363,000 voted on the Massachusetts Constitution of late 1780. … An examination of the Convention’s methods of tabulating the popular vote raises the suspicion that the [required] two-thirds majority was manufactured. … The ratification committee adopted a system of tabulation which to-day would be called political jugglery. … I leave it to your judgment to decide whether the constitution of Massachusetts … was ever legally ratified.
– Samuel Eliot Morison, A HISTORY OF THE CONSTITUTION OF MASS. (1917), p. 21, and “The Struggle Over the Adoption of the Constitution of Mass, 1780, 50 MASS. HISTORICAL SOCIETY (1917), p. 354.
162-6. Smartphone or License Plate?
The smartphone you carry in your purse or pocket is essentially a tracking device that can make telephone calls. GPS (global positioning systems) allows your location to be ascertained by your cellphone carrier, which information can then be turned over to the police and government authorities, much as spotting a license plate on your car allows them to identify its owner and where it was seen.
– Peter Maass and Megha Rajagopalan, “That’s No Phone; That’s My Tracker,” THE NEW YORK TIMES SUNDAY REVIEW, July 13, 2012.
163-1. “Obama Care Worse Than Slavery”
“Obamacare” is really, I think, the worst thing that has happened in this nation since slavery. And it is – in a way, it is slavery, in a way because it is making all of us subservient to the government. And it was never about health care. It was about control. … [W]hy did they want to pass it so badly? Well, as I said the other night on television, Vladimir Lenin, one of the fathers of socialism and communism, said that socialized medicine is the keystone to the establishment of a socialist state. Some people have said … you’re being paranoid. How could anybody bring up something like that? I would say, if you know anything about history, how could you not bring it up?
– Ben Carson at the Family Research Council 2013 Values Voters Summit, October 11, 2013, Omni Shoreham Hotel, Washington, D.C.
163-2. “Society Contains Within Itself the Capacity to Resolve Conflicts and Create and Sustain Institutions that Further Social Co-operation”
[We do] not suppose that everyone in society is smart, enlightened, talented, educated, and peaceful. [We say] that society can deal with malevolence through the exchange economy, and in precisely the way we see today: private security companies, private production of locks and guns, private arbitration, and private insurance [as well as the myriad efforts of charities, churches, and other non-profit groups]. The free market can organize protection better than the state. Private enterprise can and does provide the police function better than the state. As Hayek argued, the state is wildly overrated as a mechanism of order keeping. The state is and has been in history a source of disorder and chaos, and the problem gets worse the more the state grows.
– Llewellyn Rockwell, “The Problem With Jail,” in THE FREE MARKET, May 2007, p. 6.
163-3. “Compulsory Citizenship”
Whether a man lives in a State that is allegedly democratic or autocratic, he will in either case be given no option as to his membership. If it were the case that men were conscripted into autocratic States, but in ‘democratic’ States membership was purely voluntary, the difference between the two would indeed be the difference between servitude and freedom. But no man is ever given any alternative to ‘joining’ the State where he happens to be born. All States are coercive by nature, otherwise they would not be sovereign. A man without a country, that is to say, a free man, nowhere exists. It is not permitted for the simple reason that the existence of one free man would imperil the structure of obedience for all, and the existence of Power itself would be threatened. Consequently, all States, including the most ‘democratic,’ are based ultimately on force, and were originally created out of the spoils of war. Britain, the USA, the USSR, Albania, Belgium, China, France, Venezuela et alii may exist as geographical entities, but as political categories they are inseparable from the activities of war out of which they were forged, and they maintain their separate political existence only in so far as they are backed by the appropriate military force.
R. V. Sampson, THE DISCOVERY OF PEACE (1973), p. 182.
163-4. “Books Received”
THE PROBLEM OF POLITICAL AUTHORITY by Michael Huemer. This book is subtitled: An Examination of the Right to Coerce and the Duty to Obey. Written by a libertarian professor at the University of Colorado, the book is best summarized by the following conclusions: “Authority is illusory; Society can function without a government;” and “Anarchy is attainable.” (p. xxv) Published by Palgrave Macmillan (2013). ISNB: 978-1-137-28165.
TAKE ME TO YOUR GOVERNMENT by James Payne. This highly recommended 160 page anthology comprises the previously published stories of Princess Navina’s visits to four places: Malvolia – where the king’s one principle is to make everyone as unhappy as possible (1991), Mandaat – where all human actions must be authorized by the government (1994), Nueva Malvolia – where rulers seek the unhappiness of their subjects (1999), and Voluntaria – where there is no coercive government (2002). “Like Jonathan Swift’s GULLIVER’S TRAVELS they raise provocative questions about modern governance by transporting us to imaginary countries,” and like GULLIVER, PRINCESS NAVINA VISITS VOLUNTARIA is bound to become a classic in which voluntaryism outshines all other modes of human interaction. Order direct from The Voluntaryists, Box 275, Gramling, SC 29348. $13 postpaid.
165-1. “The Scamp as Ideal”
In short, my faith in human dignity consists in the belief that man is the greatest scamp on earth. Human dignity must be associated with the idea of a scamp and not with that of an obedient, disciplined and regimented soldier. The scamp is probably the most glorious type of human being, as the soldier is the lowest type, according to this conception. It seems in my last book, MY COUNTRY AND MY PEOPLE, the net impression of readers was that I was trying to glorify the “old rogue.” It is my hope that the net impression of the present one will be that I am doing my best to glorify the scamp or vagabond. I hope I shall succeed. For things are not so simple as they sometimes seem. In this present age of threats to democracy and individual liberty, probably only the scamp and the spirit of the scamp alone will save us from becoming lost as serially numbered units in the masses of disciplined, obedient, regimented and uniformed coolies. The scamp will be the last and most formidable enemy of dictatorships. He will be the champion of human dignity and individual freedom, and will be the last to be conquered. All modern civilization depends entirely upon him.
– Lin Yutang, THE IMPORTANCE OF LIVING (1937), p. 12.
165-2. “Society and Character”
What is a moral and religious people? People who govern themselves privately. People who love and live the four natural virtues of prudence, temperance, justice, and courage, and the Christian virtues of faith, hope, and charity. These are people who can judge what actions are fitting, who give to everyone his due, who can face fear, uncertainty, and danger with endurance and strength, and who can restrain their own appetites. These are people who believe in an eternal standard of justice, who live in hope for the future, and who love and care for their neighbors as themselves.
– Franklin Sanders, THE MONEYCHANGER (April 2014), p. 4.
165-3. “Repudiating Politics and Violence”
[P]ower is not only morally illegitimate but also morally self-defeating; … men cannot be changed for the better by external coercive or power means; … the only way genuine improvement can be brought about is by each person bringing about the kind of change that is legitimate, that is not ultra vires, namely, change within him or herself. However radical, eccentric or revolutionary one’s views, provided one retains some allegiance to violence, however small or conditional, one is still political, and therefore viable in the existing society. In short, you can reasonably expect to be heard. But to admit no violence whatever as legitimate is to repudiate all politics, all power, and thus expose to the light of day the unwanted truth that the responsibility for ending the evils in the body politic rests inescapably on each one of us, who can only contribute to moral progress by mending his own life. Those who make this truth clear are apt to experience difficulty in getting their voices heard anywhere.
Yet the true way to live is also the most rewarding here on this earth, the only earth we know. But to apply one’s energies to the multiplicity of creative activities open to a human being for their own sake, requires as well a knowledge of what Blake called the ‘Minute Particulars’ a share in the vision that can see ‘a world in a Grain of Sand and a Heaven in a Wild Flower’. This is a gift, but it is not necessarily a natural one; it can with strenuous effort and much patience be acquired. We cannot all be born Thoreaus or Blakes, but their values are not esoteric ones. In so far as they lead to life – and to a life bearing within it the joy of endless renewal without robbing anyone else of a like joy – they are values which are desirable for their own sake and attainable by all alike.
– R. V. Sampson, THE DISCOVERY OF PEACE (1973), p. 200.
165-4. “The One Essential Condition Is That They Be Voluntary”
To be a libertarian is not to lack virtue or compassion. It is to recognize that benevolence is a quality of individuals, not governments. The loudness with which people demand higher taxes on others is not a measure of their benevolence. The only plausible gauge of personal benevolence is our willingness voluntarily to give money to others. I believe a libertarian society would stimulate individual moral growth and, with it, true compassion for the less fortunate.
Individualism, as I understand it, is not opposed to community. I am in favour of clubs, associations and co-operative ventures of every conceivable kind. There should be as many and as varied a set of associations as people want. The one essential condition is that they be voluntary.
– Michael Prowse, THE INDEPENDENT (May 8, 1995) in David Boaz (ed.), THE LIBERTARIAN READER (1997), pp. 391-392.
165-5. “Doug Casey on Politics”
I don’t think politically; politics is the problem, not the solution. I think that the ideal solution is for every individual to opt out of the current system. When they give a war, you don’t come. When they give a tax, you don’t pay. When they give an election, you don’t vote. You even try not to use their currency and their banking system. The ideal thing is to let the system collapse under its own weight as opposed to starting a new political party and then continuing to act politically, which is to say to use force on other people.
– Doug Casey Interview with THE DAILY BELL, April 6, 2014.
165-6. “Surety, Assurance, and the Spontaneous Order”
Voluntary institutions such as surety and assurance embody norms of reciprocity, trust, honesty, fellowship, and thrift without which no stable social order is possible. The evidence shows that when these norms are articulated and expressed through voluntary action, they are enhanced and strengthened to everyone’s benefit. Attempts to mimic the invisible-hand process that has generated them will not only fail; they will actively undermine and destroy these norms. Theory and empirical research combine to suggest four things: first, that such norms and institutions are needed for the successful functioning of any society; second, that the more complex the social order, the greater the need for them; third, that such institutions may appear spontaneously but cannot be deliberately created; finally, that much state action will undermine or destroy these norms and institutions, with potentially catastrophic effect.
– Albert Loan, 7 HUMANE STUDIES REVIEW (Winter 1991/92), “Conclusion” (paragraph 5).
165-7. “The Education Tyranny”
One “object of this book is … to expose the wicked tyranny” of compulsory education. “That there should be any compulsion” with regard to the education of children “is quite opposed to even the haziest notion of liberty. It is a big assumption to be cocksure as to what is best for another person’s child, and it is quite possible that no education at all would be found infinitely better than a bad one, or an unsuitable one.
The compulsion is wrong because to each man his own opinion is the right one, and Who are you to interfere with him?
Few individuals seem to realise that the fact of a thing being good, even if it be a fact, is no reason for the State taking it up or making it compulsory. Good food, good clothes, and good wives are good, within limits, and so, I expect is an occasional change of air, but these are not State concerns; not yet, and no more should education be.”
Is education the inalienable birthright of every citizen? No, otherwise “Why not bread and boots as well? Is it only the mind that has a birthright, and not a body? Why limit this to books?”
Is State education a free gift to the children of the State? “How free? The givers are not free not to give. Nor are the takers free not to take it. The State might supply the hungry with a free meal of beans every morning. But if the hungry were fined and imprisoned for not accepting it, and the [tax]payers were fined and imprisoned for not paying their quota towards it, and regardless of reasons on either side, how far would such a gift be free? Compulsory prison for those who did not like it, secured by compulsory robbery from those who did not wish to supply it, is an uncommon name for a free gift!”
Do those who object to State schools object to all education? “No. It is like objecting to municipal tramways. We do not necessarily object to tramways, but we object to [governments] providing them, … .
So with schools. Without State education there might be more schools, more varied schools, and better kinds of schools, and without involving any pernicious principle.”
– Paraphrasing and excerpts from Ernest Pomeroy, THE EDUCATION TYRANNY (London: 1909).
165-8. “Ordered Anarchy: Natural Enclaves of Liberty”
Locke’s anarchistic state of nature (or natural society) is … pre-political, but not pre-social. This stands in contrast with the Hobbesian conception of natural freedom, which is synonymous with a “state of war,” a condition of perpetual violence and conflict where life is “nasty, brutish, and short.” Anarchy, according to Hobbes, is incompatible with even a minimal degree of social order. Social order is not spontaneous; it does not emerge from the voluntary interaction of individuals but requires the strong hand of an absolute sovereign. Hence the Hobbesian state of nature is not only pre-political, but pre-social as well.
Locke’s state of nature is essentially peaceful and civilized. People can exercise their natural freedom in an anarchistic society without necessarily lapsing into a state of war, because they are able, through the use of reason, to discern the many benefits of social cooperation. …
[Locke’s] contention that social order can exist in an anarchistic state of nature had profound implications for political philosophy. It was, for example, a key element in the case for revolution against tyrannical governments. …
In suggesting … the possibility of ordered anarchy, Locke was arguing that a revolution … will not necessarily produce chaos.
[A]ccording to … Locke’s theory of natural liberty, people can (and typically will) interact peacefully and harmoniously in the anarchistic state of nature. They will (to a considerable degree) respect the rights of others, even though there exists no government to compel obedience and inflict punishment. … [N]atural liberty [was assigned] an important role in maintaining social order.
This … had the effect of deemphasizing the social role of government. The culture and prosperity of a society were no longer attributed to the wise edicts of a virtuous prince; they were seen as the spontaneous, unplanned products of natural liberty …
These anarchistic spheres of interaction – which are “governed” by moral and religious opinions, psychological bonds, aesthetic sensibilities, personal habits, institutional incentives, customs, economic self-interest, and the like – have far more influence on social behavior (especially in a free society) than does the fear of legal punishment. These voluntary institutional relationships are enclaves of natural liberty – anarchistic societies (or states of nature) that operate … independently of … political society.
– George H. Smith, THE SYSTEM OF LIBERTY (2013), pp. 148-151.
165-9. “Malatesta on Doing Good by Force”
We are anarchists because we hold that no one owns the absolute truth, nor is anyone blessed with infallibility; because we think that the sort of social arrangement that should best answer everyone’s needs and sentiments, can only be the result – the always adjustable result – of the free play of all the interested parties; and because we believe that force renders brutish both the user and the target, whereas only through freedom and the responsibility that derives from it can men better themselves morally and intellectually to a point where they can no longer bear government.
Besides, if, as you seem to reckon, a day will come when we too could and would impose our ideas by force, what, precisely, are the ideas that are to be imposed? Mine, say, or the ideas of comrade A or comrade B! … I thought the essential point … that made anarchists of us was this principle; no imposition and no force other than force of argument and example. If I am wrong here, I cannot see that there is very much else to anarchism.
– Excerpted from Davide Turcato (ed.), THE METHOD OF FREEDOM: AN ERRICO MALATESTA READER (2014), pp.193-194.
165-10. “God Has Given Every Man His Work”
Keep about your work. Do not flinch because the lion roars. Do not stop to stone the devil’s dogs. … Keep about your work. Let your aim be steady as a star. Let the world brawl and bubble. You may be assaulted, wronged, insulted, slandered, wounded, and rejected. … Abused by foes, forsaken by friends. But see to it with steadfast determination, with unfaltering zeal, that you pursue the great purpose of your life & the object of your being, until at last you can say, ‘I have finished the work You gave me to do’.
– Attributed to Merritt Newby by Franklin Sanders in the Moneychanger Weekly Commentary, Dec. 20, 2013.
165-11. “Two Authors on the Right to Offend”
A core teaching of the ancients is that personal dignity is obtained through habituation to virtue. And at least one basic teaching of true liberalism is that the essential right of free people is the right to offend, and an essential responsibility of free people is to learn how to cope with being offended.
– Bret Stephens, “To the Class of 2014,” THE WALL STREET JOURNAL, May 20, 2014, p. A11.
[I]f we do have a right to be free, to plan and live our own lives as we choose, limited only by the equal rights of others, then we have a right to associate, or to refuse to associate, for whatever reasons we choose, or for no reason at all. That is what freedom is all about. Others may condemn our reasons – that too is a right. But if freedom and personal sovereignty mean anything, they mean the right to make those kinds of decisions for ourselves, even when they offend others.
– Roger Pilon in David Boaz (ed.), THE LIBERTARIAN READER (1998), p. 200.
165-12. “If You Want to Change the World”
So, here [is one of the] lessons I learned from basic SEAL training that hopefully will be of value to you as you move forward in life.
Every morning in basic SEAL training, my instructors, who at the time were all Vietnam veterans, would show up in my barracks room and the first thing they would inspect was your bed. If you did it right, the corners would be square, the covers pulled tight, the pillow centered just under the headboard and the extra blanket folded neatly at the foot of the rack – that’s Navy talk for bed. It was a simple task, mundane at best. But every morning we were required to make our bed to perfection. It seemed a little ridiculous at the time, particularly in light of the fact that we were aspiring to be real warriors, tough battle hardened SEALs, but the wisdom of this simple act has been proven to me many times over. If you make your bed every morning you will have accomplished the first task of the day. It will give you a small sense of pride and it will encourage you to do another task and another and another. By the end of the day, that one task completed will have turned into many tasks completed. Making your bed will also reinforce the fact that little things in life matter. If you can’t do the little things right, you will never do the big things right. And if by chance you have a miserable day, you will come home to a bed that is made – that you made – and a made bed gives you encouragement that tomorrow will be better. If you want to change the world, start off by making your bed.
– Adm. William H. McRaven in his Commencement Address of May 17, 2014 to the Graduating Class of University of Texas at Austin.
166-1. “What The Hell Is He?”
In August 2013, your editor had the good fortune of visiting southern Alaska on a Tauck Bridges tour with his extended family. Tauck is an international and domestic travel tour operator that has a very interesting entrepreneurial history. In 1924, Arthur Tauck, Sr. “accidentally dropped a cigar box of dimes while working as a bank teller and was dismissed from his job. Undaunted, and being an enterprising young man, he designed sturdy aluminum coin trays and went on the road as a salesman.” While selling coin trays in North Adams, Massachusetts, he enjoyed “the incredible foliage of the Berkshire Mountains,” and came up with the idea of taking touring clients and vacationers along on his sales trips. “Realizing that his own vehicle was too small to accommodate tourists, coin trays, and luggage, he rented a seven-passenger 1924 Studebaker touring car. The first tour began on July 12, 1925 with six passengers.”
Who would have ever imagined that the “dismissal of this young man from a bank in New Jersey” would lead to the founding of a new travel industry? After ten years in business, and in the midst of the Great Depression, Tauck went to Washington, D.C. to testify before the Interstate Commerce Commission, which had initiated the regulation of “buses, trucks, railroads, and other forms of transportation. Arthur Sr. went to Washington to explain how his business operated: he put together tour packages, sold tickets to individuals, then chartered buses to transport them.” The I.C.C. had no category under which to regulate Tauck. “He was not a carrier and he was not an operator. Baffled, one commissioner exclaimed, ‘What the hell is he?’ The so-called Grandfather Act of 1935 defined a ‘broker’ as a bus pick-up point, or terminal, at which tickets were sold for two or more competing bus carriers. Eureka! ’We’ll make him a broker,’ they declared. And so, Tauck Tours was given License # 1, the first tour broker license in the travel industry.”
Today, Tauck is celebrating its 90th year as a continuously-owned, four generation family business which “offers more than 100 itineraries, across seven continents, and to more than 70 countries.”
So what are the lessons to be learned from its proud history? First, neither Tauck, nor anyone else, knew in advance what was to be the outgrowth of his initial idea. The spontaneous order of the free market is based on consumer sovereignty: if you sell what the customer wants at a price at which he is willing to purchase it, your business will grow. Second, not only should there have been no federal government or Interstate Commerce Commission, but Tauck should have realized how absurd, impertinent, insolent, presumptuous, and ridiculous it was for bureaucrats to regulate his business when they didn’t even know what it was, couldn’t describe it, or even categorize it.
– information taken from the WORLD OF TAUCK, a history of “One Family, One Company, One Passion,” distributed January 2014.
166-2. “Do People Really Fight Over Religion?”
Every conflict, every dispute, is always, ultimately, about who gets to control a given disputed resource. That is why every law, every right, is ultimately about property rights: deciding who the owner is, or should be. There is no way around this. This is why it is frustrating when mainstream thinkers and even some libertarians talk vaguely about “human rights”; it opens the door to legal invasions of property rights. People confusingly say that people fight over religion; they do not. They fight over others’ bodies and the physical things, the scarce means (land and so on) that the others have or want to use. If I threaten to kill you if you do not convert to Islam, I am really asserting a property right in your body: I am asserting the right to decide whether to stick a sword into your belly. The libertarian says: you have the right to control what gets stuck into your body. Religion is just an excuse for the property invasion; it is the motivation or reason for the invasion. But it is impossible to own religion and it is literally impossible to “fight over religion.” It is always, always, always about property rights.
– Stephan Kinsella Interview in THE DAILY BELL, July 20, 2014.
166-3. “A Free Society Depends on Freedom-Loving People”
To me the only thing that matters if you are interested in a free society, the only thing that matters, is: Do you have a significant percentage of the people with whom you live that have in their hearts and minds a desire for freedom? That’s all that matters. I don’t care what is written down. You got people you live with who are for freedom, you are going to have a free society, and the reverse is true as well.
– From Marc J. Victor’s Casey Summit 2013 speech on Casey’s DAILY DISPATCH, August 14, 2014.