tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-64973332031754789282018-08-30T00:06:29.733-05:00ReadingForLiberty.comWant to change the world for liberty? Then read, because the first person you need to improve is yourself.Unknownnoreply@blogger.comBlogger34125tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-6497333203175478928.post-3129490714946188082016-11-06T19:20:00.000-06:002016-12-02T08:44:24.694-06:0030 Years Later, Pedophile Guilds Still Run the World<div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="https://4.bp.blogspot.com/-DL44paHNQvw/WB_QaoTndgI/AAAAAAAABLA/nuEP-ENzxaYzoyyYUfmmk8YJ_-Q1ZBDlQCLcB/s1600/pizza_eyes_wide_shut.png" imageanchor="1" style="clear: left; float: left; margin-bottom: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" height="255" src="https://4.bp.blogspot.com/-DL44paHNQvw/WB_QaoTndgI/AAAAAAAABLA/nuEP-ENzxaYzoyyYUfmmk8YJ_-Q1ZBDlQCLcB/s320/pizza_eyes_wide_shut.png" width="320" /></a></div>On the cusp of the 2016 presidential election, it is becoming more and more difficult for the average voter to remain apathetic towards government corruption.&nbsp; As each day brings another <a href="https://wikileaks.org/podesta-emails/" target="_blank">WikiLeaks data dump</a> with increasingly explosive evidence of crimes by the political elite, ignorance is no longer an option.&nbsp; The American people are moving in two opposite directions: going further down the rabbit hole, or moving deeper into denial.<br /><br />At the beginning of the <a href="http://www.mostdamagingwikileaks.com/" target="_blank">Wikileaks "Podesta Emails" campaign</a>, the public was exposed to the exact form of "boss hog" corruption that everyone pretty much expected to find.&nbsp; Unfair advantages against Bernie in the primary, unethical collaboration with the main-stream media, and lies regarding her private e-mails are all things we can wrap our heads around.&nbsp; These types of crimes can be rationalized.&nbsp; We can imagine ourselves doing similar things when walking in a different pair of shoes. <br /><br />But over the last few days <a href="https://wikileaks.org/podesta-emails/emailid/15893" target="_blank">one email</a> regarding an <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qfL5KwUuvMc" target="_blank">invitation to a "spirit dinner"</a> combined with the <a href="http://www.infowars.com/bombshell-hillary-clintons-satanic-network-exposed/" target="_blank">alternative media</a>, reddit investigators and <a href="http://www.breitbart.com/radio/2016/11/04/erik-prince-nypd-ready-make-arrests-weiner-case/" target="_blank">FBI revelations from Anthony Weiner's laptop</a> have unleashed a path of evidence that is incredibly difficult, if not impossible for the average Trump supporter or Hillary detractor to come to terms with: Satanism, child abuse, and pedophile rings at the highest levels of power.&nbsp; The accusations and implications are so outrageous, so outside the <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Overton_window" target="_blank">Overton window</a> that even those that muster the intellectual courage to follow the evidence to its logical conclusion have a difficult decision to make: do you violate every instinct of taste and manners to encourage others to look at the most gut-wrenching evidence, or do you maintain the expectations of polite society by imposing self-censorship? There is also a tactical element to this question.&nbsp; If speaking about these atrocities would harm your credibility by falling under <a href="http://www.nathankleffman.com/2015/05/in-defense-of-worst-libertarians.html" target="_blank">the label of a "conspiracy theorist"</a>, is it better to instead focus on exposing smaller crimes that are more palatable? <br /><br />For some of us, these have been questions that didn't just come up this weekend, but ones we have been struggling with for years or even decades.&nbsp; For many, it all depends on whether or not you are familiar with the <a href="http://amzn.to/2esFC5L" target="_blank">Franklin Cover-up</a>. <br /><br /><b>The Franklin Cover-Up</b><br /><blockquote class="tr_bq">"What you have to understand, John, is that sometimes there are forces and events too big, too powerful, with so much at stake for other people or institutions, that you cannot do anything about them, no matter how evil or wrong they are and no matter how dedicated or sincere you are or how much evidence you have.&nbsp; That is simply one of the hard facts of life you have to face.&nbsp; You have done your part. You have tried to expose the evil and the wrongdoing.&nbsp; It has hurt you terribly. But it has not killed you up to this point.&nbsp; I am telling you, get out of this before it does." - <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Colby" target="_blank">William Colby</a>, Executive Director of the CIA , to <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_DeCamp" target="_blank">John W. DeCamp</a></blockquote><a href="http://amzn.to/2esFC5L" target="_blank">The Franklin Cover-up: Child Abuse, Satanism, and Murder in Nebraska</a> is the work of State Senator John W. DeCamp, a book written to tell the story of his involvement from the inside of researching and prosecuting the crimes and eventual cover-up of a nationwide Satanic child abuse ring, discovered in the nexus of Omaha, Nebraska's Franklin Community Federal Credit Union.&nbsp; While <a href="http://www.nathankleffman.com/2014/09/how-i-woke-up.html" target="_blank">my political "awakening"</a> was initially triggered from a conspiracy, and only then did I discover libertarianism and Austrian economics, this work is the only non-economics book that I routinely buy multiple copies of to give out to family and friends.&nbsp; Whereas my general approach to the latest conspiracy theory is to keep it at arm's length and acknowledge that I wouldn't be <i>surprised</i> if it were true, the <a href="http://www.franklincase.org/" target="_blank">Franklin cover-up</a> is one of my few exceptions to that rule.<br /><br />My approach to this blog is not to lay out every piece of evidence to make the convincing case to the most skeptical observer, but to point to the relevant resources and explain at a high-level why it has been convincing to me.&nbsp; In addition to <a href="http://amzn.to/2esR9SM" target="_blank">John DeCamp's book</a>, other recommended resources include Nick Bryant's <a href="http://amzn.to/2fRkhbn" target="_blank">The Franklin Scandal</a>, <a href="http://franklincase.org/">FranklinCase.org</a>, the <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EqjNa-Jpsf0" target="_blank">investigations</a> of former FBI chief, <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ted_Gunderson" target="_blank">Ted Gunderson</a>, and a telling piece of evidence in itself, the Discovery Channel documentary <a href="http://www.franklincase.org/index.php?option=com_content&amp;view=category&amp;layout=blog&amp;id=17&amp;Itemid=12" target="_blank">Conspiracy of Silence</a> which was pulled from national television at the last minute, had the rights purchased and all physical copies destroyed. <br /><br />Through these resources, you will learn the story of how dozens of children in the vicinity of Omaha, Nebraska independently came forward through various channels and had remarkably similar stories to tell.&nbsp; These victims confessed horrific sexual abuse, naming some of the most powerful people in Omaha, including the Mayor, the Omaha Chief of Police, the editor of the Omaha World-Herald, wealthy businessmen, an Omaha Judge, and Larry King, the manager of the Franklin Credit Union and high level Republican Party activist. <br /><br />When a special Franklin committee of the Nebraska Legislature launched its own probe, they not only found evidence of money-laundering and other financial crimes that corroborated the victim's stories (for which Larry King was sentenced to a 15 year sentence), but evidence that the high-profile suspects were indeed guilty of committing crimes against children.&nbsp; As local and state law enforcement, the FBI, and the Omaha World-Herald maliciously attacked the victims and the Franklin investigation, John DeCamp made a daring calculation by publicly releasing "The Franklin Memo", which identified some of the key child abusers for the first time.&nbsp; Predictably, DeCamp was threatened with a lawsuit for leaking this memo, but his risk paid off: concerned parents whose children had ties to the named abusers confronted their children, and additional victims came forward, resulting in Peter Citron, a columnist for the Omaha World-Herald, being convicted of child abuse, and Alan Baer, a wealthy businessman, being indicted of felony pandering. <br /><br /><table align="center" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" class="tr-caption-container" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto; text-align: center;"><tbody><tr><td style="text-align: center;"><a href="https://2.bp.blogspot.com/-XhysYTmNikc/WB_RRAXcnJI/AAAAAAAABLE/MmrHVicd_uUOx4B9P9NNvrlJuCr7ut05gCLcB/s1600/pizza_newspaper.png" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;"><img border="0" height="212" src="https://2.bp.blogspot.com/-XhysYTmNikc/WB_RRAXcnJI/AAAAAAAABLE/MmrHVicd_uUOx4B9P9NNvrlJuCr7ut05gCLcB/s640/pizza_newspaper.png" width="640" /></a></td></tr><tr><td class="tr-caption" style="text-align: center;">Once it goes to the White House, the fix is in: it could be nothing other than a "Carefully Crafted Hoax".</td></tr></tbody></table><br />So my key take-away has always been this: the police found the children's testimony consistent and credible, experts confirmed the victims were sexually abused, some of the accused were convicted of said child abuse, and the "pimp" Larry King was convicted of money laundering (and also had a creepy bedroom in the basement of the Credit Union).&nbsp; And just when you would think this story would wrap-up with the remaining child abusers brought to justice, the "cover-up" part of the story takes over in 1990. The Franklin Committee's chief investigator Gary Caradori and his son died in a suspicious plane crash as he was allegedly bringing back damning photographic evidence from Chicago, and his rapid death was only one of more than a dozen others tied to the Franklin case.&nbsp; Almost all of the child victims were threatened into recanting their stories, and those that didn't, notably Alicia Owen and Paul Bonacci, were convicted of perjury charges and sentenced to years in prison, with the grand jury wrapping a bow on the whole ordeal by labeling it a "carefully crafted hoax". <br /><br />As admitted in the courts, the children were abused by someone, those they accused were guilty of child abuse and other crimes, and yet through some unbelievable act of mental gymnastics we arrive at the absurd conclusion that the whole thing was a hoax, just as dead bodies start piling up? Could the kingpins of Omaha, Nebraska really pull this off?&nbsp; This doesn't make sense until you consider the final part of the story: in addition to naming the prominent Omaha abusers, the children also told incredible stories of being flown on airplanes by Larry King to Washington D.C. to be served up to the "very top" political elites of the country - implicitly indicating Skull &amp; Bones alumnus H.W. Bush.&nbsp; The stories they told were not only of sexual abuse, but of Satanic ritual abuse up to and including murder of the victims at the conclusion of the ceremonies.&nbsp; This is no longer an issue of depraved boss-hogism, but a threat to national security. <br /><br /><b>Meet the New Boss, Same as the Old Boss</b><br /><br />Fast-forward some 30-odd years, and we could be looking at the same story under a different name.&nbsp; On the one hand, we don't have victims coming forward, which is hardly surprising.&nbsp; The precedent set by Franklin is that "snitches" are killed or imprisoned for perjury, while the abusers are "too big to jail".&nbsp; And yet, the latest batches of the WikiLeaks Podesta e-mails contain both explicit references to Satanic rituals, as well as what looks to be coded references to child sexual abuse.&nbsp; Let's review the evidence, keeping in mind the Franklin "lens" to the power elite. <br /><br />First, we have <a href="https://wikileaks.org/podesta-emails/emailid/15893" target="_blank">e-mails</a> from "performance artist" Marina Abramovic to John and Tony Podesta discussing their upcoming "Spirit Cooking dinner". &nbsp;This e-mail went largely unnoticed, until&nbsp;<a href="https://twitter.com/wikileaks/status/794450623404113920/photo/1" target="_blank">WikiLeaks linked</a> to an <a href="http://wearechange.org/spirit-cooking-disturbing-podesta-email-yet-warning-graphic-content/" target="_blank">alternative media article</a> putting together incredibly graphic videos and pictures of Abramovic's "spirit cooking" which include mock child sacrifice, buckets of pig blood, and consuming human "fluids" in a satanic ritual. &nbsp;For those defending this as art, we need only read her own words where&nbsp;<a href="https://www.reddit.com/r/IAmA/comments/1jctbp/i_am_performance_artist_marina_abramovic_ask_me/cbdekfv/" target="_blank">she says it should not be considered art when done in a private home</a>.&nbsp; Could this all be a misunderstanding? The fact that Podesta has <a href="http://www.infowars.com/art-depicting-cannibalism-hangs-in-podestas-campaign-office/" target="_blank">creepy cannibalistic / spirit cooking art hanging in his campaign office</a>, and "<a href="https://archive.fo/vddrO" target="_blank">documentary-style pictures of naked teenagers</a>" in his home indicates we should keep looking - where there is smoke, there may be fire. <br /><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-ceXKkyGWLQE/WB_wLP2XAGI/AAAAAAAABLo/HDYE94eaeac9umQS-wJBZcJlw6j0RrmGgCLcB/s1600/pizza_art.png" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" height="171" src="https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-ceXKkyGWLQE/WB_wLP2XAGI/AAAAAAAABLo/HDYE94eaeac9umQS-wJBZcJlw6j0RrmGgCLcB/s400/pizza_art.png" width="400" /></a></div><br />Next, we look at the growing list of e-mails that use words like "hotdog" and "pizza" in ways that do not make sense, unless they are code-words for something else.&nbsp; As <a href="https://www.reddit.com/r/Operation_Berenstain/comments/5axegy/master_post_regarding_the_evidence_of_clinton_run/" target="_blank">reddit users keyword searched the leaked e-mails</a>, the alternative media started reporting on the <a href="http://wearechange.org/internet-fire-speculation-podesta-emails-contain-code-child-sex/" target="_blank">emerging pattern</a> that matched these words to common pedophile terms referring to preferences for children based on gender, age, and race.&nbsp; Some of the stranger e-mails included:<br /><ul><li><a href="https://wikileaks.org/podesta-emails/emailid/30613" target="_blank">"Do you think I'll do better playing dominos on cheese than on pasta?"&nbsp;</a></li><li><a href="https://wikileaks.org/podesta-emails/emailid/23561" target="_blank">"The realtor found a handkerchief (I think it has a map that seems pizza-related"&nbsp;</a></li><li><a href="https://wikileaks.org/podesta-emails/emailid/30231" target="_blank">"I'm dreaming about your hotdog stand in Hawaii…"</a></li></ul>The use of "pizza" (coded for "girl") is especially prevalent, with the below images attached to e-mails saying "<a href="https://wikileaks.org/podesta-emails/emailid/37543" target="_blank">Do not forward :)</a>" and "<a href="https://wikileaks.org/podesta-emails/emailid/10037" target="_blank">it doesn't get any better than this</a>". Not to mention "<a href="https://wikileaks.org/podesta-emails/emailid/33096" target="_blank">Would love to get pizza for an hour?</a>", "<a href="https://wikileaks.org/podesta-emails/emailid/22033" target="_blank">If you will be around for dinner or pizza</a>", and reference to an upcoming "<a href="https://wikileaks.org/podesta-emails/emailid/37072" target="_blank">pizza extravaganza</a>".&nbsp; To top it off, we then have <a href="https://www.reddit.com/r/The_Donald/comments/5bdstd/pol_just_made_a_convincing_discover_on_the_pizza/" target="_blank">two pizza places in Washington, DC</a> with blatant <a href="https://file.wikileaks.org/file/FBI-pedophile-symbols.pdf" target="_blank">FBI sourced pedophile imagery</a> in their <a href="https://www.reddit.com/r/Operation_Berenstain/comments/5bf20j/the_comet_pizza_logo_itself_is_a_doublemeaning/" target="_blank">logos</a>, with multiple ties to the Podesta e-mail group.<br /><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><iframe width="320" height="266" class="YOUTUBE-iframe-video" data-thumbnail-src="https://i.ytimg.com/vi/ggvQdZXMGLw/0.jpg" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/ggvQdZXMGLw?feature=player_embedded" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></div><br />This pattern is also leading to new revelations on other e-mails from previous WikiLeaks projects, such as <a href="https://wikileaks.org/gifiles/docs/12/1223066_re-get-ready-for-chicago-hot-dog-friday-.html" target="_blank">this chain from the Global Intelligence Files</a> where, in response to the president of Stratfor asking if the recipients are ready for "Chicago Hot Dog Friday", one Stratfor employee makes reference to Obama spending "$65,000 of the tax payers money flying in pizza/dogs from Chicago for a private party at the white house" and asks if they are "using the same channels?"&nbsp; In response, they say "If we get the same "waitresses", I'm all for it!!!".&nbsp; While some conservative blogs originally highlighted this e-mail to point out government waste, now the e-mail takes on an entirely different meaning.<br /><br /><a href="http://www.infowars.com/pizzagate-the-bigger-picture/">This is just the tip of the iceberg</a>.&nbsp; One can spend countless hours going further down the rabbit hole reading through various theories on reddit's <a href="https://www.reddit.com/r/Operation_Berenstain/">Operation Berenstain</a>, <a href="https://www.reddit.com/r/WikiLeaks/" target="_blank">WikiLeaks</a>, and <a href="https://www.reddit.com/r/conspiracy/" target="_blank">Conspiracy</a> sub-reddits without end.&nbsp; How this all comes together is when Erik Prince, former Navy SEAL and founder of BlackWater <a href="http://www.breitbart.com/radio/2016/11/04/erik-prince-nypd-ready-make-arrests-weiner-case/" target="_blank">gave a recent interview</a> explaining that his sources in the NYPD are "disgusted" by the Anthony Weiner computer, and that it has been handed over to the FBI with 650,000 e-mails containing evidence of "money laundering, underage sex, pay-for-play, and, of course, plenty of proof of inappropriate handling, sending/receiving of classified information, up to SAP level Special Access Programs." <br /><br />Will we actually see the FBI or NYPD release this information?&nbsp; Will Assange go through with the next set of leaks that he says is 50 times worse than anything released so far?&nbsp; Will Anonymous come through with the video proof they claim they have of Clinton child abuse?&nbsp; Or will all of this become just another "conspiracy theory" swept into the dustbin of history? <br /><br /><b>Incompetence vs. Evil: The Big Lie in Action</b><br /><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-G_Q67DwZwz0/WB_RgR8FuGI/AAAAAAAABLM/LxSO2J-TRr07eQNc-tWqhKcrjfFqjcplgCLcB/s1600/pizza_bohemian_grove.png" imageanchor="1" style="clear: left; float: left; margin-bottom: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" height="300" src="https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-G_Q67DwZwz0/WB_RgR8FuGI/AAAAAAAABLM/LxSO2J-TRr07eQNc-tWqhKcrjfFqjcplgCLcB/s400/pizza_bohemian_grove.png" width="400" /></a></div>As I combed through the various WikiLeaks threads on this topic, it seemed every other post was one expressing the feeling of witnessing something unthinkable and unbelievable.&nbsp; Even for those that were convinced that there was a coded message contained in some of the e-mails, they would rather believe that it was referencing illegal drugs, money-laundering payments or run-of-the-mill prostitutes - anything but children. <br /><br />And this gets to the heart of <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Big_lie" target="_blank">Hitler's "Big Lie"</a>, that as long as the lie is so colossal, then you have the added advantage that no one will believe it.&nbsp; We expect the government to be incompetent, we expect them to be corrupt. We expect them to take bribes and bend the rules to enrich themselves and their friends.&nbsp; We can even imagine government officials going down a path that started out with good intentions but resulted in something evil, as we all can relate to the "white lie" or small indiscretion that slowly runs out of control. <br /><br />But this?&nbsp; Pedophiles?&nbsp; Satanism?&nbsp; This is the stuff of creepy trailer parks, abandoned warehouses and the "dark web", certainly not belonging to mansions, capitol buildings, and the campaigns of presidential candidates. <br /><br />And yet, as impossible as it is to believe, from a certain angle the worldview where these heinous crimes are possible is certainly more logically consistent.&nbsp; For instance, it stretches the imagination to believe that certain politicians that were the top of their class at prestigious universities are really so daft as to not understand basic economics, or even to pick up on the criticisms of their opponents as their government interventionist policies spectacularly fail one after the other.&nbsp; If they are really trying to help the poor, how do they not see that their policies perpetuate behaviors that increase poverty?&nbsp; If they are trying to stop racism, how do they not see that their interventions increase it?&nbsp; If they wanted to stop crime, how do they not see that <a href="http://www.nathankleffman.com/2013/03/the-great-object-and-line-in-sand.html" target="_blank">gun control makes it worse, not better</a>? <br /><br />If we follow this inconsistency to its conclusion, that some of these people aren't incompetent or "useful idiots", but evil, then we are faced with a psychological barrier because we simply can't relate to people like that.&nbsp; The level of selfishness and disregard for the lives of other human beings at such a colossal scale boggles the mind.&nbsp; But if we follow the evidence, and uneasily sit with the idea of an elite political class that routinely engage in practices directly out of <a href="http://www.infowars.com/the-hidden-and-not-so-hidden-messages-in-stanley-kubricks-eyes-wide-shut-pt-i/" target="_blank">Eyes Wide Shut</a>, then aren't we left with a number of undeniable consistencies? <br /><br />What kind of person <a href="https://theintercept.com/2016/02/18/trump-is-right-bush-lied-a-little-known-part-of-the-bogus-case-for-war/" target="_blank">starts a war that kills millions of people over a known lie</a>?&nbsp; What kind of person <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RM0uvgHKZe8" target="_blank">says the death of 500,000 children from sanctions was "worth it"</a>?&nbsp; What kind of a person <a href="http://www.breitbart.com/live/second-presidential-debate-fact-check-livewire/fact-check-yes-hillary-clinton-laugh-successfully-defending-child-rapist/" target="_blank">destroys evidence to set a brutal child rapist free and then laughs about it</a>?&nbsp; What kind of person <a href="http://www.infowars.com/trump-is-right-heres-proof-hillary-obama-founded-isis/" target="_blank">funds extremist groups</a> that brutalize women, rape children, and murder hundreds of thousands of innocent people?&nbsp; Satanic pedophiles, that's who. <br /><br /><b>Conclusion</b><br /><br />Going back to the original question, we ask, what do we do with this information?&nbsp; Researching the Franklin Cover-up was a transformative event in my life many years ago.&nbsp; I read the books, watched the documentaries, and attended conventions where I was able to meet FBI chief Ted Gunderson and hear of the horrors that he investigated first-hand.&nbsp; This is a topic that I've wanted to write on for some time, especially as various pedophile scandals would come up, such as <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Penn_State_child_sex_abuse_scandal" target="_blank">Penn State</a>, billionaire &nbsp;<a href="http://www.foxnews.com/us/2016/05/13/flight-logs-show-bill-clinton-flew-on-sex-offenders-jet-much-more-than-previously-known.html" target="_blank">Clinton pal</a> <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jeffrey_Epstein" target="_blank">Jeffrey Epstein</a>, and the royal family's connection to <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jimmy_Savile_sexual_abuse_scandal" target="_blank">Jimmy Savile</a> and their own pedophile scandal that was <a href="http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3006218/Mystery-royal-suspected-paedophile-ring-investigated-Scotland-Yard-inquiry-shut-national-security-reasons.html" target="_blank">shut down for national security</a>. <br /><br />There are a few benefits to looking into this mother of all scandals, even though the information can be so disgusting and sad that it literally makes stomachs churn and grown men cry.&nbsp; First, if it is the truth, then we have an unstated and implicit assumption that it is better to be aware of the truth than to be ignorant.&nbsp; I would always argue for the red pill over the blue pill. &nbsp;You may not like what you see, but it is better to deal with reality than to hide from it. <br /><br />Second, the more people that are aware of this information, or at least view it as conceivable in their world view, then the power of the "big lie" loses its strength, bit by bit.&nbsp; The power elite can only get to this level of hubris when they believe that the masses are too ignorant or naive to deal with the information.&nbsp; If a growing percentage of the population are of a mindset to accept these types of revelations, then the "good people" in government are less likely to want to hide these crimes from a "national security" perspective.&nbsp; Rather than fearing the burning of cities and total insanity, they can hope for a structured and level-headed revolution to dispense with the evil elements while maintaining law and order. <br /><br />But finally, from an an-cap perspective, I am all too eager for the illusion of government benevolence to disappear in one mighty stroke.&nbsp; The American people think of government like Santa Clause or any other imaginary entity, and it is time they wake from their dream and see that those in power are imperfect souls like the rest of us.&nbsp; To take it one step further, they'll finally have the undeniable proof from <a href="http://amzn.to/2fqlnrI" target="_blank">Hayek's lesson</a> that in government, <a href="https://fee.org/resources/the-road-to-serfdom-chapter-10-why-the-worst-get-on-top/" target="_blank">the worst truly rise to the top</a>.&nbsp; If this information ever got out, it would be a lesson that we would never forget. Unknownnoreply@blogger.comtag:blogger.com,1999:blog-6497333203175478928.post-62998745664763943292016-10-08T20:43:00.002-05:002016-10-09T19:55:59.215-05:00Election 2016: A Libertarian Analysis<div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="https://2.bp.blogspot.com/-tesqPzDT24I/V_mcTk39h1I/AAAAAAAABJw/RDeKuVmpqrUh63gEBQYpeTJq7QNS5FjRwCLcB/s1600/Election2016_LibertarianAnalysis.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" height="80" src="https://2.bp.blogspot.com/-tesqPzDT24I/V_mcTk39h1I/AAAAAAAABJw/RDeKuVmpqrUh63gEBQYpeTJq7QNS5FjRwCLcB/s400/Election2016_LibertarianAnalysis.jpg" width="400" /></a></div><br />It is 30 days before the 2016 U.S. presidential election, and as predictable as an eclipse, every media personality and government authority at home and abroad assures us that this is the most important decision of our lives.&nbsp; This time, maybe it's true. <br /><br />The polls change day to day, some show Trump ahead, while others show Hillary with the edge.&nbsp; Both candidates have a healthy list of scandals that are ignored by their supporters and decried by their detractors, and they keep coming.&nbsp; In a single weekend we've seen twin bombshells land with <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/trump-recorded-having-extremely-lewd-conversation-about-women-in-2005/2016/10/07/3b9ce776-8cb4-11e6-bf8a-3d26847eeed4_story.html" target="_blank">Trump's vulgar comments from an Access Hollywood hot mic</a>, and WikiLeaks dumping <a href="https://www.buzzfeed.com/rubycramer/wikileaks-appears-to-release-hillary-clintons-paid-speech-tr?utm_term=.xe1ZZrrpBM#.lfOzzooxV2" target="_blank">Hillary's open-border promoting speeches to Goldman Sachs</a>.&nbsp; We're barely more than a week into October, so God knows what further October surprises await us.&nbsp; <a href="http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2016-10-05/newspapers-shun-trump-not-single-endorsement-top-100" target="_blank">Trump has -1 endorsements across the top 100 news publications</a>, and even the <a href="http://www.infowars.com/biden-to-crowd-i-know-some-of-you-arent-crazy-about-hillary/" target="_blank">top Democrat politicos admit</a> they have a tough job getting their constituents excited for Hillary.&nbsp; <a href="http://www.politico.com/story/2016/07/gallup-favorability-clinton-trump-226295" target="_blank">With both major candidates having 58% negative favorability rating</a>, it is clear that a large swath of the voting public aren't voting for one candidate, as much as they are voting against the other. <br /><br />This state of affairs should have been the opportunity of a lifetime for the Libertarian Party, but instead we have become a laughing stock.&nbsp; In 2012, I triumphantly <a href="http://www.economicpolicyjournal.com/2012/06/report-gary-johnson-is-reading.html" target="_blank">reported that Gary Johnson accepted my gift</a> and assured me that he would read <a href="http://amzn.to/2dTo8oy" target="_blank">For a New Liberty</a>.&nbsp; Either he did not follow through, or anything he learned has been smoked away in recent years.&nbsp; As for the LP VP Bill Weld, the <a href="https://www.nraila.org/articles/20160826/libertarian-vp-candidate-william-f-weld-continues-to-be-anti-gun" target="_blank">anti-gun</a> <a href="https://www.bostonglobe.com/news/politics/2016/10/04/bill-weld-says-will-use-libertarian-vice-presidential-platform-focus-fire-donald-trump/NQcxRVjXXeIY2mfhVXvyKP/story.html" target="_blank">pro-Hillary</a> establishment Republican, all shame belongs to the delegates at the LP convention and those like myself that did not even attend to try and stop this predictable disaster. <br /><br />Given all this, what can a libertarian reasonably expect?&nbsp; What should we hope for, and what should we prepare for?&nbsp; And for those inclined to vote libertarian, as <a href="http://www.nathankleffman.com/2012/10/should-libertarians-vote-libertarian.html" target="_blank">I argued should be the obvious choice just 4 years ago</a>, is that still the best course of action? <br /><br /><b>Option Hillary - God Help Us</b><br /><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-R1rxXWb8PNA/V_mc4sSjeDI/AAAAAAAABJ0/lwQq_HlKc744qmHiwWljG8haXwUDNuVeACLcB/s1600/Election2016_HillaryClinton.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="clear: left; float: left; margin-bottom: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" height="231" src="https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-R1rxXWb8PNA/V_mc4sSjeDI/AAAAAAAABJ0/lwQq_HlKc744qmHiwWljG8haXwUDNuVeACLcB/s320/Election2016_HillaryClinton.jpg" width="320" /></a></div>Imagine the horror: it's a month from now, the fix is in, and Hillary wins the presidency.&nbsp; As much as I hate to say, this is a very plausible scenario - not necessarily because she will get a majority vote, but because it is unimaginable that the establishment could allow a Trump victory.&nbsp; In the wake of the victorious Brexit movement <a href="http://www.economist.com/news/leaders/21702750-farewell-left-versus-right-contest-matters-now-open-against-closed-new" target="_blank">the Economist declared that left vs. right is over</a>, and all globalists of both parties must support Hillary to save the New World Order.&nbsp; But this goes beyond the American elite, the who's who of Bilderberg, the CFR, and other globalist organizations are all in a state of panic, with the <a href="http://www.politico.com/story/2016/09/un-news-agency-scrubs-tweet-calling-on-foreign-citizens-to-end-trump-228934" target="_blank">UN going so far as to tweet in desperation for foreign Americans to stop Trump</a>. <br /><br />So imagine the <b>worst-case scenario</b>: we have Hillary Clinton, a career-criminal psychopath with dozens of scandals across multiple decades sitting in the White House once again.&nbsp; But for a moment, let's forget her financial crimes of the "boss-hog" variety, like getting rich off <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hillary_Rodham_cattle_futures_controversy" target="_blank">insider trade deals</a>, <a href="http://www.nationalreview.com/article/437883/hillarys-america-secret-history-democratic-party-dinesh-dsouza-clinton-foundation" target="_blank">stealing donations meant for Haiti</a>, and operating her <a href="http://amzn.to/2dZE9oX" target="_blank">foundation as a money laundering operation for the State Department</a>.&nbsp; Let's even put aside her more personal offenses, like <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qcqh0gRy-og" target="_blank">concealing evidence to defend a known pedophile rapist</a>, her <a href="http://amzn.to/2cYVMIn" target="_blank">smear campaigns</a> against Bill's consensual and <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Juanita_Broaddrick" target="_blank">non-consensual</a> affairs, and even the <a href="http://www.govtslaves.info/comprehensive-clinton-body-count-list/" target="_blank">ever-growing body count</a> left in her wake.&nbsp; The real concern is this: how will Hillary react when the market acknowledges that the Fed can never raise interest rates without throwing the economy into a depression worse than 2008?&nbsp; What happens when the bond bubble bursts?&nbsp; What happens when the dollar is in a state of free-fall? <br /><br />Hillary is exactly the type of person the New World Order wants to be steering the ship of state when we go off the financial cliff.&nbsp; Martial law, gun-grabs, and all out civil-war are all on the table when an establishment puppet has to take "emergency measures" to deal with an America in meltdown.&nbsp; But that's just on the domestic front, the perfect way to distract the people from problems at home is to create an even bigger international crisis, and we've already seen what Hillary is capable of.&nbsp; She is foaming at the mouth in anticipation of additional foreign wars to complete the job of overthrowing countries in Africa and the Middle East to create failed states and bases for ISIS.&nbsp; But we must never forget that these proxy wars are on Russia's door-step, and even if the American media decides it isn't newsworthy, that doesn't discredit the ever-increasing danger of <a href="http://www.infowars.com/russia-u-s-on-brink-of-nuclear-war/" target="_blank">all-out nuclear war</a>. <br /><br />Hence, the <b>best-case scenario</b> under a Hillary presidency is that we survive anything short of nuclear war.&nbsp; Considering all the other potential Democratic candidates that could have been offered, it is indeed strange that they would push someone as unlikable and scandal-ridden as Hillary.&nbsp; Perhaps Hillary's insatiable power hunger could be her downfall.&nbsp; Is it too much to hope that the lame duck presidency of Obama could follow Hillary into her first term? Would the military refuse to serve as the ISIS air force or to participate in gun confiscation?&nbsp; The bright side of having a villain of comic-book proportions sitting as president is that the outrageous crimes that she will engage in will be too much for even the most brain-dead, Stockholm-syndrome statists to ignore.&nbsp; Perhaps future history books will look back at her administration as the time when the people finally woke up to the evil, incompetent, self-destructive nature of government.&nbsp; She could be the final indignity that Americans can stand, the catalyst that brings down the empire of lies through her own wickedness, the darkest hour just before dawn. <br /><br /><b>Option Trump - The Battle has just Begun</b><br /><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="https://3.bp.blogspot.com/-brD19z1UEtM/V_mc-BQP2qI/AAAAAAAABJ4/2Yl6Ykyjqx8iwqvJlzeVtQxSPggZJUXIACLcB/s1600/Election2016_DonaldTrump.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="clear: left; float: left; margin-bottom: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" height="320" src="https://3.bp.blogspot.com/-brD19z1UEtM/V_mc-BQP2qI/AAAAAAAABJ4/2Yl6Ykyjqx8iwqvJlzeVtQxSPggZJUXIACLcB/s320/Election2016_DonaldTrump.jpg" width="320" /></a></div>If we assumed a fair voting process, then one could objectively say that this election is Trump's to lose.&nbsp; With even rigged polls that contain more democrats than republicans, Trump is neck and neck in areas that democrats traditionally dominate, and is outright winning in many swing states.&nbsp; Also, these polls assume the type of voter turn-out that occurred in 2008 and 2012, and ignore the fact that Trump has inspired a record breaking voter turnout for the Republican primary as well as early voting turnouts in some states.&nbsp; If Trump's landslide victory is large enough, it may be too much for voter fraud to combat without jeopardizing all faith and support for the government.&nbsp; At that point, the shadow government may view stealing the election as a hollow victory, throwing out the government baby with the Trump bath water. <br /><br />In the <b>worst-case scenario</b>, we can imagine the entire New World Order system throwing everything they have against a Trump presidency.&nbsp; They would be more than happy to pull the plug on the economy and blame the resulting devastation on the Trump victory.&nbsp; Would the Trump administration be able to entirely clean house and rid itself of every double-agent, or would enough snakes wait in the grass to strike at an opportune moment?&nbsp; With terrorist attacks, dirty bombs, and racial mobs funded by George Soros burning down inner cities - they could truly create hell.&nbsp; We must remember that the globalist enemies would not only be fighting to keep their privileged possessions, but perhaps for their freedom and their very lives.&nbsp; They could be the most dangerous of cornered rats. <br /><br />These challenges would be a given in a Trump administration.&nbsp; But the real question is how would the Donald respond?&nbsp; We could see every libertarian Trump supporter swallowing his endorsement as the worst things Trump said over the course of the campaign come to fruition.&nbsp; The candidate of "law and order" may bring an outrageous police state to America, complete with a border wall to keep us from leaving.&nbsp; The candidate who simplifies complex economic laws into the need for "better trade deals" may truly be that simple.&nbsp; We must remember that Trump the master entrepreneur has the indispensable element of profits and loses to guide his decisions to expand a successful business or to put a failing one into bankruptcy.&nbsp; Trump the politician will lose that data and will be as helpless to make correct economic decisions as the tsar of any 3rd-world socialist state.&nbsp; He will have to operate by instinct alone, and if he fails to bring about the success that his ego demands, he could become a fascist strong-man of the worst order, even with the best intentions. <br /><br />The <b>best-case scenario</b> is almost too fantastic to take seriously, but we should review it just the same.&nbsp; Talk show host <a href="http://www.infowars.com/" target="_blank">Alex Jones</a> has repeatedly claimed from his inside sources that Trump is a sleeper-cell super-patriot decades in the making.&nbsp; Just as George Washington and other founding fathers were the wealthiest Americans who were tired of licking British boots, Trump is a self-made billionaire that detests the New World Order and has pledged his life, his fortune, and his sacred honor to take them down.&nbsp; Rather than use his billions to escape the coming chaos and live a life of secluded luxury, Trump is ready to risk it all in an epic battle to the death to save America and the world from a eugenics-based, technocratic, satanic elite hell-bent on destroying the world.&nbsp; In this rosy scenario, Trump understands the free-market solutions needed to solve our problems, but he has made the calculated decision to speak to the American voter in the childish terms they want to hear in order to get elected.&nbsp; But when the tough decisions need to be made, Trump will boldly dispense the much-needed medicine to reignite the potential of the economy and make America great again. <br /><br /><b>The Biggest Loser - Libertarians</b><br /><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-cvlHEgAD_jI/V_mdD6JfrdI/AAAAAAAABKA/xXkaMrLFtgcJx9FgvZ3pnKLshPR6MXCGgCLcB/s1600/Election2016_GaryJohnson.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="clear: left; float: left; margin-bottom: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" height="206" src="https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-cvlHEgAD_jI/V_mdD6JfrdI/AAAAAAAABKA/xXkaMrLFtgcJx9FgvZ3pnKLshPR6MXCGgCLcB/s320/Election2016_GaryJohnson.jpg" width="320" /></a></div>A colossal opportunity has been lost.&nbsp; A realistic look at the body-politic of America could convince any but the most delusional that Americans are simply not anywhere close to electing a true libertarian to office.&nbsp; Decades of government school and media influence have erected substantial mental barriers that make it incredibly difficult for our ideas to be understood. &nbsp; Fallacy upon fallacy stand in the way between the people we wish to reach and the information we wish to provide. &nbsp;Clearly, we have a lot of work to do. <br /><br />So just as <a href="http://www.nathankleffman.com/2013/08/the-libertarian-debate-principled-or.html" target="_blank">myself and others have warned</a>, by nominating candidates that may "look presidential" but are mental midgets in communicating the libertarian message, we will lose twice: first we will lose the election, and second we have failed to educate. <br /><br />But unlike other years where our candidate was simply ignored, this year we may have done catastrophic and possibly irreparable damage to the libertarian brand.&nbsp; What is it to be a libertarian?&nbsp; To force a baker to bake a Nazi cake?&nbsp; To endorse government managed trade through the TPP?&nbsp; To support gun control?&nbsp; To espouse a wishy-washing hodge-podge collection of random positions and repeatedly fail to explain even the most basic libertarian principles of <a href="http://www.nathankleffman.com/2014/05/a-libertarian-party-platform-for.html" target="_blank">self-ownership or the non-aggression principle</a>? <br /><br />When the presidential ticket, the supposed leaders of the Libertarian Party, ignorantly spout such nonsensical positions that are <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TW5gQo43ay4" target="_blank">so blatantly anti-libertarian</a> we may have screwed up our public image beyond repair.&nbsp; Will we look back at this time and say this is when we had to abandon the libertarian term in order to communicate?&nbsp; Just as the <a href="https://mises.org/library/liberalism-classical-tradition" target="_blank">liberalism</a> of Ludwig von Mises has morphed over a century into a term equivalent to the <a href="https://mises.org/library/omnipotent-government-rise-total-state-and-total-war" target="_blank">omnipotent state</a>, will future "voluntaryists" need to refer to the "libertarianism of Murray Rothbard" to have an unambiguous conversation?&nbsp; Let us hope not.&nbsp; But beyond hope, we must ensure that our core marketing and communication initiatives are not through the political arena, but are through promoting and supporting libertarian <a href="http://www.ronpaulhomeschool.com/" target="_blank">competition in education</a> like <a href="http://www.libertyclassroom.com/dap/a/?a=3125" target="_blank">Tom Wood's Liberty Classroom</a> and news sites like <a href="http://lewrockwell.com/">LewRockwell.com</a>. <br /><br /><b>Conclusion</b><br /><br />As we've reviewed the conceivable best and worst case scenarios for the 2016 election, the questions that remain are what can we reasonably expect, what should we work towards, and what should we prepare for? <br /><br />One thing is for certain; even if Trump is in an unstealable lead the establishment will not go quietly into the night or meekly be led to jail.&nbsp; Elites around the globe are unanimous that the New World Order must have a Hillary victory to survive.&nbsp; To what length will these globalist terrorists go to save themselves?&nbsp; Economic crises, dirty bombs, terrorist attacks, war - nothing is off the table.&nbsp; We have backed uber-criminals into a corner, and there is no end to what they could do. <br /><br />So on the one hand, the romantic in me would love to see a Trump victory that reinforces the anti-globalist sentiment and inspires new waves of nationalism and secession across the planet.&nbsp; However the empire chooses to strike back, let them do their worst, and let us hope that Trump becomes the next George Washington in a world-wide 1776 2.0. <br /><br />But on the other hand, do we really want the lesson learned from this historic time to be that the American people can only be saved by a politician, albeit one that comes from outside the establishment?&nbsp; At a time when the public has all-time disapproval and distrust for their political leaders, do we want the political system rescued by producing a savior?&nbsp; Perhaps in the long run, the best thing really would be for Hillary to break the US into a thousand pieces and force the American people to start looking outside politics to solve their problems.&nbsp; Assuming this can be done without nuclear war, sometimes things must get worse before they get better.Unknownnoreply@blogger.comtag:blogger.com,1999:blog-6497333203175478928.post-68277048636289592332016-05-08T22:50:00.000-05:002016-05-10T00:04:24.835-05:00Prop 1 Failed and Everybody Lost<div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-8cy1_49EUZk/Vy_1uF0E7PI/AAAAAAAABCc/KQAGmQYveHgEdD8EM_uC-HEVuFfpRqZ2QCLcB/s1600/Prop1Failed_BootStomp.png" imageanchor="1" style="clear: left; float: left; margin-bottom: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" height="320" src="https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-8cy1_49EUZk/Vy_1uF0E7PI/AAAAAAAABCc/KQAGmQYveHgEdD8EM_uC-HEVuFfpRqZ2QCLcB/s320/Prop1Failed_BootStomp.png" width="272" /></a></div>In an unfortunate confirmation that nothing is sacred, last night's election results brought devastating news to thousands of would-be Mother's Day celebrators in Austin, Texas: <a href="http://techcrunch.com/2016/05/07/uber-and-lyft-shutdown-in-austin-after-voters-defeat-proposition-1/" target="_blank">the failure of Proposition 1</a>.&nbsp; How could this be?&nbsp; Elections are generally neither noteworthy nor meaningful in the sense that they impact our day-to-day lives, and they certainly shouldn't ruin an event as hallowed as Mother's Day.&nbsp; Get together with family, share a meal, and leave your politics at the door.&nbsp; Regardless of what day it is, consider that it is almost statistically impossible to be the deciding vote that tips the scales one way or the other, and you are left with the conclusion that it is generally best to stay out of the sticky mess of politics altogether... but this time it's different. <br /><br />The sole item up for vote was <a href="http://www.voteprop1.com/" target="_blank">Proposition 1</a>, a confusingly-worded ballot initiative that sought to overturn a recent City Council ordinance regulating ride-sharing companies like <a href="https://www.uber.com/" target="_blank">Uber</a> and <a href="http://lyft.com/" target="_blank">Lyft</a> in several ways, most notably requiring fingerprint background checks on all drivers.&nbsp; Both companies have warned that they will be forced to leave the city of Austin if these regulations are enforced, and as of today they have proven good on their word. &nbsp;Uber and Lyft have shut down their service to the detriment of the 10,000-15,000 full and part-time drivers and the hundreds of thousands of their satisfied customers. <br /><br />In the grand scheme of things, the City Council’s regulation on ride-sharing companies is a small crime of the State.&nbsp; Compare it to <a href="http://www.reuters.com/article/us-iraq-deaths-survey-idUSL3048857920080130" target="_blank">1,000,000 dead Iraqis</a> or <a href="http://amzn.to/1Ygzvmv" target="_blank">dropping atomic bombs on civilian cities</a> and it's easy to dismiss this event as a <a href="http://knowyourmeme.com/memes/first-world-problems" target="_blank">first world problem</a>.&nbsp; However, just as some of my favorite pieces by Jeffrey Tucker concern the little ways the State screws us every day, like why our <a href="https://mises.org/library/relentless-misery-16-gallons" target="_blank">toilets require plungers</a> or why our <a href="https://mises.org/library/why-everything-dirtier" target="_blank">clothes aren't clean</a>, the sorry tale of Prop 1 is a microcosm for why every day, in a million different ways <a href="http://www.econlib.org/library/Bastiat/basEss1.html" target="_blank">both seen and unseen</a>, the State makes our lives worse. <br /><br />So on this celebration of Motherhood, when thousands of Austinites are going to open their iPhones expecting to effortlessly catch a ride to their favorite trendy brunch-spot and realize that <a href="http://kxan.com/2016/05/07/prop-1-fails-marking-defeat-for-uber-and-lyft-in-austin/" target="_blank">56% out of the 17% of eligible Travis County voters</a> have made one of their most important apps stop working overnight, we should use this opportunity to restate the case that can never be made enough: that the State is the common enemy of mankind. <br /><br /><b>The Losers of Prop 1</b><br /><br />To take the representatives of Lyft and Uber at their word, the decision to pack up and leave Austin is no small decision.&nbsp; Obviously, they wouldn't have launched in Austin to begin with unless it were profitable to do so, so shutting down implies a reduction of those same profits.&nbsp; When a new law or tax is passed, sometimes the additional cost can be passed onto the consumer, but many times it can be the breaking point between a company staying open or moving on to greener pastures.&nbsp; So in this sense, the corporate employees and owners are the direct losers of Prop 1, but these individuals are not likely to draw sympathy from the selfish voter.&nbsp; Instead, let's consider how the users, the drivers, and the average Austinite who doesn't use a ride-sharing service will suffer due to this action by the State. <br /><br />To relay a personal story, I recall my weekly trips to the airport being an anxious crapshoot.&nbsp; Every Sunday I would pre-order my taxi for the following morning, and it seemed half the time there would be some kind of problem.&nbsp; Maybe the taxi would arrive late, or maybe the order would get lost and no one would show up at all.&nbsp; This unpleasant game went on for years, and I had resigned myself to accept it, thinking that I would never see a higher level of service in this lifetime. <br /><br />But then the skies parted, I rubbed my tired eyes and found Uber and Lyft.&nbsp; Imagine my delight at opening the app and immediately seeing how many mere <i>minutes</i> away the nearest driver was from my location.&nbsp; I could track, in real time, the driver approaching my home.&nbsp; When my driver arrived I was often welcomed with complimentary water, and this stellar level of service was achieved for nearly half the cost of my previous taxi trips.&nbsp; In other words, Uber and Lyft achieved both a higher quality of service and a lower cost, the holy grail of market competition.&nbsp; And now, due to the actions of the State, hundreds of thousands of ride-sharing users like me are forced back into barbarism. <br /><br />Now let's consider the drivers.&nbsp; Whenever I used a ride-sharing service I always asked my drivers how long they had been pursuing their occupation and how the liked it.&nbsp; I met single mothers who drove 1 day a week for supplemental income.&nbsp; I met an Uber driver who started out part-time, but switched to full-time after repeatedly calling in sick to a dead-end job to drive instead.&nbsp; I met the newly retired, driving for Lyft because they found their social-security benefits lacking or just because they enjoyed meeting new people and finding exciting things about the city.&nbsp; All of them loved their job and the freedom to make their own hours and be their own bosses.&nbsp; What awaits these former ride-sharing drivers now, Wal-Mart greeters?&nbsp; The taxi-medallion mafia?&nbsp; Destitution?&nbsp; What kind of government "protection" is this? <br /><br />Both users and drivers of apps like Uber and Lyft are examples of what is <i>seen</i>. &nbsp;Now, let us consider the consequences that are <i>not seen</i>. &nbsp;The first example is the user of Uber whose primary draw isn't its higher quality service but its lower cost.&nbsp; Perhaps this individual will only pay for a ride if it can cost $10, but will not purchase the same ride from a taxi for $20.&nbsp; Now the entire economic transaction is lost.&nbsp; On the flip side, consider the aforementioned single mother who can only get a part-time job if it can be on her terms and her hours.&nbsp; Without this option, all the economic transactions that would have taken place with her extra income as a ride-sharing driver will no longer happen.&nbsp; And it is these innumerable mutually beneficial transactions that will now never take place that make our society inexorably poorer as a result. <br /><br />Finally, to end with a sobering note, remember the people that may <u>die</u> as a result of this decision.&nbsp; Given our <a href="https://mises.org/files/privatization-roads-and-highways2pdf/download?token=iNj7y29w" target="_blank">Sovietized road system</a> and the high cost and unreliable service from the government-monopolized taxi industry, it is plain that the removal of the ride-sharing option will result in more drunk drivers on the roads.&nbsp; Whether it is a factor of cost or convenience, inebriated individuals who would otherwise have ordered an Uber or Lyft driver with the swipe of the finger will instead get behind the wheel.&nbsp; This is an ironic but expected result of a government mandate purported to increase safety.&nbsp; Like the <a href="http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=anti-Midas%20touch" target="_blank">anti-Midas touch</a>, everything the government attempts to do fails miserably and generally produces the exact opposite of what they were hoping to achieve. <br /><br /><b>Ride-Sharing Apps: Benefactors of Mankind</b><br /><br />Now that ride-sharing regulations have driven this service out of the market, let's review the actual function that companies like Uber and Lyft brought to Austin.&nbsp; To do this, we first imagine a truly free market society where <i>caveat emptor</i> ruled the day.&nbsp; In this world, anyone would be at liberty to start driving their car as a service with nothing more than slapping on a hand-drawn sign that says "Bob's Ride-Sharing".&nbsp; Even ignoring the real-world regulatory perils of the taxi-monopoly, Bob would face major obstacles from earning any kind of meaningful income from his enterprise. <br /><br />First, Bob would have to get his message out to his potential customers.&nbsp; Without the capital of a company that can invest in market analytics and an advertising budget, Bob will have a hard time finding all the people that need a ride at a particular time and place, and letting them know that "Bob's Ride-Sharing Co." can meet their needs. <br /><br />Second, even if Bob could solve this Herculean task before him, he will have a hard time convincing his potential customers to accept his business.&nbsp; The average person does not know Bob, they don't know the quality of service he will provide, the cost he will charge, or the recourse they will have if they are unsatisfied with the experience.&nbsp; Perhaps a determined person could spend all their time overcoming these obstacles through word of mouth, but if we consider the "part-time Bob" who is just looking to make money on the side a few hours a week, there is no feasible way for the transfer of knowledge to be facilitated between the "Bobs" of the world and their potential customers.&nbsp; Those mutually beneficial transactions have no chance of taking place. <br /><br />But then, <i>mirable dictu</i>, in comes Uber and Lyft, companies that leverage the latest technology to swiftly and simply solve all the problems for Bob and his potential customers.&nbsp; First, they create the platform for people like Bob to get knowledge of his service out to everyone that seeks it.&nbsp; Second, they agree on a price point that is satisfactory to both Bob and his customers.&nbsp; And third, they are in the business of ensuring a safe and reliable product, bringing confidence and value to their brand. &nbsp;This is&nbsp;the indispensable element of ride-sharing apps that gets to the heart of Prop 1. &nbsp;It is the brand which allows ride-sharing customers to put faith in their drivers, men and women whom they have never met.<br /><br />Ride-sharing companies have a financially-driven vested interest in making sure "Bob", "Tom", "Sally" and the thousands of other drivers are worthy of representing the Uber or Lyft brand.&nbsp; While taxi companies don't need to focus on quality of service when they’re the only game in town through government-enforced monopoly, a private company sinks or swims depending on the whims of the consumer.&nbsp; Given these natural incentives of the market, it should be no surprise that you actually see Uber having <a href="http://www.voteprop1.com/facts/" target="_blank">more stringent background checks</a> then those enforced by the State for taxi cartels. <br /><br />To drive the point home I'll end with a personal example.&nbsp; One of my Uber drivers relayed a story of how he was working a Saturday night and accepted two rides for a "pool" trip, where different people accept the same driver at a reduced cost. His first passenger was a female and the second was male.&nbsp; The driver became alert to the male passenger's intoxication after he made an inappropriate comment, and then immediately stopped the car when the female yelled, "DON'T TOUCH ME".&nbsp; This entire scene was caught on video, and the driver demanded that the male passenger get out immediately or he would be arrested. When this was reported to Uber, the company responded by banning the male passenger for life, refunding the female passenger's money, and offering to pay the full cost of litigation to prosecute the male passenger. <br /><br />Uber's response was commendable, but ultimately makes common sense in a voluntary, market-based context.&nbsp; If Uber allowed this kind of behavior then passengers would stop using their service and go to a competitor like Lyft.&nbsp; Compare this response to what you'd expect from the government-monopoly alternative, and not only would nothing of the sort have been done to compensate the female passenger for her trouble, but at best, she would be taxed for the prosecution! <br /><br /><b>Not Yours to Regulate</b><br /><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="https://4.bp.blogspot.com/-lLxfaJZLa8w/Vy_2j6V788I/AAAAAAAABCk/ZIHv8NS77NwamUNQZohKiT1Y3jVFP7F_ACLcB/s1600/Prop1Failed_Alamo.png" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" height="215" src="https://4.bp.blogspot.com/-lLxfaJZLa8w/Vy_2j6V788I/AAAAAAAABCk/ZIHv8NS77NwamUNQZohKiT1Y3jVFP7F_ACLcB/s400/Prop1Failed_Alamo.png" width="400" /></a></div><br />Many of the anti-Prop 1 commentators have focused on reasoning like "they should follow the same rules as taxi companies" or "the government can regulate commerce, so just like we license doctors, we can create safety rules for any company".&nbsp; However, these assertions confuse the concept of something being promoted because it is right in itself, versus promoted because it is merely a precedent of how things have been done in the past - which speaks to neither the thing's rightness nor wrongness. <br /><br />To absolutely prevent the charge of hypocrisy or false comparisons, let's be clear - the way to reach "fairness" is not to bring new regulation against companies that currently avoid it via loophole, but to de-regulate all industries.&nbsp; In the examples above, a true sense of "fairness" makes it plain that any customer of "Bob" has the absolute right to accept or reject his service, just like any passenger can request or reject a private ride versus a pool-ride from Uber.&nbsp; If an individual dares to assume the inherent risks of an uncertain world by merely getting out of bed in the morning, they should be free to engage in any transaction with anyone else that does not violate the right of another.&nbsp; So when the question is posed to Austin City Council of whether or not to regulate ride-sharing services, it should not be answered by an analysis of whether the benefits for or against regulation outweigh one another, but to modify a famous speech by Congressman Davy Crockett, the sacred domain of voluntary transactions should simply be <a href="https://fee.org/resources/not-your-to-give-2/" target="_blank">not yours to regulate</a>. <br /><br />Why do we need to continually restate this maxim that everyone follows in their personal lives and follows directly from the golden rule?&nbsp; When put simply, it is absurd to argue the opposite.&nbsp; I can't run into a grocery store and forcibly stop someone from buying produce that I think is too expensive or less healthy than some alternative.&nbsp; I can't force my "protection" on them no matter how right I think I am, nor should I even if 98 out of 100 other people agree with me.&nbsp; And yet, with the failure of Prop 1 we're not looking at the Tyranny of 98 over 2, but the Tyranny of 56% <i>out of 17% of eligible voters</i>.&nbsp; With 49,158 voting for Prop 1 in a county <a href="http://www.census.gov/quickfacts/table/PST045214/48453" target="_blank">with over 1.1 million people</a>, that is the Tyranny of 4 over 96!&nbsp; Remember this sham when <a href="http://www.austinmonitor.com/stories/2016/05/proposition-1-ride-hailing-measure-soundly-defeated-2/" target="_blank">Austin Mayor Steve Adler says "The people have spoken tonight loud and clear."</a>&nbsp; Rid yourself of the glib expressions and you're left with the shocking fact that our "representative democracy" has just ratified that 4% of the people can enforce their beliefs with the all-powerful violence of the State regarding with whom one can or cannot get a ride from down to the grocery store! <br /><br /><b>Conclusion</b><br /><br />If the myths of "we are the government" or "the government serves the people" had any merit whatsoever, the draconian regulations regarding ride-sharing companies should put an end to such nonsense.&nbsp; If I have no business inserting myself between two consenting adults regarding a voluntary transaction as innocent as getting a ride in a car, then putting on a costume and calling myself the government does not change that.&nbsp; Put simply, if I do not have the power to do something, and the government serves me, then how could the government do that very thing in my name?&nbsp; How can the servant have more power than the master?&nbsp; How do multiple people acquire the moral authority to do something that a single person cannot? <br /><br />The only logical answer is to accept the myth of government answering to the people as an outrageous lie.&nbsp; The government does not serve the people in the way that a servant obeys the commands of his master, but as a chef serves chicken for dinner.&nbsp; We are the dinner.&nbsp; We are fed on by those that presume to rule over us like chattel.&nbsp; The only good thing that has come from Proposition 1 is the hope that some politically apathetic souls will panic when they realize their Uber and Lyft apps no longer work, and they will begin to question just <a href="https://www.lewrockwell.com/2016/05/laurence-m-vance/americans-live-free-society/" target="_blank">what happened to their "free country"</a>. Unknownnoreply@blogger.comtag:blogger.com,1999:blog-6497333203175478928.post-43129405825972935912015-10-09T16:41:00.000-05:002015-10-09T16:41:55.053-05:00In Defense of Common Sense Gun Control<div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-66Y5cp2UySs/Vhdcrs5yZiI/AAAAAAAAA9g/hy3cqTbYuYc/s1600/LibertarianGunControl_Means.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" height="227" src="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-66Y5cp2UySs/Vhdcrs5yZiI/AAAAAAAAA9g/hy3cqTbYuYc/s400/LibertarianGunControl_Means.jpg" width="400" /></a></div><br />In the wake of the latest mass shooting tragedy <a href="http://in%20the%20wake%20of%20the%20latest%20mass%20shooting%20tragedy%20in%20a%20gun-free%20zone%20by%20yet%20another%20anti-depressant%20popping%20psychopath%20%2C%20we%20see%20two%20responses%20that%20have%20become%20just%20as%20linked%20as%20night%20following%20day.%20%20first%20comes%20grand-standing%20by%20the%20politicians%20and%20media%20to%20push%20the%20idea%20of%20%20%22common%20sense%22%20gun%20laws%2C%20a.k.a.%20total%20confiscation%20through%20the%20australian%20model%2C%20despite%20the%20inconvenient%20fact%20that%20gun%20violence%20has%20been%20cut%20in%20half%20in%20the%20last%2020%20years.%20this%20action%2C%20designed%20to%20lower%20the%20number%20of%20guns%20in%20america%2C%20instead%20provides%20a%20delightful%20newtonian%20equal%20and%20opposite%20reaction%20that%20makes%20september%2C%202015%20the%205th%20month%20in%20a%20row%20to%20set%20all-time%20record-high%20gun%20sales./">in a gun-free zone</a> by yet another <a href="http://www.infowars.com/lithium-love-was-oregon-gunman-on-psychiatric-meds-linked-to-violence/">anti-depressant popping psychopath</a>, we see two responses that have become just as linked as night following day.&nbsp; First comes grand-standing by the politicians and media to push the idea of "common sense" gun laws, a.k.a. <a href="http://www.nationalreview.com/article/425021/australia-gun-control-obama-america">total confiscation through the Australian model</a>, despite the inconvenient fact that <a href="http://www.pewsocialtrends.org/2013/05/07/gun-homicide-rate-down-49-since-1993-peak-public-unaware/">gun violence has been cut in half in the last 20 years</a>.&nbsp; This action, designed to lower the number of guns in America, instead provides a delightful Newtonian equal and opposite reaction that makes September, 2015 the 5th month in a row to set <a href="http://freebeacon.com/issues/september-sees-record-gun-sales/">all-time record-high gun sales</a>. <br /><br />Whether these new guns are purchased for stock-piling, profit-making, or preparing for <a href="https://reason.com/reasontv/2015/10/07/how-to-create-a-gun-free-america-in-5-ea">the 5th "easy" step to create a Gun Free America</a>, there is one form of gun control that even <a href="http://www.nathankleffman.com/2013/03/the-great-object-and-line-in-sand.html">the most radical supporter of the 2nd amendment</a> can and should get behind, and that is self-control. <br /><br />This is not a push for state-mandated licensing, education, or any other type of governmental restriction on the natural right to protect oneself.&nbsp; Instead, this is an example of the <a href="http://www.nathankleffman.com/2012/07/libertarian-response-to-vices.html">radical libertarian tactic</a> of <i>persuasion</i>, a plea for a voluntary application of common sense.&nbsp; If you're going to take on the awesome responsibility of gun ownership, it is in your own best interest that you train both mind and body to prevent a senseless tragedy, whether through a negligent discharge or by having the mental acumen and tactical skills required to respond to an active shooter. <br /><br />Having not grown up with guns, taking a basic firearms safety class was the first step I took before assuming the responsibility of firearms ownership.&nbsp; Since then, I have taken multiple safety and training classes for both the handgun and the rifle.&nbsp; For those that have not expended the time or money in such training, this post will review the key mental and tactical concepts that I have learned, not at all meant to serve as a substitute for such training, but to pique your interest and convincingly prove it to be a worthwhile investment, one that could even save your life. <br /><br /><b>The Mindset</b><br /><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-0faeSwSemoA/VhgPM27Sl8I/AAAAAAAAA94/jJvoIjCWgv0/s1600/LibertarianGunControl_Clint.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="clear: left; float: left; margin-bottom: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" height="239" src="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-0faeSwSemoA/VhgPM27Sl8I/AAAAAAAAA94/jJvoIjCWgv0/s320/LibertarianGunControl_Clint.jpg" width="320" /></a></div>All the background checks, mandatory classes, and child safety locks in the world will not prevent an accidental injury or death from a firearm from a reckless and indifferent gun owner.&nbsp; On the flip side, every conceivable disaster that resulted from a negligent discharge of a firearm could have been prevented if the participants had adopted a religious adherence to the principles of gun safety. <br /><br />While different organizations have their own flavor of <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gun_safety">gun safety rules</a>, by far the most adopted, simple, and comprehensive are <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jeff_Cooper">Jeff Cooper's</a> four rules: <br /><ol><li><b>All guns are always loaded.</b>&nbsp;Even if they are not, treat them as if they are.</li><li><b>Never let the muzzle cover anything you are not willing to destroy.</b>&nbsp;(For those who insist that this particular gun is unloaded, see Rule 1.)</li><li><b>Keep your finger off the trigger till your sights are on the target.</b>&nbsp;This is the Golden Rule. Its violation is directly responsible for about 60 percent of inadvertent discharges.</li><li><b>Identify your target, and what is behind it.</b>&nbsp;Never shoot at anything that you have not positively identified.</li></ol>These rules should not merely be read over once, reflected on for a moment, and then discarded in the excitement of gun ownership.&nbsp; Every member of the family in a gun-owning household should know these rules backwards and forwards.&nbsp; While rule #1 may be the hardest to adopt for the uninitiated, it is by far the most important.&nbsp; Just like mindful repetition is practiced so that the desired behavior becomes automatic, rule #1 should be so ingrained that one would cringe upon seeing a child's brightly-painted toy gun pointed in an unsafe direction.&nbsp; A dedication to rule #1 should provoke a sense of unease when looking at a mere picture of the muzzle of the gun as evidence that the cameraman practiced unsafe behavior.&nbsp; With this level of determination to consistently follow the four gun safety rules, even to the point of these extreme measures for safety, you greatly reduce the likelihood of you or your family befalling an avoidable firearms accident. <br /><br />You - <i>or your family</i> - those additional three words add another level of sobriety to the equation that need to be considered.&nbsp; While most states have passed legislation to make it illegal to have firearms unlocked or otherwise accessible to children, we need to remember the determination each child has when searching for birthday or Christmas presents when the parents are out of the home.&nbsp; Merely hiding and locking the guns aren't enough, all members of the family, including children, should be inducted into the seriousness and responsibility of firearms ownership. <br /><br />Consider two homes that contain firearms and children.&nbsp; In the first house, the child is taught the rules of firearms safety and made to memorize them before they are allowed to use a gun under adult supervision.&nbsp; In turn, they are taught how to shoot as early as the parents think their maturity allows, perhaps starting with a BB or pellet gun first, but moving to the 22 LR caliber as quickly as possible.&nbsp; After all, a BB or pellet gun may not even break the skin, and you risk setting an example counter to the rules of gun safety to teach a child that some guns can be shot without serious consequences.&nbsp; The children will feel the pride and maturity that comes with the trust and responsibility expected by the parents, and while the guns are locked up, the parents are more than happy to take the children out shooting to reinforce their skills as often as possible.&nbsp; These children don't have an interest in <i>toy guns</i>, they have the real thing. <br /><br />In our second house, all state and local laws are followed to a T, and that's about it.&nbsp; The guns are stored behind child safety locks, and all the children know about guns are what they see in movies and video games - point it and go bang!&nbsp; This ostrich with his head in the sand approach may work fine, that is, until the day the child is rummaging through the closet, looking for Christmas presents.&nbsp; Maybe that day passes without incident, but what about when a friend is over, and the child wants to show off what he found?&nbsp; In which house is a tragedy more likely to occur?&nbsp; The question should answer itself.&nbsp; To reemphasize the point, if you're going to own firearms, it's not just you that needs to be educated and responsible - everyone in the house needs to take on the same mentality.&nbsp; Firearms ownership is truly a family affair. <br /><br /><b>The Art of the Handgun</b><br /><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-WIIk5K-MslI/Vhguty8LnbI/AAAAAAAAA-Q/xvi9WzS4v7A/s1600/LibertarianGunControl_handgun.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="clear: left; float: left; margin-bottom: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" height="316" src="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-WIIk5K-MslI/Vhguty8LnbI/AAAAAAAAA-Q/xvi9WzS4v7A/s320/LibertarianGunControl_handgun.jpg" width="320" /></a></div>Between firearms introduction &amp; safety classes, basic &amp; advanced handgun classes, and the legally required concealed carry course, I'd probably gone through six separate 1-2 day training sessions before going to the <a href="https://www.frontsight.com/">Front Sight Firearms Training Institute's</a> 4-day defensive handgun course.&nbsp; While the <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Four_stages_of_competence">four stages of competence</a> is generically used to describe the progress that a student makes through any discipline, the trainers at Front Sight described a fifth stage applicable to firearms, which is that of the student who is "Intentionally Incompetent".&nbsp; This type of firearms owner knows he is incompetent, but chooses not to do anything about it either through laziness or fear.&nbsp; From there we move on to the traditional categories of the Unconsciously Incompetent, the Consciously Incompetent, The Consciously Competent, and the Unconsciously Competent student.<br /><br />Going into Front Sight, I knew I didn't fall into the Intentionally Incompetent, as by definition, I was trying to do something about my skill level.&nbsp; I thought I'd humbly rank in the "Consciously Incompetent" category, so I was very surprised to hear the Front Sight instructors claim that 95% of all gun owners, including those in the police and military, should be regarded as Unconsciously Incompetent.&nbsp; How could that be?&nbsp; After all, I competed monthly in <a href="http://www.idpa.com/">IDPA</a> matches and had earned the rank of "marksman" - how could I simultaneously be unconsciously incompetent with my firearm?&nbsp; Needless to say, I was very skeptical of the claim, but amazingly, by the end of the training I became a believer. <br /><br />The former training had been given by state-licensed professionals that included former police and military, and while I had been taught how to load the weapon, how to hold it, how to align the sights, and how to fire - I came to find that just about every technique I had learned was either incomplete or inadequate for a truly tactical situation.&nbsp; It's one thing to shoot paper targets with all the time in the world, but not only will a "bad guy" not bless you with that luxury, but your own skills seriously degrade when your heart beat is accelerating, your palms are sweaty, and your mind is racing with adrenaline and fear. <br /><br /><table align="center" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" class="tr-caption-container" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto; text-align: center;"><tbody><tr><td style="text-align: center;"><a href="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-k2K2hcifVS0/VhgvBoIQmoI/AAAAAAAAA-Y/pcmuEUOwEOw/s1600/LibertarianGunControl_frontsight.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;"><img border="0" src="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-k2K2hcifVS0/VhgvBoIQmoI/AAAAAAAAA-Y/pcmuEUOwEOw/s1600/LibertarianGunControl_frontsight.jpg" /></a></td></tr><tr><td class="tr-caption" style="text-align: center;">HARD focus on the front sight… Pressssssss</td></tr></tbody></table><br />So while I learned many new techniques, such as changing my stance to use isometric pressure to "push" my firearm with my trigger hand while "pulling" the firearm with my secondary hand, how to apply a consistent squeeze for a surprise break and slowly releasing the trigger until it resets, a 7 step draw from concealment, and to always aim for a fist sized pattern from any distance (if your pattern is larger, slow down, but if you're too accurate, speed up!); the most valuable lesson I gained from Front Sight is the realization of how much I didn't know.<br /><br />While it was rewarding to learn how to consistently put two shots to the thoracic cavity from concealment in 2 seconds, the most impactful lesson is to find out what it's like to be in a life or death scenario, both from the perspective of staying alive, and the consequences of having to take a life in defense of your own.&nbsp; Through discussions you play through several scenarios: if you hear a window crashing in your house at 2:00 A.M., what do you do?&nbsp; Perhaps some would say to lock n' load and search the house, but after going through a live-fire drill in a Front Sight house, you come to a different perspective after you see how your hands shake, your heart beats through your chest and your accuracy degrades.&nbsp; Now the option of barricading yourself in your room and call 9-1-1 seems a little more appealing.&nbsp; That is, unless you hear the cry of a loved one somewhere in the house and you have no other choice - at that point the police are minutes away and seconds count.&nbsp; In this case the house scenario provides the jolt of reality of how little prepared you really are to deal with such a scenario, and just how critical it is to regularly partake in serious tactical training. <br /><br /><b>The Rifleman: an American tradition</b><br /><b><br /></b><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-8qZdDsEoW0g/VhgvRa_PQGI/AAAAAAAAA-g/aSUSBmOHEjs/s1600/LibertarianGunControl_rifle.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="clear: left; float: left; margin-bottom: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" height="303" src="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-8qZdDsEoW0g/VhgvRa_PQGI/AAAAAAAAA-g/aSUSBmOHEjs/s320/LibertarianGunControl_rifle.jpg" width="320" /></a></div>While I have not yet had the opportunity to attend <a href="https://www.frontsight.com/">Front Sight's</a> practical or precision rifle course, and therefore recognizing that I am likely an "Unconscious Incompetent" in the rifle in the same way that I was for the handgun, nevertheless I highly recommend the training I received from the <a href="https://appleseedinfo.org/">Appleseed Project</a>.&nbsp; Volunteer run, only charging $30 a day or less for ladies and minors, the Appleseed Project seeks to pass on the heritage of the American rifleman by teaching 1-3 day classes on the fundamentals of precision rifle shooting while mixing in stories of the revolutionary war and <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0195098315/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=0195098315&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=nathanklecom-20&amp;linkId=HVWHCV7P6IVRJ2LU">Paul Revere's ride</a>.&nbsp; By teaching the techniques necessary to match the Revolutionary War rifleman's precision of head shots at 250 yards, the Appleseed Project scales back the size of the targets in order to shoot at 25 yards, making it an accessible class that can be offered everywhere in the country.<br /><br />Going into that class my groups were the size of a basketball, and by the time I left I was overjoyed to hit the 1 inch square / 250 yard "head shot" in a timed shooting drill.&nbsp; In order to achieve this feat in just 3 days of training, we focused on proper shoulder and cheek placement, trigger control, the rifleman's cadence, and the natural point of aim, all the while learning how to properly use the sling to stabilize the prone, sitting, and standing positions. <br /><br /><table align="center" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" class="tr-caption-container" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto; text-align: center;"><tbody><tr><td style="text-align: center;"><a href="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-9ROP3HnjMPk/VhgvdE-o4zI/AAAAAAAAA-o/hloq_VwFJBI/s1600/LibertarianGunControl_riflepositions.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;"><img border="0" height="261" src="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-9ROP3HnjMPk/VhgvdE-o4zI/AAAAAAAAA-o/hloq_VwFJBI/s400/LibertarianGunControl_riflepositions.jpg" width="400" /></a></td></tr><tr><td class="tr-caption" style="text-align: center;">The Sling: Who knew it wasn't just for carrying your rifle?</td></tr></tbody></table><br />However, it wasn't until taking a <a href="http://barrett.net/training/course/long-range-1">Barrett long range rifle class</a> that I saw how these techniques that can accomplish a great deal at 25 yards require some refining at long distances.&nbsp; While short distances can be forgiving of the occasional slip-up, those little things add up in a big way when going out to distances of 600, 800, and 1,000 yards.&nbsp; If every component of every shot isn't perfect, then it's immediately obvious at those distances.<br /><br />For instance, rifles with a pistol grip stock are generally held with the trigger finger wrapping the thumb around the stock.&nbsp; The Barrett instructors suggested that we defy common sense and instead keep our thumb aligned with the rest of our hand, such that the rest of our hand is pushing the stock into our shoulder, and avoiding the slightest pressure from the thumb to squeeze the opposite side of the stock as the trigger finger executes it's slow squeeze.&nbsp; Sure enough, we saw one shooter was able to adjust his grouping by a few inches from right to left merely by making this adjustment. <br /><br />In another case, we saw how the prone position traditionally taught needed some adjustment as well.&nbsp; Instead of adopting an off-center relationship between the body and the rifle, they recommended that we ensure our body is center of mass is perfectly perpendicular to the plane of the rifle.&nbsp; In other words, as you watch the reticle of your scope rhythmically move to your breathing when timing your rifleman's cadence, you must ensure that the path of the reticle is exactly up and down.&nbsp; If there is any left-to-right movement, then your body needs to be adjusted to correct this, as otherwise it is going to show up down range. <br /><br />Speaking of the scope reticle, a proper understanding of the scope was the biggest lesson learned from long range rifle training.&nbsp; While we were taught the calculations for target size, distance, and adjustments for both the MIL and MOA style reticle and adjustments knobs, the lesson begged the question, why on earth do nearly all scopes have MIL style reticles but MOA adjustment knobs!&nbsp; Ok, it's good to know that 1 MIL is roughly 0.3 MOA, but why force these rough calculations, especially if you actually had to make that determination when it counts.&nbsp; Instead, wouldn't it make sense to be consistent and get a MIL-MIL or a MOA-MOA scope, where the dots on the reticle perfectly align with the adjustment knobs, removing the need for rough math and rounding errors? <br /><br />However, even this solution isn't complete for variable power scopes.&nbsp; Again, most traditional scopes are "Second focal plane", meaning that the reticle stays the same size as the sight picture shrinks and grows according to the power setting.&nbsp; The problem then, is that the MOA or MIL reticles are only accurate at one particular setting, usually the highest magnification.&nbsp; If you are at a lower setting to acquire your target, you'd have to again resort to quick math to make a shooting opportunity.&nbsp; Instead, one could look into "First Focal Plane" scopes, where the reticle grows and shrinks in relation to the target, such that the markings of the reticle are always constant.&nbsp; With 1 MIL always equaling 1 MIL, the shooter can make distance adjustments or hold-over at any magnification on the fly.&nbsp; While these scopes are generally more expensive, the price might just be worth it. <br /><br />The final lesson was the importance of data sheets.&nbsp; The combination of a unique gun, a precise brand of ammunition, as well as the elevation, pressure, and temperature all come into play for long distance shooting.&nbsp; On the one hand, trial and error could slowly but surely achieve precise data sheets that can be collected and used in the future.&nbsp; On the other hand, spending $15 on the "<a href="https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/ballistic-advanced-edition/id303254296?mt=8">Ballistics AE</a>" smart phone app paid for itself many times over within an hour of shooting match grade ammunition.&nbsp; After entering the temperature, elevation, pressure, information on my rifle, and selecting my ammunition, it presented a data sheet that made me feel like I was cheating.&nbsp; All the way out to 900 yards I could rely on the elevation adjustments to be perfectly spot on, allowing me to focus only on wind adjustments.&nbsp; Never having shot farther than 200 yards prior to this experience, it was incredibly rewarding to learn the techniques required to hit a 12" target at 700 yards and a 24" target at 1,000 yards.&nbsp; It may not be a skill likely to come into play in a life or death situation, but it's definitely rewarding in it's own right! <br /><br /><table align="center" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" class="tr-caption-container" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto; text-align: center;"><tbody><tr><td style="text-align: center;"><a href="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-nOhcBJW0MMY/VhgvllqaZ2I/AAAAAAAAA-w/UbQNjra4Jp0/s1600/LibertarianGunControl_LongRange.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;"><img border="0" height="295" src="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-nOhcBJW0MMY/VhgvllqaZ2I/AAAAAAAAA-w/UbQNjra4Jp0/s400/LibertarianGunControl_LongRange.jpg" width="400" /></a></td></tr><tr><td class="tr-caption" style="text-align: center;">Who cares if it's practical? &nbsp;Long range shooting is just plain cool.</td></tr></tbody></table><br /><b>Conclusion</b><br /><br />For the principled libertarian, <a href="http://www.nathankleffman.com/2013/03/the-great-object-and-line-in-sand.html">the right to firearms is absolute</a>.&nbsp; There are no misguided arguments of practicality, history, or statistics that can override<a href="http://www.nathankleffman.com/2011/09/rights-privileges-and-property.html"> my right to life and property</a>, with the logical implication that I can protect them from deadly force, with deadly force.&nbsp; Anything less denies my self-ownership and makes me a slave to those who would disarm me - but all that aside - these principles, admirable as they are, will not prevent a negligent discharge or win a single gun fight. <br /><br />Yet, as important as it is to have a quality weapon and be properly trained in its use, we must conclude by going back to the great <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jeff_Cooper">Jeff Cooper</a>, who argued that the most important tool for surviving a lethal confrontation is not the weapon or the martial skills, but <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jeff_Cooper#Combat_mindset_and_the_Cooper_color_code">the combat mindset</a>. <br /><br />Especially with the introduction of smart phones and the walking-zombie effect it brings, nearly the entire nation spends its time in condition "White", completely unaware and unprepared.&nbsp; By taking on the responsibility of firearms ownership, and especially for those that decide to conceal carry, you must be willing to make the conscious effort to live in condition "Yellow".&nbsp; To be "Yellow" is to be relaxed but alert, aware of the world around you.&nbsp; From condition "Yellow" you are capable of identifying a specific threat and moving into condition "Orange", and if need be, to condition "Red".&nbsp; Hopefully, if you are ever faced with a harrowing situation that requires a fight to save your own life or the life of another, you will be able to rely on a solid investment of mental and tactical training.&nbsp; It may not be the "law" to take such training, but ultimately, it's just common sense gun control.Unknownnoreply@blogger.comtag:blogger.com,1999:blog-6497333203175478928.post-57548777589438777702015-06-29T09:46:00.000-05:002015-06-29T11:25:53.181-05:00Should Libertarians Celebrate the SCOTUS Ruling on Same-Sex Marriage?<div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-IK_Fel_2NQo/VZFP2nUKPeI/AAAAAAAAA7U/GMWgMeCi9Sg/s1600/Libertarian_SupremeCourt_SameSexMarriage.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="clear: left; float: left; margin-bottom: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" height="249" src="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-IK_Fel_2NQo/VZFP2nUKPeI/AAAAAAAAA7U/GMWgMeCi9Sg/s320/Libertarian_SupremeCourt_SameSexMarriage.jpg" width="320" /></a></div>The Supreme Court of the United States has made several headline-generating decisions in the last week.&nbsp; In a 5-4 ruling, <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2015/06/27/us/supreme-court-same-sex-marriage.html" target="_blank">this august body of the country's premiere jurists issued an irrevocable command to 13 states that banned same-sex marriage</a>.&nbsp; Going forward, all states will be required to license same-sex marriages and recognize those marriages entered into from other states.<br /><br />The <a href="https://www.lp.org/" target="_blank">Libertarian Party</a> has used this opportunity to showcase how forward-thinking and ahead of the times they are, publishing the headline "<a href="https://www.lp.org/news/press-releases/libertarian-party-four-decade-advocacy-for-marriage-equality-pays-off-with-us" target="_blank">Libertarian Party's 40-yr marriage equality advocacy pays off with US Supreme Court decision</a>".&nbsp; Nicholas Sarwark, Chair of the Libertarian National Committee, said "we applaud and celebrate this victory" and that he's "glad to see the Supreme Court has upheld the equal rights of all Americans." <br /><br />Certainly, libertarians can be happy at the outcome of the SCOTUS decision.&nbsp; Unjust laws that forcibly prevented consenting adults from engaging in voluntary contracts have been reversed.&nbsp; What's not to like?&nbsp; Perhaps the optimum libertarian solution would have been to <a href="http://time.com/3939374/rand-paul-gay-marriage-supreme-court/">remove the violence of government from the marriage business completely</a>, leaving it to churches and individuals to create their own contracts as they see fit.&nbsp; Nevertheless, individuals are freer than they were before.&nbsp; How could this not be a clear-cut win for liberty? <br /><br /><b>Libertarian Means and Ends</b><br /><br />This question brings us to examine the means and ends of this event.&nbsp; We might be happy with the outcome, but should we be wary of how it came about?&nbsp; For the constitutionalist, this is likely to be no time for celebration.&nbsp; Under an <a href="http://www.nathankleffman.com/2012/05/constitution-and-intellectual-honesty.html" target="_blank">intellectually honest view of the constitution</a>, there is no language that gives the federal government the power to infringe on state legislation in this way.&nbsp; As one dissenting judge wrote, <br /><blockquote class="tr_bq">“If you are among the many Americans — of whatever sexual orientation — who favor expanding same-sex marriage, by all means celebrate today’s decision…&nbsp; Celebrate the achievement of a desired goal.&nbsp; Celebrate the opportunity for a new expression of commitment to a partner.&nbsp; Celebrate the availability of new benefits.&nbsp; But do not celebrate the Constitution.&nbsp; It had nothing to do with it.” </blockquote>But of course, being a libertarian does not make one a constitutionalist.&nbsp; We have a much brighter lantern to guide our way than our <a href="http://lysanderspooner.org/node/64" target="_blank">weak and powerless constitution</a>.&nbsp; Using the dual lens of <a href="http://www.nathankleffman.com/2014/05/a-libertarian-party-platform-for.html" target="_blank">self-ownership and the non-aggression principle</a>, it is clear that consenting individuals have the right to enter into whatever sort of contract among themselves that they'd like.&nbsp; On the flip side, individuals do not have the right to force their contract onto others, which is why <a href="http://davidsimpson.com/news/simpson-calls-for-special-session-to-end-marriage-licensing-in-texas/">getting government out of the marriage businesses</a> would be the ideal solution. <br /><br />In a free market of marriage that respected the property rights of everyone, perhaps some religions would offer same-sex marriage contracts while others would not.&nbsp; Maybe new institutions would offer this service completely outside the religious temple.&nbsp; From there, various voluntary solutions and market-based incentives would meet everyone's preference accordingly. &nbsp;If some don't like it, there are <a href="http://www.nathankleffman.com/2012/07/libertarian-response-to-vices.html" target="_blank">plenty of non-violent options available</a> that don't infringe on the rights of others. &nbsp;Certainly this would be the outcome most aligned with each individual's rights being respected. &nbsp;"Live and let live", it's a beautiful mantra.<br /><br />In lieu of this optimum scenario, the question is again asked, should libertarians celebrate a ruling from the Supreme Court of the federal government that forces the states to license and recognize same sex marriage?&nbsp; Without any regard to the merits of the constitution, the answer would be a qualified no.&nbsp; The SCOTUS ruling brings about a libertarian <i>end</i>, but the <i>means</i> involved is quite counter to our long term goals.&nbsp; Ultimately, this deference to 9 black-robed individuals governing 318 million people from D.C. is just one more precedent that is sure to be harmful to the long-run prospects of a free society. <br /><br /><b>Beware the Hand that Feeds You</b><br /><br />Despite the LP's celebratory announcement, we should be hesitant to shout hosannas when a Supreme Court ruling dictates law to the states.&nbsp; Every decision from that unelected and virtually unaccountable group that gives the federal government greater power is a net loss for liberty - even when libertarians are happy at the particular outcome. <br /><br />Today, the SCOTUS issues a decree that happens to be consistent with libertarian principles, but literally the day before <a href="http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2015/06/25/417425091/supreme-court-rules-obamacare-subsidies-are-legal" target="_blank">it issued a ruling that the federal government can pass laws requiring citizens of the 50 states to purchase a product from a private company</a>.&nbsp; How can we celebrate any decision passed down from such a bold and audacious body?&nbsp; Why give any respectability to their decisions?&nbsp; We are just shooting ourselves in the foot.&nbsp; What happens to our credibility if we say that a supreme court decision "paid off" when they will not doubt issue 99 rulings that violate libertarian principles to every 1 decision that goes in our favor? <br /><br />We can't just celebrate the outcome of this decision in a vacuum; all the factors must be examined before popping the champagne.&nbsp; In a world where virtually every square inch is claimed to be the domain of one evil government or the other, in most territorial battles between rival gangs of costumed officials we are safe to say "a pox on both their houses".&nbsp; But when one of those gangs is infinitely more powerful, more ruthless, and more arrogant than the other, we should seriously consider rooting for the underdog.&nbsp; In other words, if we are stuck in a world of governments, the greater good is federalism.&nbsp; I would rather have 50 separate rulers that each have a kingdom of 500 thousand to 38 million people than one supreme ruler that dictates the lives of 318 million people. <br /><br />As much as I'd like to just ignore the evil doings of the criminals who presume to rule over me, I do so at my own peril. &nbsp;If we want to fight back in the political arena, let's choose our battles wisely.&nbsp; Individual libertarians can actually do <i>something</i> at the local level, whereas we have virtually zero control over what happens in the district of criminals.&nbsp; So if we want to fight for marriage equality, or more precisely, the right of individuals to enter into voluntary contracts, then let's fight those laws where they exist.&nbsp; If we find them at the city level, fight them there.&nbsp; If they are at the county or state level, then bravely go forward into battle.&nbsp; But if the struggle seems insurmountable, don't be so foolish as to celebrate when an even greater threat to liberty takes on your foe.&nbsp; That hand may feed you today, but it will certainly strike you tomorrow. <br /><br /><b>A Dream for Soundbites</b><br /><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-dueQ2fgn2DM/VZFUcWDx8oI/AAAAAAAAA7k/ueWDEm2uerc/s1600/Keep%2BIt%2BSimple.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="clear: left; float: left; margin-bottom: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" src="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-dueQ2fgn2DM/VZFUcWDx8oI/AAAAAAAAA7k/ueWDEm2uerc/s1600/Keep%2BIt%2BSimple.jpg" /></a></div>Do things have to always be so damn complicated?&nbsp; It seems the prudent and principled libertarian is doomed to never accept simple, one word answers.&nbsp; We can never say just "yes" or "no", it's always followed by a "but".&nbsp; This isn't the result of a complex philosophy - what could be simpler than the self-evident proposition that individuals should control their own lives as long as they respect the rights of others?&nbsp; Unfortunately, it's a result of the statist climate we live in, where every question seems to presuppose a government answer.&nbsp; We're constantly asked the no-win question, "have you stopped beating your wife?"&nbsp; While we carefully explain our position with logic and attention to detail, our opponents keep things simple by playing on the ignorance and desire for immediate gratification of the American boobousie.<br /><br />As the nation collectively knee-jerks into total insanity by banning the confederate flag, even at <a href="http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2015/jun/26/gettysburg-park-yanks-confederate-flag-items-books/" target="_blank">relevant historic sites</a>, we find ourselves in the same nuanced situation.&nbsp; Libertarianism is the foremost philosophy against the evils of slavery and we obviously condemn the Confederacy for their crimes.&nbsp; But <a href="http://www.nathankleffman.com/2015/02/secession-slavery-and-civil-war.html" target="_blank">the Civil War wasn't a fight over slavery, it was about secession</a>.&nbsp; The North invaded the South to prevent their independence, and we can only speculate into the realms of alternative history as to how things would have turned out if the slaves were freed at a different time and under different circumstances with the noble right of secession left unscathed.&nbsp; Instead of an easy question such as, "are you against slavery", we ask the more complex question, "did the happy outcome of freeing the slaves outweigh losing the right to secession?" <br /><br />There was a day when the phrase "I may disagree with what you say, but I will fight for your right to say it" was pure Americana.&nbsp; Now things aren't so clear.&nbsp; Rather than wanting to be <a href="http://www.nathankleffman.com/2011/09/rights-privileges-and-property.html" target="_blank">free to exercise one's rights while respecting the rights of others</a>, now serious talk is made of putting limitations on our rights to prevent hurt feelings of self-worth or entitlement. &nbsp;In the era of victimhood, the desire for privileges to remedy some real or imagined inequity trumps all.<br /><br />How ironic that during these side-show events with the SCOTUS ruling for same-sex marriage and the extreme PC battle against the confederate flag, the main event is getting the faintest attention.&nbsp; Of course the <a href="https://www.eff.org/issues/tpp" target="_blank">Trans-Pacific Partnership</a> would be passed by the Senate while the legacy media covers such critical news as the defacement of statues and <a href="http://www.startribune.com/lake-calhoun-name-change-gets-another-look-in-minneapolis/309249161/" target="_blank">changing the names of lakes</a>.&nbsp; After all, it's just a secret treaty that that will create an international governing body that, once created, will be a living thing - dictating laws to contracting nations just as the European Union forces policy on the nations of Europe. <br /><br />Just as there was once a day long past when state sovereignty was respected and the constitution was a real barrier to the inclination to power in Washington, we may quickly be coming to a time when we will fondly remember the days when the Supreme Court made the laws for our nation - at least they claim to be American!&nbsp; If our cries of righteous indignation barely register a whisper to our elected representatives at the federal level, what hope do we have as we transition to a regional government, let alone a world government? <br /><br /><b>Conclusion</b><br /><br />As much as I'd be delighted to celebrate a victory without reservation, we need to keep our eyes on the bigger picture.&nbsp; It's not enough to simply support every event that claims to be a win for liberty, we must ensure that the means by which it is achieved is also aligned with our best interest.&nbsp; If given a devil's choice between a world government with a "libertarian" dictator and what we have today, I'd begrudgingly but wisely side with the latter.&nbsp; Hayek showed us why "<a href="http://www.savageleft.com/poli/rts-ten.html" target="_blank">the worst get on top</a>", and once a governmental mechanism is created it is nearly impossible to dismantle.&nbsp; Like some suicidal robot programmed for destruction, the benevolent dictatorship will attract every form of sociopath who will attempt to seize those reigns of power.&nbsp; If history is to be our guide, whenever this happens <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1560009276/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=1560009276&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=nathanklecom-20&amp;linkId=VMKAWAWNJSESBQZZ" target="_blank">hundreds of millions die as a result</a>. <br /><br />Let's be smarter than that.&nbsp; We cannot accept the easy victory on a minor battle when it ensures that we will lose the war.&nbsp; In a world full of competing states, the crafty libertarian learns to pit his enemies against each other.&nbsp; While we unambiguously denounce all forms of force and violence against the innocent, we learn to make unlikely alliances to fight the greatest evil: the nation over the world government, the state over the nation, the city over the state, and most importantly, the individual over them all.Unknownnoreply@blogger.comtag:blogger.com,1999:blog-6497333203175478928.post-52840881495764784682015-05-28T10:25:00.001-05:002015-06-29T09:58:12.036-05:00In Defense of the Worst Libertarians<div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-I7OVhXfDXDc/VWcXM4ANGlI/AAAAAAAAA54/QQjcJ9G8LK8/s1600/DefendTheWorst_BigTent.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" height="341" src="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-I7OVhXfDXDc/VWcXM4ANGlI/AAAAAAAAA54/QQjcJ9G8LK8/s640/DefendTheWorst_BigTent.jpg" width="575" /></a></div><br />Search for the "worst types" of <a href="http://www.politicalgarbagechute.com/5-types-conservatives-just-ignore/" target="_blank">conservatives</a> or <a href="http://www.youngcons.com/these-11-types-of-liberals-are-the-worst-liberals-there-are/" target="_blank">liberals</a> and you'll find just what you expect, the blue team attacking the red team, and vice versa.&nbsp; It makes logical sense, likely born out of an instinct to distrust and fight the neighboring tribe.&nbsp; Rather than look for complex answers to the question of why a world with such technological wonders can be so screwed up, it's easier to blame the other team for not voting the right way. <br /><br />Alas, libertarians don't have it so easy.&nbsp; We lack a consistent 49% to 51% voting bloc, creating a constant tug-of-war with friends and family split evenly down the middle.&nbsp; Libertarians see the rulers, the ones who weld a monopoly of violence, against everyone else.&nbsp; It's not the left vs. the right; it's all of us vs. the State. <br /><br />But the State is so abstract, so far way.&nbsp; Few of us have the opportunity to be in contact with a real "enemy" - a Bush or a Clinton or a Rockefeller.&nbsp; We need closer, more tangible enemies to explain our own shortcomings.&nbsp; So maybe that explains articles like this, <a href="http://thelibertarianrepublic.com/top-10-worst-kinds-of-libertarians/" target="_blank">The Top 10 Worst Kinds of Libertarians</a>, written by a libertarian who purports to examine our faults as a movement so that we can be more successful.&nbsp; If our enemies are ignoring us, we might as well attack each other. <br /><br />Full disclosure: I identify with more than half of these categories, so I must be the worst of the worst.&nbsp; I was hoping for a perfect 10, but I don't consider myself to be a creeper, a jerk, or a bigot - so that knocks me down to 7.&nbsp; When it comes to smoking pot, I abstain not because "libertarians must point out the negatives of drugs", but because <a href="http://www.nathankleffman.com/2014/10/government-drug-dealing-from-kill.html" target="_blank">drugs are a trap set by the government to make you a slave</a>, so that puts me at a solid 6. <br /><br />There are two ways to respond to this article.&nbsp; The first is by dismissal by pointing out what libertarianism is: a philosophy concerned with the permissible use of violence.&nbsp; While some believe that social contracts or special costumes grant the ability to initiate violent acts against the innocent, libertarians believe that all such aggressions are illegitimate.&nbsp; <a href="http://files.libertyfund.org/pll/quotes/306.html" target="_blank">As Lysander Spooner wrote</a>, the government is worse than a highwayman. Rothbard identified the State as a gang of thieves writ large.&nbsp; So what is the point of calling out those of us that are jerks, pot-smokers, or "anti-science"?&nbsp; These attributes have nothing to do with our core philosophy.&nbsp; A libertarian can be a church-going social conservative or a drug addicted atheist philanderer; abide by the Non-Aggression Principle and both are equally libertarian. <br /><br />However, I find myself in the unique position to relish scoring a 6 out of 10, so rather than dismiss the article, I'll defend the "worst libertarians".&nbsp; While these are characteristics that have nothing to do with being a libertarian, I wear them like a badge of honor.&nbsp; Not only that, but it's not often that I find so many of my favorite fallacies contained in a single article, so for that alone I am grateful to the author. <br /><br /><b>In Defense of Conspiracy Theorists</b><br /><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-iiQKcbv49-Q/VWct12q0O2I/AAAAAAAAA6U/fNIbqSGxmOM/s1600/DefendTheWorst_ConspiracyTheory.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" height="418" src="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-iiQKcbv49-Q/VWct12q0O2I/AAAAAAAAA6U/fNIbqSGxmOM/s320/DefendTheWorst_ConspiracyTheory.jpg" width="575" /></a></div><br />Starting at the very top, the #1 worst kind of libertarian is the "conspiracy theorist".&nbsp; We can answer this charge merely by defining our terms.&nbsp; A <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Conspiracy_theory" target="_blank">conspiracy theory</a> is a hypothesis that two or more people secretly did something illegal.&nbsp; Unbelievable!&nbsp; Yes, libertarians may believe that aggressive violence is impermissible, thereby relegating all coercive acts of government as illegitimate, but accuse them of secretly doing something illegal?&nbsp; What kind of monster are you? <br /><br />In all seriousness, it's one thing to use the term "conspiracy theory" in a derogatory way when <a href="http://www.globalresearch.ca/conspiracy-theory-foundations-of-a-weaponized-term/5319708" target="_blank">the CIA first "weaponized" the term</a> in the 1960's.&nbsp; There is no excuse when it is 50 years later and there are <a href="https://www.lewrockwell.com/2015/05/no_author/why-are-conspiracy-theories-demonized/" target="_blank">dozens of declassified, main line "conspiracy theories"</a>, from <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2005/12/02/politics/02tonkin.html?_r=3&amp;pagewanted=print&amp;" target="_blank">the Gulf of Tonkin attack that never happened</a> to the <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edward_Snowden" target="_blank">NSA's illegal spying</a> which continues to this day.&nbsp; A person who is awake to libertarianism but brushes off conspiracy theories as preposterous must be pitied; the mental gymnastics required to hold such contradictory views must cause the most painful <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cognitive_dissonance" target="_blank">cognitive dissonance</a>. <br /><br />With all due sympathy to the author, let's review the patently lame arguments he presents against conspiracies: <br /><blockquote class="tr_bq">"It is truly amazing that the same types of people who believe that the government is far too inept to plan a central economic structure think highly enough of that same bureaucracy to surmise that state actors could orchestrate a full-scale ruse upon the public.&nbsp; There is a simple line of thought that destroys nearly every conspiracy theory ever to exist: if this were ever to happen, it would necessitate the involvement of hundreds, if not thousands of individuals; for the conspiracy to go unnoticed, not one of those parties involved could ever reveal the slightest hint.&nbsp; Furthermore, there would be millions, if not billions of dollars in media waiting for someone who would break such a story." </blockquote>There are three false arguments here, and unfortunately, they are the same ones I've seen countless times before.&nbsp; The first, however, is unique in that you only hear it from fellow libertarians and fiscal conservatives.&nbsp; It comes down to this: how can the government be incompetent in one area (central planning), but clever in another area (conspiracies). <br /><br />However, this question just highlights a subtle but important point in the case against central economic planning.&nbsp; The problem is not that the individuals attempting to orchestrate the central plan aren't clever - the problem is they are trying to make decisions without the benefit of the pricing system.&nbsp; No individual, group of individuals, or even a <a href="http://thezeitgeistmovement.com/mission-statement" target="_blank">super computer</a> could direct scarce goods and resources to their optimum place in space and time as well as the pricing system, which coordinates all mankind's true preferences as expressed by their choice to buy or not buy in a global marketplace. <br /><br />This is really the same fallacy that Hayek describes in Chapter 10 of <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0226320553/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=0226320553&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=nathanklecom-20&amp;linkId=JHPV6F6MKUUVW6RF" target="_blank">The Road to Serfdom</a>, "<a href="http://www.savageleft.com/poli/rts-ten.html" target="_blank">Why the Worst Get on Top</a>".&nbsp; Hayek's point is that whatever the character of the dictator, angelic or demonic, incompetent or clever, the mission of central planning is doomed from the start.&nbsp; Hayek's great insight is that when the carefully laid plans of the czars inevitably result in shortages and surpluses, shoes without laces and cars without wheels, the economic dictator will come to a decision point: "assuming dictatorial powers or abandoning his plans", such that "the totalitarian dictator would soon have to choose between disregard of ordinary morals and failure". <br /><br />The reason the government cannot plan a central economic structure also explains why we can expect increasingly immoral and corrupt individuals to be the ones governing.&nbsp; While those in the market economy are busy specializing in their profession, be it art, athletics, or business, those in government are specializing in how to govern: how to achieve power and stay in power through whatever means necessary.&nbsp; They specialize in the art of blackmail, bribes, back-room deals, insider trading, and all forms of violence and corruption.&nbsp; Do not confuse the State's inability to centrally plan the economy with inexperience in orchestrating a "full-scale ruse", several wars founded on lies that have killed millions of innocents and continue to this day should be evidence enough of this fact. <br /><br />The second fallacy comes straight from talking point number 4 part C of the declassified <a href="http://www.jfklancer.com/CIA.html" target="_blank">CIA Dispatch 1035-960</a>: a conspiracy would require too many people, and someone would talk.&nbsp; But even since the 1960s the answer to this misbelief hasn't changed: it's called <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Compartmentalization_(information_security)" target="_blank">compartmentalization</a> and the most obvious example is the Manhattan Project.&nbsp; It was October 9th of 1941 when President Roosevelt approved the atomic program, and it wasn't until the bombings of 1945 that the 100,000 people involved in the program even knew what they were a part of.&nbsp; <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Manhattan_Project#Secrecy" target="_blank">As written in a 1945 Life article</a>, "[p]robably no more than a few dozen men in the entire country knew the full meaning of the Manhattan Project, and perhaps only a thousand others even were aware that work on atoms was involved." <br /><br />However, compartmentalization only answers the question of how hundreds or thousands of people could work on something "like moles in the dark" and not be aware of the end result, there would still be some people that would know the truth.&nbsp; The answer to this belief that "someone would talk" is to point out… people have talked!&nbsp; One doesn't have to look any farther than <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sibel_Edmonds" target="_blank">Sibel Edmonds</a>, the "most gagged person in American history".&nbsp; But she's just one notable example in the 9/11 Truth Movement.&nbsp; There are <a href="http://patriotsquestion911.com/" target="_blank">hundreds of professionals</a> in the military, intelligence service, and the government, as well as <a href="http://www.ae911truth.org/" target="_blank">architects, engineers</a>, and pilots who <a href="http://www.nathankleffman.com/2014/09/how-i-woke-up.html" target="_blank">question the "conspiracy theory" put out by the government</a> in favor of a different conspiracy - and that includes <a href="http://www.washingtonsblog.com/2015/03/911-commissioners-didnt-believe-government.html" target="_blank">the co-chairs of the 9/11 Commission Report</a>! <br /><br />Ah, but what about the millions and billions of dollars in media just waiting for the right gumshoe reporter to break the story?&nbsp; Again, maybe this type of argument would work for mainline republicans or democrats who religiously watch MSNBC or Fox News, but is this really supposed to speak to libertarians?&nbsp; In a world where <a href="http://www.businessinsider.com/these-6-corporations-control-90-of-the-media-in-america-2012-6" target="_blank">all major media outlets are owned by 6 corporations</a> with intimate ties to the military industrial complex, does this argument even deserve a response?&nbsp; Perhaps the author just recently became a libertarian and is unfamiliar with the media's coordinated treatment of a certain libertarian congressman from Texas during his presidential runs of 2008 and 2012.&nbsp; Ultimately, the best person to respond to this would be Gary Webb, who was a true believer in the media until <a href="http://www.nathankleffman.com/2014/10/government-drug-dealing-from-kill.html" target="_blank">his exposé of CIA drug running</a> caused his entire profession to turn against him.&nbsp; He realized his prior success was an illusion, because in all his previous works he "hadn't written anything important enough to suppress". <br /><br /><b>In Defense of Purists</b><br /><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-91ASNEOh-0s/VWcwLt_xJBI/AAAAAAAAA6k/Tp9_iIkGAzY/s1600/DefendTheWorst_PuristsChooseBoth.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" height="138" src="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-91ASNEOh-0s/VWcwLt_xJBI/AAAAAAAAA6k/Tp9_iIkGAzY/s640/DefendTheWorst_PuristsChooseBoth.jpg" width="640" /></a></div><br />More horrifying than creepers, jerks and even bigots is the dreaded "purist", coming in as the #2 worst kind of libertarian.&nbsp; According to the author, the libertarian purist drops a turd in the punch bowl just to ruin the party.&nbsp; This contrarian by nature compares libertarian credentials as an "artificial contest" simply for the perverse goal of sabotaging the movement.&nbsp; There is no "perfect libertarian", so the author says we should welcome a broad group of individuals as long as they are "willing to lessen the size and scope of government", "willing to defeat government overreach", "reduce taxes and keep government accountable", or have the correct positions on spending and surveillance. <br /><br />Interesting that when offering various criteria that could be used to judge one's libertarian credentials the author never speaks the words of the twin pillars supporting our entire philosophy: Self-Ownership and the Non-Aggression Principle.&nbsp; Reducing taxes and the scope of government may be positions compatible with libertarianism, but they certainly do not define it.&nbsp; Our philosophy is not a random hodgepodge of political issues that change with the wind.&nbsp; We have something much stronger, much more beautiful than that. <br /><br />So what would a "perfect libertarian" be in theory?&nbsp; Here's an answer: someone who believes in these two foundational principles and uses perfect logic to apply them to every issue pertaining to the use of violence in society.&nbsp; This person may have unimpeachable libertarian credentials and yet could be a far stretch from being a perfect human being.&nbsp; This duality of being a perfect libertarian but a flawed person is entirely consistent when libertarianism is defined within its proper scope.&nbsp; It has nothing to say about whether people should be charitable or stingy, accepting or intolerant, egalitarian or elitist.&nbsp; This is the heart of why libertarianism can reach such a diversity of people: refrain from initiating violence against the innocent and you can live your life as you see fit. <br /><br />So there you have it, three cheers for the purists!&nbsp; It is a title to which we should all aspire.&nbsp; It is especially important when <a href="http://bionicmosquito.blogspot.com/2015/05/bleeding-heart-thick-milquetoast-left.html" target="_blank">all kinds of bizarre distinctions are being thrown around</a> which try to expand libertarianism beyond its function.&nbsp; "<a href="http://reformedlibertarian.com/articles/philosophy/thick-and-thin-the-libertarian-split/" target="_blank">Thick vs Thin</a>", "<a href="http://takimag.com/article/in_defense_of_libertarian_brutalism_kathy_shaidle/print#axzz3bOrdARgq" target="_blank">sophists vs brutalists</a>", there are even those who purport to combine libertarianism with goals of social justice and somehow arrive at <a href="https://www.lewrockwell.com/2014/08/bionic-mosquito/big-government-libertarianism/" target="_blank">supporting a government mandated minimum wage</a>!&nbsp; For those that have such goals, fine, let's form alliances and work together on issues with which we find common agreement, but the purists must ensure those individuals do not abuse the term libertarian and distort our message.&nbsp; Someone must be the vanguard against those that are hopelessly confused or actively trying to subvert our cause. <br /><br />In reality, there are very few issues that cause serious disagreement among libertarians.&nbsp; Every Libertarian Party national convention highlights the two biggest ones: <a href="http://www.nathankleffman.com/2013/08/the-libertarian-debate-principled-or.html" target="_blank">minarchism vs. anarchism</a> and <a href="http://www.nathankleffman.com/2012/07/libertarian-response-to-vices.html" target="_blank">abortion</a>.&nbsp; The LP's model for handling this difference of opinion is one that should be followed.&nbsp; Whether one wishes for a night-watchman state limited to purely defensive services or goes bravely forward to a full-blown anarcho-capitalist utopia free from any organization with a monopoly of violence, both sides can agree that we are so radically far from both of those end-states that we might as well work together and settle our differences once we're there.&nbsp; Hence, the <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dallas_Accord" target="_blank">Dallas Accord</a> is a tacit agreement from the LP's founding that all statements in our platform will be sufficiently vague to satisfy both anarchists and minarchists.&nbsp; For instance, we may say there is a maximum role for government in offering defensive services, which logically allows for a minimum role of government that does not exist.&nbsp; <a href="http://www.nathankleffman.com/2014/05/a-libertarian-party-platform-for.html" target="_blank">The LP platform</a> makes the same principled compromise on abortion, simply stating that since libertarians of good faith will forever disagree on this issue, we can at least agree that government should be kept out of the matter and move forward from there. <br /><br />Stick to the Non-Aggression Principle and keep an open mind to those rare cases where libertarians can make passionate arguments on both sides.&nbsp; For those that hold positions totally inimical to the N.A.P, then let's enlist them in our "liberty friendly" alliance and make progress towards common goals.&nbsp; That is a recipe for big-tent libertarianism and success. <br /><br /><b>In Defense of the Hard Core</b><br /><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-mFp7W3yKn2E/VWcwhDT7Q-I/AAAAAAAAA6s/35ZJBDdKYco/s1600/DefendTheWorst_HardCore.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" src="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-mFp7W3yKn2E/VWcwhDT7Q-I/AAAAAAAAA6s/35ZJBDdKYco/s1600/DefendTheWorst_HardCore.jpg" /></a></div><br />Using terminology straight from the lexicon of what <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00N71YJQU/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B00N71YJQU&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=nathanklecom-20&amp;linkId=HTP4WJSOX5V42V7H" target="_blank">Tom Woods would call the gate-keepers of allowable opinion</a>, "Neo-Confederates" are listed as the fourth worst type of libertarian, and "civil disobedience warriors" take the #7 slot.&nbsp; The author states that there is no libertarian reason to defend the confederacy because the CSA was not itself libertarian.&nbsp; When it comes to those that "endanger one’s own life and liberty to protest" minor laws that appear to be just, those that are sent to jail are " being in fact not principled, but selfish in their pursuits of liberty and justice". <br /><br />How could a libertarian defend the wicked "neo-confederates"?&nbsp; Simple, first unask the leading question and examine what libertarians are really supporting: the right of secession.&nbsp; After we abandon <a href="http://www.nathankleffman.com/2015/02/secession-slavery-and-civil-war.html" target="_blank">the convenient myth that the Civil War was fought over slavery</a> and accept that the southerners and northerners were both guilty of many crimes, first of those being slavery, we have a simple decision to make.&nbsp; Can you defend the right of secession even if you don't agree with the culture of the seceding group, or do you throw your lot in with the invading army?&nbsp; Put another way, do you have the courage to defend the freedom of speech from a group who has terribly nasty things to say, even if they are racist or sexist? Do you have the conviction to defend the rights of religious fundamentalists not to bake a cake, even if their refusal is based on homophobia? <br /><br />These are serious questions.&nbsp; It's easy to talk about standing up for people's rights when everyone agrees with how they are exercised; it's much harder to defend unpopular speech and politically incorrect decisions.&nbsp; This is the difficult but logical consequence of the Non-Aggression Principle.&nbsp; <a href="http://www.nathankleffman.com/2012/07/libertarian-response-to-vices.html" target="_blank">We libertarians have plenty of potential responses to vices</a>, but violence isn't one of them.&nbsp; If the author of the "worst libertarians" list can't even muster the imagination to foresee this argument, then no wonder he takes such a bizarre stance as to call the "civil disobedience warriors" selfish for sacrificing their liberty in defiance of unjust laws, or as he would smugly call it, "rabble-rousing". <br /><br />Just think of how far we've come, from a nation of rugged individualists who were willing to risk their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor for their cause, to these nervous nellies that are terrified to plainly state their beliefs in the fear of hurting someone's feelings. <a href="http://www.nathankleffman.com/2013/08/the-libertarian-debate-principled-or.html" target="_blank">Lysander Spooner showed the way</a>: he wrote and spoke and used every medium he could to spread a bold and unflinching libertarian message, he engaged in civil disobedience to the point of conspiring in support of slave rebellions, and he was one of the strongest supporters for the south's right to secede. <br /><br />The fact of the matter is that we need libertarians of all kinds, armchair intellectuals and hard-core activists.&nbsp; Some people just don't find the same pleasure in debating the exotic cases of libertarian thought as others do, they want to see action, to feel like they are doing something to make a difference.&nbsp; Someone who is ready to "walk the walk" will do far more to get people out of their comfort zones and motivate the kind of action we need than those that just talk.&nbsp; After all, our great conclusion is that the State is nothing more than a gang of thieves, so what better way to teach this lesson than to show that all of its dictates, even the most minor infractions, are ultimately backed up by the real threat of kidnapping, imprisonment, and death.&nbsp; This is the bizarre "social contract" we've signed, and we owe a debt to the "civil disobedience warriors" for reminding us of this unfortunate fact. <br /><br /><b>Conclusion</b><br /><br />Should libertarians be conspiracy theorists, purists, or civil disobedience warriors?&nbsp; There is a time and place for everything.&nbsp; When running as a candidate for the Libertarian Party, one is there to represent libertarianism, not to promote 9/11 truth, the benefits of a Paleo Diet, or a love of juggling because libertarianism, <a href="https://www.lewrockwell.com/2014/03/lew-rockwell/what-libertarianism-is-and-isnt/" target="_blank">as rightly defined</a>, is neither here nor there on these issues.&nbsp; So while libertarianism has nothing to say as to whether or not you should subscribe to conspiracy theories, question government funded science, or long for a world where the noble right of secession was not cursed with the connection of slavery, I for one think libertarians would benefit from being open to these ideas. <br /><br />Just as conspiracy theorists that don't have an understanding of libertarianism and Austrian economics could be led down the false path of <a href="http://thezeitgeistmovement.com/mission-statement" target="_blank">the Zeitgeist movement</a>, those that are confined within a "range of allowable opinion" that stops thought like a shock collar whenever terms like "conspiracy theory", "anti-science", "neo-confederates", or other derogative terms are used will not appreciate the full scope of the challenge we face.&nbsp; If you can be scared out of these opinions, you can be scared out of any principled libertarian stance, and we desperately need those brave enough to defend the undefendable. <br /><br />It comes down to this; people are not the same and will respond to different messages.&nbsp; For many, an unapologetic and fiery defense of freedom will inspire hearts and minds where a half-measured wet-noodle libertarianism will fail.&nbsp; Some may <a href="http://www.nathankleffman.com/2014/09/how-i-woke-up.html" target="_blank">first start down the rabbit hole via research into a particular conspiracy theory</a>, and when confronted with a problem without a solution, will then stumble upon the glories of libertarianism.&nbsp; Thus, we need libertarians well versed in conspiracy research just as we need purists and "civil disobedience warriors" that will energize our movement with the boldness of their words and deeds.&nbsp; We probably even need those like the author who sit safely in the camp of government-approved libertarians, as people like him may spark a small flame in the minds of those who would otherwise be quickly scared off from a libertarian message revealed too boldly in all its consistency and implications.&nbsp; But if that flame is to grow, than we must be open to the full expression of the libertarian message, not spending time writing half of us off on "the worst" lists.Unknownnoreply@blogger.comtag:blogger.com,1999:blog-6497333203175478928.post-66877695461526648962015-03-31T17:17:00.001-05:002015-03-31T20:29:37.369-05:00A Private Murder and a Public Genocide<div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-H5-45OmVrn0/VRilgws1g-I/AAAAAAAAA2I/xcqcDSqphes/s1600/Jinx_ActOfKilling_Mashup.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" src="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-H5-45OmVrn0/VRilgws1g-I/AAAAAAAAA2I/xcqcDSqphes/s320/Jinx_ActOfKilling_Mashup.jpg" height="158" width="575" /></a></div><br /><a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Durst_Organization" target="_blank">A multi-millionaire</a>, New York City real estate mogul's wife goes missing.&nbsp; Friends and family suspect foul play, but the case gathers dust as a missing person mystery never to be solved.&nbsp; Twenty years later, a stool pigeon reignites the authorities' interest in the disappearance, this time setting their eyes on the husband who just might have gotten away with murder.&nbsp; The couple's former house is swept for clues, divers search the lake for a body, and just days before the primary person of interest can be interviewed for the first time - unbelievably - <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Susan_Berman" target="_blank">she is executed</a> at point blank range in her home at the opposite end of the country. <br /><br />Less than a year later, the man that was suspected but never charged with committing two murders is arrested for dismembering his elderly neighbor in Galveston, Texas.&nbsp; He's caught red-handed, with knives and saws in the back seat of his car.&nbsp; Without realizing the true identity of their suspect, the police grant him a $250,000 bail, which is promptly paid the next day.&nbsp; He goes on the run, a nationwide man-hunt is issued, and he's busted for stealing a chicken salad sandwich with $500 cash in his pocket. <br /><br />This is story of <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Durst" target="_blank">Robert Durst</a> - so sensational, so bizarre, that it proves the idiom "truth is stranger than fiction".&nbsp; Of course it became <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/All_Good_Things_(film)" target="_blank">the subject of a major motion picture</a>, and that's when things took another unexpected turn.&nbsp; Apparently Durst was so moved by the film that he contacted the director, <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Andrew_Jarecki" target="_blank">Andrew Jarecki</a>, and asked him if he'd be interested in interviewing him and working together on another project.&nbsp; That was the beginning of <a href="http://www.thejinxhbo.com/" target="_blank">The Jinx</a>, which was a word Durst used to describe himself when asked why he was adamant about not having children, and in retrospect of his <a href="http://www.cnn.com/2015/03/16/us/robert-durst-arrest/" target="_blank">perfectly timed arrest</a> on the <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2015/03/16/nyregion/robert-durst-subject-of-hbo-documentary-on-unsolved-killings-is-arrested.html" target="_blank">eve of the season finale</a>, it's a fitting title for many of his inexplicable actions. <br /><br />For countless viewers, The Jinx has set a new standard in the young genre of confronting suspected killers in the documentary form.&nbsp; For many, there's nothing like it: a chronicle of 3 murders over 4 decades with the assistance of the suspect himself.&nbsp; Key information is revealed throughout each episode, culminating in a shocking pseudo-admission when Durst forgets about his microphone while in the bathroom.&nbsp; "What the hell did I do?&nbsp; Killed them all, of course."&nbsp; Jaws drop, ratings soar!&nbsp; It's received coverage on every major publication, and undoubtedly, the trial will consume media attention for months to come. <br /><br /><a href="http://blogs.indiewire.com/criticwire/why-andrew-jareckis-the-jinx-could-be-very-very-bad-for-documentaries-20150325" target="_blank">While there are plenty of haters</a>, kudos to director Andrew Jarecki and producer Marc Smerling.&nbsp; They smelled their rat and followed it through, potentially bringing a murderer to justice while creating a truly engaging and unforgettable television experience in the process.&nbsp; They couldn't have invented a more perfect villain: a guy that was born into millions of dollars and got away with admittedly chopping up his neighbor into little pieces.&nbsp; In the era of the 99% and an unhealthy focus on income inequality, it's hard to say which is the bigger crime - but with Durst we get the perfect combination of both. <br /><br />However, for all the press this event is receiving, and giving fair credit to The Jinx for a job well done, this reminds me of another documentary that exposed crimes far greater by orders of magnitude, and yet, got a fraction of the coverage.&nbsp; Not only that, but while Mr. Durst was accidentally recorded while talking to himself in the privacy of a bathroom, which is hardly equivalent to a true confession, this other documentary is overflowing with footage of individuals bragging about killing hundreds of people.&nbsp; In one case, a triple homicide suspect is swiftly brought to trial, but in the other, the criminals continue to not just roam, but rule the streets with impunity.&nbsp; Why the double standard?&nbsp; What's the lesson to be learned?&nbsp; Perhaps Mr. Durst's real crime was murdering without a government uniform. <br /><br /><b>The Act of Killing</b><br /><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-kY2v1l4NBUU/VRsWhvIHcsI/AAAAAAAAA3Q/8gGgQU8K6dM/s1600/ActOfKilling_AnwarTheDirector.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" src="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-kY2v1l4NBUU/VRsWhvIHcsI/AAAAAAAAA3Q/8gGgQU8K6dM/s1600/ActOfKilling_AnwarTheDirector.jpg" height="162" width="575" /></a></div><blockquote class="tr_bq">"In 1965, the Indonesian government was overthrown by the military.<br />Anybody opposed to the military dictatorship could be accused of being a communist: union members, landless farmers, intellectuals, and the ethnic Chinese. <br /><br />In less than a year, and with the direct aid of western governments, over one million "communists" were murdered.<br />The army used paramilitaries and gangsters to carry out the killings.<br />These men have been in power - and have persecuted their opponents - ever since. <br /><br />When we met the killers, they proudly told us stories about what they did.<br />To understand why, we asked them to create scenes about the killings in whatever ways they wished.<br />This film follows that process, and documents its consequences." </blockquote>These are the opening words to <a href="http://theactofkilling.com/" target="_blank">The Act of Killing</a>, the only historical background we are given to a genocide that claimed 500,000 to 3 million lives in a single year.&nbsp; With the most widely accepted estimate at half a million deaths, it didn't pass the threshold to be included in Rummel's catalog of democides, <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1560009276/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=1560009276&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=nathanklecom-20&amp;linkId=W6KTHKO4SQ62RKQD" target="_blank">Death By Government</a>.&nbsp; With the United States merely supporting the Indonesian government with money and weapons as part of its overall anti-communist policy, but not actively orchestrating the overthrow of their government, the military counter-coup did not make Stephen Kinzer's <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0805082409/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=0805082409&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=nathanklecom-20&amp;linkId=WMRFPAOONVXHE5NV" target="_blank">Overthrow</a>.&nbsp; Not only has this event gone down the memory hole in the western world, but <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Indonesian_killings_of_1965%E2%80%9366" target="_blank">the events of 1965-1966</a> are a forgotten page in the Indonesian history books as well.&nbsp; This is the reason <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joshua_Oppenheimer" target="_blank">Joshua Oppenheimer</a> went to Indonesia - to meet with the survivors and document the genocide so that it can be rightly included with the other great sins of the 21st century.&nbsp; However, there was one problem with this approach: the people that committed the genocide are still in power, ruling their victims by fear and terrorizing them from speaking out.&nbsp; When it seemed that the government would be successful in preventing their story from being told, the survivors gave Oppenheimer one last request: go interview the killers and the executioners, see if they will talk to you.&nbsp; He did so, and it resulted in arguably the most unique, powerful, and universally important documentary… ever. <br /><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><iframe allowfullscreen="" class="YOUTUBE-iframe-video" data-thumbnail-src="https://i.ytimg.com/vi/1kssnOoJ93I/0.jpg" frameborder="0" height="266" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/1kssnOoJ93I?feature=player_embedded" width="320"></iframe></div><br />Ever?&nbsp; A case could be made, not because of the importance of the genocide itself, but because Oppenheimer has done something totally unprecedented and amazing in the history of film.&nbsp; He was able to capture government murderers bragging about their horrendous crimes <i>while still in power</i>.&nbsp; It's like a real-life House of Cards; like footage from a <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0547572484/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=0547572484&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=nathanklecom-20&amp;linkId=HZGFU3RYL7G3IO7P" target="_blank">Man in the High Castle</a> parallel-world with Nazi's bragging about carrying out the holocaust with the smug assurance that nothing will ever be done about it because they won the war. <br /><br />These people are free, heroes in their country, totally sanctioned by their government, media, and history books - and yet they brutally killed hundreds of people by their own hands.&nbsp; It can't be overstated enough - they were complicit in the murders of thousands, tens of thousands, likely over 2 million collectively, <i>and they brag about it</i>!&nbsp; With the innocence and naiveté of a child, the leading subject of the film, executioner Anwar Congo, will demonstrate how he was inspired by American gangster movies to pioneer a cleaner and more efficient way of killing people by strangling them with wire, and in the next moment he'll show off his dancing ability with the <i>cha-cha-cha</i>.&nbsp; It's absolutely surreal, and Anwar's Jekyll / Hyde persona is perfectly contrasted with fellow executioner Adi Zulkadry, who, rather than being a strange and inexplicable figure, is someone we know all too well. <br /><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-cs-4mDLEqDU/VRioCK7nwLI/AAAAAAAAA2U/GRi2-tvZWkw/s1600/ActOfKilling_WhitePants.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" src="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-cs-4mDLEqDU/VRioCK7nwLI/AAAAAAAAA2U/GRi2-tvZWkw/s1600/ActOfKilling_WhitePants.jpg" height="190" width="575" /></a></div><br /><b>Anwar and Adi: Reflections of the Statist Mind</b><br /><br />As Oppenheimer has explained in several interviews, The Act of Killing is made possible by Anwar Congo's willingness to explore the crimes of his past to satisfy his conscience.&nbsp; Anwar suffers from nightmares; he sees the open eyes of the people he killed, their ghosts haunting his dreams.&nbsp; If Anwar can create a "beautiful family film", then maybe he can finally justify his actions and bring closure to his guilt and suffering.&nbsp; It's a logical goal, as there are dozens of films that try to paint the ugly truths of war and violence as beautiful and heroic every year, <a href="http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2179136/awards" target="_blank">some of them winning prestigious awards</a>. <br /><br />Anwar ultimately expresses guilt and takes some responsibility for his actions while simultaneously maintaining that "he did what he had to do", but fellow executioner Adi Zulkadry holds no such incompatible delusions.&nbsp; If Anwar represents the American vet suffering from PTSD, ashamed and conflicted with the crimes he committed while "serving his country", then Adi is the stalwart officer of the law, 100% committed to his justifications and convinced that he was "only doing his job".&nbsp; Combined, they represent the range of the statist mindset.&nbsp; Neither of them can ever truly face the reality of their crimes: the fact that a government uniform did not alter the morality of their acts by one iota.&nbsp; But on one extreme, Anwar is at least conflicted and suffers guilt, even although he does not understand it.&nbsp; On the other end, Adi is a <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Javert" target="_blank">Javert</a> like character that has accepted every statist lie and has nowhere else to go in this life. <br /><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-ta_O1ue7ils/VRipWJ784QI/AAAAAAAAA2g/qJCAHb5weag/s1600/ActOfKilling_Anwar_Adi.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="clear: left; float: left; margin-bottom: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" src="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-ta_O1ue7ils/VRipWJ784QI/AAAAAAAAA2g/qJCAHb5weag/s1600/ActOfKilling_Anwar_Adi.jpg" height="240" width="400" /></a></div>The interplay between Anwar and Adi makes for some of the most memorable moments in the film.&nbsp; When Anwar discusses his nightmares, suggesting that they are caused by the people he strangled, Adi will hear none of it.&nbsp; "You feel haunted because your mind is weak", he tells Anwar.&nbsp; According to Adi, they have nothing to feel sorry about, so all he needs to do is meet with a neurologist, get a prescription for "nerve vitamins", and he'll be a true believer once again.&nbsp; Adi explains his ability to accept his acts without remorse or regret in a chillingly straightforward way:<br /><blockquote class="tr_bq">"Killing is the worst crime you can do.&nbsp; So the key is to find a way not to feel guilty.&nbsp; It's all about finding the right excuse. <br /><br />For example, if I'm asked to kill someone, if the compensation is right, then of course I'll do it, and from one perspective it's not wrong.&nbsp; That's the perspective we must make ourselves believe.&nbsp; After all, morality is relative." </blockquote>Throughout the film, Anwar demonstrates that he does not agree with Adi's belief in relative morality.&nbsp; When visiting the site where he tortured and killed hundreds of people, he is overcome with emotion, saying, "I know it was wrong - but I had to do it." He has a physical reaction, throwing up a little, and continues, "Why did I have to kill them?&nbsp; I had to kill… My conscience told me they had to be killed."&nbsp; In this instance he confuses his conscience with his friends in government and the <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pancasila_Youth" target="_blank">Pancasila Youth</a> - they were the ones that painted the "communists" as savages and sub-humans that deserved torture and death.&nbsp; However, it is his recognition of the inherent immorality of his acts that allow him to identify <a href="https://www.lewrockwell.com/1970/01/lysander-spooner/no-treason-the-constitution-of-no-authority/" target="_blank">the defining characteristic of government</a> on par with the great <a href="http://www.lysanderspooner.org/" target="_blank">Lysander Spooner</a>: <br /><blockquote class="tr_bq">"...Parliament should be the most noble place in society, but if we see what they do there, <i>they're really just robbers with ties</i>." </blockquote>Yet again, Adi has a different perspective that reflects an attitude that is all too common in the west.&nbsp; In one of Oppenheimer's most confrontational moments in the film, he asks Adi what he'd do if he was sent to the Hague and charged with war crimes.&nbsp; The executioner responds indignantly: <br /><blockquote class="tr_bq">"I don't necessarily agree with those international laws.&nbsp; When Bush was in power, Guantanamo was right.&nbsp; Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction.&nbsp; That was right according to Bush, but now it's wrong. <br /><br />The Geneva Convention may be today's morality, but tomorrow - we'll have the Jakarta Conventions and dump the Geneva Conventions. <br /><br />'War Crimes' are defined by the winners.&nbsp; I'm a winner.&nbsp; So I can make my own definitions.&nbsp; I needn't follow the international definitions." </blockquote>When <a href="http://thedailyshow.cc.com/videos/50roxo/exclusive---joshua-oppenheimer-extended-interview-pt--1" target="_blank">John Oliver interviewed Oppenheimer on the Daily Show</a>, he specifically referred to this scene, saying, "You can't argue with him".&nbsp; Well of course you can!&nbsp; But if you did, you'd be forced to confront Adi's ugly truth.&nbsp; A more honest statement from Oliver would be that you can't logically denounce the mass killings in Indonesia while justifying the crimes of other nations like the United States, such as <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/067976285X/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=067976285X&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=nathanklecom-20&amp;linkId=UUWPRFNFL23JPQ3Y" target="_blank">dropping atomic bombs on civilian cities</a>, <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FbIX1CP9qr4" target="_blank">killing 500,000 children through sanctions</a>, or <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guantanamo_Bay_detention_camp" target="_blank">torturing sheepherders in Guantanmo Bay</a>.&nbsp; In both instances, actions that would be deemed as wrong by an objective moral code are dressed in the cloak of "authority" and magically change their moral status.&nbsp; The only difference is that we can't accept the authority of the Indonesian government when viewed through Oppenheimer's lens.&nbsp; Lucky for the libertarian viewer, there are several other learning opportunities in The Act of Killing that demonstrate the true nature of government. <br /><br /><b>A Look Behind the Curtain: The Nature of Government</b><br /><br />One of the most eccentric characters in The Act of Killing is Herman Koto, a gangster who spent his entire life in the ranks of the Pancasila Youth paramilitary organization.&nbsp; A large man with a simple mind and a penchant for cross-dressing, Herman is as brutal of a killer as any and takes his directorial duties very seriously, second only to Anwar.&nbsp; So it seemed too good to be true when Herman Koto decided to run for parliament because he's "well known".&nbsp; Three cheers to Oppenheimer, the few minutes of the film covering Herman's campaign didn't move the story of the 1965 genocide, but it does offer the clearest and most honest insight into the mind of a politician outside of the fictional series <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/House_of_Cards_%28U.S._TV_series%29" target="_blank">House of Cards</a>. <br /><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-GkL29myGkxQ/VRirdt0tCMI/AAAAAAAAA2s/XOWArQT20O8/s1600/ActOfKilling_HermanGOTV.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" src="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-GkL29myGkxQ/VRirdt0tCMI/AAAAAAAAA2s/XOWArQT20O8/s1600/ActOfKilling_HermanGOTV.jpg" height="170" width="575" /></a></div><br />Once Herman dresses up for campaign photos and plasters his image all over his campaign car, he's ready to shake hands and kiss babies.&nbsp; After practicing his best Obama impression, he rides down the street, yelling "Long live the Businessmen and Workers Party!&nbsp; I am Herman - ready to fight for worker's rights!"&nbsp; But in the next scene he reveals his real ambitions for elected office.&nbsp; Herman explains: <br /><blockquote class="tr_bq">"If I get elected and get on the Building Commission - I can get money from everyone.&nbsp; For example, if a building is 10 cm too small, I can demand "Tear down the building!" <br /><br />They'll say, "Please don't report us, Here's your money" <br /><br />Even if nothing's wrong with the building, if I threaten them they'll give me money anyway. <br /><br />Not just a little money, in a block of 10 buildings if each pays $10,000, just do the math - that's already $100,000.&nbsp; That's only one neighborhood!" </blockquote>The Act of Killing doesn't just show the true motivation behind code enforcement, it also tackles eminent domain.&nbsp; Haji Anif, a paramilitary leaders and businessmen, looks across his vast acreage of land and explains that he gave it to the birds because it makes him happy.&nbsp; To show what a clever and powerful man he is, he explains how he got the land: <br /><blockquote class="tr_bq">"Everybody's terrified of the paramilitaries… When a businessman wants land where people are living , if he just pays for it, it's expensive.&nbsp; But we can solve his problem.&nbsp; Because people are terrified of us, when we show up - they say, 'just take the land.&nbsp; Pay what you like.'" </blockquote>What refreshing honesty!&nbsp; Who needs <a href="https://www.lewrockwell.com/lrc-blog/libertarian-class-analysis-2/" target="_blank">libertarian class analysis</a> with such candid political elites?&nbsp; For all the horror and the trauma that the Indonesian people have been through, at least they can clearly identify their enemies.&nbsp; In these moments, The Act of Killing highlights many of Hoppe's arguments in <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0765808684/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=0765808684&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=nathanklecom-20&amp;linkId=K6RXXFMWOMHPVVSR" target="_blank">Democracy: The God that Failed</a>, as a government this openly corrupt doesn't suffer from the army of useful idiots parroting "we are the government".&nbsp; That said, there is at least one moment in the film when a government official thinks he may have gone too far and considers his public image.&nbsp; Before filming the attack on Kampung Kolam, Deputy Minister of Youth and Sport Sakhyan Asmara makes a special appearance to give the actors a pep talk, and before long he's in the middle of a foaming-at-the-mouth blood rage.&nbsp; "Crush the comments!&nbsp; Wipe them out!&nbsp; Slaughter them!&nbsp; Kill them all!&nbsp; Don't let any escape!&nbsp; Take no prisoners!&nbsp; Destroy them all!&nbsp; Burn down their houses!&nbsp; Kill the communists!&nbsp; Chop them up!&nbsp; Burn them!&nbsp; Kill them all!"&nbsp; It's pretty intense, so Sakhyan Asmara decides to give a disclaimer: <br /><blockquote class="tr_bq">"Now I'm speaking as a leader of Pancasila Youth.&nbsp; What we've just shown is not characteristic of our organization.&nbsp; We shouldn't look brutal, like we want to drink people's blood.&nbsp; That's dangerous for our organization's image.&nbsp; But we must exterminate the communists.&nbsp; We must totally wipe them out - <i>but in a more humane way</i>." </blockquote>So there we have it.&nbsp; When it comes to official government policy, it's important to be humane when you kill a million or so people.&nbsp; This is the primary reason why the Indonesian government requires paramilitaries like Pancasila Youth.&nbsp; By all objective accounts they certainly meet the criteria of the state; they are an integral part of the "monopoly of violence".&nbsp; They kill, rob, shake-down, and commit all sorts of other crimes with total impunity.&nbsp; Not only do they receive privileges usually reserved for government enforcers, but top members of the government are also members of Pancasila Youth!&nbsp; But just in case any "uncharacteristic" event spins out of control they always have plausible deniability.&nbsp; Vice President of Indonesia, Jusuf Kalla, explains the importance of Pancasila Youth this way: <br /><blockquote class="tr_bq">"The spirit of Pancasila Youth, which people accuse of being gangsters...&nbsp; Gangsters are people who work outside the system - not for the government. <br /><br />The word 'gangster' comes from 'free men'.&nbsp; This nation needs 'free men'! <br /><br />If everyone worked for the government - we'd be a nation of bureaucrats, we'd get nothing done.&nbsp; <i>We need gangsters to get things done</i>." </blockquote>If there was ever a reason to take a step back and consider the pros and cons of <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tt2yGzHfy7s" target="_blank">Obama's call for a civilian security force</a>, this would probably be it. <br /><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-scqpfL2xPpo/VRisqGzotRI/AAAAAAAAA24/aKGka4_cSDM/s1600/ActOfKilling_WeNeedGangsters_GetErDone.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" src="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-scqpfL2xPpo/VRisqGzotRI/AAAAAAAAA24/aKGka4_cSDM/s1600/ActOfKilling_WeNeedGangsters_GetErDone.jpg" height="179" width="575" /></a></div><br /><b>Conclusion</b><br /><br />The Act of Killing brings about such a sense of unease in the viewer because it goes to the heart of a commonly promoted superstition: that the human species is going ever onward and upwards - righting wrongs, learning from mistakes, and making progress.&nbsp; Footage of Nazi's bragging about their crimes wouldn't elicit the same reaction, the take away would be that they lost the war because they were evil and got what they deserved in Nuremburg.&nbsp; But here you have to contend with an unjust world, one where a group of mass-murdering gangsters won control over their government, put down their opposition, controls the masses through fear and propaganda, and are still in charge today.&nbsp; It is a film that shows that crime pays - only if the crime is big enough. <br /><br />Inevitably, having to contend with this reality begs the question - if the Indonesians still live in a country ruled by mass-murderers and brainwashed with a corrupt media that portrays villains as heroes - what can I say for sure about my own government?&nbsp; Is it possible my "duly elected leaders" have the same contempt for me?&nbsp; In this way Oppenheimer is able to open a window into the true nature of government for anyone watching it - regardless of what country they come from.&nbsp; A <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stockholm_syndrome" target="_blank">Stockholm Syndrome</a> defense mechanism would kick in if you showed someone a film attacking his own government; all the years of childhood indoctrination ensures that one can always double-think out of any unpatriotic thought.&nbsp; But the Act of Killing lowers those defenses, it captures the imagination by showing a world far removed from our day to day life, and the anxiety we feel when watching it is a long-dormant moral compass awakening and challenging the inherent illogic of living in a modern state. <br /><br />The Jinx may be a <a href="http://variety.com/2015/tv/news/ratings-hbos-the-jinx-finale-draws-over-1-million-viewers-on-sunday-1201454423/" target="_blank">ratings success for HBO</a>, and undoubtedly the trial of Robert Durst will receive significant airplay for months to come, but in the end, Durst is a sloppy piker compared to the likes of Anwar Congo.&nbsp; Sure he's got millions of dollars, but what is that compared to the power of government?&nbsp; What are 3 murders compared to a genocide of 3 million?&nbsp; If the answer is "a million times worse", then shouldn't Oppenheimer's masterpiece still be receiving the attention it deserves?&nbsp; Unfortunately, The Act of Killing's temporary rise and fall just goes to show that when it comes to judging the importance of a murder, the most important criteria is whether or not it was done with the authority of the state. <br /><br />Unknownnoreply@blogger.comtag:blogger.com,1999:blog-6497333203175478928.post-38349283829924951982015-02-02T20:34:00.001-06:002015-02-02T20:53:11.038-06:00Secession, Slavery and the Civil War: Causation, Correlation or Mass Confusion?<div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-VZ2ff0bWC8g/VMvYOp8i6GI/AAAAAAAAAzs/ftsbdYc1r0U/s1600/Secession_CivilWar_1776_vs_Leviathan.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" src="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-VZ2ff0bWC8g/VMvYOp8i6GI/AAAAAAAAAzs/ftsbdYc1r0U/s1600/Secession_CivilWar_1776_vs_Leviathan.jpg" height="175" width="575" /></a></div><br /><a href="http://mises.org/" target="_blank">The Ludwig von Mises Institute</a> recently hosted their annual <a href="http://mises.org/events/houston-mises-circle-2015" target="_blank">get together in Houston</a> on the heroically controversial theme of secession.&nbsp; Mises Institute President <a href="http://mises.org/profile/jeff-deist" target="_blank">Jeff Deist</a> opened the morning with a speech advising us to <a href="http://mises.org/library/jeff-deist-secession-begins-home" target="_blank">secede in our local capacity</a>, starting at the individual level.&nbsp; <a href="http://www.brionmcclanahan.com/" target="_blank">Dr. Brian McClanahan</a> detailed <a href="https://mises.org/library/secession-american-tradition" target="_blank">America's rich history of secession</a>, from the 13 colonies' war of secession from Great Britain to Texas' war of secession against Mexico.&nbsp; <a href="http://www.lewrockwell.com/" target="_blank">Lew Rockwell</a> contrasted <a href="http://mises.org/library/secession-libertarian" target="_blank">the rich libertarian history of secession</a> to the regime libertarians' knee-jerk reaction to such an unapproved opinion.&nbsp; After lunch, <i>New York Times</i> best-selling author <a href="http://tomwoods.com/" target="_blank">Tom Woods</a> highlighted the absurdity of viewing secession as blasphemous while <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FbIX1CP9qr4" target="_blank">the decision to kill half a million children</a> is a matter of public policy.&nbsp; Finally, <a href="http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/" target="_blank">Dr. Ron Paul</a> closed out the afternoon by speaking of secession as just one tool to be used in the greater contest for liberty. <br /><br />It was a wonderful opportunity to meet with so many like-minded people from all over the country that chose to travel long distances for a one-day seminar on a topic that is viewed by the mainstream as antiquated and unorthodox at best.&nbsp; In retrospect, the most amazing part of the event is how we were able to have a rational, thoughtful dialogue on this topic without ever bringing up the elephant in the room: slavery and the civil war.&nbsp; It's like we all took it for granted that everyone was familiar with <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0761526463/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=0761526463&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=nathanklecom-20&amp;linkId=X43LSXFH35IXI6SH" target="_blank">the works</a> of authors like <a href="http://mises.org/profile/thomas-j-dilorenzo" target="_blank">DiLorenzo</a> and didn't need to rehash the history taught in public schools that Lincoln heroically fought the civil war to free the slaves and save the Union against the traitorous secessionists of the South.&nbsp; We didn't need to waste time analyzing that myth; we could immediately jump to more productive and enlightening dialogue. <br /><br />However, the sad reality many of us faced traveling home was that it is nearly impossible to continue that rational conversation on the merits and challenges of secession with most of our coworkers, friends and family.&nbsp; Raise the specter of secession and the Pavlovian responses of "racism", "slavery" and <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TrcM5exDxcc" target="_blank">even "neo-confederate" predictably follow</a>.&nbsp; But what else should we expect in a society with 12+ years of government indoctrination and <a href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/daddy-issues-are-ron-pauls-hard-core-stands-a-problem-for-sons-presidential-bid/2015/01/25/e23b1cdc-a4a9-11e4-a7c2-03d37af98440_story.html" target="_blank">a mainstream media that foams at the mouth</a> and is <a href="http://www.lewrockwell.com/2014/03/thomas-dilorenzo/the-lincoln-cult-on-sickening-display/" target="_blank">undeniably dishonest</a> when someone has the gall <a href="http://thedailyshow.cc.com/guests/andrew-napolitano/uhvdtk/andrew-napolitano" target="_blank">to question the necessity of the war</a> considering that <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jbOE4Ip7In0" target="_blank">slavery was peaceably ended in every other country</a> without requiring the loss of 620,000 lives and billions in damages and debt. <br /><br /><i>The civil war was fought to free the slaves.&nbsp; The secessionists were traitors.</i>&nbsp; These are the commonly held myths we must dismantle before the rest of society can join us in a reasonable and common-sense discussion on the right of secession. <br /><br /><b>Why was the Civil War fought?</b><br /><br />The government-approved history of the Civil War goes something like this: the Southern states illegally seceded from the United States to protect their institution of slavery.&nbsp; This prompted a Civil War, causing a tremendous loss of life and property on both sides, but ultimately ending with Lincoln fulfilling his quest by preserving the Union and freeing the slaves. <br /><br />This narrative may seem undisputable but it suffers from fatal errors once you scratch the surface.&nbsp; On the first point concerning the cause of secession there is no major disagreement.&nbsp; While the Southern states did have grievances against the Federal Government like protective tariffs that unfairly benefited the North at the expense of the South, the major reason cited in the state's secession documents was the issue of slavery.&nbsp; Thomas Fleming's <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0306822954/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=0306822954&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=nathanklecom-20&amp;linkId=S6CQZPX7EJQSCQPU" target="_blank">A Disease in the Public Mind</a> points to the colliding forces of unrelenting abolitionism in the North and the South's <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Haitian_Revolution#1804_massacre_of_whites" target="_blank">fear of a race war</a> which made it impossible to find an agreeable end to the system of slavery. <br /><br />So while seven of the Southern states seceded over the slavery issue, the reason for the war given by Lincoln himself was not slavery, but to prevent secession.&nbsp; As Lincoln repeatedly said, <br /><blockquote class="tr_bq">"My paramount object in this struggle is to save the Union, and is <i>not</i> either to save or to destroy slavery.&nbsp; If I could save the Union without freeing <i>any</i> slave I would do it; and if I could save it by freeing some and leaving others alone I would also do that.&nbsp; What I do about slavery, and the colored race, I do because I believe it helps to save the Union." </blockquote>Lincoln made this point numerous times such that it cannot be directly challenged by regime historians, but what happens instead is a logical fallacy built under the guise of the familiar mathematical axiom that if a = b and b = c, then a = c.&nbsp; In other words, "if the cause of secession was slavery, and to prevent secession was the reason for the war, then the reason for the war was slavery".&nbsp; This may seem a trivial point, but it is imperative that the undisputed good of ending slavery is not used to cloud our judgment when considering the true motivations for the ugly and brutal war that preceded it.&nbsp; Any fantasy that the North was fighting a war of racial justice must be dismantled so that we can objectively look at the agreed upon reason for the war, secession, in an unbiased light. <br /><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-dsGILrU3bVQ/VMvaR0X3xMI/AAAAAAAAAz4/WSOZ9mKDgKc/s1600/Secession_StatesMap.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="clear: left; float: left; margin-bottom: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" src="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-dsGILrU3bVQ/VMvaR0X3xMI/AAAAAAAAAz4/WSOZ9mKDgKc/s1600/Secession_StatesMap.jpg" height="325" width="400" /></a></div>First of all, if the Civil War was about slavery, why would there have been 7 slave states that stayed loyal to the Union while the Confederacy was formed?&nbsp; The fact is, the people of the North were largely no better or even worse than the southerners when it came to racial equality.&nbsp; The Northerners enforced fugitive slave laws, kept child slaves for 25+ years during <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Manumission" target="_blank">manumission</a>, denied free blacks suffrage, and generally did all they could to make their states white only.&nbsp; Conversely, Fleming noted that only a small minority of Southern men owned slaves or otherwise had a direct financial incentive in the practice - so why would they fight over it and risk their lives and everything they owned?&nbsp; The simple answer is they wouldn't.&nbsp; So what would they fight for?&nbsp; Of the seven slave states that originally stayed in the Union, four of those states only seceded <i>after</i> Lincoln had put out calls to raise an army of invasion and the first shots were fired at Ft. Sumter.&nbsp; If it war was over slavery, can we imagine that Lincoln would have called it quits if the seceded states had freed their slaves?&nbsp; Of course not!&nbsp; It wasn't slavery that drove Virginia, Arkansas, North Carolina and Tennessee out; Lincoln made it clear he had no quarrel with that institution in any <i>loyal state</i>.&nbsp; They joined the confederacy and fought out of disbelief that Lincoln would declare war and invade the southern states which they believed had every right to peaceably withdraw from their government, just as their great-grandfathers had done 90 years earlier from King George III.&nbsp; It might have been slavery that prompted the first 7 states to leave, but that's not why 11 states fought a long and brutal war - they fought for self-government. <br /><br />Unbelievably, it is the fine print of <a href="http://www.archives.gov/exhibits/featured_documents/emancipation_proclamation/transcript.html" target="_blank">the Emancipation Proclamation</a> itself that best shines a light on the dubious claim that Lincoln freed the slaves.&nbsp; Proving Lincoln to be the master politician, that document only applied to <i>the states in rebellion</i>, specifically exempting the states that had stayed loyal! So the slaves that Lincoln had the power to free were to remain slaves, but he supposedly freed the slaves in states that had already left the Union and formed their own country.&nbsp; H.L. Mencken said it best, <br /><blockquote class="tr_bq">"Even his handling of the slavery question was that of a politician, not that of a messiah... An Abolitionist would have published the Emancipation Proclamation the day after the first battle of Bull Run.&nbsp; But Lincoln waited until the time was more favorable - until Lee had been hurled out of Pennsylvania, and more important still, until the political currents were safely running his way.&nbsp; Even so, he freed the slaves in only a part of the country: all the rest continued to clank their chains until he himself was an angel in Heaven." </blockquote>Ultimately, there are many contending theories of precisely why the Federal government invaded the Confederacy.&nbsp; While Thomas Fleming discusses the "<a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0306822954/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=0306822954&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=nathanklecom-20&amp;linkId=S6CQZPX7EJQSCQPU" target="_blank">diseases in the public mind</a>" that fueled the Civil War, Thomas DiLorenzo <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0307338428/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=0307338428&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=nathanklecom-20&amp;linkId=GNMLZZP37KI35LYB" target="_blank">unmasks</a> the <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0761526463/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=0761526463&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=nathanklecom-20&amp;linkId=TTEHW2CWTI2BMPHA" target="_blank">real Lincoln</a>, showing how his ideology favoring a strong central state led him to launch an unnecessary and illegal war to destroy the doctrine of state's rights.&nbsp; <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1589806921/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=1589806921&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=nathanklecom-20&amp;linkId=Y27W343FPIWABBF2" target="_blank">John Avery Emison</a> takes just about everything we were taught about the Civil War and turns it on its head, first showing us that it would be more accurate to call it America's second war of secession, and from there demonstrating how our first "total war" paved the way for the horrors of the 20th century's world wars and set the precedent for the most egregious violations of federal power today.&nbsp; As if it couldn't get any worse, <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1589803981/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=1589803981&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=nathanklecom-20&amp;linkId=B44C25VIRIQ7GN77" target="_blank">John Graham</a> makes the case that it wasn't historical accidents that caused the War for Southern Independence, but "antagonisms… deliberately agitated during the 1850s by great international banking houses with a preconceived motive of provoking secession" to generate unpayable debts and establish the financial empire that still rules this country.&nbsp; Regardless of these various theories, we should all be able to agree with <a href="http://econfaculty.gmu.edu/wew/" target="_blank">Walter Williams</a> when he unequivocally states, <a href="http://www.jewishworldreview.com/cols/williams120298.asp" target="_blank">the Civil War wasn't about slavery</a>. <br /><br /><b>Were the Secessionists traitors?</b><br /><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-12KV2p1WxIk/VMvahYPBRuI/AAAAAAAAA0A/Ll0JAhywQAc/s1600/Secession_PerpetualUnion.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" src="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-12KV2p1WxIk/VMvahYPBRuI/AAAAAAAAA0A/Ll0JAhywQAc/s1600/Secession_PerpetualUnion.jpg" /></a></div><br />With the end of slavery properly understood as a happy by-product of the Civil War, but not at all the reason that 620,000 fought and died, we can examine the legitimacy of the war through fresh eyes.&nbsp; Was Lincoln justified in waging a war against the Confederacy to preserve the Union, and just what did he preserve? <br /><br />First, it might be instructive to take a step back and examine <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1589806921/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=1589806921&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=nathanklecom-20&amp;linkId=Y27W343FPIWABBF2" target="_blank">the points made by Emison</a> concerning just what we should call this decisive event in American history.&nbsp; Unlike the <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spanish_Civil_War" target="_blank">civil war in Spain</a>, the American Civil War was not a battle of two competing factions fighting for control over a common central government.&nbsp; The Southern states had no dictates to the North, no terms other than to be left alone.&nbsp; Jefferson Davis even sent a peace delegation to promote friendly ties between the two countries, which Lincoln refused to see.&nbsp; So what do we call a war when one side has formally withdrawn and entered into a state of self-government and the other side invades that country to bring it into submission?&nbsp; A war of independence or a war for secession certainly fits the historical circumstances better than a civil war. <br /><br />At this point our government indoctrination might be kicking in - am I possibly making the argument that the traitorous South had the moral high ground in this war, the exact opposite of what the victorious Federal Government has led us to believe?&nbsp; Indeed, <a href="http://www.lewrockwell.com/1970/01/murray-n-rothbard/whats-a-just-war/" target="_blank">Murray Rothbard concluded that there are only two American wars that have met the criteria for a "just war"</a>, that being the first war of secession against Great Britain, and the second war of secession of the Southern states. <br /><br />But how could this be?&nbsp; The Southern states seceded for slavery, the act of depriving individuals from exercising their free will, <a href="http://www.nathankleffman.com/2014/03/the-planet-of-sorrows.html" target="_blank">one of the greatest crimes that man can commit</a>.&nbsp; Doesn't this fact tarnish secession?&nbsp; But consider the reverse scenario.&nbsp; If secession is to be judged by the worst vices of those that endorsed it, shouldn’t we also look at the crimes of those that did not believe in secession but instead in an all-powerful central government?&nbsp; Adolf Hitler himself wrote in <i>Mein Kampf</i> that secession was illegal because "it was the Union which formed a great part of such so-called states."&nbsp; Similarly, the violence wrecked by omnipotent central governments that were no fans of secession <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1560009276/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=1560009276&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=nathanklecom-20&amp;linkId=YBZVEUGPYAB2MU25" target="_blank">counts some 200 million dead</a> in the 20th century alone. <br /><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-WXDQBjHnE6k/VMvbF0iSbFI/AAAAAAAAA0I/h9NhZlkd5XQ/s1600/Secession_Illegal_July4th.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" src="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-WXDQBjHnE6k/VMvbF0iSbFI/AAAAAAAAA0I/h9NhZlkd5XQ/s1600/Secession_Illegal_July4th.jpg" /></a></div><br />Rather than only focusing on the worst qualities of those that believed in secession, let's recall that one of our most famous founding fathers was explicitly in favor of secession and nullification to combat the growth of centralized government in the <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kentucky_and_Virginia_Resolutions" target="_blank">Principles of '98</a>.&nbsp; Thomas Jefferson postulated that it was "not very important to the happiness of either part" of the country if the United States broke up.&nbsp; In a live and let live fashion, he said that in separation "God bless them both, and keep them in the union if it be for their good, but separate them, if it be better". <br /><br />At the time Lincoln invaded the South there were five living ex-presidents, every one of which opposed the war in one way or another.&nbsp; Some did not agree with the decision to secede and did their best to convince the Southern states to remain in the Union, but they ultimately believed in the right of secession.&nbsp; After all, Vermont seceded from New York, Texas seceded from Mexico, and West Virginia seceded from Virginia during the Civil War itself.&nbsp; And as previously mentioned, the United States itself seceded from Great Britain in the Revolutionary War. &nbsp;You'd think that would count for something.<br /><br />Historical precedents aside, we can also look at this logically and constitutionally.&nbsp; An established precedent of law is known as legislative entrenchment, meaning that what one legislative body has the power to do, another can do or undo.&nbsp; A prior legislative body cannot rule from the grave and if the state legislature of 1787 has the power to ratify the constitution, so then can the state legislature of 1861 choose to repeal that ratification.&nbsp; Indeed, Virginia's secession document explicitly stated it was a lawful repeal of the ratification of the Constitution.&nbsp; Can we imagine that the 13 colonies, having just had <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Treaty_of_Paris_%281783%29" target="_blank">their full sovereign nature individually acknowledged by Great Britain</a>, really joined a union that they could never leave?&nbsp; Every historical precedent from the federalist papers to the state ratifying conventions says otherwise. <br /><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-uDdOgO1VQz4/VMvboaYkuII/AAAAAAAAA0Q/8q5MccyQRNg/s1600/Secession_RepealConstitution.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="clear: left; float: left; margin-bottom: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" src="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-uDdOgO1VQz4/VMvboaYkuII/AAAAAAAAA0Q/8q5MccyQRNg/s1600/Secession_RepealConstitution.jpg" height="186" width="320" /></a></div>The Southern states were not traitorous when they seceded; they had every right to do so.&nbsp; The only traitor was Lincoln, who declared war without congressional approval and violated a hundred other constitutional provisions and laws of human decency in his battle to "preserve the Union".&nbsp; He may have reclaimed the Southern states as captured provinces, <a href="http://www.nathankleffman.com/2011/12/america-by-any-other-name-would-be-as.html" target="_blank">but he certainly didn't preserve our republic</a>.&nbsp; What we had was a voluntary association of independent states united under the contract of the Constitution.&nbsp; Lincoln's war of aggression most assuredly killed that system of government for all the states, replacing it with the federal leviathan that knows no boundaries and gives no thought to the consent of the governed.&nbsp; He won the war and we still suffer the losses. <br /><br /><b>What is Secession?</b><br /><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-VXvdf8oxgi8/VMvcMc-qdwI/AAAAAAAAA0c/k-o4xP_MUBk/s1600/Secession_AmericasOldestTradition.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="clear: left; float: left; margin-bottom: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" src="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-VXvdf8oxgi8/VMvcMc-qdwI/AAAAAAAAA0c/k-o4xP_MUBk/s1600/Secession_AmericasOldestTradition.jpg" /></a></div>Secession - it was the foundation of the American Revolution against King George III.&nbsp; Even today, it is the most radical concept of the last 500 years.&nbsp; As stated in Jefferson's Declaration of Independence, when a government is destructive to the ends of the people that created it, it is their <i>duty</i> to institute a new government.&nbsp; That wasn't an idle threat; secession is the means to do so.&nbsp; It is the true enforcement mechanism to ensure that we have government by consent.<br /><br />Just think of what a glorious preventative check the threat of secession is to the limitless goals of our federal masters.&nbsp; Imagine the contrast with a "marriage union".&nbsp; Even though it is a document signed "till death do us part", all modern states recognize the right of divorce, the equivalent of secession.&nbsp; <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1589806921/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=1589806921&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=nathanklecom-20&amp;linkId=Y27W343FPIWABBF2" target="_blank">As Emison questioned</a>, would an abusive husband treat his wife better or worse in a society where divorce was legal or illegal?&nbsp; The question answers itself, and it also explains why the federal government is able to propose increasingly egregious legislation on battered, defenseless states that have nowhere to run and no hope of retaliation. <br /><br />How bizarre that in a country founded on the principle of secession time has allowed this cornerstone of liberty and bedrock of freedom to be marginalized and disgraced.&nbsp; After all, as <a href="http://tomwoods.com/" target="_blank">Tom Woods</a> noted in <a href="https://mises.org/library/secession-reasonable-option-everyone-resists" target="_blank">his speech at the Mises Circle</a>, its practical effect is nothing more than to say, "maybe this imaginary line should be drawn up here instead of over there." <br /><br />Lew Rockwell <a href="http://www.lewrockwell.com/2015/01/lew-rockwell/break-up-the-us/" target="_blank">defined secession in more human terms</a>, reminding us of the moral obligation we have to our fellow men and the responsibility we carry when we endorse our political agents to carry out violence in our name.&nbsp; He summed up the the libertarian perspective this way: <br /><blockquote class="tr_bq">"It is morally illegitimate to employ state violence against individuals who choose to group themselves differently from how the existing regime chooses to group them. They prefer to live under a different jurisdiction. Libertarians consider it unacceptable to aggress against them for this." </blockquote>View the right of secession as a moral imperative to not aggress against others that want to go in peace.&nbsp; Recognize the arbitrary nature of all government boundaries and the absurdity in going into hysterics if one of those lines should change.&nbsp; Acknowledge secession as the foundation of this very country and think of how it could be a very realistic solution to the issues we face today.&nbsp; But above all, rescue secession from the dustbin of history that ignorance has placed it.&nbsp; Secession is a noble, practical and moral idea that deserves our attention and respect. <br /><br /><b>Conclusion</b><br /><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-jnW4buf2-pE/VMvdCW6MS2I/AAAAAAAAA0k/euq3qG25jIQ/s1600/Secession_Worldwide.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" src="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-jnW4buf2-pE/VMvdCW6MS2I/AAAAAAAAA0k/euq3qG25jIQ/s1600/Secession_Worldwide.jpg" /></a></div><br />Around the world people want freedom and if they can't have that, a more representative government will do.&nbsp; The CIA and military industrial complex provides us with all kinds of "approved" secessions and revolutions around the world from despots who have inexplicably leaped from the ally to the enemy category - but dare suggest that Texas may be better of seceding if the federal government continues its unsustainable path, or that the citizens of California would be better represented if certain counties seceded to create new states - well you must be a closet racist!&nbsp; This hypocrisy and doublethink can’t go on forever. <br /><br /><a href="http://www.lewrockwell.com/lrc-blog/more-washington-post-head-up-your-arse-reporting/" target="_blank">As Thomas DiLorenzo recently documented</a>, secession is a global phenomenon that isn't going away: <br /><blockquote class="tr_bq">"There are 32 secessionist movements <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_active_separatist_movements_in_Africa" target="_blank">in Africa</a>; 114 secessionist movements <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_active_separatist_movements_in_Europe" target="_blank">in Europe</a>; 20 secessionist movements <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_active_separatist_movements_in_North_America" target="_blank">in North America</a>; 83 secessionist movements <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_active_separatist_movements_in_Asia" target="_blank">in Asia</a>; 11 secessionist movements <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_active_separatist_movements_in_South_America" target="_blank">in South America</a>; and 26 secessionist movements <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_active_separatist_movements_in_Oceania" target="_blank">in Oceania</a>.&nbsp; Neo-Confederates are everywhere!" </blockquote>However, the most exciting thing about secession isn't just the prospect of replacing one government with another one, but the larger philosophical impact for the libertarian movement.&nbsp; Followed to its logical conclusion, when the state can secede from the country, and the county from the state, and the town from the county, we can envision a practical path to our anarcho-capitalist utopia.&nbsp; But ultimately, if the right of secession is accepted and respected, we could imagine a government that has an actual incentive to stay within its <a href="http://www.nathankleffman.com/2012/05/constitution-and-intellectual-honesty.html" target="_blank">delegated boundaries</a>, a government that actually serves its supposed purpose of contributing to the happiness of the people instead of to their destruction.&nbsp; It may be impossible to keep the state with its monopoly on violence within the boundaries set by those that consented to its jurisdiction, but if it were to be possible, it is certainly only so in a society where the right of secession is alive and well.&nbsp; Let us fight to create such a society, <a href="http://www.nathankleffman.com/2015/01/punishment-park-usa.html" target="_blank">not through violence</a> - that is the government’s specialty, but in the war of ideas. <br /><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-Hn2pLMq6_aQ/VMvdss9qrSI/AAAAAAAAA0s/8gCVYhX_vPI/s1600/Secession_Rothbard.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" src="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-Hn2pLMq6_aQ/VMvdss9qrSI/AAAAAAAAA0s/8gCVYhX_vPI/s1600/Secession_Rothbard.jpg" /></a></div>Unknownnoreply@blogger.comtag:blogger.com,1999:blog-6497333203175478928.post-45778072959120172652015-01-06T21:21:00.001-06:002015-01-06T21:21:27.367-06:00Punishment Park, U.S.A.<div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-rYCQ2bNlsk0/VKydGv-d0CI/AAAAAAAAAx8/kgucHRoHzWE/s1600/PunishmentPark_USA.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" src="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-rYCQ2bNlsk0/VKydGv-d0CI/AAAAAAAAAx8/kgucHRoHzWE/s1600/PunishmentPark_USA.jpg" /></a></div><br />They have been branded enemies of the state: thought criminals, anti-American propagandists, political extremists and even the occasional violent agitator.&nbsp; Stripped of their rights, hustled through kangaroo courts and abused by indifferent captors; many who considered themselves peaceful dissidents learn to channel their righteous indignation into a brutality equal to what was inflicted upon them.&nbsp; In this way violence begets violence.&nbsp; But something else occurs.&nbsp; The agents of the state were taught to see political protesters as cop killers and nonconformists as lethal threats; now their training is vindicated.&nbsp; When a brother in blue falls in the line of duty vengeance inevitably takes priority over the rule of law.&nbsp; The killers and their allies must get what they deserve; after all, they’re criminals.&nbsp; The cycle of hate, violence and toughness escalates and continues. <br /><br />This scenario is being played out in cities and states across the country as racial tensions, economic recession and police militarization collide in a snowballing eruption.&nbsp; For anyone familiar with Peter Watkin's 44-year-old film <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Punishment_Park" target="_blank">Punishment Park</a> it may bring about a sense of déjà vu.&nbsp; Unfortunately, we've seen this movie before. <br /><br />In Watkin's alternative history President Nixon declares a state of emergency to deal with the growing anti-war movement and other dissenters of the American regime.&nbsp; These emergency powers give federal authorities the ability to abduct and imprison those deemed "risks to internal security"; people like subversive poets, student group leaders and pacifists fleeing the draft.&nbsp; After each of the accused is summarily sentenced to 10-30 years in federal prison they are given a perverse choice: serve your sentence or take your chances with three days in Punishment Park.&nbsp; If you survive a 53 mile hike through the Arizona desert and reach the coveted American flag you are set free.&nbsp; However, if you are apprehended by the police and National Guard members that hunt you as part of their training then you carry out your sentence as before.&nbsp; Resist their capture in any way and the full force of the state is ready to meet violence with violence.&nbsp; Film crews from around the world document America's experimental legal system and the result is the <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mockumentary" target="_blank">mockumentary</a> Punishment Park. <br /><br />In 1971 this film was met with shock and anger, with Hollywood studios refusing to distribute it.&nbsp; Innocent Americans branded communist sympathizers, a citizen tribunal consisting of "America take it or leave it" automatons and police enforcers indifferent to the violence they deliver because "they're just doing their jobs"; perhaps these elements combined with the documentary style of the film hit too close to home.&nbsp; But if the parallels were ominous then, what can we say in a world with <a href="https://www.aclu.org/blog/tag/ndaa" target="_blank">legalized indefinite detention</a>, <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/jul/14/obama-secret-kill-list-disposition-matrix" target="_blank">presidential kill lists of American citizens</a> and <a href="http://rt.com/usa/213603-torture-panel-shocking-findings/" target="_blank">CIA torture camps across the globe</a>?&nbsp; Watched through today's lens it's equally valid to call this film prophetic and passé.&nbsp; Which is worse, that a film that "couldn't happen here" and was viewed as heretically outrageous has indeed come to pass or that we've already moved beyond Punishment Park's quaint limitations such that it doesn't elicit much of a reaction at all? <br /><br /><b>Pawns in the Game</b><br /><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-f7FNkFmLt40/VKyd0PAK9cI/AAAAAAAAAyE/NVEc3ZMT6ks/s1600/PunishmentPark_PointingFingers.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" src="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-f7FNkFmLt40/VKyd0PAK9cI/AAAAAAAAAyE/NVEc3ZMT6ks/s1600/PunishmentPark_PointingFingers.jpg" height="160" width="575" /></a></div><br />44 years ago Punishment Park was called disturbing, unpatriotic and possibly even communist propaganda - whatever it took to see it censored and banned in country after country.&nbsp; When this forgotten film found a new life on the internet <a href="http://www.amazon.com/Punishment-Park-Carmen-Argenziano/product-reviews/B004R111HE/" target="_blank">a new generation saw it in a much different light</a>.&nbsp; Instead of condemning Watkins they asked what he would think of his film in the era of the Patriot Act, the NDAA and the invasion of Iraq.&nbsp; The question was asked, could this movie even be made today?&nbsp; Many saw parallels between the behavior and attitudes of Punishment Park's police and civilian tribunal with what you now find in the neo-cons of both parties.&nbsp; As <a href="http://www.lewrockwell.com/2010/04/james-allen-wilkins/punishmentpark/" target="_blank">James Allen Wilkins noted in his review</a>, "You can almost interchange the word "communist" with "terrorist" throughout the film and the movie might as well have been made last week." <br /><br />However, it's important to remember that no one watches this film in a vacuum; everyone brings their own bias to Punishment Park.&nbsp; In 1971 <a href="http://www.people-press.org/2014/11/13/public-trust-in-government/" target="_blank">54% of the public "almost always" trusted the government but now that number has been cut in half</a>, with <a href="http://www.businessinsider.com/poll-millenials-have-historically-low-levels-of-trust-in-government-2014-4" target="_blank">the millennial generation showing all-time low levels of trust in government</a>.&nbsp; Hence, one generation relates to the enforcer class and model Americans of the film while another generation mostly sides with the rebels and victims of the state.&nbsp; This is where I see the brilliance and timelessness of the film.&nbsp; All the characters give such an honest portrayal of both perspectives that there is no obvious group of good guys / bad guys but rather viewers will walk away with their own narrative based on which group they instinctively relate to in the story.&nbsp; It's similar to the "libertarian test" of watching a video of a police beating.&nbsp; Is your first reaction to defend the cop who is "just doing his job" or to side with the person guilty of some heinous crime like <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Death_of_Eric_Garner" target="_blank">selling untaxed cigarettes</a>? <br /><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-hXlRE_tO9HE/VKyea1DUeNI/AAAAAAAAAyM/qivc9fCKjrg/s1600/PunishmentPark_ICantBreathe.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" src="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-hXlRE_tO9HE/VKyea1DUeNI/AAAAAAAAAyM/qivc9fCKjrg/s1600/PunishmentPark_ICantBreathe.jpg" height="200" width="575" /></a></div><br />Recognizing that a shift in perspective can lead one to have a totally different reaction to the film, this is where we have a real opportunity to use it as a lesson for exploring the bigger picture.&nbsp; Instead of automatically siding with either the protesters or the police, it is more interesting to take a step back and look at the system that was erected around them; look at the chess board instead of the individual pawns in the game. <br /><br />On one side the police and military are saying "I'm just doing my job", "I wouldn't have killed him if he would have obeyed my orders" and "they attacked us, we were just defending ourselves".&nbsp; Perhaps if the prisoners of Punishment Park had meekly submitted to their arrest no harm would have come to them, so shouldn't they bear some of the responsibility for what happened?&nbsp; From the perspective of the prisoners recall that they are running for their freedom; they are desperate, starving, dehydrated and being chased 24/7 by the cops and military.&nbsp; With that waving American flag within arm’s reach, so delirious with the prospect of freedom that they can taste it, of course some of them will resist going back into bondage.&nbsp; Hence, a peace-seeking and naïve enforcer or prisoner may enter Punishment Park with the best intention of following the rules, but the system itself is rigged to ensure only one outcome is possible: anger, rage and bloodshed. <br /><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-AIVGk-Gk7o0/VKyer25luoI/AAAAAAAAAyU/_2fyg7Pzxhw/s1600/PunishmentPark_CycleOfViolence.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" src="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-AIVGk-Gk7o0/VKyer25luoI/AAAAAAAAAyU/_2fyg7Pzxhw/s1600/PunishmentPark_CycleOfViolence.jpg" height="222" width="575" /></a></div><br />When we understand that this game always ends in an escalation of violence so that there are no winners, this prompts us to look outside of our own team's interest.&nbsp; It's memorable of the mock-interview with one of the members of the citizen tribunal, where she is asked how she'd feel if her own child was brought before the court at Punishment Park.&nbsp; She gasped in horror at the thought, "well that is impossible, my kids would never do that.&nbsp; They were trained different."&nbsp; What she failed to consider was that the same unilateral / dictatorial powers that a right-wing president welds against "leftists", "communist sympathizers" and "revolutionaries" could be used by a future left-wing president against "<a href="http://www.constitution.org/abus/le/miac-strategic-report.pdf" target="_blank">right-wing extremists</a>", "<a href="http://www.thenewamerican.com/usnews/constitution/item/19757-cop-we-need-military-equipment-because-of-constitutionalists" target="_blank">constitutionalists</a>" and "<a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IRS_targeting_controversy" target="_blank">tax-protesters</a>".&nbsp; The baton of power goes from the right hand to the left and back again but it keeps getting bigger and bigger, perpetually preparing for the next chance to swing an even deadlier blow. <br /><br />So why even play this game?&nbsp; The people certainly don't gain anything when a police officer is murdered; all that does is solidify the cops into a gang mentality and prepares them to use their military training against the protesters who are committed to peaceful civil disobedience.&nbsp; Ultimately the police will not win either.&nbsp; The economy will be destroyed in a police state and the enforcer class is traditionally liquidated by its own government when it goes down this path.&nbsp; When we finally see that our self-interest isn't linked to our enforcer/protester costume but to the system we all share then we finally have the opportunity to transcend this game and create something better.&nbsp; But first we need to understand the game we're playing so that we don't unintentionally duplicate it.&nbsp; That begs the question, who created it and why? <br /><br /><b>The Power of Prediction</b><br /><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-MJCrPMBzI2g/VKygLutiWgI/AAAAAAAAAyg/i7ayY1TuB-I/s1600/PunishmentPark_PoliceMilitarization.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" src="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-MJCrPMBzI2g/VKygLutiWgI/AAAAAAAAAyg/i7ayY1TuB-I/s1600/PunishmentPark_PoliceMilitarization.jpg" height="197" width="575" /></a></div><br />This scene is currently unfolding: cops follow orders to enforce <i><a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Malum_prohibitum" target="_blank">malum prohibitum</a></i> laws like a tax on cigarettes and <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Death_of_Eric_Garner" target="_blank">murder a man on video</a>.&nbsp; The secret proceedings of the grand jury result in no charges being pressed against the police.&nbsp; Protests turn violent as someone <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2014_NYPD_officer_killings" target="_blank">randomly murders two police officers</a>, not because of their acts but because of their uniform.&nbsp; Now the state can ratchet things up and it will go back and forth like this across the country.&nbsp; Will the final escalation result in the logical consequence of the state's monopoly on violence - <a href="http://www.nathankleffman.com/2013/03/the-great-object-and-line-in-sand.html" target="_blank">a complete gun ban</a>? If so, this would be the story of America's second civil war. <br /><br />This is the scenario that <a href="http://www.infowars.com/watch-alex-jones-show/" target="_blank">Alex Jones</a> has been warning about for years.&nbsp; While he's known as the <a href="http://www.cnn.com/2013/01/09/us/alex-jones-profile/" target="_blank">king of conspiracy</a> for seriously investigating the "inside job" angle of events from the <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B006J1OCHG/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B006J1OCHG&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=nathanklecom-20&amp;linkId=YMGXHYIXGNVTKE6D" target="_blank">Oklahoma City bombing</a> and <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a8Hk1-BpXO8" target="_blank">9/11</a> to <a href="http://www.mediasolidarity.com/" target="_blank">Sandy Hook</a>, this aspect of his work often distracts from his record of accurate predictions.&nbsp; Credit must be given where credit is due.&nbsp; Regardless of what someone thinks concerning the <i>origin</i> of these events one cannot deny that Alex Jones has been incredibly accurate on the <i>state's reaction</i> to them.&nbsp; Whether it is an <a href="http://www.nathankleffman.com/2013/06/oblivion-pro-humanity-anti-illuminati.html" target="_blank">Illuminati plot</a> using the tried and tested formula of <a href="http://ethics.wikia.com/wiki/Problem_Reaction_Solution" target="_blank">problem-reaction-solution</a> or a more modest criminal enterprise that is prepared to heed <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1yeA_kHHLow" target="_blank">Rahm Emanuel's advice to "never let a serious crisis go to waste"</a>, Jones has been chillingly prophetic when it comes to how our world would change in response to terrorism, mass-shooting attacks and economic crises. <br /><br /><a href="http://www.nathankleffman.com/2014/09/how-i-woke-up.html" target="_blank">As someone who has been a listener to his show for 8+ years</a>, his consistent message has warned of an American police state, economic collapse and a resulting civil war.&nbsp; When it came to 9/11 he always said that the specter of Muslim extremists were always the necessary excuse to pass laws like the Patriot Act and the NDAA, but that the Homeland Security apparatus was always designed for the American people.&nbsp; For Jones, foreign wars not only made the military industrial complex billions but also hardened our troops for what would be required of them when they'd return to police American streets as if they were in Fallujah, Iraq.&nbsp; Derivative bubbles, "too big to fail" banks, Wall-Street bail-outs and legislation that is conveniently passed or repealed paves the way for one economic crisis after another, making the average American increasingly desperate and willing to trade liberty for security.&nbsp; Watch one of <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vsKVyhuBf3c&amp;index=18&amp;list=PLFFA6FE0800D92CAD" target="_blank">Jones' first films from the '90s</a> and recognize with disappointment <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pd4JO4KpUGE" target="_blank">how right he's been</a>. <br /><br />But it always goes back to the same question that's harder to answer with satisfaction: Why?&nbsp; How was Jones able to predict these events and how America would increasingly be turned into a Police State?&nbsp; Whose master plan is this?&nbsp; <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=byxeOG_pZ1o" target="_blank">As George H.W. Bush said 10 years to the day before 9/11</a>, "it's a big idea... <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MZVP9aHdlQI" target="_blank">a New World Order</a>".&nbsp; You cannot have world government with any sovereign nation, so “order out of chaos" techniques are used to destabilize one nation after the next, with America being the last shining jewel to take down.&nbsp; As America's wealth is used to run the engine of global police it has the dual effect of discrediting America and destroying it from within.&nbsp; If we can't <a href="http://www.nathankleffman.com/2012/03/shariah-hysteria.html" target="_blank">wake up to this trap</a> we'll play out the scenario Jones warns of the most: a civil war brought on by economic depression and gun control with the military and police against the American people, all the pawns senselessly killing each other while the globalists laugh in their offshore fortresses. <br /><br /><b>Austrian Economics meets Conspiracy Theory</b><br /><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-x8QsseQrC6U/VKygyzccFyI/AAAAAAAAAyo/x14ULmkFWVc/s1600/PunishmentPark_LudwigAndAlex.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" src="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-x8QsseQrC6U/VKygyzccFyI/AAAAAAAAAyo/x14ULmkFWVc/s1600/PunishmentPark_LudwigAndAlex.jpg" height="254" width="575" /></a></div><br />The Jonesian picture may be hard to swallow: New World Order, Skull and Bones, and Illuminati secret societies pushing civilization off a cliff to establish world government.&nbsp; Many libertarians will decry these types of theories as discrediting to their movement.&nbsp; However, one can ignore this angle of a sinister agenda and still find events like 9/11 completely predictable and even logical using only <a href="http://wiki.mises.org/wiki/Austrian_Business_Cycle_Theory" target="_blank">Austrian business cycle theory</a> and <a href="http://www.lewrockwell.com/lrc-blog/libertarian-class-analysis-2/" target="_blank">libertarian class analysis</a>. <br /><br />For just over 100 years, since the beginning of <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/091298645X/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=091298645X&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=nathanklecom-20&amp;linkId=BODV66DIM637UAAL" target="_blank">the Federal Reserve</a>, the eventual <a href="http://www.nathankleffman.com/2011/08/why-and-how-to-protect-your-savings.html" target="_blank">collapse of the dollar was predictable</a>.&nbsp; Power corrupts and the power to print money out of thin air is such an awesome force that few could withstand the temptation for abuse.&nbsp; Like the ring of Sauron it pollutes and defiles all who weld it.&nbsp; Indeed, the reason Dr. Ron Paul first ran for Congress was because of the end of Bretton Woods, when the dollar lost its last remnant backing to gold.&nbsp; <a href="http://mises.org/library/mises-and-austrian-economics-personal-view" target="_blank">Dr. Paul was trained in the school of Austrian Economics</a> and he knew that a pure fiat dollar could not last, such that he's been giving the same warning speech for 40+ years.&nbsp; Some thought he was a prophet, but what's more amazing than clairvoyance was his consistency and integrity to never sell out and never back down from what he knew would be true. <br /><br />Thus, one can assume that those of us familiar with the <a href="http://mises.org/" target="_blank">Austrian School of Economics</a> are the only ones that understand the inherent problems of fiat currency: how it fuels business cycles and pumps up bubbles that must end in busts.&nbsp; Under this theory our global government, banking and finance leaders have swallowed their own Kool-aide and actually believe that Keynesianism solutions <i>are solutions</i>, regardless of the logical and historical evidence to the contrary. <br /><br />But let's explore another option: assume that at least <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B007PM1AW8/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B007PM1AW8&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=nathanklecom-20&amp;linkId=DGZWHV57IVXRJEYI" target="_blank">a few people in power</a> are completely aware of <a href="http://archive.lewrockwell.com/north/north204.html" target="_blank">the long-run futility of money printing as a panacea</a>.&nbsp; A few insiders know that the inherent instability of the petro-dollar, the 100+ trillion in unfunded liabilities, etc. will eventually bring economic collapse, with that collapse most likely followed by one last heroic attempt at money printing to <a href="http://www.nathankleffman.com/2014/07/battle-of-bears-deflation-or-inflation.html" target="_blank">result in hyper-inflation</a>.&nbsp; For those in power, who most certainly want to maintain their power, what should be done with this knowledge? <br /><br />Knowing that time is running out for the American empire, and perhaps even holding to some bizarre ends-justify-the-means logic of preventing a new uprising of the communist system, those in power would have a very real incentive to institute a police state to ensure that they can maintain their power during a time of economic hysteria.&nbsp; Dissidents would have to be silenced; revolutionaries would have to be disappeared.&nbsp; Maybe they got some of their ideas from Punishment Park.&nbsp; The point is that these police state powers would be unthinkable under the American system of 100 years ago, 50 years ago, or even pre-9/11.&nbsp; The American people would rebel if these changes were instituted overnight.&nbsp; But instead, do it slowly, year by year, right-wing administration followed by a left-wing administration, and blame it all on <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Project_for_the_New_American_Century#.22New_Pearl_Harbor.22" target="_blank">an external threat</a>, the shadowy Muslim extremists in faraway lands.&nbsp; They will never see it coming.&nbsp; You can even imagine how a "patriotic American" could be persuaded to assist in such a diabolical plan; after all, the future of "<a href="http://www.nathankleffman.com/2011/12/america-by-any-other-name-would-be-as.html" target="_blank">America</a>" depends on it.&nbsp; A few billion dollars in pay-off and hush-up money wouldn't hurt either. <br /><br /><b>Conclusion</b><br /><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-aoqZaANaoqU/VKyhVKnISVI/AAAAAAAAAy0/DjULNEWhh6o/s1600/PunishmentPark_Chess.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="clear: left; float: left; margin-bottom: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" src="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-aoqZaANaoqU/VKyhVKnISVI/AAAAAAAAAy0/DjULNEWhh6o/s1600/PunishmentPark_Chess.jpg" /></a></div>Whether this was all planned <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0945001010/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=0945001010&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=nathanklecom-20&amp;linkId=K5JACG73WFDEFJCG" target="_blank">100 years ago by Cecil Rhodes</a> and <a href="http://store.infowars.com/Bloodlines-of-the-Illuminati_p_83.html" target="_blank">Satan</a> or if we're all in the back seat of a car being driven recklessly off a cliff by drunkards who know not what they do, the question remains: what should we do about it?&nbsp; How do we stop this tragedy of errors where innocent people are murdered by police with official immunity and random cops are in turn murdered by desperate people who see no other way to achieve justice?&nbsp; Are we destined to stupidly kill each other while the people that put this system in motion, the ones that constructed our Punishment Park, sit back and laugh? <br /><br />What must be done is education and <a href="http://www.nathankleffman.com/2014/03/the-planet-of-sorrows.html" target="_blank">peaceful non-compliance</a>.&nbsp; This is not the fast and easy answer, but it is the only chance we have at true success.&nbsp; We need to reach out to those in uniform and those without state issued costumes.&nbsp; The <a href="http://fox5sandiego.com/2014/11/24/police-shooting-of-12-year-old-boy-with-air-gun-caught-on-video/" target="_blank">nosy neighbor</a> or the <a href="http://www.cbs46.com/story/19917831/teen-shot-by-police-sniper-parents-talk-only-to-cbs-atlanta-news" target="_blank">parent that calls the cops</a> to <a href="http://www.cnn.com/2014/01/07/justice/north-carolina-teen-killed/" target="_blank">deal with an unruly child</a> will certainly learn <a href="http://dailycaller.com/2014/01/05/parents-call-police-for-help-cops-show-up-and-kill-their-18-year-old-son/" target="_blank">the folly of their ways</a> when <a href="http://theantimedia.org/mother-calls-police-to-help-her-son-take-his-medicine/" target="_blank">their baby</a> is <a href="http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2014/11/24/cleveland-shot-boy/19471925/" target="_blank">summarily murdered</a>, but surely this isn't the best or only way to learn this lesson.&nbsp; Don't call the police unless you absolutely need men with guns - because that's all they are good for.&nbsp; Similarly, we must reach out to those in uniform and wake them up to the role they are playing in this lose-lose game. <br /><br />The common thread connecting the 9-1-1-calling-boob and the license-to-kill-carrying meter maid, the root of the problem we face, is <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/145075063X/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=145075063X&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=nathanklecom-20&amp;linkId=EEZGA4EJ2BSXUJT2" target="_blank">the belief in authority</a>.&nbsp; As demonstrated in Punishment Park, the police and military do not hold themselves accountable for the murders and other crimes they commit while they are in uniform, nor do the member of the citizen tribunal who sentence the innocents to their fate.&nbsp; <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N6uVV2Dcqt0" target="_blank">As Larkin Rose says</a>, their actions are no longer their own, they have become a part of "authority" such that they are free from the moral responsibility and consequences of their actions.&nbsp; This myth must be overcome.&nbsp; It won't be easy, 12-20 years of government school indoctrination has made sure of that, but it is the only possibility of success we have. <br /><br />The last and most important point that cannot be overstated enough is this: aggressive violence is not the solution.&nbsp; The state, as defined as the holder of a monopoly on violence, has gotten very good at violence, just as anyone becomes excellent at a particular trade through specialization and practice.&nbsp; We shouldn't challenge Michael Jordan to a game of basketball or Tiger Woods to a game of golf, not when our lives depend on it.&nbsp; We cannot win a game of offensive violence with the government, we cannot out-state the state.&nbsp; The state is the problem; <a href="http://www.lewrockwell.com/" target="_blank">anarcho-capitalism is the answer</a>.Unknownnoreply@blogger.comtag:blogger.com,1999:blog-6497333203175478928.post-91126766829340985332014-12-12T13:02:00.001-06:002014-12-12T13:02:48.407-06:00The Political Mysteries of Easter Island<div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-iXLfeRnLnuM/VIn20qb45WI/AAAAAAAAAwA/g5lJokoq0tQ/s1600/EasterIsland_NoTrespassing.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" src="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-iXLfeRnLnuM/VIn20qb45WI/AAAAAAAAAwA/g5lJokoq0tQ/s1600/EasterIsland_NoTrespassing.jpg" height="375" width="500" /></a></div><br />It goes by many names: "Easter Island" or "<i>Isla de Pascua</i>" both refer to the day the Dutch stumbled upon this mysterious island in 1722.&nbsp; About 50 years later a Spanish explorer named it after his king but "San Carlos Island" didn't stick.&nbsp; According to lore this land was named "<i>Te Pito O Te Henua</i>" meaning "The Navel of the World", but today the locals refer to their home with a Polynesian name given in the 1860's: <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Easter_Island" target="_blank">Rapa Nui</a>. <br /><br />With <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rapa_Nui_people" target="_blank">descendants of the indigenous people also known as Rapa Nui</a> and their <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rapa_Nui_language" target="_blank">ancestral language sharing that name</a>, early explorers concluded that there may not have been a distinct name for this remote island in the Pacific.&nbsp; Since it is a single landmass and not a chain of islands there is no other landmark to compare it to.&nbsp; More than 2,175 miles from mainland Chile and a similar distance from Tahiti, it is a mystery in itself how the Polynesian sailors of over a thousand years ago first came to inhabit this land. <br /><br />Rapa Nui's beautiful weather, deep blue ocean, white sand beaches, gorgeous volcanic peaks and welcoming, hospitable locals would make this island worthy of any tropical vacation - but throw in one thousand 10-70 foot tall ancient statues scattered across the island and you have a must-see "bucket list" destination.&nbsp; It was these mysterious statues, the <i><a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moai" target="_blank">moai</a></i>, which drew me to the island.&nbsp; The stone giants sit upon monolithic platforms built with ten ton perfectly cut hard basalt rocks that rival the engineering secrets of Egypt.&nbsp; The largest moai known to have stood upon such a platform weighed over 80 tons.&nbsp; Upon the moai's heads sat top-knots known as <i>pukao</i> carved from red scoria rock, themselves weighing 20+ tons. <br /><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-yZNLnDMff0M/VIn5ydpiDbI/AAAAAAAAAwM/a-CQF4XOaAI/s1600/EasterIsland_MoaiPukao.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="clear: left; float: left; margin-bottom: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" src="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-yZNLnDMff0M/VIn5ydpiDbI/AAAAAAAAAwM/a-CQF4XOaAI/s1600/EasterIsland_MoaiPukao.jpg" height="400" width="203" /></a></div>Many different theories exist as to how a few thousand people without large animals could obtain the resources, tools, techniques and willpower to carve these wonders out of volcanic rock and transport them to the farthest points of the island - and every few years new scholars seek to make a name for themselves by proposing a new explanation.&nbsp; Some say the Rapa Nui <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1619020203/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=1619020203&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=nathanklecom-20&amp;linkId=EPCLLRCWTDX6Y6NY" target="_blank">walked the statues</a> from the quarry to their platforms using nothing but manpower, team work and ropes.&nbsp; Others look at evidence that indicates they must have had more advanced engineering techniques, with <a href="https://ia700407.us.archive.org/18/items/ThiaooubaProphecyEbook/ThiaooubaProphecy.pdf" target="_blank">one curious book</a> claiming that Easter Island is the tip of a lost continent called <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mu_(lost_continent)" target="_blank">Mu</a> that was home to an <a href="http://www.nathankleffman.com/2014/03/the-planet-of-sorrows.html" target="_blank">advanced civilization</a>.&nbsp; While many locals still believe the oral tradition of their ancestors using "magic" to move the moai, the longtime residents of the island agree - there is no consensus. <br /><br />I went to Easter Island anxious to hear the mysteries of the ancient moai but instead found myself drawn to the modern political problems that confronted the Rapa Nui people.&nbsp; Talking to tour guides, businessmen and artists I discovered wonderful new and unexpected things: there are no taxes, virtually no crime and in 5 days I never saw a single police officer.&nbsp; Yet, the same dismal outlook concerning Easter Island's politics reappeared in every conversation, whether from native Rapa Nui that were born and raised on Easter Island, foreigners that had married into a Rapa Nui family or travelers that fell in love with the island and decided to never leave.&nbsp; The moai may remain a mystery forever, but I'm confident that libertarian answers are exactly what the fiercely independent people of Rapa Nui need to solve their modern problems. <br /><br /><b>A History of Violence</b><br /><br />To understand the present one must understand the past, and the <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_Easter_Island" target="_blank">past of the Rapa Nui</a> includes famine, disease, war, slave raids and cannibalism.&nbsp; Ask when the first Polynesians settled the island, when the moai were created or when their construction ended will bring answers differing by hundreds of years - so all we can reasonably conclude is that there is no consensus for these questions.&nbsp; What is known with certainty is based on the records of western explorers.&nbsp; The Dutch and Spanish only wrote of standing statues in 1722 and 1770 respectively, but starting in 1774 and continuing for 60 years thereafter reports of toppled moai were recorded until none were left standing.&nbsp; Again, what exactly lead an advanced commercial society to collapse into cannibalism and civil war is up for debate, but by the time the missionaries of the 1860s appeared the islanders were already separated into competing tribes that respected clear-cut property lines.&nbsp; Their legends spoke of <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rapa_Nui_mythology#Origin_myth" target="_blank">the first king</a> that divided up the island among his sons, eventually resulting in these clans.&nbsp; At some unknown point the class system of the king and the royal family were disposed by military leaders that instituted the <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tangata_manu" target="_blank">cult of the birdman</a>, where a representative from each clan would compete in a yearly ritual that would result in one clan gaining power over the island.&nbsp; One way or the other, a population that scientists believe peaked at 15,000 came to be estimated at only 3,000 by western explorers in the 18th century. <br /><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-Ex1k8fZkvww/VIn6vi73DeI/AAAAAAAAAwU/fK38fQmtpjM/s1600/EasterIsland_RapaNui_meet_Westerners.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" src="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-Ex1k8fZkvww/VIn6vi73DeI/AAAAAAAAAwU/fK38fQmtpjM/s1600/EasterIsland_RapaNui_meet_Westerners.jpg" height="204" width="575" /></a></div><br />But by the 1860s cannibalism and inter-clan warfare became the least concern for the Rapa Nui.&nbsp; Peruvian slave ships captured about half the islands population and sent 1,500 men and women to work in guano deposits and plantations.&nbsp; A few years later the well-meaning bishop of Tahiti intervened and demanded the Rapa Nui be returned home.&nbsp; Unfortunately, the survivors brought smallpox and tuberculosis back to Easter Island that wiped out the other half of the population.&nbsp; By 1877 only 111 people were still living on the island, only 36 of them having children. <br /><br />As if things couldn't get any worse, less than a dozen years later Easter Island became a territory of a modern state.&nbsp; A representative of the Chilean government duped the supposed king into signing the "Treaty of Annexation of the Island".&nbsp; Like all <a href="http://tomwoods.com/blog/when-did-i-sign-this-social-contract/" target="_blank">social contract theories</a>, this act by one "king" is now interpreted as having been signed with the Rapa Nui people as a whole and somehow implicitly transferred onto future generations in perpetuity.&nbsp; Even postulating that such a contract could be morally or legally justifiable, it is doubtful that the signer of this <a href="http://www.lewrockwell.com/1970/01/lysander-spooner/no-treason-the-constitution-of-no-authority/" target="_blank">treaty of no authority</a> realized what relinquishing his people's sovereignty meant.&nbsp; While the first king of Rapa Nui allegedly <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kings_of_Easter_Island#First_paramount_chief" target="_blank">foresaw Easter Island in a dream</a> and led his people on a triumphant voyage towards a great civilization, this last king couldn't even anticipate the misery that would immediately follow signing a contract with the State. <br /><br />With the ink barely dry on the annexation treaty, the Chilean government leased Easter Island to the <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Williamson-Balfour_Company" target="_blank">Williamson-Balfour Company</a> in 1888, which then created a subsidiary company to imprison the islanders in the town of <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hanga_Roa" target="_blank">Hanga Roa</a> and turned the rest of the island into a giant sheep farm.&nbsp; With a name that is unbelievably honest to our modern ears, this company was called "<i>Compania Explotadora de la Isla de Pascua</i>" or "The Easter Island Exploitation Company".&nbsp; While the company carelessly destroyed sacred Rapa Nui relics to build stone walls for the sheep, the people lived in a veritable concentration camp - <i>and this continued for 70 years!</i><br /><br />While the rest of the world partook in an industrial revolution, supposedly rid the world of slavery, mastered the secrets of the atom to harness great energy and raced to land a man on the moon - the Rapa Nui people lived and died without ever leaving the few square miles that comprised the island's only town.&nbsp; The sheep ruled until 1953 and then the Chilean Navy took over only to run business as usual.&nbsp; It wasn't until 1966, the same year <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Governorship_of_Ronald_Reagan" target="_blank">Californians elected their first movie star as governor</a> and cigarettes were first mandated with warning labels, that the Rapa Nui were allowed to roam outside of their open-air prison.&nbsp; Needless to say, this experience has given them a healthy mistrust of the State. <br /><br /><b>Rapa Nui Problems</b><br /><br />The good news is that the problems the Rapa Nui face today are not as drastic as those which faced their ancestors.&nbsp; The flip side is that the issues are more subtle, they exist under the surface of everyday life which makes potential solutions more difficult to discern.&nbsp; When your town is surrounded by barbed wire and you are denied the freedom to walk on the land of your ancestors because it has been taken over by a foreign army it is very clear where your righteous anger should be directed.&nbsp; But again and again I heard the same despondent attitude towards the difficulties facing Easter Island, with the best hope being that a future generation could fix things.&nbsp; This outlook of resignation and acceptance of failure does not mean that potential solutions don't exist - it only indicates that in a world of statism the answers are so unorthodox that they are never seriously considered. <br /><br />The most obvious, alarming and disturbing issue that is readily acknowledged by the locals should also be one of the most clear cut examples of the <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tragedy_of_the_commons" target="_blank">tragedy of the commons</a> to any student of economics.&nbsp; After the islanders' status changed from prisoners of Hanga Roa to citizens of Chile their remorseful government mandated that going forward only native Rapa Nui would be eligible to own property, but of course the State itself was exempted from this agreement.&nbsp; The entire coast line and the vast majority of Easter Island is owned by the government, with the predictable results being shocking to the conscience. <br /><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-HtZmIwmYqFY/VIn8RbwsmTI/AAAAAAAAAwg/00e4f5w-smE/s1600/EasterIsland_CowsHorses.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" src="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-HtZmIwmYqFY/VIn8RbwsmTI/AAAAAAAAAwg/00e4f5w-smE/s1600/EasterIsland_CowsHorses.jpg" height="212" width="575" /></a></div><br />Priceless moai, platforms, and petroglyphs are constantly degraded by the elements.&nbsp; While rain and winds are an excusable and inevitable challenge of an "open-air museum", the most insensible and egregious damage comes from the hundreds of roaming cows and horses that find themselves unable to respect the "no touching" signs infrequently posted across the island.&nbsp; One of my guides could only shake his head when he noticed that a nose section of his family's ancestral moai had broken off since his last visit to the site, the culprit was most likely a wandering horse. <br /><br />The cows are not used for their milk and the horses are not used for their meat.&nbsp; There are plenty of cars on the island; some say too many, so no one is using these horses for transportation.&nbsp; In fact, the largest and virtually only cause of car accidents on the island is from running into rambling horses.&nbsp; To repeat: the outrageousness of the situation isn't that the horses are causing damage to cars, those can be replaced, it is that these thousand pound animals are doing tremendous damage to the hundreds of unique and irreplaceable artifacts that are totally unprotected.&nbsp; At first glance it would seem that during the rush to industrialize the island with power generators, combustion engines and the internet someone forgot to introduce the technological wonder known as a fence. <br /><br />But this is where the complications of the island politics and family history come to bear.&nbsp; When the Rapa Nui population was decimated to 111 people the 36 of them that had children had very large families - with 20 children being common and the largest family containing 28.&nbsp; These families all knew which ancestral clan they descended from and that knowledge has been passed on such that today the entire population of more than 3,000 Rapa Nui operates within their various familial networks.&nbsp; All of them can trace their lineage back to one of the original clans that communally owned a certain piece of the island, each with their own sacred burial sites, platforms and moai to represent their ancestors - so in that sense they have a very legitimate claim to let their horses roam where they damn well please.&nbsp; The tragedy of it all is that the government formally owns the land but knows that it can't get away with fencing it up or otherwise excluding the people (and their livestock) from their sacred sites - so we arrive at this quasi-ownership scenario where no one can enforce decisions that would protect the very artifacts that everyone is interested in preserving. <br /><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-5e77F8UPzP8/VIn8q89BMfI/AAAAAAAAAwo/_YZMvL1K05Y/s1600/EasterIsland_Boundaries.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" src="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-5e77F8UPzP8/VIn8q89BMfI/AAAAAAAAAwo/_YZMvL1K05Y/s1600/EasterIsland_Boundaries.jpg" height="218" width="575" /></a></div><br />Occasionally the various Rapa Nui families are able to join together against the Chilean government and demand that their ancestral land is returned to its rightful heirs.&nbsp; Whenever the protests and civil disobedience are threatening enough the Chilean government brilliantly cuts off a random piece of land in the middle of the island and sits back to let the families fight over it.&nbsp; The majority of them don't want *that* particular territory, not only does it not belong to their tribe but it's probably the ancestral site of a rival clan.&nbsp; Yet this technique to redirect their anger against each other and away from their government works every time. <br /><br />You find this same misplacement of anger when it comes to the perfect example of what <a href="http://www.hanshoppe.com/" target="_blank">Hans-Hermann Hoppe</a> calls "<a href="http://www.lewrockwell.com/1970/01/hans-hermann-hoppe/on-free-immigration-and-forced-integration/" target="_blank">forced integration</a>".&nbsp; With Easter Island labeled a territory of Chile and the Rapa Nui becoming Chilean citizens, this opened the flood gates for Chileans to come from the mainland and set up shop in this tax-free paradise.&nbsp; Just as Americans can move to Hawaii and live or work without any special permission, Chilean mainlanders are notoriously threatening the jobs and cultural identity of the Rapa Nui, with over 50% of the population of Easter Island now consisting of foreigners.&nbsp; Their answer to this problem is to plead with the government to enact some kind of immigration quota.&nbsp; Not only is this an example of addressing the symptom instead of the disease, it is far worse because the doctor prescribing the medicine is in fact the villain that dispensed the originating poison. <br /><br /><b>Libertarian Solutions</b><br /><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-Fj75P2a1Z4w/VIn9ROOxh4I/AAAAAAAAAww/ngIwWMJsc9E/s1600/EasterIsland_Ahu_Tongariki_landscape.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" src="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-Fj75P2a1Z4w/VIn9ROOxh4I/AAAAAAAAAww/ngIwWMJsc9E/s1600/EasterIsland_Ahu_Tongariki_landscape.jpg" height="186" width="575" /></a></div><br />A tragedy of the commons, dubious property titles and forced integration, all originating from the acts of violence committed over 100 years ago against the Rapa Nui people that included fraud, theft, kidnapping and murder.&nbsp; Before exploring the practical aspects of righting these wrongs, let's review what libertarian justice would demand. <br /><br />The first crime to analyze is the signing of the "Treaty of Annexation of the Island".&nbsp; Assuming for the sake of argument that the existing king was the rightful property owner of the entire island and had the capacity to sign it over to the government of Chile, it is seriously doubtful that there was a "<a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Meeting_of_the_minds" target="_blank">meeting of the minds</a>".&nbsp; In other words, a reasonable person would not sign a contract that would immediately make himself, his people and his lineage slaves and prisoners on the land his fathers colonized.&nbsp; The treaty should be considered fraudulent and granting no validity to the subsequent crimes of transferring the island to an "exploitation company" to imprison the people and steal their land. <br /><br />With the current occupier and defacto owner of Easter Island having no legitimate title to it, we ask the question of who has the moral right of ownership.&nbsp; The libertarian <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Homestead_principle#John_Locke" target="_blank">Lockean</a> / <a href="http://mises.org/library/law-property-rights-and-air-pollution#8" target="_blank">homesteading principle of just property</a> tells us that "everyone has absolute property right over previously unowned natural resources which he first occupies and brings into use".&nbsp; This absolute property right includes the right to give it away or bequeath it to one's heirs, so common sense tells us that the clans that lived, worked, and "mixed their labor" with the island were the natural owners.&nbsp; Furthermore, the property boundaries that they themselves established and respected should be seen as the legitimate borders for today.&nbsp; For the vast majority of the island that is currently in the unjust possession of a criminal government, that land should be immediately returned to the families that can trace their lineage back to those clans. <br /><br />What is the moral thing to do with the property that is in private hands?&nbsp; There are two scenarios.&nbsp; First, assume we are discussing land still under the control of the <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Williamson-Balfour_Company" target="_blank">Williamson-Balfour Company</a>.&nbsp; As their possession of the land was directly facilitated by the criminal state, not to mention the horrendous crimes that they directly committed, any land held by them on Easter Island should also be returned.&nbsp; They have no rightful claim to ask others to respect their "private property" that was seized through violent aggression.&nbsp; In an essay entitled "<a href="http://left-liberty.net/?p=179" target="_blank">Confiscation and the Homestead Principle</a>" in the <a href="http://mises.org/library/complete-libertarian-forum-1969-1984" target="_blank">June 15th, 1969 issue of the Libertarian Forum</a>, Murray Rothbard wrote, <br /><blockquote class="tr_bq">"What we libertarians object to, then, is not&nbsp;government&nbsp;per se but crime, what we object to is unjust or criminal property titles; what we are for is not “private” property&nbsp;per se&nbsp;but just, innocent, non-criminal private property.&nbsp; It is justice vs. injustice, innocence vs. criminality that must be our major libertarian focus." </blockquote>In a case that's not so obvious is the <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Easter_Island#Indigenous_rights_movement" target="_blank">occupation of the Hangaroa Eco Village and Spa</a>.&nbsp; A German family bought the land from the Chilean government and spent millions of dollars building a hotel on it.&nbsp; Only after the construction was complete and the business was preparing to open did members of the indigenous Hitorangi clan occupy the hotel rooms claiming that the land was illegally taken from their ancestors.&nbsp; The occupation lasted for several months until the police forcibly removed them. In this scenario a different passage from Rothbard's essay may be more applicable: <br /><blockquote class="tr_bq">"Often, the most practical method of de-statizing is simply to grant the moral right of ownership on the person or group who seizes the property from the State.&nbsp; Of this group, the most morally deserving are the ones who are already using the property but who have no moral complicity in the State’s act of aggression.&nbsp; These people then become the “homesteaders” of the stolen property and hence the rightful owners." </blockquote>While the Williamson-Balfour Company was certainly complicit in the State's offenses, it is harder to convict the owners of the Hangaroa Eco Village and Spa of the same involvement.&nbsp; Lacking the taint of criminality and considering the millions worth of labor and capital they invested, an argument can be made that they have a greater claim to that particular piece of land than anyone else.&nbsp; Accepting that some cases of confiscation and restoration will not be as evident as others but that justice will be served when the State-occupied land is returned to the rightful and identifiable heirs, we can now review the likely benefits that will result. <br /><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-zgcXKfSIGLg/VIn-bqs079I/AAAAAAAAAw4/WP7bI6Ppu0k/s1600/EasterIsland_AnCapMoai.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="clear: left; float: left; margin-bottom: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" src="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-zgcXKfSIGLg/VIn-bqs079I/AAAAAAAAAw4/WP7bI6Ppu0k/s1600/EasterIsland_AnCapMoai.jpg" height="400" width="250" /></a></div>With all of Easter Island being privately owned by the people that care the most about its preservation we can expect that the current practice of having horses and cows trample over their sacred artifacts will immediately cease.&nbsp; Not only do <a href="http://www.nathankleffman.com/2011/09/rights-privileges-and-property.html" target="_blank">good fences make good neighbors</a> but with private ownership comes the incentive to be the best possible steward of a given natural resource- whether the land contains a white sand beach or sacred archaeological relics.&nbsp; The motivation to provide proper short-term maintenance and ensure preservation for future generations may purely come from the love of one's ancestral land but it could also be enhanced by the desire to profit from the appetites of the nearly 100,000 tourists per year that travel from all over the world and are ready to spend thousands of dollars to marvel at the ancient moai. <br /><br />Similarly, in the case of the forced integration of unwanted Chileans, in an island of private property everyone will either be a welcome guest or will not be admitted.&nbsp; Perhaps some clans will choose to only employ native Rapa Nui while others will be eager to hire outside help and specialized talent from around the world - the market will ultimately reward those that best please the desires of the consumers.&nbsp; While this scenario supposes that the Rapa Nui will choose not to sell their land, with full property rights free from the current state-mandated restriction they would have the choice to sell part or all of their land to anyone they wanted, regardless of nationality.&nbsp; Perhaps not everyone will be optimally pleased with what the people of Rapa Nui decide to do with their rightful land, but two things are certain: justice will be done and the moai will be better preserved than they are today - it couldn't possibly be worse. <br /><br /><b>Conclusion</b><br /><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-GUU3yWuTz3k/VIn_rgqlSnI/AAAAAAAAAxE/u-85drJ5E3c/s1600/EasterIsland_McDonalds.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" src="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-GUU3yWuTz3k/VIn_rgqlSnI/AAAAAAAAAxE/u-85drJ5E3c/s1600/EasterIsland_McDonalds.jpg" height="375" width="500" /></a></div><br />It would be dishonest to ignore an objection that will surely come to any mind that has been indoctrinated in government schools: with privately owned land Easter Island would be <i>ruined!</i>&nbsp; Greedy capitalists would fill it with 5 star hotels, casinos and other monstrosities, utterly destroying the majesty, mystery and miracles that have come to characterize Rapa Nui and bring tourists flocking in larger and larger numbers every year. <br /><br />Stated in this way, the objection answers itself.&nbsp; Tourists that want that kind of vacation go to Tahiti, Maldives or Bora Bora while an entirely different type of tourist spends the time and money to travel to Easter Island.&nbsp; Any successful entrepreneur will need to cater to what the tourists of Rapa Nui demand, and any that refuse to answer their wishes will be replaced with those that will.&nbsp; Furthermore, a benefit of living on an isolated island with such a small and intimate population is that everyone knows everyone, such that <a href="http://www.nathankleffman.com/2012/07/libertarian-response-to-vices.html" target="_blank">libertarian techniques like social ostracism</a> would work very well in discouraging someone from committing a serious taboo like building a McDonalds on <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rano_Raraku" target="_blank">Rano Raraku</a>. <br /><br />Another objection that is always brought up in any discussion of the stateless society is… you guessed it, who will build the roads?&nbsp; The answer is that the same people that currently build them may continue to do so, only <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/193355004X/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=193355004X&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=nathanklecom-20&amp;linkId=HWLOOWM2U6CSTCFS" target="_blank">they will be paid by private individuals instead of the state</a>.&nbsp; Currently every tourist to Easter Island pays a $60 fee to the Chilean National Park Service.&nbsp; Instead of that money going directly back into the island which drew the tourists in the first place, the money is first sent back to mainland Chile and then divided equally among all the national parks - whether they draw any visitors or not.&nbsp; Tourists pay thousands of dollars in flights, hotels, and higher prices for just about everything in order to cross Easter Island off their bucket list - surely they would continue to pay $60 or more to the new non-governmental owners of Rapa Nui.&nbsp; The art of building roads will not be lost like the art of building moai. <br /><br />Finally, for those that are concerned that private ownership of the moai could mean the end of tourism or archaeological research on Easter Island, rest assured that this is highly unlikely.&nbsp; I found the Rapa Nui people to be incredibly warm and welcoming, cognizant of how tourism is central to their entire economy.&nbsp; This symbiotic relationship would likely continue with an even greater financial interest in keeping tourists happy.&nbsp; If you are shocked at the idea of putting a dollar sign on "priceless" artifacts like the moai, remember that something is only "priceless" when it is not allowed to be privately owned.&nbsp; In the realm of archaeology, one can imagine wealthy benefactors or immensely lucrative <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crowdfunding" target="_blank">crowdfunding</a> campaigns that would be very successful in persuading the Rapa Nui to sell or lease some of their land to a serious team of researchers that could potentially break new ground.&nbsp; Ironically, only through solving the political mysteries of today may we have a chance at solving the ancient mysteries of the moai.Unknownnoreply@blogger.comtag:blogger.com,1999:blog-6497333203175478928.post-29629823455701123602014-10-30T12:23:00.001-05:002014-10-31T22:26:35.486-05:00Government Drug Dealing: from "Kill the Messenger" to "Pinocchio"<div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-XtHfziTI7C0/VFJYq1LYAYI/AAAAAAAAAsY/QTTtvsYqq74/s1600/GovDrugDealing_Kill_The_Messenger.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="clear: left; float: left; margin-bottom: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" src="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-XtHfziTI7C0/VFJYq1LYAYI/AAAAAAAAAsY/QTTtvsYqq74/s400/GovDrugDealing_Kill_The_Messenger.jpg" height="281" width="575" /></a></div><blockquote class="tr_bq">“For the better part of a decade, a San Francisco Bay Area drug ring sold tons of cocaine to the Crips and Bloods street gangs of Los Angeles and funneled millions in drug profits to a Latin American guerrilla army run by the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency, a Mercury News investigation has found. <br /><br />This drug network opened the first pipeline between Colombia's cocaine cartels and the black neighborhoods of Los Angeles, a city now known as the "crack" capital of the world.&nbsp; The cocaine that flooded in helped spark a crack explosion in urban America and provided the cash and connections needed for L.A.'s gangs to buy automatic weapons. <br /><br />It is one of the most bizarre alliances in modern history: the union of a U.S.-backed army attempting to overthrow a revolutionary socialist government and the Uzi-toting "gangstas" of Compton and South-Central Los Angeles." </blockquote>These are the opening sentences of <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gary_Webb" target="_blank">Gary Webb's</a> three-part series "<a href="http://www.narconews.com/darkalliance/drugs/start.htm" target="_blank">Dark Alliance: The Story Behind the Crack Explosion</a>".&nbsp; Published for the <i>San Jose Mercury News</i>, Gary Webb's year long investigation culminated in the "<a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gary_Webb#Dark_Alliance" target="_blank">most talked about piece of journalism in 1996</a>".&nbsp; It was released on the internet at the same time of its print publication, making it one of the first national security stories to "go viral" by bringing the <i>Mercury</i>'s website over 1 million hits a day.&nbsp; "Dark Alliance" prompted <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w5ERlo1YnLU" target="_blank">congressional hearings</a> by <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maxine_Waters#CIA" target="_blank">Rep. Maxine Waters</a>, an internal <a href="https://www.cia.gov/library/reports/general-reports-1/cocaine/overview-of-report-of-investigation-2.html" target="_blank">CIA investigation in 1998</a>, and now, 18 years later, a <a href="http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1216491/" target="_blank">major motion picture</a> starring and produced by Jeremy Renner. <br /><br />The movie&nbsp;<a href="http://www.focusfeatures.com/kill_the_messenger/" target="_blank">Kill the Messenger</a>&nbsp;is based on the book of the same title by Nick Schou, subtitled <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1568584717/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=1568584717&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=nathanklecom-20&amp;linkId=OXWYLIAGBHW4AXM4" target="_blank">How the CIA's Crack-Cocaine Controversy Destroyed Journalist Gary Webb</a>.&nbsp; In the film, Gary Webb (Jeremy Renner) is cryptically warned by a Washington insider, "They’ll make you the story", and that, more than the CIA-Contra-Cocaine controversy itself, is what the book and movie are about. <br /><br />In today's era of <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edward_Snowden" target="_blank">Snowden's NSA revelations</a> and <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2011/10/26/us/politics/poll-finds-anxiety-on-the-economy-fuels-volatility-in-the-2012-race.html?_r=0" target="_blank">government distrust at an all-time high</a>, the allegations made in the <i>Mercury</i> series and Gary Webb's follow-up book <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1609806212/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=1609806212&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=nathanklecom-20&amp;linkId=AEWQVPRUNWQC4JU7" target="_blank">Dark Alliance: The CIA, the Contras, and the Cocaine Explosion</a> seem almost quaint in comparison.&nbsp; While it was as early as 1986 that the government publicly acknowledged that <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CIA_and_Contras_cocaine_trafficking_in_the_US" target="_blank">cocaine smuggling was funding the CIA-backed Contras</a>, Gary Webb was the first one to answer the question of where that cocaine went and where the money came from.&nbsp; The answer was found in <a href="http://www.freewayrick.com/" target="_blank">"Freeway" Rick Ross</a>, the "king of crack" who sold $3 million worth of coke a day, bought 455 kilos a week, and <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/%22Freeway%22_Rick_Ross" target="_blank">in today's dollar had earnings over 2.5 billion between 1982 and 1989</a>.&nbsp; Rick Ross was a true entrepreneur in his field.&nbsp; Unlike typical drug dealers, he didn't get bogged down in petty street rivalry because the whole nation would be his market.&nbsp; He would introduce himself to other dealers by giving them a kilo for free and then offering them his price that was $10,000 per kilo lower than anyone else, thereby turning all of his would-be competitors into customers. <br /><br />The reason "Freeway" Rick Ross had a seemingly never-ending supply of the cheapest, purest product was because his supplier was <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oscar_Danilo_Bland%C3%B3n" target="_blank">Oscar Danilo Blandón</a> - a protected CIA asset.&nbsp; Blandón sold cocaine through Nicaraguan kingpin <a href="http://www.narconews.com/darkalliance/drugs/who.htm" target="_blank">Norwin Meneses</a> and thereby funded the <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Contras" target="_blank">"freedom fighting" Contras</a> against the Sandinista government.&nbsp; While Webb's investigation sparked outrage across the country and prompted many black leaders to accuse the government of purposefully creating crack to destroy inner city minorities, "Dark Alliance" never claimed anything so conspiratorial. What it claimed, and what the CIA's 1998 investigation later admitted, was that the CIA worked with known criminals as a "means to an end" and merely looked the other way when it came to their drug smuggling activities. <br /><br />Yet, for such a tame accusation, the major papers of the time unanimously rose against Gary Webb and denounced his reporting, his sources, and his ethics - even making straw man arguments by claiming that he went farther than he did in his accusations.&nbsp; In the beginning of the attack his editors stood up for him, even writing a letter to the Post saying, "While there is considerable circumstantial evidence of CIA involvement with the leaders of the drug ring, we never reached or reported any definitive conclusion on CIA involvement.&nbsp; We reported that men selling cocaine in Los Angeles met with people on the CIA payroll.&nbsp; We reported that the money raised was sent to a CIA-run operation.&nbsp; But we did not go further." <br /><br />But soon his editors betrayed him. The <i>Los Angeles Times</i> assigned 17 reporters to join the "Get Gary Webb Team", with Nick Schou writing that some former <i>LA Times</i> writers thought it was their mission not to investigate the allegations but to debunk them, commonly saying "We're going to take away this guy's Pulitzer".&nbsp; Ultimately, they printed more material attacking "Dark Alliance" than the 20,000 words that comprised the series itself.&nbsp; When the <i>Mercury</i> editor printed a letter acknowledging that some mistakes were made in "Dark Alliance", it was seen as a full retraction and sealed Gary Webb's fate as a professional journalist. <br /><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/--iqmNJnAjLQ/VFJbkM1fLtI/AAAAAAAAAsk/E-Qf1v3Wfwo/s1600/GovDrugDealing_Kill_The_Messenger_Research.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" src="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/--iqmNJnAjLQ/VFJbkM1fLtI/AAAAAAAAAsk/E-Qf1v3Wfwo/s1600/GovDrugDealing_Kill_The_Messenger_Research.jpg" height="204" width="575" /></a></div><br />While <a href="http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/kill_the_messenger_2015/" target="_blank">many reviews</a> of Kill The Messenger <a href="http://theweek.com/article/index/270337/kill-the-messenger-a-bracing-new-biopic-exposes-the-medias-corrupt-core" target="_blank">are favorable</a>, often echoing Nick Schou's conclusion that "his big story, despite major flaws of hyperbole abetted and even encouraged by his editors, remains one of the most important works of investigative journalism in recent American history", there are still elements that want to downplay the truth that Gary Webb exposed. <br /><br />Keeping in the tradition of his former peers at the <i>Washington Post</i>, Jeff Leen, the current assisting managing editor of investigations, <a href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/gary-webb-was-no-journalism-hero-despite-what-kill-the-messenger-says/2014/10/17/026b7560-53c9-11e4-809b-8cc0a295c773_story.html" target="_blank">says that Gary Webb was "no journalism hero"</a>, that an "extraordinary claim requires extraordinary proof", the Hollywood version of the story is "pure fiction" and finally, he believes it "significant" that the 1998 CIA internal investigation "found no CIA relationship with the drug ring Webb had written about." <br /><br />Of course, Gary Webb addressed this problem of the CIA investigating itself in <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1609806212/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=1609806212&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=nathanklecom-20&amp;linkId=AEWQVPRUNWQC4JU7" target="_blank">Dark Alliance</a>.&nbsp; CIA Inspector General Fred P. Hitz appeared before the House Intelligence Committee in March 1998 and after admitting that the agency did not cut off relationships with drug traffickers that supported the Contra program, he testified "the period of 1982 to 1995 was one in which there was no official requirement to report on allegations of drug trafficking with respect to non-employees of the agency, and they were defined to include agents, assets, non-staff employees".&nbsp; As Webb explained, "the CIA wouldn't tell and the Justice Department wouldn't ask" - so no wonder the CIA didn't find any relationship to drug traffickers - they didn't have to keep any records! <br /><br />That such a response from the <i>Post</i> could still be given today reminds me that <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Walter_Pincus#Career" target="_blank">Walter Pincus</a>, the <i>Washington Post</i> reporter who had been assigned to debunk "Dark Alliance", had collaborated with the CIA in spying operations in the late 1950s and early 1960s and openly written about it. &nbsp;It's also interesting that in promoting their new film, Focus Features presents an article <a href="http://www.focusfeatures.com/slideshow/unbelievable_but_true" target="_blank">Unbelieveable but True</a> that details six political conspiracies that "turned out to be true".&nbsp; The first conspiracy they document is <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Mockingbird" target="_blank">Operation Mockingbird</a>, which details how the CIA recruited and worked with 25 news organizations and 400 journalists to create pro-American propaganda and "help paint the appropriate image of United States foreign policy". <br /><br />With curious timing, less than two months ago the CIA declassified a six page article titled "<a href="http://www.foia.cia.gov/sites/default/files/DOC_0001372115.pdf" target="_blank">Managing a Nightmare: CIA Public Affairs and the Drug Conspiracy Story</a>."&nbsp; <a href="https://firstlook.org/theintercept/2014/09/25/managing-nightmare-cia-media-destruction-gary-webb/" target="_blank">As described by <i>The Intercept</i></a>, "Dark Alliance" was initially a disaster for the CIA that "could hardly be worse", but luckily, due to “a ground base of already productive relations with journalists", the CIA was able to sit back and watch "with relief as the largest newspapers in the country rescued the agency from disaster, and, in the process, destroyed the reputation of an aggressive, award-winning reporter." <br /><br />Was it a lucky coincidence that large papers with formal ties and "productive relations" to the CIA came out so aggressively to attack Gary Webb?&nbsp; It's probably just as much of a coincidence that Gary committed suicide with two shots to the head.&nbsp; While Nick Schou makes a strong case that Gary Webb killed himself due to depression from his "controversial career-ending story - and the combined resources and dedication of America's three largest and most powerful newspapers" combined with going off anti-depressants, financial woes, and having to move back into his mom's house after being denied by both his ex-wife and ex-girl friend, others view the suicide with understandable skepticism. <br /><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-tnQoh1XXpcs/VFJcP6ZWKfI/AAAAAAAAAss/5wXflKdjAzI/s1600/GovDrugDealing_Kill_The_Messenger_Speech.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" src="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-tnQoh1XXpcs/VFJcP6ZWKfI/AAAAAAAAAss/5wXflKdjAzI/s400/GovDrugDealing_Kill_The_Messenger_Speech.jpg" height="193" width="575" /></a></div><br />According to <a href="http://www.infowars.com/" target="_blank">Alex Jones</a>, he had interviewed Gary Webb a dozen times over the years and reports that months before his death Webb had told him he was "receiving death threats" and was "regularly being followed".&nbsp; <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rcArA8D9KLw" target="_blank">Jones states that Gary Webb was working on a new book</a> that would vindicate his claims and he wanted Jones to build a website to host all of the documentation, similar to how the San Jose Mercury News hosted the material for the original "Dark Alliance" series.&nbsp; <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ufh9lNyfvAo&amp;t=12m56s" target="_blank">Freeway Rick Ross also recalls Webb speaking about a new book</a> and his gut feeling is that "they killed him, because I think it's pretty hard to shoot yourself in the head twice."&nbsp; If Jones and Ross are correct, it would be odd timing for Webb to commit suicide on the verge of publishing a new book and building a website to reclaim his reputation, but it would be the perfect time to be murdered. <br /><br /><a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1591022304/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=1591022304&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=nathanklecom-20&amp;linkId=AO2JOMBJ3KTATDRU" target="_blank">When reflecting on his expulsion from the journalistic community</a>, Gary realized that the reason he'd had prior success wasn't because he was a careful and diligent reporter, but because he "hadn't written anything important enough to suppress".&nbsp; If Gary Webb had gone deeper down the rabbit hole there would have been no limit to the amount of additional evidence he could have found establishing the relationship between the CIA and drug dealers across the world.&nbsp; There is so much information to be found that the film Kill the Messenger, far from being an exaggeration, is just the tip of the iceberg and doesn't go far enough.&nbsp; Instead, when taking the evidence in its entirety, the reality we face is a nightmare scenario only found in a children's tale. <br /><br /><b>CIA Cocaine Trafficking Collaboration</b><br /><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-8k1kcqS8M3E/VFJcxfHhgyI/AAAAAAAAAs0/4u93U3vAOn4/s1600/GovDrugDealing_CIA_Cocaine_Import_Agency.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="clear: left; float: left; margin-bottom: 1em; margin-right: 1em;" target="_blank"><img border="0" src="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-8k1kcqS8M3E/VFJcxfHhgyI/AAAAAAAAAs0/4u93U3vAOn4/s400/GovDrugDealing_CIA_Cocaine_Import_Agency.jpg" /></a></div>The documentation and <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Allegations_of_CIA_drug_trafficking" target="_blank">allegations of CIA drug trafficking</a> are legion, so where to begin?&nbsp; We could start with former Panama leader <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Allegations_of_CIA_drug_trafficking#Panama" target="_blank">General Manual Noriega's decades of drug-trafficking</a> under CIA protection that only ended when his connection became a PR liability.&nbsp; <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Allegations_of_CIA_drug_trafficking#Venezuelan_National_Guard_Affair" target="_blank">Venezuelan General Ramon Guillen Davila</a> was another CIA asset that smuggled tons of cocaine into the US with CIA approval.&nbsp; In more recent times, the Costa Rica Star reported on a <a href="http://news.co.cr/snow-job-u-s-air-force-flies-cocaine-from-costa-rica-to-miami/23936/" target="_blank">curious shipment of 24 tons of cocaine</a> that was loaded onto a U.S Air force transport aircraft in route to Miami.&nbsp; In the category of poetic irony, two blemishes in the history of the CIA collided on September 24, 2007 <a href="http://www.dailykos.com/story/2007/12/12/420107/-CIA-Torture-Jet-wrecks-with-4-Tons-of-COCAINE#" target="_blank">when a CIA torture plane ran out of fuel</a> over the Mexican Yucatan Peninsula.&nbsp; <a href="http://aviation-safety.net/database/record.php?id=20070924-0" target="_blank">Jet aircraft #N987SA</a>, known to have been used on at least 3 rendition flights to Guantanamo's torture chambers, was carrying 3.6 tons of cocaine when it crashed.&nbsp; How embarrassing when the "logistical coordinator" for a top Mexican drug-trafficking gang that was responsible for purchasing the jet <a href="http://www.infowars.com/top-mexican-drug-lord-i-trafficked-cocaine-for-the-u-s-government/" target="_blank">told the U.S. District Court in Chicago that he had been a government asset</a> for the DOJ, DEA, FBI, ICE and Homeland Security since 2004. <br /><br />These examples are noteworthy for their historical legitimacy, but there are plenty of other whistle-blowers that directly confirmed Gary Webb's accusations of the CIA's cocaine complicity.&nbsp; When the black community of South Central L.A. was at its height of unrest over the "Dark Alliance" revelations, <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Allegations_of_CIA_drug_trafficking#Iran-Contra_affair" target="_blank">CIA Director John Deutch made an unprecedented move</a> by going directly to L.A. and speaking at a town meeting.&nbsp; His plan to placate their concerns and promise that he'd "get to the bottom of this" fell to pieces when he was confronted by former Los Angeles Police Department officer <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michael_Ruppert" target="_blank">Michael Ruppert</a>.&nbsp; Ruppert told Deutch that "<a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4t3pl5Wxgyg" target="_blank">the agency has dealt drugs throughout this country for a long time</a>" and referenced three specific agency operations - the crowd went wild, chanting "we told you". <br /><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0889625786/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=0889625786&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=nathanklecom-20&amp;linkId=3AM4NIBOSHDC2R7F" imageanchor="1" style="clear: left; float: left; margin-bottom: 1em; margin-right: 1em;" target="_blank"><img border="0" src="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-qrn8Vob3kOs/VFJdD07Fk3I/AAAAAAAAAs8/tkBqkRVb138/s400/GovDrugDealing_Powderburns.jpg" height="320" width="195" /></a></div>Another whistle-blower tied to Gary Webb was former DEA agent <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Celerino_Castillo_III" target="_blank">Celerino Castillo III</a>.&nbsp; Castillo spent 12 years at the DEA where he assembled and trained anti-narcotics teams in several countries and raided drug rings from New York to the Amazon.&nbsp; But it all came to an end one day in El Salvador when he was given a tip to investigate possible drug smuggling by Nicaraguan Contras.&nbsp; As documented in his book <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0889625786/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=0889625786&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=nathanklecom-20&amp;linkId=3AM4NIBOSHDC2R7F" target="_blank">Powderburns: Cocaine, Contras &amp; The Drug War</a>, Castillo discovered that the Contra pilots were smuggling cocaine using the same pilots, planes, and hangers as the CIA.&nbsp; He thoroughly documented dates, places, names and DEA file numbers, bringing his superiors reams of evidence warranting a full scale investigation.&nbsp; Instead of being commended he was told to back off.&nbsp; When he kept going he was reprimanded and then placed under an Internal Affairs investigation that would help destroy his marriage, his career, and nearly his life. <br /><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0970659172/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=0970659172&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=nathanklecom-20&amp;linkId=MIUULWGZ4A3YITHO" imageanchor="1" style="clear: left; float: left; margin-bottom: 1em; margin-right: 1em;" target="_blank"><img border="0" src="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-Q-clhgj40i8/VFJd6PLGrMI/AAAAAAAAAtE/RiYwgBb3eMw/s400/GovDrugDealing_Barry_and_the_boys.jpg" height="320" width="216" /></a></div>Someone that would not succeed in escaping this controversy with his life was suspected CIA agent <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barry_Seal" target="_blank">Barry Seal</a>, infamously known as "the most successful drug smuggler in American history, who died in a hail of bullets with George Bush's private phone number in his wallet."&nbsp; According to Daniel Hopsicker's <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0970659172/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=0970659172&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=nathanklecom-20&amp;linkId=MIUULWGZ4A3YITHO" target="_blank">Barry &amp; 'the boys': The CIA, the Mob, and America's Secret History</a>, Seal had an active role in scandals such as the Bay of Pigs, the Kennedy assassination, and Watergate - but his most well-known and undisputed role was in the Iran-Contra Affair.&nbsp; Seal owned and operated numerous planes out of the CIA cocaine drop point at the municipal airport of <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Allegations_of_CIA_drug_trafficking#Mena.2C_Arkansas" target="_blank">Mena, Arkansas</a>.&nbsp; This included the plane used in the DEA sting operation against Pablo Escobar and other members of the <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Medell%C3%ADn_Cartel" target="_blank">Medellín Cartel</a> to implicate the Nicaraguan Sandinista government.&nbsp; In the height of hypocrisy, one month after Seal was murdered, one of the photographs that Seal took was paraded on television by Reagan to suggest that top Sandinista government officials were involved with <i>drug smuggling</i> in order to boost support for the Contras. <br /><br />When the IRS came to seize Seal's property and claimed that he owed back taxes for 30 million made in drug dealing, Seal's response was a presumptuous "Hey, I work for you… we work for the same people!".&nbsp; When that didn't work, he started making threats that "If you don't get these IRS assholes off my back I'm going to blow the whistle on the Contra scheme."&nbsp; One week after that conversation he was sentenced to a halfway house as a condition of his plea bargain, making him an easy target.&nbsp; Within two weeks he was dead, shot to death in Baton Rouge, Louisiana on February 19, 1986. <br /><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1561712493/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=1561712493&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=nathanklecom-20&amp;linkId=ZZTK6UYSBH4P2MUO" imageanchor="1" style="clear: left; float: left; margin-bottom: 1em; margin-right: 1em;" target="_blank"><img border="0" src="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-VDhHInViRao/VFJeJbC5a_I/AAAAAAAAAtQ/Ink6mD1inag/s400/GovDrugDealing_Compromised.jpg" height="320" width="198" /></a></div>Another CIA asset that knew Barry Seal, worked with him, and confirms his drug dealing and money laundering activities was former Air Force Intelligence operative Terry Reed.&nbsp; In Reed's book <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1561712493/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=1561712493&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=nathanklecom-20&amp;linkId=ZZTK6UYSBH4P2MUO" target="_blank">Compromised: Clinton, Bush, and the CIA</a>, he documents how he was recruited into the Contra operation by Oliver North himself.&nbsp; Reed was initially recruited as a pilot instructor to train the Contra pilots at rural airstrips in Mena, Arkansas. &nbsp;His last tour of duty was in South East Asia to equip the Cambodians to fight a covert war - a skill set that was very transferable for the Contra operation. <br /><br />At Mena, Reed was introduced to Barry Seal, who he was told was the CIA contractor who had the contract work to equip the Contras.&nbsp; Reed was told that George Bush himself was overseeing the project to insulate the executive branch from constitutional violations and he even encountered then Arkansas Governor Bill Clinton during this time.&nbsp; Barry Seal told Reed that more than $9 million a week was dropped from planes at Mena that were laundered through an investment banking firm with direct ties to Clinton.&nbsp; But where did that money come from? <br /><br />For two years Reed didn't understand that question.&nbsp; <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-9VYoo_z300" target="_blank">He worked with the Contras "with blinders on"</a> until one day in 1987 when he came face to face with a C130 filled with tons of cocaine stored in ammo crates.&nbsp; Like others before and after him, Reed asked for a full-scale investigation that went directly to Oliver North, causing him to be labeled a "security risk" and a threat to the operation.&nbsp; While Oliver North is a well known key player in Iran -Contra, Reed was the one to go on record putting George Bush and Bill Clinton squarely in the middle of the CIA-Cocaine-Contra-Arkansas loop.&nbsp; <a href="http://www.mexidata.info/id2931.html" target="_blank">When Hillary Clinton said that we can't legalize drugs because "There is just too much money in it"</a>, Reason magazine assumed it was because <a href="http://reason.com/blog/2011/02/07/hillary-clinton-we-cant-legali" target="_blank">she didn't understand how drug prohibition itself causes the high prices</a>.&nbsp; But instead, maybe Hillary meant exactly what she said. <br /><br /><b>The Politics and Money of Heroin</b><br /><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1556524838/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=1556524838&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=nathanklecom-20&amp;linkId=KYGU72NN6Y7PBY4Y" imageanchor="1" style="clear: left; float: left; margin-bottom: 1em; margin-right: 1em;" target="_blank"><img border="0" src="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-HEnUl-7aOP8/VFJemGU6_6I/AAAAAAAAAtY/2dJaMXjtVVI/s400/GovDrugDealing_Politics_of_Heroin.jpg" height="320" width="213" /></a></div>Suffice to say, the <i>Washington Post</i> and the <i>Las Angeles Times</i> didn't find the CIA-cocaine testimonies of <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michael_Ruppert" target="_blank">Michael Ruppert</a>, <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Celerino_Castillo_III" target="_blank">Celerino Castillo III</a>, <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barry_Seal" target="_blank">Barry Seal</a>, or <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1561712493/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=1561712493&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=nathanklecom-20&amp;linkId=ZZTK6UYSBH4P2MUO" target="_blank">Terry Reed</a> compelling enough to corroborate Gary Webb's "<a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1609806212/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=1609806212&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=nathanklecom-20&amp;linkId=AEWQVPRUNWQC4JU7" target="_blank">Dark Alliance</a>".&nbsp; However, these individuals were making claims far more bold than Gary Webb ever did.&nbsp; Instead of pointing to agents that "looked the other way", they had direct knowledge of the CIA-Contra-Cocaine policy being run by the highest levels of power, from the director of the CIA all the way to the presidency. <br /><br />Taking a step back on the conspiracy spectrum, we can review the work of <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alfred_W._McCoy" target="_blank">Alfred W. McCoy</a>, a well-respected academic who holds his Ph.D in Southeast Asian history from Yale University.&nbsp; In McCoy's voluminous work <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1556524838/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=1556524838&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=nathanklecom-20&amp;linkId=KYGU72NN6Y7PBY4Y" target="_blank">The Politics of Heroin: CIA Complicity in the Global Drug Trade</a>, he goes through great lengths to document his thesis that organized crime throughout American and Europe collaborated over several decades to establish new centers of opium production, heroin refining, and distribution in Southeast Asia that was often aided and accelerated by the CIA.&nbsp; His detail-oriented book is known as the first to prove CIA and U.S. government complicity in global drug trafficking, something that even CIA mockingbird papers can't deny. <br /><br />McCoy writes, <br /><blockquote>"Looking back on the forty years of the cold war, it is clear that the CIA's four major covert wars transformed tribal warlords into major drug lords and protected covert assets from criminal investigation.&nbsp; Under the pragmatic policy of accepting any ally effective against Communism, the CIA used tribal leaders for proxy warfare in the mountains of Asia, unconcerned when these same warlords used its protection to become drug lords.&nbsp; In the history of drug trafficking during the cold war, there is repeated coincidence between CIA covert assets and major dealers." </blockquote>In the 1950's you find the CIA working with the Corsican Mafia to fight communism at the expense of strengthening them as they became America's leading heroin supplier.&nbsp; At the same time, two of the CIA's covert wars developed the Golden Triangle drug trade, giving arms and logistics support to the Nationalist Chinese (KMT) in Burma that turned the region into the worlds largest opium producer.&nbsp; The same thing happened in Laos during the Vietnam War, with the CIA working with opium-growing Hmong tribesmen and Laotian generals to create heroin laboratories and direct routes to ready buyers, first to the U.S. forces in South Vietnam and next to the U.S. domestic market.&nbsp; Into the 1980's the CIA's support for Afghan guerrillas aligned with Central Asia becoming the major heroin supplier - and we've already heard enough about the Nicaraguan cocaine trade. <br /><br />For McCoy, he looks at this legacy of CIA complicity and finds plausible answers that ring of the theme "the ends justify the means": <br /><blockquote>"American drug agents, with limited budgets and side arms, tracked the drug flow as it moved toward America, occasionally intercepting a shipment but never approaching the source… <br />... <br />Their ultimate enemies in this war on drugs were … ruled … with the arms and support of the CIA and its allied agencies.&nbsp; In the invisible bureaucratic battle for these strategic highlands, the DEA's weak, distant attempts at drug interdiction were overwhelmed by the CIA's direct alliances with drug lords. <br />... <br />Critics who look for the CIA's agents to actually dirty their hands with drugs in the line of duty are missing the point.&nbsp; Under its covert warfare doctrine, the CIA avoided direct involvement in combat and instead worked through local clients whose success determined the outcome of the agency's operation.&nbsp; The CIA's involvement thus resolves around tolerance for, or even complicity in, drug dealing by its covert action assets - not, in most instances, any direct culpability." </blockquote>McCoy's magnum opus ends in several key questions: Was the agency ever allied with drug traffickers, did the CIA protect these allies from prosecution, and did the CIA's alliances with drug lords contribute significantly to the expansion of the global drug trade?&nbsp; To those three questions, he gives a resounding yes, beyond any doubt.&nbsp; When it comes to the question of, "did the CIA encourage cocaine smugglers to target African-American communities", McCoy takes a queue from Gary Webb: <br /><blockquote>"Instead of targeting downstream drug flow, the CIA, in its mission myopia, simply ignored it.&nbsp; The agency's complicity in the drug traffic was an inadvertent consequence of its tactics of indirect intervention through paramilitary operations. <br />... <br />Whatever the global impact of CIA covert warfare might have been, the agency's alliances with drug lords has left, in the aftermath of the cold war, a domestic legacy of illegality, suspicion, and racial division.&nbsp; From their mission myopia, CIA agents fighting secret wars in Laos, Pakistan, and Central America seemed to regard narcotics as mere "fallout" - even when the victims were U.S. soldiers in South Vietnam or Americans in the inner cities." </blockquote>Apparently, as if 60 years of CIA complicity in drug-trafficking wasn't enough, the fallout must continue.&nbsp; This year, publications such as <a href="http://www.businessinsider.com/afghan-opium-production-is-at-an-all-time-high-2014-5" target="_blank">Business Insider</a> and the <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/oct/21/afghan-opium-poppy-cultivation-all-time-high" target="_blank">Guardian</a> have reported the embarrassing statistic that, despite spending over $7 billion on counter-narcotics efforts since 2001, opium cultivation is at an all-time high in American-occupied Afghanistan. <br /><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="http://www.sigar.mil/pdf/audits/SIGAR-14-21-TY.pdf" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;" target="_blank"><img border="0" src="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-gZjDGzpRRp0/VFJftkFDK_I/AAAAAAAAAtk/jhCuPQRChKk/s400/GovDrugDealing_Opium_Cultivation_in_Afghanistan.jpg" height="246" width="575" /></a></div><br />So let's get this straight.&nbsp; In July of 2000 <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Opium_production_in_Afghanistan" target="_blank">the Taliban declared growing poppies un-Islamic and led one of the most successful anti-drug campaigns of all time</a>, resulting in a reduction of 99% of the opium poppy farming and cutting off roughly three quarters of the world's supply of heroin.&nbsp; Next comes a <a href="http://www.nathankleffman.com/2014/09/how-i-woke-up.html" target="_blank">supposed attack by men mainly from Saudi Arabia on 9/11</a>, so we do the logical thing and invade Afghanistan.&nbsp; According to McCoy, it's an unfortunate coincidence that given we had to fight the Taliban we had to ally with regional warlords that just happened to be the country's top drug pushers - and then we're off to the races.&nbsp; Afghanistan's opium cultivation and heroin production were revived as if the 1 year drought had never happened and now we're seeing all time highs - an “unprecedented” <a href="http://www.sigar.mil/pdf/audits/SIGAR-14-21-TY.pdf" target="_blank">523,000 acres of opium poppy in 2013</a>. <br /><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-eIAbxg-8ztM/VFJggT5n9lI/AAAAAAAAAts/CkzY8xZaX_w/s1600/GovDrugDealing_Afghans_Harvesting_Opium.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="clear: left; float: left; margin-bottom: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" src="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-eIAbxg-8ztM/VFJggT5n9lI/AAAAAAAAAts/CkzY8xZaX_w/s320/GovDrugDealing_Afghans_Harvesting_Opium.jpg" height="218" width="320" /></a></div>If that isn't enough to get you thinking, recall the <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AUATfLDiwVA" target="_blank">bizarre Geraldo interview of Marines openly guarding the opium fields</a> of Afghanistan.&nbsp;&nbsp;Geraldo reports that if the U.S forces were to destroy the opium then "the population would turn against the Marines".&nbsp; But don't worry, they are confident&nbsp;that providing&nbsp;the local Afghans with resources and alternatives will&nbsp;help them grow things like wheat, watermelon and cucumber.&nbsp; What a "dilemma" they are in, we&nbsp;should all feel&nbsp;sympathy for that Marine because guarding the opium just "grinds in his guts".&nbsp; Who could have guessed that instead of having record bumper crops of cucumbers we are setting a record in heroin production? <br /><br />Follow the money and it's pretty easy to guess.&nbsp; With Afghanistan now producing more than 80% of the worlds opium and the estimated value approaching $3 billion, you have to ask where all that money is going.&nbsp; Are Afghan drug lords putting it all under their mattresses?&nbsp; No - worldwide drug organizations launder their billions through the largest banks and <a href="https://www.google.com/webhp?#q=banks+launder+drug+money" target="_blank">any google search</a> will find countless examples of bankers admitting to money laundering on massive scales with hardly a slap on the wrist in response. <br /><br />In April of 2006 when a DC-9 jet was seized by Mexican soldiers with 5.7 tons of cocaine valued at $100 million, <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/world/2011/apr/03/us-bank-mexico-drug-gangs" target="_blank">the real prize was the paper trail exposing banking complicity in laundering billions of dollars</a>.&nbsp; The investigation ended with Wachovia settling the biggest action ever brought under the US bank secrecy act, paying a measly $100 million in forfeiture and a $50 million fine when the bank was sanctioned for transferring some <i>$378 billion dollars</i> without applying the anti-laundering regulations.&nbsp; That's almost <i>half a trillion dollars</i>, one-third of Mexico's gross national product, and they paid a fine less than 2% of the bank's 2009 profit.&nbsp; To make matters more humiliating, Wachovia was then acquired by Wells Fargo during the 2008 crash as it gobbled up $25 billion in taxpayer money for the Wall Street bail out. <br /><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-cOs5anTSkqQ/VFJhmZxAMGI/AAAAAAAAAt4/zPi0xuBY29Q/s1600/GovDrugDealing_Banks_Launder_Drug_Money.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="clear: left; float: left; margin-bottom: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" src="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-cOs5anTSkqQ/VFJhmZxAMGI/AAAAAAAAAt4/zPi0xuBY29Q/s400/GovDrugDealing_Banks_Launder_Drug_Money.jpg" height="240" width="320" /></a></div>This is hardly the only example of large banks getting caught with billions of drug dealer money.&nbsp; <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/business/2012/dec/11/hsbc-bank-us-money-laundering" target="_blank">HSBC paid a hefty $1.9 billion fine</a> to settle money laundering accusations after <a href="http://www.hsgac.senate.gov/subcommittees/investigations/media/hsbc-exposed-us-finacial-system-to-money-laundering-drug-terrorist-financing-risks" target="_blank">a Senate report alleged</a> they were "playing fast and loose with U.S. banking rules" and doing business with Mexican drug lords, with their affiliate HSBC Bank Mexico going through $7 billion in a single year. <br /><br /><a href="http://dealbook.nytimes.com/2013/03/26/federal-reserve-faults-citigroup-over-money-laundering-co" target="_blank">Citigroup was hit with enforcement actions for breakdowns in money laundering</a> but they were able to get away without admitting wrong doing.&nbsp; <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2001/02/27/world/27LAUN.html" target="_blank">Citibank had $1.8 million seized</a> from drug dealer accounts after a massive undercover money laundering investigation, but only after Citibank had moved $300 million through their accounts known to be tied to Mexican drug dealers because they "had not realized that anything might be amiss". <br /><br /><a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1587981467/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=1587981467&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=nathanklecom-20&amp;linkId=ZGVVZXUOT3WPYNLY" target="_blank">Whole books are dedicated to the Bank of Credit and Commerce International</a> (BCCI), which takes the title of "the outlaw bank" and "<a href="http://content.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,973481,00.html" target="_blank">the dirtiest bank of all</a>".&nbsp; What a surprise that there are indications that <a href="http://www.newsweek.com/bcci-cia-connection-just-how-far-did-it-go-195454" target="_blank">CIA officials were involved in the founding of BCCI</a>, with Alfred McCoy pointing to evidence that "the boom in the Pakistan drug trade was financed by BCCI". <br /><br />But where would we be without one last "ends justifies the means" argument.&nbsp; The UN's drug and crime chief says that during the height of the banking crisis of 2008 <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/global/2009/dec/13/drug-money-banks-saved-un-cfief-claims" target="_blank">$325 billion in drug money was laundered by the major banks and kept the financial system afloat</a>.&nbsp; It was "the only liquid investment capital available" to those fine institutions of the public good. &nbsp;So not only do we need the CIA working with drug dealers to fight our covert wars but we need that drug money to keep our banking system propped up too!&nbsp; If it weren't for the millions of lives that are absolutely ruined in the drug war, you'd think there was no down side to this story. <br /><br /><b>Who Benefits, Who Suffers?</b><br /><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-IYCbfJtBlZI/VFJiFay-5yI/AAAAAAAAAuA/vz1onuv013Y/s1600/GovDrugDealing_DEA_May_Kill_You.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="clear: left; float: left; margin-bottom: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" src="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-IYCbfJtBlZI/VFJiFay-5yI/AAAAAAAAAuA/vz1onuv013Y/s400/GovDrugDealing_DEA_May_Kill_You.jpg" /></a></div>Far off in Washington, sitting at the top of their would-be world empire, our leaders look down on us common folk with pity.&nbsp; How could we understand the tough choices that must be made?&nbsp; To cook an omelet you have to break some eggs. What's more important, stopping a nuclear 9/11 or allowing a few more kilos of cocaine or heroin to hit America's streets?&nbsp; <a href="http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/iraq-war-on-terror/topsecretamerica/transcript-6/" target="_blank">As Dick Cheney said</a>, "We have to work the dark side, if you will.&nbsp; We’ve got to spend time in the shadows in the intelligence world...&nbsp; It’s going to be vital for us to use any means at our disposal to achieve our objective." <br /><br />As McCoy concluded in The Politics of Heroin, we have two choices, "We can either deny the agency the authority to conduct covert operations, or we can accept that these missions will involve the CIA in criminal alliances that may well compromise some future war on drugs." <br /><br />So let's assume that we accept the premise that our national interest extends across the globe in a way that forces our highest government officials to work side-by-side empowering, collaborating, and protecting the largest world-wide drug trafficking networks.&nbsp; I get it, "drugs are bad", but there are <a href="http://www.nathankleffman.com/2012/07/libertarian-response-to-vices.html" target="_blank">other ways for society to deal with vices</a>.&nbsp; What really keeps us from having a rational discussion about prohibition and ending the hypocrisy where a government asset can do one thing with total impunity but someone without a special badge can do the same thing and have his life absolutely ruined?&nbsp; <a href="http://www.nathankleffman.com/2011/12/america-by-any-other-name-would-be-as.html" target="_blank">If we are a nation of laws and not of men</a>, then this schizophrenic policy must not continue. <br /><br />As documented in books like <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1610394577/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=1610394577&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=nathanklecom-20&amp;linkId=OGKG37O3PNFR5UHX" target="_blank">Rise of the Warrior Cop: The Militarization of America's Police Forces</a> and <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1590799755/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=1590799755&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=nathanklecom-20&amp;linkId=WTEIB6PRIN2A7S76" target="_blank">A Government of Wolves: The Emerging American Police State</a>, we've gone from a country raised on <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Andy_Griffith" target="_blank">Andy Griffith</a> and "peace officers" to battle-hardened "law enforcement" troops - and this change could never have happened without the specter of the drug war.&nbsp; Today we have <a href="http://freedomoutpost.com/2014/06/10-facts-about-the-swat-teams-of-america-that-everyone-should-know/" target="_blank">80,000 SWAT teams raids per year</a>, some <i>220 per day</i>.&nbsp; They were sold to Americans as the necessary response to Uzi-toting gang-bangers, but now they are in <a href="http://freedomoutpost.com/2014/06/10-facts-about-the-swat-teams-of-america-that-everyone-should-know/" target="_blank">80% of small towns across the country</a>. <br /><br />The personal examples of how the drug war utterly destroys innocent families are endless and horrifying.&nbsp; "<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/10/04/baby-bree_n_4043860.html?1380897291" target="_blank">Smoke a joint, Lose your Kids</a>", says the <i>Huffington Post</i>.&nbsp; We're not talking about child abusers here, these are parents that are using <i>legally prescribed</i> medical marijuana to treat diseases like epilepsy and multiple sclerosis only to have their children kidnapped by CPS workers that are <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Foster_care#Abuse_and_negligence" target="_blank">far more likely to abuse them</a>. <br /><br /><table cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" class="tr-caption-container" style="float: left; margin-right: 1em; text-align: left;"><tbody><tr><td style="text-align: center;"><a href="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-B5ZnehFreqw/VFJiqU_rl-I/AAAAAAAAAuM/Sd7K0Ir47AA/s1600/GovDrugDealing_Alexandria_Hill.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="clear: left; margin-bottom: 1em; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;"><img border="0" src="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-B5ZnehFreqw/VFJiqU_rl-I/AAAAAAAAAuM/Sd7K0Ir47AA/s400/GovDrugDealing_Alexandria_Hill.jpg" height="200" width="150" /></a></td></tr><tr><td class="tr-caption" style="text-align: center;">Her name was Alexandria Hill</td></tr></tbody></table>One particularly horrible example <a href="http://www.infowars.com/toddler-dies-in-cps-captivity-after-being-taken-from-marijuana-smoking-parents/" target="_blank">recently took place in Round Rock, Texas</a>.&nbsp; The parents of Alexandria Hill made the biggest mistake of their lives when they admitted that they had smoked some pot after putting her to bed.&nbsp; For his act of "neglectful supervision" the Texas CPS stole her away and put her in foster care.&nbsp; While the Hill's maintained that Alex had never been hurt, abused, or gone to the hospital while with her family, the first home the state put her in quickly had her coming to her visitations covered with bruises.&nbsp; The next home they put her in would be her last, as she would be air-lifted to a hospital where she would later die due to blunt force trauma to the head.&nbsp; Ironically, an investigation into the foster parents revealed <a href="http://www.infowars.com/child-killed-because-parents-smoked-pot-handed-over-to-convicted-pot-dealer/" target="_blank">the foster father himself had been twice convicted of selling marijuana</a>. <br /><br /><table cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" class="tr-caption-container" style="float: left; margin-right: 1em; text-align: left;"><tbody><tr><td style="text-align: center;"><a href="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-XL3gnRxDjnU/VFJi4tWog4I/AAAAAAAAAuU/B-v0mLIqRpE/s1600/GovDrugDealing_Rachel_Hoffman.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="clear: left; margin-bottom: 1em; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;"><img border="0" src="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-XL3gnRxDjnU/VFJi4tWog4I/AAAAAAAAAuU/B-v0mLIqRpE/s400/GovDrugDealing_Rachel_Hoffman.jpg" height="200" width="172" /></a></td></tr><tr><td class="tr-caption" style="text-align: center;">Her name was Rachel Hoffman</td></tr></tbody></table>Consider the story of <a href="http://www.ladybud.com/2013/04/01/her-name-was-rachel-hoffman/" target="_blank">Rachel Hoffman</a>.&nbsp; She was a bright young lady, having just completed her bachelor's degree from Florida State University.&nbsp; She smoked marijuana occasionally and her troubles started when she was arrested for having some weed during a traffic stop.&nbsp; Months later her apartment was searched and revealed more government-trafficked contraband which prompted the police to give her a choice: turn over other dealers or face the wrath of the state.&nbsp; They eventually pressured her into participating in a drug sting, giving her $13,000 in cash to purchase 1,500 pills of ecstasy.&nbsp; Scared out of her mind, with no training or supervision, her attempt at playing secret agent with the police got her summarily executed by the dealers, her body discarded in a ditch fifty miles away. <br /><br /><table cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" class="tr-caption-container" style="float: left; margin-right: 1em; text-align: left;"><tbody><tr><td style="text-align: center;"><a href="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-PCEZGdDuMKE/VFJjEGmoVEI/AAAAAAAAAuc/n5f9MdBbye4/s1600/GovDrugDealing_John_Horners_Kids.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="clear: left; margin-bottom: 1em; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;"><img border="0" src="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-PCEZGdDuMKE/VFJjEGmoVEI/AAAAAAAAAuc/n5f9MdBbye4/s400/GovDrugDealing_John_Horners_Kids.jpg" height="112" width="200" /></a></td></tr><tr><td class="tr-caption" style="text-align: center;">The children of John Horner</td></tr></tbody></table>Finally, in a story that the <i>Atlantic</i> called "<a href="http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2013/04/a-heartbreaking-drug-sentence-of-staggering-idiocy/274607/" target="_blank">a heartbreaking drug sentence of staggering idiocy</a>", you have all the elements of injustice come together: a first time "offender", entrapment by a police informant, and a zero-tolerance jail sentence.&nbsp; John Horner, a 46-year-old fast-food worker, was legally prescribed painkillers for an eye he lost in 2000. When a "friend" related the pain he was under and asked for help, John agreed to sell him some of his pills.&nbsp; The "friend" was a police informant and John was sentenced to 25 years in prison.&nbsp; He has three children and he will be 72 when he's released. <br /><br />It may be the stories of untimely deaths of the innocent that tug at the heart strings and stir our sensibilities the most, but it's arguable that serving 25 years, <i>25 years</i>, is a far worse fate.&nbsp; But at least with a 25 year sentence Mr. Horner can dream of the day when he'll see his children all grown up with families of their own.&nbsp; For many others they have no hope at all.&nbsp; A <a href="http://www.takepart.com/article/2013/11/26/mandatory-minimums-end-lives" target="_blank">24 year-old named Tyler was given life without parole for mailing LSD to a friend</a> and he is one of thousands of examples of nonviolent drug offenders that will spend their entire lives behind bars.&nbsp; An <a href="https://www.aclu.org/files/assets/111813-lwop-complete-report.pdf" target="_blank">ACLU report reviewed 646 life sentences</a> and instead of finding murderers and rapists, 83% of the time they found nonviolent "criminals".&nbsp; The ACLU shakes their heads at the waste of it all, $1.8 billion in cost to the tax payers to house 3,278 such inmates.&nbsp; But is it a waste?&nbsp; To whom?&nbsp; Where is that money going? <br /><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-kSkSTSn1H58/VFJjTdCcElI/AAAAAAAAAuk/RkmQPw_Ik8k/s1600/GovDrugDealing_Dont_End_The_Drug_War.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="clear: left; float: left; margin-bottom: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" src="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-kSkSTSn1H58/VFJjTdCcElI/AAAAAAAAAuk/RkmQPw_Ik8k/s400/GovDrugDealing_Dont_End_The_Drug_War.jpg" /></a></div>This is where the individual parts of the government drug running conspiracy come together, as it all begins to make a kind of sick sense: <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Private_prison" target="_blank">Private Prisons</a>.&nbsp; As <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CySzoJFkTA8" target="_blank">reported by non-US media</a>, America enjoys Chinese style labor camps from coast to coast, bringing the stockholders of America's for-profit prison industry a healthy return on investment with a cheap and readily available workforce.&nbsp; They aren't just making license plates.&nbsp; During a time of high unemployment, millions of prisoners are performing slave labor for companies like Chevron, Bank of America, AT&amp;T, Starbucks and Walmart in a variety of industries such as "<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/12/10/prison-labor_n_2272036.html" target="_blank">making office furniture, working in call centers, fabricating body armor, taking hotel reservations, working in slaughterhouses, or manufacturing textiles, shoes, and clothing</a>". <br /><br />That's right, the next time you <a href="http://usnews.nbcnews.com/_news/2012/01/12/10140493-inside-the-secret-industry-of-inmate-staffed-call-centers?lite" target="_blank">call customer support for a company or government agency</a> you're probably talking to a poor soul that's behind bars for possession of government-run narcotics.&nbsp; The Fed calls it "the best-kept secret in outsourcing", making hundreds of millions a year with their 75-year-old "Federal Prison Industries" program that deceptively markets itself through company names like Unicor. <br /><br />When the inmates of private prisons aren't busy <a href="http://www.minyanville.com/mvpremium/2011/05/25/is-whole-foods-prison-tilapia/?refresh=1" target="_blank">raising Tilapia fish for Whole Foods</a>, they enjoy extracurricular activities such as <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/jun/13/aclu-lawsuit-east-mississippi-correctional-facility" target="_blank">getting raped, being placed in solitary confinement for weeks and months at a time, beatings by security guards, fighting off giant rat infestations, and eventually resorting to madness or suicide</a>.&nbsp; The best part is if the cops aren't catching enough people using government-run drugs then the private prison corporations can always pay off the judges to keep their prisons full and their profits up.&nbsp; The documentary <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fcB6Z4U2HSY" target="_blank">Kids for Cash</a> relates one such instance where a Pennsylvania Judge was caught and sentenced to 28 years for accepting more than <a href="http://rollingout.com/criminal-behavior/judge-must-serve-28-years-after-making-2-million-for-sending-children-to-jail/" target="_blank">$2 million in bribes for jailing over 3,000 juveniles</a> - some only 10 years old. <br /><br /><b>Conclusion - The True Story of Pinocchio</b><br /><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B001ILFUDC/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B001ILFUDC&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=nathanklecom-20&amp;linkId=V53P7UCVX5KPHNR7" imageanchor="1" style="clear: left; float: left; margin-bottom: 1em; margin-right: 1em;" target="_blank"><img border="0" src="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-HfosQsOzT3c/VFJjncmo29I/AAAAAAAAAus/4K-IVGdLg-Q/s400/GovDrugDealing_Pinocchio_Partying.jpg" /></a></div>Just like when <a href="http://www.nathankleffman.com/2014/09/how-i-woke-up.html" target="_blank">I woke up</a> and saw how 100 different puzzle pieces only formed a coherent picture when taken together, watching <a href="http://www.focusfeatures.com/kill_the_messenger" target="_blank">Kill the Messenger</a> in isolation may result in one walking away with the feeling that the story of government drug-dealing must be exaggerated.&nbsp; Sure, there may be a few bad apples, but let's not throw the baby out with the bath water. &nbsp;Instead, take a look at decades of government complicity, collaboration and encouragement of worldwide drug-dealing, from the forests of Nicaragua to the mountains of Afghanistan.&nbsp; Think of the hundreds of billions of dollars of drug money laundered through the largest and most prestigious banks on the planet.&nbsp; Contemplate the additional billions spent by tax payers to "fight" a hopeless war that does nothing to stop drugs, but if anything just takes out the government's small-time competition in the drug-dealing business.&nbsp; Finally, review the network of industries making hundreds of millions in building jails, housing inmates, and profiting off of their slave labor.&nbsp; Taken together, this is something so diabolical it only belongs at the doorstep of a shadowy group like the <a href="http://www.nathankleffman.com/2013/06/oblivion-pro-humanity-anti-illuminati.html" target="_blank">Illuminati</a>. <br /><br />Our predicament is so awesome in its scope and sinister in its consequences that it's easier to grasp by relating it to a children's tale.&nbsp; In the movie <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B001ILFUDC/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B001ILFUDC&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=nathanklecom-20&amp;linkId=V53P7UCVX5KPHNR7" target="_blank">Pinocchio</a>, the young puppet is lured away from his loving father and the guidance of his conscience to a place called Pleasure Island.&nbsp; Here, Pinocchio can drink, smoke, gamble and engage in other vices with his peers without a care in the world.&nbsp; But the <i>owner</i> of Pleasure Island, the one who <i>encourages</i> the children to engage in vices, the one who <i>runs</i> the "drugs" of Pleasure Island, he's not providing this service from the good of his heart.&nbsp; No, this enterprise is going to make the owner a lot of money.&nbsp; Once the children have crossed the line and tasted of his forbidden fruit a magic spell transforms the helpless boys into donkeys.&nbsp; After their metamorphosis is complete they are stripped of their human remnants, packed into crates, and shipped to the salt mines by shadowy figures to work and die - <i>all for the benefit of the owner and all according to his master plan</i>. <br /><br />If there is one honest and effective anti-drug PSA out there it would be this: don't do drugs because it's a TRAP.&nbsp; The criminals that run the planet ship the drugs, launder the money and handsomely profit when the legal system catches drug users and turns them into slaves.&nbsp; Don't do drugs: don't become a jackass like the prisoners of Pleasure Island. <br /><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-c8dnVJpj-NU/VFJj52b2dQI/AAAAAAAAAu0/7MuUrYtzh3s/s1600/GovDrugDealing_Pinocchio_Jackass_Slavery.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" src="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-c8dnVJpj-NU/VFJj52b2dQI/AAAAAAAAAu0/7MuUrYtzh3s/s400/GovDrugDealing_Pinocchio_Jackass_Slavery.jpg" height="433" width="575" /></a></div>Unknownnoreply@blogger.comtag:blogger.com,1999:blog-6497333203175478928.post-68553646019703767222014-10-15T19:41:00.000-05:002014-10-30T07:37:36.823-05:00Lawyer Tricks & Vampire Ethics<div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-T_FYF2UoBN0/VD7xKzJ8heI/AAAAAAAAAqc/0t5w_7VC2KU/s1600/VampireEthics_Vampire.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="clear: left; float: left; margin-bottom: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" src="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-T_FYF2UoBN0/VD7xKzJ8heI/AAAAAAAAAqc/0t5w_7VC2KU/s1600/VampireEthics_Vampire.jpg" height="265" width="400" /></a></div>One of the most important ways to <a href="https://www.lptexas.org/get-involved" target="_blank">get involved</a> with the Libertarian Party is to run as a candidate for public office.&nbsp; In 2010 I had a great time running an educational campaign for State Representative for District 49.&nbsp; I wasn't in it to win it, but I was able to spread the message by answering questionnaires and with newspaper, radio, and television interviews.&nbsp; The most rewarding part of the experience was being invited to a local middle school to give a presentation about libertarianism. <br /><br />Unfortunately, this year I couldn't make the commitment to run an educational campaign, so instead I signed up to be a "paper candidate" for a local office.&nbsp; This means I'm not actively campaigning, but still helping the LP by giving a libertarian option for voters that will help get our numbers up in the aggregate.&nbsp; This November we will have <a href="https://www.lptexas.org/candidates" target="_blank">132 candidates</a> on the ballot across Texas and I'll be running for Justice of the Peace for Travis County, a position that I would seem to be <a href="https://www.county.org/texas-county-government/texas-county-officials/Pages/Justice-of-the-Peace.aspx" target="_blank">totally under-qualified</a> for and would seriously impede my career in IT Consulting if I were to win. <br /><br />However, the law is something that I've been studying for a number of years and if I somehow won this race I would be willing to put my career on hold to serve out the term.&nbsp; The local chapter of the <a href="http://www.lwvtexas.org/" target="_blank">League of Women Voters</a> sent <a href="http://lwvaustin.org/votersguide/Nov%202014%20Voters%20Guide%20Austin%20area%20-%20English.pdf" target="_blank">a questionnaire</a> concerning the race, but only two questions allowing 450 character answers didn't leave much of an opportunity to explain my platform.&nbsp; Nevertheless, I was able to give a standard libertarian answer for the question of how I would ensure that the role of "the people's court" is fulfilled: <br /><blockquote class="tr_bq">"As JOP I would radically change the goal of the JP court from focusing on revenue generation for the state to protecting the rights of the individual.&nbsp; This means rightly prosecuting crimes that are <i><a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Malum_in_se" target="_blank">malum in se</a></i>, evil in themselves, while vigorously defending people accused of "crimes" that are <i><a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Malum_prohibitum" target="_blank">malum prohibitum</a></i>, illegal by statute.&nbsp; In this way the people will see the court as a tool for seeking justice, not as a device for taking their liberties." </blockquote>In other words, if you're going to have a state, use it as a tool for defensive purposes only.&nbsp; Don't use it for enforcing statutes against victimless crimes just to steal people's money.&nbsp; That's pretty basic libertarianism 101 stuff.&nbsp; It was the second question that I found more interesting.&nbsp; What changes, if any, are needed in court processes and procedures to make the court more efficient and effective in fulfilling its duties? <br /><blockquote class="tr_bq">"The entire court system is engaged in a variety of scams and conspiracies to rob the people of their liberties.&nbsp; Lawyer tricks confuse people into waiving their natural rights and volunteering into oppressive contracts with the state.&nbsp; I would not seek to make the court more efficient in these corrupt machinations, instead I desire a court that effectively presumes innocence and honors due process rights of the defendant from agents of the state." </blockquote>Scams and conspiracies?&nbsp; Lawyer tricks?&nbsp; Corrupt machinations?&nbsp; These allegations require some explanation. <br /><br /><b>Boss Hoggism or Legal Sleight of Hand</b><br /><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="http://www.popsiclesandgrenades.com/propaganda-posters-2/income-tax-poster" imageanchor="1" style="clear: left; float: left; margin-bottom: 1em; margin-right: 1em;" target="_blank"><img border="0" src="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-QQL_pe7K5jI/VD7ydOLD3-I/AAAAAAAAAqo/50SsT6zQA7s/s1600/VampireEthics_Pay_Income_Tax_No_Law.jpg" height="400" width="296" /></a></div>During my process of <a href="http://www.nathankleffman.com/2014/09/how-i-woke-up.html" target="_blank">waking up</a>, Aaron Russo's documentary <a href="http://freedomtofascism.com/" target="_blank">America: Freedom to Fascism</a> had a big impact on me, particularly the segments on the constitutionality and legality of the income tax.&nbsp; It's one thing to look at black operations by CIA type groups, they happen in the shadows and don't require many people to execute.&nbsp; But these allegations made about the income tax were something else entirely, a conspiracy of an entirely different nature. <br /><br />One of the most credible people interviewed in the film on this topic was <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joe_Banister" target="_blank">Joe Banister</a>.&nbsp; Like other former IRS agents, it all started when he heard of the <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O6ayb02bwp0&amp;feature=youtu.be&amp;t=11m2s" target="_blank">$50,000 challenge to show the law</a> that required the average person to file a 1040 and pay a tax on his labor.&nbsp; As a special agent of the Criminal Investigation Division for the IRS, Mr. Banister thought this challenge was something he could easily accomplish to dispel the rumors.&nbsp; Months later, Banister submitted <a href="http://www.freedomabovefortune.com/download-reports.html" target="_blank">a preliminary report</a> to his supervisors with his startling conclusions regarding the income tax.&nbsp; Instead of proving the "anti-taxers" wrong, he ended up giving his resignation to his longtime employer and becoming one of the leading figures in the tax honesty movement. <br /><br />But for people like Mr. Banister it doesn't end there.&nbsp; The most credible and prominent people in the tax honesty movement are invariably drug before a kangaroo court and indicted on something, anything.&nbsp; Even when they win on appeal it is only through a long fight over multiple years that drains their life savings.&nbsp; It's a battle that destroys marriages, lives, family - and for what?&nbsp; It takes a special kind of person that holds their integrity above all else to choose to fight this battle rather than to just give in and let the tax man have his cut. <br /><br />Seeing people like <a href="http://www.takelifeback.com/irwin/" target="_blank">Irwin Schiff</a>, <a href="http://www.sherrypeeljackson.org/" target="_blank">Sherry Jackson</a>, <a href="http://www.freedomabovefortune.com/" target="_blank">Joe Banister</a>, and others relentlessly prosecuted to make an example for the rest of us has a real chilling effect.&nbsp; What is to be done when the system is <i>so lawless</i>?&nbsp; How do you fight a system with a clique of <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boss_Hogg" target="_blank">boss hoggs</a> running things at the top that don't give a damn what the law actually says?&nbsp; If you try to fight back and stand on your rights you are subject to their army of useful idiots that follow orders and don’t know any better.&nbsp; It's a pretty depressing and shameful situation we're in. <br /><br />It was through only after reading Peter Eric Hendrickson's <a href="http://losthorizons.com/Cracking_the_Code.htm" target="_blank">Cracking the Code</a> and listening to the <a href="http://www.ruleoflawradio.com/" target="_blank">Rule of Law Radio</a> show for several years that I've slowly come to a different conclusion about our predicament.&nbsp; Rather than seeing the conspirators as brutish criminals that are totally lawless and respect nothing but violence, I see them as intelligent criminals that use complex legalese and magician's sleight of hand tricks on the meaning of words themselves.&nbsp; They have an entirely different lexicon of legal terminology that's completely different from the common meaning of words and from their perspective if you're ignorant enough to fall for their elaborate scams then you deserve what you get. <br /><br />They aren't <i>completely</i> amoral, they have their own system of ethics - the ethics of a vampire.&nbsp; Just as the mythical vampire can't feast on your blood unless you are foolish enough to invite him into your home, even if you do so under mistaken pretenses, this criminal class preys on people's gullibility and faith in government to trick them into volunteering into private contracts that have no legal, lawful or ethical foundation.&nbsp; Buyer beware.&nbsp; Read the fine print.&nbsp; These are the mottos that give their conscience sanction.&nbsp; Ignore them at your own risk. <br /><br /><b>Define Your Terms</b><br /><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-7cAjw8ribKs/VD7z-GOYJLI/AAAAAAAAAq0/erroYz2HhlU/s1600/VampireEthics_Law_Urban_Dictonary.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="clear: left; float: left; margin-bottom: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" src="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-7cAjw8ribKs/VD7z-GOYJLI/AAAAAAAAAq0/erroYz2HhlU/s1600/VampireEthics_Law_Urban_Dictonary.jpg" height="270" width="400" /></a></div>Words have meaning, and when words are put to parchment and signed by powerful people to become "laws" they have the force of the state behind them.&nbsp; This means that if you violate these laws, whether deliberately, through ignorance, or even innocent misunderstanding, men with guns will follow orders and steal your property, kidnap you, lock you in a cage, and even kill you.&nbsp; Clearly, the first step on the path to avoiding the violence of the state is to understand the meaning of the laws to know what duties, responsibilities, and constraints bind your actions.&nbsp; But the meanings of words change all the time - look at any page from the <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0740751433/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=0740751433&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=nathanklecom-20&amp;linkId=XINI4GCLNBQWJV3Z" target="_blank">Urban Dictionary</a> and you'll find examples of words that have a radically different meaning then they did 50, 20 or even 5 years ago.&nbsp; The point being, if a law is created that imposes certain duties on the governed, then new or different duties cannot be created simply by the result of certain words having their meaning changed over time. <br /><br />My favorite example of this is the word "regulate".&nbsp; Today it means that 100,000 bureaucrats can tell you what to do in virtually every area of your life, but <a href="http://www.nathankleffman.com/2012/05/constitution-and-intellectual-honesty.html" target="_blank">in the time of the Constitution it meant "to keep regular."</a>&nbsp; For example, "regulating the value of coin" instructed the congress to keep it from overly fluctuating through inflation and deflation, "regulating commerce among the states" allowed the federal government to prevent the states from enacting tariffs against each other, and having a "well regulated Militia" meant <a href="http://www.nathankleffman.com/2013/03/the-great-object-and-line-in-sand.html" target="_blank">the individuals compromising that militia were well trained and had properly working firearms</a>. <br /><br />It's hard enough to comply with all the laws when there are so many that it's even <a href="http://blogs.loc.gov/law/2013/03/frequent-reference-question-how-many-federal-laws-are-there/" target="_blank">impossible for the federal government to give an estimate</a>, but it would be impossible if the law constantly changed as the common usage of words did as well.&nbsp; Lucky for us, words have special meanings when they are specifically defined in statutes, and if they are not defined there you look for the meaning in a law dictionary like <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1484136373/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=1484136373&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=nathanklecom-20&amp;linkId=ZWN3UDFD4ROUURJN" target="_blank">Bouvier's</a> or <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/031476271X/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=031476271X&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=nathanklecom-20&amp;linkId=MNNYIJXLFKL6HRJW" target="_blank">Black's Law Dictionary</a>.&nbsp; Unlucky for us, this double-edged sword is the source of the lawyer trickery that fool hapless saps into volunteering into contracts, submitting to jurisdictions, and otherwise opting themselves in to requirements and obligations that have no legal basis. <br /><br />Before visiting three of the biggest scams that rely on legal sleight of hand, let's review a word that is central to understanding all of them: include, includes, including.&nbsp; In common language, the word "includes" would be translated to "such as".&nbsp; For example, "I enjoy eating fruit, including apples".&nbsp; Under a normal context I may also enjoy eating oranges, but in the world of legalese we may find that this word is not one of enlargement, but one of restriction.&nbsp; Instead of translating to "such as", includes is defined as "means".&nbsp; The impact is that, for the purpose of that sentence, the common definition of "fruit" no longer applies and now "fruit" means apples and only apples. <br /><br />There is a Latin term for this, <i>inclusio unius est exclusio alterius</i>, "the inclusion of one is the exclusion of another."&nbsp; According to Black's Law, "When certain persons or things are specified in a law, contract, or will, an intention to exclude all others from its operation may be inferred.&nbsp; Under this maxim, if statute specifies one exception to a general rule or assumes to specify the effects of a certain provision, other exceptions or effects are excluded.”&nbsp; There are <a href="http://famguardian.org/taxfreedom/CitesByTopic/includes.htm" target="_blank">websites filled with quotes from supreme court rulings</a>, <a href="http://famguardian.org/Subjects/Taxes/FalseRhetoric/Includess.pdf" target="_blank">hundred page treatises</a>, and <a href="http://losthorizons.com/comment/TheLawMeansWhatItSays.pdf" target="_blank">finely written essays</a> dedicated to this seemingly innocuous term because of how this word can create multi-layered definitions that have to be carefully analyzed to have any chance of arriving at the correct interpretation.&nbsp; As we'll see, it is the cornerstone of some of the most invasive laws that impact us every moment of our waking lives, but with a correct understanding of what it means in legalese they just melt away like snow on a sunny day. <br /><br /><b>Cracking the Code</b><br /><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-iSYcDc_tdkg/VD703QTXdRI/AAAAAAAAAq8/Qn2C9Em-wHE/s1600/VampireEthics_Cracking_The_Code.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="clear: left; float: left; margin-bottom: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" src="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-iSYcDc_tdkg/VD703QTXdRI/AAAAAAAAAq8/Qn2C9Em-wHE/s1600/VampireEthics_Cracking_The_Code.jpg" height="320" width="213" /></a></div>The income tax: is there a more destructive, unjust, or idiotic law?&nbsp; It is a fact that taxes are used to deter behavior, hence we have "sin taxes" like those on cigarettes.&nbsp; So why would any society seek to deter productivity?&nbsp; The harder one works, the more one earns, the more is taken away, not just proportionally but progressively.&nbsp; How much wealth was never created because doing so would bump one into the next "bracket" and cause a net loss, incentivizing those to choose leisure instead of labor? <br /><br />The income tax exposes the presumption of our political leaders: that they are our masters, that they own us.&nbsp; The fruit of my labor is not mine, but the governments, and those men with guns will choose how much will be returned to me.&nbsp; In the "land of the free", where we supposedly fought a civil war to abolish slavery, it is a sad lesson how quickly we accepted new masters. <br /><br />A direct tax on income is also blatantly unconstitutional.&nbsp; The constitution gives two and only two types of taxation: direct and apportioned or indirect and unapportioned.&nbsp; In the first case the federal government can only directly tax the people if the tax is apportioned by the state populations.&nbsp; In the second case it can only tax the people without regards to state enumeration if it is indirect, such as a tax on tobacco that one can avoid by growing their own tobacco or refraining from its use.&nbsp; As described in <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O6ayb02bwp0" target="_blank">America: Freedom to Fascism</a>, Supreme Court rulings declared an income tax unconstitutional before the 16th amendment and after its passage they ruled that it granted no new powers of taxation.&nbsp; So if they didn't have it before, and they didn't get it, then how is it that we all sign self-confession forms under penalty of perjury every year (5th amendment, anyone?). <br /><br />But what if it didn't have to be this way?&nbsp; When the tax code was put on the internet, for the first time allowing one to quickly execute key word searches across its hundreds of pages and three million words, Peter Eric Hendrickson claimed that he <a href="http://www.losthorizons.com/Cracking_the_Code.htm" target="_blank">cracked the code</a> to this mystery.&nbsp; By finding every use and definition of terms like "income", "wages", "employee", "employer", and "trade or business", he discovered that the income tax could actually comply with the constitution and the supreme court rulings but under this legalese interpretation the income tax laws no longer applied to the vast majority of private individuals. <br /><br />As quoted and explained in detail <a href="http://www.losthorizons.com/Cracking_the_Code.htm" target="_blank">throughout the book</a> chapter and verse, the income tax is filled with particular definitions and circular logic that results in it only being applicable to the payment of <i>federal government workers</i>. <br /><br />"Wages" is defined as "all remuneration... for services performed by an employee for an employer", where employee is defined as <i>including</i> "an officer, employee, or elected official of the United States, a State, or any political subdivision thereof, or the District of Colombia, or any agency or instrumentality of any one or more of the foregoing." <br /><br />Similarly, the term "trade or business" <i>includes</i> "the performance of the functions of a public office".&nbsp; "Wages" is defined as "including personal service as an officer or employee of a State", and then "state" is "construed to include the District of Colombia". <br /><br />Remembering the legalese definition of "includes", does it sound like you work for an "employer"?&nbsp; Are you engaged in a "trade or business"? Do you earn "wages" or "income"? You may not if you don’t work for the federal government! <br /><br />Why would it be constitutional to put an income tax on federal government workers but not the rest of us in the public sector?&nbsp; Remember that one of the constitutional taxes is indirect and unapportioned, and that government workers don't really pay taxes, they consume tax money.&nbsp; If someone gives you $20, and then takes $5, did they "tax" any money, or did they just <i>give</i> you $15?&nbsp; That is the crux of the issue - when the same entity is paying "gross income" and "withholding" a certain percentage and then paying "net income", then what does it matter what bookkeeping mumbo-jumbo is happening, the net result is that entity, the federal government, is paying its workers.&nbsp; Working for the federal government is <a href="http://www.nathankleffman.com/2011/09/rights-privileges-and-property.html" target="_blank">not a right, it is a privilege</a>, and therefore it would fall under the indirect and unapportioned taxing power of the constitution. <br /><br />So when millions of people file 1040 confession forms and say "I'm an employee", "I make wages" and "I'm engaged in a trade or business" the government sits back and nods, happy to keep the fantasy going.&nbsp; If you're willing to make these claims the government won't be correcting you - <a href="http://www.losthorizons.com/BulletinBoard.htm" target="_blank">that's up for you to figure out</a>. <br /><br /><b>Drivers License: Transport or Travel?</b><br /><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-AXCKUXA-uZo/VD714FDj3vI/AAAAAAAAArI/aBvmsbmMnH4/s1600/VampireEthics_transport_or_travel.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="clear: left; float: left; margin-bottom: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" src="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-AXCKUXA-uZo/VD714FDj3vI/AAAAAAAAArI/aBvmsbmMnH4/s1600/VampireEthics_transport_or_travel.jpg" height="235" width="640" /></a></div>One of the fundamental differences between <a href="http://www.nathankleffman.com/2011/09/rights-privileges-and-property.html" target="_blank">rights and privileges</a> concerns the requirement for a license to use property.&nbsp; The owner of property can exercise all the rights associated with the property, with the only limitation being not to violate the rights of others.&nbsp; The owner can extend a privilege concerning the property in the form of a <a href="http://legal-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/license" target="_blank">license</a>, which is permission to perform some action that, without such authorization, would constitute an illegal action or trespass. <br /><br />Thus, what do we make of the situation when a libertarian activist asks a traffic officer if he's being detained on a warrantless DUI checkpoint which he believes to be unconstitutional, and the cop snarls, "<a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Irh04jsMNJ8" target="_blank">driving's a privilege, not a right!</a>"&nbsp; Here we have a dilemma.&nbsp; Do you own your vehicle?&nbsp; If you did, you'd have certain rights over it, not privileges granted by a license.&nbsp; The <a href="https://supreme.justia.com/cases/federal/us/179/270/case.html" target="_blank">Supreme Court has ruled that we have a right to travel</a>, a right of locomotion, a right to move from one place to another according to inclination, a right of free transit from or through the territory of any state.&nbsp; It seems plausible, after all we pay for the roads with the tax on gasoline, but this conflicts with our daily experience that a traffic officer can pull us over, demand our license, and impound our vehicle on the flimsiest of pretenses, especially since the militarization of the police and the escalation of the war on drugs. <br /><br />Once again, it seems we might have a conspiracy of lawyer tricks run by criminals with vampire ethics and enforced by useful idiots that have never read or understood the law they believe to be rightly enforcing. <br /><br /><a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B3nok7Cby28" target="_blank">Eddie Craig</a> is an Air Force veteran and a former Nacogdoches Sheriff Deputy that has spent the last 12 years researching various Texas Codes, especially the Transportation Code.&nbsp; I first heard him on <a href="http://ruleoflawradio.com/" target="_blank">Rule of Law Radio</a> where he described the myriad violations that occur during every traffic stop according to the <a href="http://www.statutes.legis.state.tx.us/?link=TN" target="_blank">Texas Transportation Code</a>.&nbsp; Eventually he compiled his research into a workbook and traffic seminar, and I was able to attend his first presentation at <a href="http://bravenewbookstore.com/" target="_blank">Brave New Bookstore</a>.&nbsp; Unsurprisingly, his findings echoed many of the same themes I had already found when researching the income tax.&nbsp; It seemed there was a code to crack concerning the traffic laws as well, and <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B3nok7Cby28" target="_blank">Mr. Craig had found it</a>. <br /><br />Assuming we have a right to use our property, our personal vehicles, the first question to ask is what is a drivers license and who needs one?&nbsp; The Texas Transportation Code defines it as "authorization issued by the department for the operation of a motor vehicle" and claims that a person "may not operate a motor vehicle on a highway in this state unless the person holds a driver's license." <br /><br />The next question is, what is a motor vehicle?&nbsp; It is consistently defined as "a device in or by which a person or property is or may be <i>transported</i> or drawn on a public highway".&nbsp; Unsurprisingly, we consistently see the word transportation used in these definitions, but what is surprising is that it's never defined anywhere in the Transportation Code.&nbsp; According to our hierarchy of legal definitions, this means we need to look at legal dictionaries and the case law that goes with it. <br /><br />In <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/031476271X/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=031476271X&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=nathanklecom-20&amp;linkId=MNNYIJXLFKL6HRJW" target="_blank">Black's Law Dictionary</a>, transportation is defined as "The removal of goods or persons from one place to another, by a carrier."&nbsp; And this is where it gets interesting.&nbsp; According to every legal dictionary a <a href="http://legal-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/carrier" target="_blank">carrier</a>, a <a href="http://legal-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/common%20carrier" target="_blank">common carrier</a>, a contract carrier, and even a <a href="http://legal-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/private%20carrier" target="_blank">private carrier</a> are all referencing the act of transportation of passengers or freight <i>for pay</i>.&nbsp; Carriers are in the "regular business of transporting people and / or freight". <br /><br />So if we put this all together, one needs a driver's license to operate a "motor vehicle", which is a device used in "transportation", which is the act that a "carrier" engages in when operating a business of transporting people and / or freight for payment.&nbsp; I don't drive a taxi.&nbsp; I'm not hauling semi-trailers across the country for a living.&nbsp; So why again do I have a driver's license? <br /><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-2eMmMnHc26E/VD72lgra_NI/AAAAAAAAArQ/94sr6FBvuX8/s1600/VampireEthics_Private_Property_Plate.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="clear: left; float: left; margin-bottom: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" src="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-2eMmMnHc26E/VD72lgra_NI/AAAAAAAAArQ/94sr6FBvuX8/s1600/VampireEthics_Private_Property_Plate.jpg" height="161" width="320" /></a></div>The reason the government can license and register the act of running a business off the use of the roads is because those individuals are exercising a <a href="http://www.nathankleffman.com/2011/09/rights-privileges-and-property.html" target="_blank">privilege</a>.&nbsp; This is in contrast to private individuals that have a right to travel in their personal property on the public roads.&nbsp; Those roads are owned by the people and are for the general public's convenience and pleasure.&nbsp; Using the roads for business is an extra-ordinary use of the public roads and that is why they can be licensed, because those people are engaged in using publicly owned property to make money.&nbsp; In other words, they are engaged in commerce.&nbsp; Regulating ("keeping regular") interstate commerce is a power that is specifically delegated to governments to do - not to infringe in the rightful use of our private property. <br /><br />So the next time you get pulled over for speeding, take a look at the statute that authorizes <a href="http://www.statutes.legis.state.tx.us/Docs/TN/htm/TN.201.htm" target="_blank">the department of transportation to erect speed signs</a> and ask, "who do speed signs apply to?"&nbsp; Maybe the traffic officer is confusing you for someone engaged in commerce. <br /><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/--zoKbWk2D3A/VD722_6dT3I/AAAAAAAAArY/JutEEyQ3h24/s1600/VampireEthics_Transportation_Code.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" src="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/--zoKbWk2D3A/VD722_6dT3I/AAAAAAAAArY/JutEEyQ3h24/s1600/VampireEthics_Transportation_Code.jpg" height="306" width="640" /></a></div><br /><b>Gold Fringe Flags, Strawmen, and Billion Dollar Birth Certificates</b><br /><br />You're not an "employee", you don’t earn "income", you don't operate a "motor vehicle", and you don't engage in "transportation".&nbsp; Still following along?&nbsp; If so, this next topic may stretch your credulity to its limit.&nbsp; It has its origins in the beginning of the country, leaving the gold standard, and the moment you were born.&nbsp; It includes <a href="http://www.apfn.org/apfn/flag.htm" target="_blank">gold fringed flags</a>, <a href="http://www.barefootsworld.net/admiralty.html" target="_blank">admiralty law</a>, your name in <a href="http://reality-bytes.hubpages.com/hub/Strawman-Your-Name-In-Capital-Letters" target="_blank">all capital letters</a> (<i><a href="http://loveforlife.com.au/content/08/10/26/capitis-diminutio-maxima-name-all-capitals-important-information" target="_blank">Capitis Diminutio Maxima</a></i>), your <a href="http://www.fourwinds10.net/siterun_data/government/corporate_u_s/news.php?q=1368129385" target="_blank">birth certificate</a>, <a href="http://viewzone.com/collateralx.html" target="_blank">treasury bonds</a>, your "<a href="http://www.yourstrawman.com/" target="_blank">straw man</a>" or "<a href="https://usahitman.com/your-strawman/" target="_blank">legal fiction</a>", and every interaction you've ever had with government, police officers, courts, and corporations.&nbsp; This one goes down the deepest trails of the rabbit hole, and sometimes you'll wonder if the proponents of these theories are government agents trying to entrap you, but if you take the time to survey the information and take a step back the resulting landscape comes together consistently, and it just figures that we'd live in a world where something this crazy could be true. <br /><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><iframe allowfullscreen='allowfullscreen' webkitallowfullscreen='webkitallowfullscreen' mozallowfullscreen='mozallowfullscreen' width='320' height='266' src='https://www.youtube.com/embed/ME7K6P7hlko?feature=player_embedded' frameborder='0' /></div><br />The best place to begin might be with your <a href="http://www.yourstrawman.com/" target="_blank">strawman</a>, your legal fiction, the corporate entity that was created the moment the ink was dry on your birth certificate.&nbsp; If your parents named you John Doe, your straw man might be named JOHN DOE.&nbsp; This character is a "person", but unlike a flesh-and-blood human being, he is a legalese "<a href="http://legal-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/person" target="_blank">person</a>", a n artificial person or corporation.&nbsp; This corporate person can sign contracts, assume duties, incur penalties, and it has the unfortunate tendency to get people confused with <b>you</b>, the flesh-and-blood human being.<br /><br />That bad side of this situation is that this elaborate scam is what gives all the lower courts such as traffic courts, family courts, and tax courts the jurisdiction to act upon you - because you volunteer into it!&nbsp; Whenever a summons appears that asks for "JOHN DOE" and you show up saying, "that's me" no one is going to correct you.&nbsp; Whenever they ask you if you "understand the charges" you are agreeing that you "stand under" their jurisdiction and from then on volunteer into their private contract.&nbsp; Instead of living under <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Common_law" target="_blank">common law</a>, your straw man operates under <a href="http://www.barefootsworld.net/admiralty.html" target="_blank">admiralty law</a> because a birth certificate literally hands over the new born's straw man to the government as a ward of the state, just as a ship wrecked in the sea can be found and claimed by new owners.&nbsp; This is why court rooms have a gold fringed flag, because they are operating under admiralty law.&nbsp; This explains why a judge can say "I don't want the constitution brought up in my court", because his court has nothing to do with the constitution, it is all private contracts through color of law like the <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uniform_Commercial_Code" target="_blank">Uniform Commercial Code</a>. <br /><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-mPTw2nvnl9k/VD73WwcQzaI/AAAAAAAAArg/WY0fuH2xksk/s1600/VampireEthics_Birth_Certificate_Exposed.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="clear: left; float: left; margin-bottom: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" src="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-mPTw2nvnl9k/VD73WwcQzaI/AAAAAAAAArg/WY0fuH2xksk/s1600/VampireEthics_Birth_Certificate_Exposed.jpg" height="400" width="305" /></a></div>This isn't just about tricking you to get jurisdiction for petty fines and fees, your straw man is also worth money, a lot of money.&nbsp; This is where the theory gets into the creation of the country and leaving the gold standard - that without lawful money of gold and silver to discharge debts the government had to create a way for citizens to discharge their obligations in the new world of fiat money.&nbsp; Hence, you find the curious phenomenon that your birth certificate will have a serial number and a stamp or seal from an entity like the American Bank Note Company.&nbsp; Once the birth certificate / bank note is signed, it goes to the Department of Commerce, and from there to the International Monetary Fund (IMF).&nbsp; At this point <a href="http://www.viewzone.com/collateralx.html" target="_blank">it's listed as collateral for the UNITED STATES CORPORATION</a> so that the gold ole USA can take out a loan for millions with our birth certificate as collateral.&nbsp; Why would they think of our birth certificate as collateral?&nbsp; Because we are going to be good cattle for our masters, we'll volunteer into contracts, work as "employees", pay "income", submit to registration, apply for licenses and pay all kinds of penalties and fees for activities that should be absolute rights. <br /><br />If there is a good side to this scenario, it's that in the farthest depths of patriot mythology you'll find references to "commercial redemption", the "<a href="http://stopthepirates.blogspot.com/" target="_blank">secured party creditor process</a>", and "reclaiming your strawman".&nbsp; The idea is that there are certain forms you can sign and actions you can take to reclaim your "legal fiction" from being a tool of the state and use it for your own purposes - and that also includes those millions of dollars of fiat currency tied to your birth certificate / bank note.&nbsp; The UCC1 Financing Statement tells the public that you officially reclaim control over your Agent in commerce, your strawman.&nbsp; Your parents may have abandoned him to the government, but now you're ready and willing to take him back.&nbsp; File a few more forms and you'll have direct access to an account at the Treasury in your strawman's name, you'll be filing tax forms on behalf of your strawman, and you'll regain your status as a sovereign human being, a secure party creditor, at the same level of states, banks, and the gods themselves. <br /><br /><b>Conclusion</b><br /><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-OKmQVI059SY/VD73lUHyLuI/AAAAAAAAAro/qYVYcq0UyM8/s1600/VampireEthics_Slavery_or_Freedom.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="clear: left; float: left; margin-bottom: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" src="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-OKmQVI059SY/VD73lUHyLuI/AAAAAAAAAro/qYVYcq0UyM8/s1600/VampireEthics_Slavery_or_Freedom.jpg" height="212" width="640" /></a></div>Now the question comes, after you've thoroughly researched these claims for yourself, what do you do about it?&nbsp; If the answer is nothing, then it doesn't really matter whether the men behind the curtain are lawless thugs or just clever schemers.&nbsp; If you knowingly continue to volunteer into contracts, assume obligations, and opt-in to taxes that don't apply to you then the only thing that's changed is you no longer have the right to complain about any of it. <br /><br />That said, there is a risk / reward tolerance for everyone, and these are important decisions that should not be taken lightly.&nbsp; I ran into <a href="http://www.freedomabovefortune.com/" target="_blank">Joe Banister</a> at the Austin airport once and asked him what he thought about <a href="http://www.losthorizons.com/Cracking_the_Code.htm" target="_blank">Cracking the Code</a>.&nbsp; He said it was 100% accurate, but the question remains, is this a battle that you are willing to fight yourself, or are you going to instead support people that are fighting it on your behalf? <br /><br />Accepting the risk really depends on the magnitude of the reward.&nbsp; With cracking the code the risk comes if you lose your nerve and admit that you make "income" after all, then you could be slapped with a $5,000 frivolous filing fee.&nbsp; But if you stick to your guns you may instead receive a hefty check from the Treasury department and have your return added to the <a href="http://www.losthorizons.com/BulletinBoard.htm" target="_blank">Bulletin Board</a> displaying the $11,000,000+ from the tens of thousands of returns that have used the CTC method. <br /><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-EzyTC5nOWoM/VD73xAR08HI/AAAAAAAAArw/8HH5WPMuiIY/s1600/VampireEthics_Private_Property_Car.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="clear: left; float: left; margin-bottom: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" src="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-EzyTC5nOWoM/VD73xAR08HI/AAAAAAAAArw/8HH5WPMuiIY/s1600/VampireEthics_Private_Property_Car.jpg" height="240" width="320" /></a></div>If you're going to cut up your drivers license, burn your registration, and throw away your license plate it seems like you are in for some battles ahead.&nbsp; Even doing everything right, traffic cops will take you to jail and impound your vehicle out of ignorance, and only through fighting legal battles, suing the county and police departments, and battling lengthy appeals will you finally get to the situation where a patrolling cop radios in your suspicious car that doesn't have a license plate only to have HQ radio back "don't mess with him, he's not worth the trouble".&nbsp; That is the price to travel as a free man. <br /><br />When I first heard about the <a href="http://www.yourstrawman.com/" target="_blank">strawman</a> / <a href="http://stopthepirates.blogspot.com/" target="_blank">Secured Party Creditor</a> strategy on <a href="http://www.ruleoflawradio.com/" target="_blank">Rule of Law Radio</a> I categorized it as patriot mythology that was more likely to be a Federal sting operation than anything real.&nbsp; Since then I've met someone that's gone through the process and has shown me his documents and explained how he has paid his taxes, utility bills, and even purchased real estate through his reclaimed strawman.&nbsp; He also warned that if you don't do it correctly you could go to jail for securities fraud. <br /><br />Do the research, weigh your options, and make a decision: will you continue to invite the vampires in, or will you kick them out once and for all?Unknownnoreply@blogger.comtag:blogger.com,1999:blog-6497333203175478928.post-33321745463330556352014-09-21T22:29:00.001-05:002014-10-29T17:57:09.040-05:00How I Woke Up<div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-3JfMlD_reEQ/VB93Zc5McAI/AAAAAAAAAn0/LnsxUwlj_gk/s1600/HIWU_WTC7_Falling.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="clear: left; float: left; margin-bottom: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" src="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-3JfMlD_reEQ/VB93Zc5McAI/AAAAAAAAAn0/LnsxUwlj_gk/s400/HIWU_WTC7_Falling.jpg" /></a></div>We've just passed the 13th anniversary of 9/11 and now, more than ever, individuals on all sides of the 9/11 spectrum are demanding to know more about what really happened on that day.&nbsp; On one side you have the co-chairs of the 9/11 commission report, Lee Hamilton and Thomas Kean, who have called for <a href="http://www.washingtonsblog.com/2014/08/movement-declassify-911-materials-gathers-momentum.html" target="_blank">the 28 classified pages of the 9/11 commission report to be released in the public eye</a>.&nbsp; As more and more congressmen and senators read <a href="http://www.newyorker.com/news/daily-comment/twenty-eight-pages" target="_blank">those pages</a> for themselves, <a href="https://news.vice.com/article/campaign-mounts-to-declassify-911-reports-references-to-alleged-saudi-involvement" target="_blank">a growing coalition on the right and left</a> is forming behind a bill that would <a href="http://www.washingtonsblog.com/2014/09/911-commission-chair-declassify-everything.html" target="_blank">declassify them for all to see</a>.&nbsp; On the other side of the 9/11 spectrum you have Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth (<a href="http://www.ae911truth.org/" target="_blank">AE911 Truth</a>) making unprecedented ground in their cause.&nbsp; AE911 Truth is a major force behind the <a href="http://highrisesafetynyc.org/" target="_blank">High Rise Safety Initiative</a>, which has collected tens of thousands of signatures from New Yorkers and is currently fighting and appealing various legal battles to ensure a ballot measure will be put to the voters that would require the NYC Department of Buildings to investigate the causes of high-rise building collapses in New York City, starting with <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/7_World_Trade_Center" target="_blank">World Trade Center 7</a>.&nbsp; AE911 Truth has also put up <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QhllqmXxyXM" target="_blank">a video billboard in Times Square</a> this month showing millions of New Yorkers the 6.7 second collapse of WTC 7 and challenging them to "<a href="http://rethink911.org/" target="_blank">Rethink 911</a>". <br /><br />But for the 9/11 truth movement, one of the most exciting events is a new documentary called <a href="http://www.anatomyofagreatdeception.com/" target="_blank">Anatomy of a Great Deception</a>.&nbsp; It has been getting great reviews from the 9/11 truth community and Richard Gage, founder of AE911 Truth, is calling it "the best chance in years to push the 9/11 debate into the mainstream".&nbsp; So what is so revolutionary about this movie? Does it have new information or new evidence? No, the hype around this documentary is not because of the evidence it presents, but the way it presents it.&nbsp; It's not overloaded with ten thousand questions and puzzle pieces of evidence concerning the various <a href="http://www.911truth.org/the-top-40-reasons-to-doubt-the-offical-story/" target="_blank">reasons to doubt the official story</a>.&nbsp; Instead, it's a personal story, a story of how one man stumbled upon an innocent question that lead him to another question, and then to another, until months later he was on the brink of personal disaster.&nbsp; David Hooper is a successful businessman and entrepreneur; and in this very personal film he relates how his research destroyed his world view and almost ruined his most precious relationships with his wife, family and friends. <br /><br />As Hooper describes the genesis of this film, "I began assembling footage to visually relay what I had found for my wife, my sister, and a couple of dear friends.&nbsp; This footage turned into the documentary The Anatomy of a Great Deception."&nbsp; Hooper's amateur documentary succeeded to convince his family where other documentaries failed.&nbsp; As word of mouth spread, Hooper decided to raise money to take his film to the next level and professionally release it so that others in the 9/11 truth community could share it with the people in their lives. <br /><br />Several years ago, for various reasons, I decided that I would not promote 9/11 truth in the same way that I unashamedly promote libertarianism and Austrian economics.&nbsp; Yet, I can't honestly describe how I've come to be the person I am today and carry the beliefs that I do without going back to 9/11.&nbsp; More specifically, not 9/11, but WTC 7.&nbsp; Like Hooper, that building shattered my world view and set me on a course of investigation that would completely transform my belief system.&nbsp; So in the same spirit that Hooper took when telling his story, I will tell mine. &nbsp;My purpose is not to try to convince anyone to accept my beliefs, I've given up on that long ago.&nbsp; I merely hope this will help others understand my journey. <br /><br /><b>WTC 7 and Me</b><br /><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-MFmlyeKdPK4/VB94iXbTVxI/AAAAAAAAAoA/EdUFO_KVpng/s1600/wtc7-demolition.gif" imageanchor="1" style="clear: left; float: left; margin-bottom: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" src="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-MFmlyeKdPK4/VB94iXbTVxI/AAAAAAAAAoA/EdUFO_KVpng/s1600/wtc7-demolition.gif" /></a></div>The most transformative event of my life occurred on Saturday, April 15th, 2006 - Easter weekend.&nbsp; I was completing my Senior year at the University of Iowa and I had recently taken an internship at the Operator Performance Laboratory instead of pursing a <a href="http://www.nathankleffman.com/2013/05/the-choice-is-yours.html" target="_blank">3rd summer with my door-to-door book selling career</a>.&nbsp; I had completed the math and physics classes required for all engineers, and now that I was taking my upper level courses in Electrical Engineering things were really starting to get interesting.&nbsp; The seemingly abstract world of calculus and differential equations was finally made real as I learned how to apply those concepts to understand the physical phenomena of the world around me. <br /><br />It was under this context that I went home for the holiday weekend and my youngest brother showed me a video that he had accidentally found while searching for Tool music videos.&nbsp; Someone had intentionally mislabeled a 5 minute video called "Painful Questions" to trick people like my brother into downloading it.&nbsp; He was shocked and scared by what he saw, and he didn't discuss it with anyone until I came home for a visit. <br /><br />He told me he had a video that I needed to see, I watched it, and my whole world was turned upside down. <br /><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><iframe allowfullscreen='allowfullscreen' webkitallowfullscreen='webkitallowfullscreen' mozallowfullscreen='mozallowfullscreen' width='320' height='266' src='https://www.youtube.com/embed/bWorDrTC0Qg?feature=player_embedded' frameborder='0' /></div><br />It's hard to remember my exact reaction, but I was in a state of total shock, my mind racing at the consequences of what I saw.&nbsp; I watched it again and again to make sure I could believe my eyes.&nbsp; The video was a condensed version of a longer documentary by Eric Hufschmid called <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H5wkyEDIxTk" target="_blank">Painful Deceptions</a>.&nbsp; While the full length documentary covers many aspects of 9/11, this 5-minute version only discussed a sky scrapper called World Trade Center Building 7, or <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/7_World_Trade_Center" target="_blank">WTC 7</a>, which I had never heard of before.&nbsp; In this crude and unprofessional video I was quickly made aware of a few key facts: <br /><br /><ol><li>On&nbsp;9/11 there existed a modern 47-story steel-framed skyscraper called WTC 7.</li><li>This&nbsp;building was not hit by a plane on 9/11, but it did catch fire on several floors.</li><li>At&nbsp;5:20 pm on 9/11 this building "collapsed" into its own footprint in 6.7 seconds.</li></ol><br />That's all I had, 3 inconvenient facts and the video of it "collapsing" from multiple angles over and over again.&nbsp; Right away I saw this could not have been a fire-induced "collapse".&nbsp; What I saw looked identical to a building that was brought down in a controlled demolition.&nbsp; But that conclusion was too painful, it immediately brought question after question: Who was responsible for bringing this building down?&nbsp; If WTC 7 was a controlled demolition, does that mean the Twin Towers were too?&nbsp; If so, then that means people in the government were involved.&nbsp; How was I not aware of this event?&nbsp; Does that mean elements of the media are in on this too?&nbsp; How could people be so evil?&nbsp; How could a conspiracy this big and this important be hidden from me for so long? <br /><br />I didn't have answers to any of those questions.&nbsp; For all I knew, myself, my brother and the maker of this video might be the only 3 people in the world that were aware of this evidence.&nbsp; I couldn't wrap my head around the giant implications of this revelation, but I had seen all I needed with my own two eyes.&nbsp; Eric Hufschmid's video might have also brought up the fact that the maximum temperature of an office fire is 1,700 degrees Fahrenheit while the melting point of steel is 2,700.&nbsp; It might have shown me examples of <a href="http://911research.wtc7.net/wtc/analysis/compare/fires.html" target="_blank">other sky scrappers</a> that had burned longer and hotter than WTC 7 but weren't even weakened, let alone brought down.&nbsp; It probably pointed out that no sky scrapper in history had ever collapsed due to fire.&nbsp; It might have mentioned a character named <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Larry_Silverstein" target="_blank">Larry Silverstein</a>, the man who <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-jPzAakHPpk" target="_blank">told fire fighters to "pull" WTC7</a> and whose recent acquisition of the lease for the Twin Towers 6 weeks before 9/11 would allow him to collect <a href="http://www.forbes.com/2004/12/06/1206autofacescan06.html" target="_blank">billions in insurance claims</a>.&nbsp; It might have even shown examples of reporters saying WTC 7 collapsed before it did, most notably <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ltP2t9nq9fI" target="_blank">the BBC reporting it had collapsed while it was still standing and visible in the background!</a><br /><br />But I didn't need any of that.&nbsp; The three inconvenient facts were all I needed and they could not be refuted.&nbsp; No one denied that this mysterious building existed and fell on 9/11 and the rest I could see for myself from the video evidence.&nbsp; The height of this building and the speed in which it "collapsed" were a matter of public record.&nbsp; And that is the key that woke me up - the fact that this building "fell" so fast and into its own footprint, the path of most resistance. <br /><br />In physics I had learned how calculus could take me from the velocity of a moving object to the change in velocity (acceleration) to the change in acceleration.&nbsp; In statics I learned how to calculate the opposing and combining forces of objects at rest - how various forces would act against "static" objects like weights, dump trucks and buildings on ramps, pulleys and wires.&nbsp; I knew how the <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Momentum#Conservation" target="_blank">law of conservation of momentum</a> applied to inelastic collisions and how kinetic energy and gravitational potential energy would be converted to other forms of energy like heat and sound.&nbsp; So when I saw the videos of WTC 7 coming straight down in 6.7 seconds I knew that fire and gravity alone could not have caused this.&nbsp; Why? <br /><br /><a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CpAp8eCEqNA" target="_blank">David Chandler</a>, the retired physics teacher who forced <a href="http://www.nist.gov/public_affairs/factsheet/wtc_qa_082108.cfm" target="_blank">NIST to admit in its final report that WTC had 2.25 seconds of complete free-fall acceleration</a>, <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v3mudruFzNw" target="_blank">puts it this way</a>: <br /><blockquote class="tr_bq">“Anything at an elevated height has gravitational potential energy.&nbsp; If it falls, and none of the energy is used for other things along the way, all of that energy is converted into kinetic energy – the energy of motion, and we call it ‘free fall.’&nbsp; If any of the energy is used for other purposes, there will be less kinetic energy, so the fall will be slower.&nbsp; In the case of a falling building, the only way it can go into free fall is if an external force removes the supporting structure.&nbsp; None of the gravitational potential energy of the building is available for this purpose, or it would slow the fall of the building. <br />... <br />[P]articularly striking is the suddenness of onset of free fall.&nbsp; Acceleration doesn’t build up gradually...&nbsp; The building went from full support to zero support, instantly...&nbsp; One moment, the building is holding; the next moment it lets go and is in complete free fall...&nbsp; The onset of free fall was not only sudden; it extended across the whole width of the building...&nbsp; The fact that the roof stayed level shows the building was in free fall across the entire width.&nbsp; The collapse we see cannot be due to a column failure, or a few column failures, or a sequence of column failures.&nbsp; All 24 interior columns and 58 perimeter columns had to have been removed...&nbsp; simultaneously, within a small fraction of a second.” </blockquote>That explanation spoke to my education, but I thought of a much simpler way of finding the absurdity in this situation.&nbsp; Without even having to perform the calculations myself, I could go to a simple <a href="http://keisan.casio.com/exec/system/1231475371" target="_blank">free fall calculator</a> online and execute a thought experiment.&nbsp; Knowing the height of WTC 7 was 190 meters, I could plug in my own weight and the air resistance coefficient for a person sky diving and calculate the time it would take for me to fall that distance in free fall acceleration.&nbsp; The answer: 6.75 seconds...&nbsp; So if I had jumped off the top of WTC 7 the moment it started "collapsing", I would have hit the ground only 1/20th of a second faster than the roof did? &nbsp;What hits first, my falling body with nothing but thin air underneath, or WTC 7 with 40,000 tons of structural steel to crash through? &nbsp;The question answers itself.<br /><br /><table align="center" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" class="tr-caption-container" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto; text-align: center;"><tbody><tr><td style="text-align: center;"><a href="http://keisan.casio.com/exec/system/1231475371" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" target="_blank"><img border="0" src="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-HvMfhdcD_Rk/VB97H3C9ZzI/AAAAAAAAAoM/xlwtoy71Qmw/s1600/HIWU_FreeFall_Speed.jpg" height="539" width="640" /></a></td></tr><tr><td class="tr-caption" style="text-align: center;">I could fall the same height of WTC 7 in 6.75 seconds, only 0.05 seconds longer than it took WTC 7 to "collapse".</td></tr></tbody></table><br />It didn't add up, and I knew that I couldn't go back to my normal life and forget about this information.&nbsp; My world view had been shattered.&nbsp; I didn't understand the big picture, but I knew that I needed to reset my biggest assumptions about how the world worked and do some serious research to understand how this event could be possible.<br /><br /><b>Down the Rabbit Hole</b><br /><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-5b3i7V-0Vnc/VB98WOEMMzI/AAAAAAAAAoY/j-bfBAloMpo/s1600/HIWU_NWO_Ahead.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="clear: left; float: left; margin-bottom: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" src="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-5b3i7V-0Vnc/VB98WOEMMzI/AAAAAAAAAoY/j-bfBAloMpo/s1600/HIWU_NWO_Ahead.jpg" height="307" width="320" /></a></div>To my great relief, over the next few days I found that there was a whole movement of people well aware of the evidence calling into question the official story of 9/11.&nbsp; I watched dozens of documentaries that exposed me to more and more information like <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YsRm8M-qOjQ" target="_blank">Loose Change</a>, <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q2oZto6WPkc" target="_blank">911 Press for Truth</a>, and what became one of my favorites, <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2O7LwySqtr4" target="_blank">9/11 Mysteries: Demolitions</a>. <br /><br />I read the testimony of <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sibel_Edmonds" target="_blank">Sibel Edmonds</a>, the FBI translator for terror-related communications and the "most gagged person in the history of the United States of America" who said 9/11 was executed by the "<a href="http://www.washingtonsblog.com/2014/09/sibel-2.html" target="_blank">highest levels of NATO, the U.S., M16, CIA and the Pentagon</a>."&nbsp; I listened to the harrowing story of <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Rodriguez" target="_blank">William Rodriguez</a>, the last man out of the Twin Towers who saved countless lives by leading firefighters up the stairwells with <a href="http://www.william911.com/" target="_blank">his master key</a>. Unsurprisingly, I had never heard <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ETqjRyYWz7E" target="_blank">his testimony of bombs going off in the basement before the planes hit</a>. <br /><br />I wanted to know all I could about 9/11 and along my journey I found claims that made sense to me and plenty of claims that didn't hold water.&nbsp; Some people said that no planes hit the buildings - that they were holograms!&nbsp; Others said only space beams or secret direct energy weapons could account for the buildings collapse.&nbsp; Others claimed that it was all a conspiracy orchestrated by "the Jews".&nbsp; I found documentaries and YouTube comments that were downright hateful, bigoted, ignorant, and devoid of logical thinking.&nbsp; Before long I realized that I knew enough about 9/11, in fact I had known all I truly needed to know in the first 5 minutes with my 3 painful facts concerning WTC 7.&nbsp; I didn't need to know exactly what really happened on 9/11 - whether it was space beams or nano-thermite that brought down the towers didn't add much value.&nbsp; If WTC 7 could not possibly have been a fire-induced collapse, if that part of the official story was a lie, then the rest of the narrative goes with it. <br /><br />The big question was <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cui_bono" target="_blank">cui bono</a>, who benefited?&nbsp; Who had the motive, the means, and the opportunity to pull this off?&nbsp; I recalled going to the theatre to see Michael Moore's film "Fahrenheit 9/11" and walking away unconvinced.&nbsp; If this was all about making money off oil sales it seemed like there were easier ways to get it done.&nbsp; Eventually I stumbled upon <a href="http://www.infowars.com/" target="_blank">Alex Jones</a> and his film <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vrXgLhkv21Y" target="_blank">Terrorstorm: A History of Government Sponsored Terrorism</a>.&nbsp; Now the rabbit hole was getting deep and splitting off into a dozen different directions. From the first time I tuned into the <a href="http://www.infowars.com/watch-alex-jones-show/" target="_blank">Alex Jones Show</a> he begged his listeners not to believe a word he said but to research the facts for themselves, and I took him up on that challenge.&nbsp; Every guest he had was an expert on a different topic pointing me to research <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0914153293/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=0914153293&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=nathanklecom-20&amp;linkId=LUF5ZOCYWK2MZUSH" target="_blank">Eugenics</a>, <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0963215809/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=0963215809&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=nathanklecom-20&amp;linkId=V5Y4V4L255YYK4BD" target="_blank">the Franklin Cover-up</a>, <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1888363932/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=1888363932&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=nathanklecom-20&amp;linkId=5CBW7BDRPREOJBD7" target="_blank">government drug trafficking</a>, the <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1583227008/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=1583227008&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=nathanklecom-20&amp;linkId=6NVIPQVLWGLLFOZX" target="_blank">fluoridation of the water supply</a> and a dozen other topics that I would have dismissed as "conspiracy theories" in my old mindset but now I was willing to approach with an open mind.&nbsp; One of his guests was producer and director <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aaron_Russo" target="_blank">Aaron Russo</a> and I watched his documentary <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O6ayb02bwp0" target="_blank">America: Freedom to Fascism</a>.&nbsp; His film sent me back 100 years to 1913 where I started researching the creation of the <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/091298645X/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=091298645X&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=nathanklecom-20&amp;linkId=L7GVWT7BKUDDGTZP" target="_blank">Federal Reserve</a> and the origin of the income tax.&nbsp; Now that international bankers were in my sights, my research took me to <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antony_C._Sutton" target="_blank">Antony Sutton</a> and the powers that bankrolled both sides of the greatest wars of the last century including <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/190557035X/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=190557035X&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=nathanklecom-20&amp;linkId=AZZ7XUOQEOLTO4SM" target="_blank">WW1</a>, <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0945001533/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=0945001533&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=nathanklecom-20&amp;linkId=OVPQXTKYQUZZTMQ7" target="_blank">WW2</a> and <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0937765015/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=0937765015&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=nathanklecom-20&amp;linkId=OVNEBPB6UQZRE4PQ" target="_blank">the cold war</a>.&nbsp; Finally, I started reading the words of the conspirators themselves, books like <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/094500110X/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=094500110X&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=nathanklecom-20&amp;linkId=NL2LDBGWJZFAIOOD" target="_blank">Tragedy and Hope</a> and <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0945001010/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=0945001010&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=nathanklecom-20&amp;linkId=2NZAHXIGOSC7EAWM" target="_blank">The Anglo-American Establishment</a> by <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carroll_Quigley" target="_blank">Carrol Quigley</a>, <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0465027261/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=0465027261&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=nathanklecom-20&amp;linkId=25ESINSSJ2WHNVB4" target="_blank">The Grand Chessboard</a> by <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zbigniew_Brzezinski" target="_blank">Zbigniew Brzezinski</a>, white papers like <a href="http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/pdf/RebuildingAmericasDefenses.pdf" target="_blank">Rebuilding America's Defenses</a> by the <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Project_for_the_New_American_Century" target="_blank">Project for a New American Century</a>, and declassified documents like <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Northwoods" target="_blank">Operation Northwoods</a>. <br /><br />As I processed all of this information found in countless books, reports and documentaries a coherent picture started to emerge.&nbsp; This picture was composed of a hundred puzzle pieces and 9/11 was just one of those pieces to the larger puzzle.&nbsp; If I took any one of these other pieces and examined it in isolation I could see how one's first reaction would be to discard it.&nbsp; "What is more likely, that this one particularly conspiracy theory is real or that everything I know is wrong?"&nbsp; But when you have a hundred of these instances the odds flip in the other direction and now evidence of an "invisible hand" guiding these events seems more and more plausible.&nbsp; This force is composed of the most inner circles of banking, government and military found in groups like the <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0882791346/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=0882791346&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=nathanklecom-20&amp;linkId=55IUBRWWWUJ2SZGW" target="_blank">Council on Foreign Relations</a>, <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0979988624/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=0979988624&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=nathanklecom-20&amp;linkId=TKGSJEBEU5UKKD4X" target="_blank">the Bilderberg Group</a>, and <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0972020748/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=0972020748&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=nathanklecom-20&amp;linkId=RKUGXLU7Z7JQ7T4Z" target="_blank">the Order of Skull and Bones</a>.&nbsp; Some call the this group the <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Illuminati" target="_blank">Illuminati</a>, <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gary_Allen" target="_blank">Gary Allen</a> called them <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0945001290/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=0945001290&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=nathanklecom-20&amp;linkId=YVFONFJNAH3Z24O5" target="_blank">the Insiders</a>, Alex Jones refers to them as <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x-CrNlilZho" target="_blank">globalists</a>, the <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Birch_Society" target="_blank">John Birch Society</a> described them as a "conspiratorial cabal of internationalists, greedy bankers, and corrupt politicians", and the most popular name of all is what <a href="http://www.globalistagenda.org/quotes.htm" target="_blank">many top government and banking elites</a> refer to as the <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ptcp07v_w-w&amp;feature=youtu.be&amp;t=3m12s" target="_blank">New World Order</a>. <br /><br /><b>9/11 Truth Evangelicalism</b><br /><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-JrOajoqJ-Z4/VB98eXPyC7I/AAAAAAAAAog/nREABHNYI5A/s1600/HIWU_911_Truth_March.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="clear: left; float: left; margin-bottom: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" src="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-JrOajoqJ-Z4/VB98eXPyC7I/AAAAAAAAAog/nREABHNYI5A/s1600/HIWU_911_Truth_March.jpg" height="228" width="400" /></a></div>Once I felt that I sufficiently understood enough of the big picture that I could explain the "who, what, and why" of 9/11, I began spreading the word all day, every day.&nbsp; First I would burn DVDs of my favorite documentaries to hand out to friends, family, classmates, co-workers and strangers - anyone that would listen.&nbsp; Then I learned about the activists in Alex Jones' home town of Austin, Texas.&nbsp; They started a student group called <a href="http://ut-pnac.blogspot.com/" target="_blank">Project for a New American Citizen</a> (PNAC), a play-on words of the previously mentioned Project for a New American Century, a think tank composed of top government officials in the bush administration that infamously longed for a "<a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Project_for_the_New_American_Century#.22New_Pearl_Harbor.22" target="_blank">catastrophic and catalyzing event––like a new Pearl Harbor</a>". <br /><br />Knowing there is strength in numbers, I formed a chapter of that student group at the University of Iowa and started trying to recruit other activists.&nbsp; When I was invited to speak at PNAC's conference in Austin, "<a href="http://ut-pnac.blogspot.com/2007/03/rebuilding-americas-senses_17.html" target="_blank">Rebuilding America's Senses</a>", I met the men behind <a href="http://bravenewbookstore.com/" target="_blank">Brave New Bookstore</a>.&nbsp; Instead of burning 1 DVD at a time myself, I would order 100 or 500 DVDs and ship them straight to the bookstore.&nbsp; They would use their superior equipment to burn them all in a fraction of the time and send them to me, professionally labeled, ready to distribute.&nbsp; Now I could take my activism to the next level. <br /><br />I networked with the campus anti-war group (those things still existed when the red team was in charge) and secured a booth at their rally.&nbsp; I made a giant banner for our table and relished the opportunity to hand out DVDs and fliers for our scheduled campus meeting.&nbsp; I used our status as a recognized university student group to get funding and to set up a table at the student union so that everyone could know why "9/11 was an inside job". <br /><br />Ultimately, I didn't have much success gaining the kind of converts I wanted.&nbsp; I expected people to have the same reaction I did when shown WTC 7.&nbsp; If that particular piece of evidence didn't have the effect I expected, then I had an entire arsenal of 9/11 questions to throw at them - surely something would stick.&nbsp; But instead, only a handful of people had the same "awakening" that I did, where they recognized the importance of this information and went on their own quest to research and find the truth.&nbsp; In retrospect, I didn’t have much at all to do with those people, they had the type of life experience or personality that would set them onto that path whether or not I had intervened.&nbsp; Instead, the majority of people reacted in one of a few ways to my 9/11 Truth evangelicalism:<br /><br /><ul><li>Some claimed to understand what I had shown them but then took an ostrich approach to the information.&nbsp; One person literally said, "You are right about this, but you shouldn't talk about it."&nbsp; That statement boggled my mind. </li><li>Others would agree with me when I talked to them, but then if they encountered someone else preaching the opposite view they would change their tune like a leaf in the wind.&nbsp; They weren't convinced by the evidence, they were just easily persuaded by anyone that spoke with authority. </li><li>The vast majority weren't convinced by the evidence I presented.&nbsp; My carefully presented arguments would elicit an emotional response and the next thing we're in an argument.&nbsp; In the case of a close friend or family member we would end with a stalemate to save the relationship, there are some topics that we just don't talk about.</li></ul><br />I didn't come to the conclusion that I should change tactics until the professor that I worked for asked me about my new beliefs.&nbsp; This was a man I highly respected.&nbsp; He held multiple advanced degrees in Electrical, Mechanical, and Industrial engineering.&nbsp; When I worked at his lab I saw him accomplish feats of technical ability that truly humbled me and showed me how much I had to learn.&nbsp; I did my best to just stick to the scientific facts around WTC 7.&nbsp; I thought that since that was the evidence that woke me up it had the best chance of getting through to him.&nbsp; After some back and forth debate I drew a picture on the whiteboard to illustrate my closing argument.&nbsp; It was a long vertical rectangle on one side (to represent one of the Twin towers) and next to it was a square 1/5th the size of the rectangle suspended in the air.&nbsp; I asked him, "explain to me the mechanism that would allow the structure to the left to crash through itself and come to the ground at nearly the same speed that it would take the structure to the right to fall through the air". <br /><br /><table align="center" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" class="tr-caption-container" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto; text-align: center;"><tbody><tr><td style="text-align: center;"><a href="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-C30bcLsD2l4/VB99UZdkDrI/AAAAAAAAAoo/Fh6nsaxWyuo/s1600/HIWU_What_Will_Hit_First.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;"><img border="0" src="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-C30bcLsD2l4/VB99UZdkDrI/AAAAAAAAAoo/Fh6nsaxWyuo/s1600/HIWU_What_Will_Hit_First.jpg" height="640" width="497" /></a></td></tr><tr><td class="tr-caption" style="text-align: center;">If there's any reason to question 9/11, the speed and the manner in which the buildings fell is it.</td></tr></tbody></table><br />He looked at me and said, "I don’t believe people can be that evil".&nbsp; And that was it.&nbsp; We didn’t speak of it again, and frankly, the wind was taken out of my sails.&nbsp; I realized then that there were some topics that are just too painful to try to push on people and 9/11 was certainly one of them.&nbsp; Like <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zE7PKRjrid4" target="_blank">the Matrix</a>, no one could be told what 9/11 truth is.&nbsp; You have to see it for yourself.<br /><br /><b>Changing Tactics: From Negative to Positive</b><br /><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-ZZUrjxxD9Sw/VB9-MmHPZRI/AAAAAAAAAo4/FgqDKt0cJPo/s1600/HIWU_Austrians.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="clear: left; float: left; margin-bottom: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" src="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-ZZUrjxxD9Sw/VB9-MmHPZRI/AAAAAAAAAo4/FgqDKt0cJPo/s1600/HIWU_Austrians.jpg" height="266" width="400" /></a></div>It was around the time that I was becoming disillusioned with 9/11 Truth activism that I stumbled upon a <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_nOMbfsgZ9s&amp;list=PLF4F33A40321C714E" target="_blank">series of YouTube videos</a> of <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michael_Badnarik" target="_blank">Michael Badnarik's</a> <a href="http://www.constitutionpreservation.org/" target="_blank">constitution class</a>. This was my 2nd great awakening. After the first 2 segments I was hooked and I proceeded to watch the entire series in one sitting.&nbsp; He is the one that first taught me the difference between <a href="http://www.nathankleffman.com/2011/09/rights-privileges-and-property.html" target="_blank">rights and privileges</a> and how they are interconnected with the concept of property.&nbsp; The consistent logic and common sense of his arguments rang true - even if he held some radical views like "<a href="http://www.nathankleffman.com/2012/05/constitution-and-intellectual-honesty.html" target="_blank">just about everything the government does is unconstitutional</a>".&nbsp; Learning that he was a presidential candidate for the Libertarian Party, I started reading about libertarianism.&nbsp; From there I heard about a book called <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0517548232/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=0517548232&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=nathanklecom-20&amp;linkId=TRW6YWGWWDYCLVZG" target="_blank">Economics in One Lesson</a>.&nbsp; Reading that book was my third awakening.&nbsp; Henry Hazlitt introduced me to the <a href="http://www.mises.org/" target="_blank">Austrian School of Economics</a> and for the next few years all my free time was spent reading the works of its greatest thinkers, from the founder <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1479210218/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=1479210218&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=nathanklecom-20&amp;linkId=BVC4LRIO7EGBIPPV" target="_blank">Carl Menger</a>, to the heroic <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1610161459/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=1610161459&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=nathanklecom-20&amp;linkId=HQI2HXE7D54CG4QB" target="_blank">Ludwig Von Mises</a>, to the man that would become my intellectual mentor through his works on <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1933550988/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=1933550988&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=nathanklecom-20&amp;linkId=HURLA5UM2WRLWU5J" target="_blank">history</a>, <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1933550279/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=1933550279&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=nathanklecom-20&amp;linkId=I72ZDT7CIHS5XGYG" target="_blank">economics</a>, <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0814775594/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=0814775594&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=nathanklecom-20&amp;linkId=F3ASOUA5CTZH5D4O" target="_blank">ethics</a>, and <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1478280719/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=1478280719&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=nathanklecom-20&amp;linkId=4IWHH4BIBEYUMSHU" target="_blank">libertarianism</a> - <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Murray_Rothbard" target="_blank">Murray Rothbard</a>. <br /><br />Unlike my other awakenings where there was a clear event that separated a former way of thinking from a new world view, my transition from a <a href="http://www.nathankleffman.com/2013/08/the-libertarian-debate-principled-or.html" target="_blank">constitution-supporting minarchist libertarian to a full-blown rothbardian anarcho-capitalist</a> came gradually.&nbsp; I don’t recall a particular doubt that was shattered as a grand event but I do know that it was through reading Rothbard that the economic, ethical, and even practical case for individualist, property-rights based anarchism made more and more sense.&nbsp; With all arguments for the "middle of the road" night-watchmen state laid to waste, there was only two logical places to go: full-blown socialist collectivism or to the logical conclusion of libertarianism, anarcho-capitalism. <br /><br />This second and third awakening was just as important as the first because it showed me what I was <i>for</i>, not only what I was <i>against</i>.&nbsp; Libertarianism taught me the moral case for freedom: how the consistent application of the <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Non-aggression_principle" target="_blank">non-aggression principle</a> would solve most, if not all of the conflicts we encounter in society.&nbsp; Austrian Economics teaches the consequences of whether or not we follow the non-aggression principle. It shows how voluntary interactions lead to wealth creation, to capital formation, and to a rising standard of living for everyone.&nbsp; On the flip side, when we abandon voluntary and peaceful solutions and go to the government with our problems, the laws of human action dictate that scarce resources will be misallocated, wealth will be squandered, and we will be worse off than we would be otherwise. <br /><br />Without a solid foundation in economics and an ethical / political philosophy, it's easy to be lead astray by anyone that claims to have a common enemy.&nbsp; For instance, the documentary <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a36_CwzA0bk" target="_blank">Zeitgeist</a> became very popular and also spoke to the 9/11 truth community.&nbsp; However, as the solution for the problems in the world it endorsed getting rid of all money and entering a <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Venus_Project" target="_blank">resource-based economy</a> where all decisions would be dictated by a technological elite with the promise that everything would be free. With an understanding of what money is and how free-market economic decisions ultimately guide scarce resources to be efficiently allocated these pipe dreams are easy to see through.&nbsp; But without that understanding a 9/11 truther may be jumping out of the frying pan and into the fire. <br /><br />The other big difference these final awakenings had was to my effectiveness as a communicator and an activist.&nbsp; From an end-point perspective, I want as many people to join my cause as possible.&nbsp; So looking at it practically, it is a very difficult and possibly fruitless undertaking to convince someone of a giant conspiracy so that they are against what the New World Order is pushing.&nbsp; Instead, you can teach logic, economics, and libertarianism so that one naturally ends up at the very same solutions.&nbsp; This line of attack also allows people to keep the commonly held assumption that the government is filled with well meaning people <i>at all levels</i>.&nbsp; Once someone finds a hundred examples of government policies that have the opposite effect of the claimed goal, the next logical step is to question if our elites and leaders can really be so intelligent and successful in some areas while completely ignorant and incompetent in others.&nbsp; At that point one may independently come to the conclusion that it is much more likely that <i>some</i> of our government leaders simply have a different set of secret goals that are not communicated to the public because they are not in our best interest. <br /><br /><b>Conclusion</b><br /><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-VjFladqvTf0/VB9-GU5BlNI/AAAAAAAAAow/qoJ8mAv22rI/s1600/HIWU_Dont_Keep_Calm_Wake_Up.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="clear: left; float: left; margin-bottom: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" src="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-VjFladqvTf0/VB9-GU5BlNI/AAAAAAAAAow/qoJ8mAv22rI/s1600/HIWU_Dont_Keep_Calm_Wake_Up.jpg" height="320" width="320" /></a></div>In April of 2006 there was no official story on WTC 7.&nbsp; The 9/11 Commission Report didn't devote a single sentence to the third worst structural failure in history.&nbsp; That in itself was revealing to me but now that NIST has provided its final report in November of 2008 defenders of the official story are in an even more indefensible position.&nbsp; At least with no story one could speculate on mysterious causes for WTC 7's collapse such as diesel tanks that may have been stored in the building or entire sections that may have been scooped out by debris without any photographic evidence showing it.&nbsp; But now <a href="http://www.nist.gov/public_affairs/factsheet/wtc_qa_082108.cfm" target="_blank">NIST's final report has come out</a> and it explicitly states that fire alone caused the collapse and those other factors did not contribute!&nbsp; Yes, that's right, a heretofore unknown phenomenon called "thermal expansion" explains how normal office fires caused a chain reaction of a "key critical column" to fail and that alone set off a "rapid succession" of structural failures that resulted in a 47 story building laying in a pile of rubble.&nbsp; I'd call this the "death star" theory of WTC 7.&nbsp; And while on the one hand I recognize how ridiculous all this is, I always try to keep in mind how difficult this information is to others - even to fellow libertarians or Austrian economists. <br /><br />Understanding that there is a place and time for everything, I keep my multi-layered beliefs separate based on the type of activity I'm engaged in.&nbsp; I find that some 9/11 Truth activists continue to talk about 9/11 all day, everyday, whether they are at a libertarian event, <a href="http://mises.org/events/" target="_blank">a Mises circle</a>, or the local city council meeting.&nbsp; And on one hand I can't blame them - I used to be that way myself.&nbsp; But instead of using that approach I like to think of my interactions with others as carefully going through a series of filters. <br /><br />If I'm interacting with someone that is a die-hard member of the republican or democratic party I'll ask a series of questions related to economics or libertarianism to see how well I can poke holes in their belief that the use of government violence is the best way to solve the issues of society.&nbsp; If I'm talking to a <a href="http://www.economicpolicyjournal.com/2012/06/how-libertarian-is-gary-johnson.html" target="_blank">John Stossel type of libertarian</a> I will try to challenge them to strengthen their foundation by digging deeper into Rothbard and the works of other Austrian economists.&nbsp; If I'm talking to a fellow anarcho-capitalist, someone that is well aware of the state's crimes and is courageous enough to think we are better off with no state than with one, then that's when I'll start pushing their boundaries when it comes to "conspiracy theories". <br /><br />There are many entrances to the rabbit hole and while the "collapse" of WTC 7 was the starting point for me that doesn't mean it should be the starting point for everyone.&nbsp; Looking at the history of false flag attacks on America, 9/11 is <a href="http://www.infowars.com/10-conspiracy-theories-that-came-true/" target="_blank">just one of many</a> and it's notable only for its boldness.&nbsp; When <a href="http://www2.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/NSAEBB/NSAEBB132/tapes.htm" target="_blank">the Golf of Tonkin was admittedly faked</a> and resulted in the death of some <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vietnam_War_casualties" target="_blank">3.1 million people</a> in the Vietnam war, or one looks at <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/067976285X/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=067976285X&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=nathanklecom-20&amp;linkId=BWGP4LU55RD2REDK" target="_blank">the false narrative that justified dropping atomic bombs on civilian cities</a>, or the <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0007F6R78/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B0007F6R78&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=nathanklecom-20&amp;linkId=SW52ZXNZAECFDY5X" target="_blank">west's involvement in funding Mao Zedong</a> and the <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1560009276/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=1560009276&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=nathanklecom-20&amp;linkId=F4OWSGJNSNRDFBQP" target="_blank">mass murder of 60 million people</a> - what are 3,000 deaths compared to that?&nbsp; Admittedly, the people behind that event were full of hubris and confident in their control over the American booboisie to think they could <a href="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-9K5c2voZ_70/VB-Bmtd_8bI/AAAAAAAAApE/COL2oMuBDYM/s1600/HIWU_Jet_Fuel_Good_One.jpg" target="_blank">blow up buildings in broad daylight</a> and get away with it - and that in itself is noteworthy as it shows just how serious a predicament we're in.&nbsp; But as every 9/11 anniversary comes to pass and every additional false flag event wakes up another wave of people and re-energizes the truth community we'll see if their gamble pays off.Unknownnoreply@blogger.comtag:blogger.com,1999:blog-6497333203175478928.post-45675639236411166472014-07-28T15:47:00.001-05:002014-09-23T08:02:10.484-05:00Battle of the Bears: Deflation or Inflation?<div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-yRhRR04zS-Q/U9ap0W86BpI/AAAAAAAAAlo/H1DdLGk9zc8/s1600/Schiff+vs+Dent.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="clear: left; float: left; margin-bottom: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" src="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-yRhRR04zS-Q/U9ap0W86BpI/AAAAAAAAAlo/H1DdLGk9zc8/s1600/Schiff+vs+Dent.jpg" height="187" width="400" /></a></div>In the first corner, we have <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harry_Dent" target="_blank">Harry S. Dent, Jr.</a> Dent is known for predicting both the decline of Japan and the impact of the <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baby_boomers" target="_blank">Baby Boom</a> generation hitting its peak in spending in the 1990s when most economists were proclaiming the opposite.&nbsp; In his numerous <a href="https://www.youtube.com/user/hsdentfinancial" target="_blank">television and media appearances</a>, Dent warns of a stock market collapse and a deflationary depression due to massive debt deleveraging and the mass retirement of the Boomers.&nbsp; His company is <a href="http://www.dentresearch.com/" target="_blank">Dent Research</a>, where he sells subscriptions and products that promote "capitalizing on the predictive power of demographics".&nbsp; His latest book is <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1591847273/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=1591847273&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=nathanklecom-20&amp;linkId=YWBDIXJ2CAJNG2CH" target="_blank">The Demographic Cliff: How to Survive and Prosper during the Great Deflation of 2014-2019</a>. <br /><br />In the opposing corner we have <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peter_Schiff" target="_blank">Peter D. Schiff</a>.&nbsp; Schiff is known for being the lone voice to <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jj8rMwdQf6k" target="_blank">warn of the housing bubble</a> and <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EgMclXX5msc" target="_blank">stock market crash of 2008</a>.&nbsp; A video compilation of his media appearances between 2006 and 2007 called "<a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sgRGBNekFIw" target="_blank">Peter Schiff was Right</a>" went viral with 2 million views, showing him make accurate and dire predictions only to be openly mocked by the media.&nbsp; Schiff calls himself the "original opponent of the 2008 Wall Street bailout" because he predicted the government's reaction to the crisis and opposed it in 2007, a year before it was even proposed.&nbsp; In <a href="https://www.youtube.com/user/SchiffReport" target="_blank">media appearances</a> and on his <a href="http://www.schiffradio.com/" target="_blank">radio show</a>, Schiff warns that the crash he predicted hasn't happened yet, that what we saw in 2008 and 2009 was merely "the tremor before the earthquake".&nbsp; He is the founder of several companies, including his investment / brokerage firm <a href="http://www.europac.net/" target="_blank">Euro Pacific Capital</a>, <a href="http://www.europacmetals.com/" target="_blank">Euro Pacific Precious Metals</a>, and <a href="https://europacbank.com/" target="_blank">Euro Pacific Bank Ltd.</a>&nbsp; In his latest book, <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1250046564/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=1250046564&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=nathanklecom-20&amp;linkId=C4ZGOIBWGS2NTPYQ" target="_blank">The Real Crash: How to Save Yourself and Your Country</a>, Schiff warns that the twin bubbles of the U.S. dollar and treasury bills will pop when the rest of the world stops trusting America's currency and credit, giving us the real crash. <br /><br />These two men have so many similarities.&nbsp; Both have accurate and less than accurate predictions to their name.&nbsp; They seem to have hired the same graphic designer for their latest books, and <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Stockman" target="_blank">David Stockman</a>, former OMB director under Reagan and author of <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1586489127/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=1586489127&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=nathanklecom-20&amp;linkId=VUFZF273BZZKSHUP" target="_blank">The Great Deformation: The Corruption of Capitalism in America</a>, gave them both favorable reviews.&nbsp; They are both opposed to the government's economic stimulus and both claim that a major crash is coming - warning that our economy is built on a foundation of quicksand.&nbsp; Both have companies and products behind their name and offer advice in their books that will help their readers brace for the storm ahead.&nbsp; They both have explanations for why economies rise and fall, and yet, they disagree on something that would seem to be basic and fundamental: will we have inflation or deflation? <br /><br /><b>The Case for Deflation</b><br /><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1591847273/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=1591847273&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=nathanklecom-20&amp;linkId=YWBDIXJ2CAJNG2CH" imageanchor="1" style="clear: left; float: left; margin-bottom: 1em; margin-right: 1em;" target="_blank"><img border="0" src="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-ssbuME3Fx8M/U9ark0rO67I/AAAAAAAAAl0/60zWcaaQsCM/s1600/demographic_cliff.jpg" height="320" width="212" /></a></div>The essence of Harry Dent's outlook and the basis for his economic predictions can be summed up in 7 words: People do predictable things as they age.&nbsp; Given the information age we live in, Dent takes readily available statistics like birth indexes and consumer behavior patterns to make both short and long-term predictions.&nbsp; To Dent, demographics is the "ultimate indicator that allows you to see around corners, to predict the most fundamental economic trends not just years but decades in advance". <br /><br />The first step is to identify your peak birth years, like the baby boomers who accelerated in 1937 and peaked in 1961.&nbsp; The next step is to identify the age when the average individual or family spends the most on some good or service.&nbsp; The last step is to perform simple arithmetic and then... profit! <br /><br />For example, the typical household spends the most money overall when the head of the household is age forty-six, so using the powers of addition we arrive at a peak in spending and a concomitant economic boom from 1983 to 2007. Dent argues that despite some bubbles in stocks and real estate that burst along the way, this is exactly what happened. <br /><br />Dent believes this method also works for specialized industries.&nbsp; For instance, we know when the typical family rents an apartment, buys their first starter home, upgrades to a <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/McMansion" target="_blank">McMansion</a>, buys a vacation home, downsizes to a retirement home, and then goes onto a nursing home.&nbsp; Therefore, we know when we should see these real estate markets rise and fall accordingly.&nbsp; We also know when the average family will spend the most on diapers or potato chips, mini vans or sports cars, prescription drugs or Carnival cruises, so invest accordingly.&nbsp; Dent believes that the single most important factor driving middle class economies is consumer spending by age.&nbsp; In <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1591847273/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=1591847273&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=nathanklecom-20&amp;linkId=YWBDIXJ2CAJNG2CH" target="_blank">The Demographic Cliff</a>, he states, "consumers are 70 percent of the GDP, and business investment only expands if consumer spending is growing and the government taxes businesses and consumers for its revenues; hence, it follows consumer spending indirectly as well." <br /><br />Indeed, according to Harry Dent, demographic trends are the primary force driving inflation, deflation, and the booms and busts that take place in the economy.&nbsp; Dent states, "Inflation rises with younger people entering the workforce, then wanes after they become most productive in their forties.&nbsp; Deflation can set in when more people retire than entire the workforce."&nbsp; Based on this understanding, Dent found a strong correlation between the growth in the labor force and inflation, with inflation following by 2.5 years.&nbsp; Because he can predict the average number of twenty-six year old who will enter the workforce and the average number of sixty-three year olds that will exit, he can predict workforce growth and inflation nearly two decades in advance.&nbsp; Dent used this "Inflation Indicator" to predict near zero inflation by 2010 in the 1980s, and like clockwork, that's what happened.&nbsp; To Dent, the role of central banks and politicians is of secondary, or even nominal importance compared to demographic trends.&nbsp; Dent states, "The greatest inflation in modern history was not caused by central bankers, nor was high workforce growth in the 1970s caused by politicians.&nbsp; Who would want to create 16 percent inflation and mortgage rates and upset everybody?" <br /><br />With this understanding of inflation and deflation, it is not surprising that Harry Dent also has a thesis on booms and busts that is centered on demographics.&nbsp; He calls this the "Eighty-Year, Four-Season Economic Cycle" with the duration equaling roughly the average human lifetime.&nbsp; Just like we have spring, summer, fall and winter in weather, and youth, adulthood, midlife, and retirement, in life, and innovation, growth, shakeout, and maturity in our business cycle, he sees this 4 stage pattern driving the overall economic cycle: <br /><blockquote class="tr_bq">"New technologies and generational boom-and-bust cycles create a sustained boom that starts in the spring, hits speed bumps in summer with high inflation (think high temperatures) and falling generational spending that then descends into an autumn bubble boom with rising generational spending and productivity, falling inflation and interest rates.&nbsp; That final boom creates bubbles in financial assets and new technologies and business models that, like after the fallow season of winter, will pay off for many decades to follow, but must first get more efficient by means of the deleveraging of debt bubbles and financial assets (as happened in the 1930's and will occur in the decade ahead). <br /><br />This is a natural cycle of boom and bust, inflation and deflation, innovation and creative destruction that is the invisible hand of the free market system that has driven us to unprecedented wealth and incomes, especially in the last century.&nbsp; But, as we've seen, governments taking more and more of the debt drug have stopped the rebalancing of our economy after a glorious fall bubble boom.&nbsp; That means we won't get to spring and long-term growth again unless we allow the rebalancing and deleveraging to happen." </blockquote>Hence, Harry Dent has major concerns with the governments of the world partaking in stimulus programs - they are directly fighting the natural and unavoidable deflationary "winter season" of the economic cycle.&nbsp; Of the four major challenges that he sees coming over the next several decades, he lists #1 as "Unprecedented private and public debt - we must deleverage in the coming decade, against the determined efforts of banks and governments, or the debt will weigh us down for decades".&nbsp; He looks at the total government debt (19.8 trillion), the total private debt (39.4 trillion), the foreign debt (2.3 trillion) and our unfunded liabilities (66 trillion) to arrive at $127,000,000,000 of debt, or 8.2 times the GDP.&nbsp; This is the elephant in the room that cannot be ignored forever. <br /><br />While Dent shares this concern of our debt with many other economists, primarily those he deridingly calls "<a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gold_bug" target="_blank">gold bugs</a>", this is where we start to see big differences.&nbsp; Dent sees the dollar maintaining its value relative to other currencies, as he believes, "The lesson of the late 2008 meltdown was that the U.S. dollar is the safe haven."&nbsp; He believes it is a myth that "The falling dollar is eroding our store of value and capacity to save".&nbsp; Inflation is not a concern for him - it's as ridiculous as worrying about heavy snow in the middle of summer!&nbsp; Dent predicts gold will continue the decline we've seen the last two years and eventually drop to $250/oz. by 2023.&nbsp; With the demographic cycle and our mountain of debt as more powerful than any other economic factor, Harry Dent is predicting a deflationary depression from 2014 to 2019.&nbsp; This will be when America falls off "<a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1591847273/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=1591847273&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=nathanklecom-20&amp;linkId=YWBDIXJ2CAJNG2CH" target="_blank">the demographic cliff</a>". <br /><br /><b>The Case for Inflation</b><br /><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1250046564/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=1250046564&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=nathanklecom-20&amp;linkId=C4ZGOIBWGS2NTPYQ" imageanchor="1" style="clear: left; float: left; margin-bottom: 1em; margin-right: 1em;" target="_blank"><img border="0" src="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-pD7VhI0YWm8/U9avbK66_GI/AAAAAAAAAmA/mw_bggc4Cxg/s1600/the_real_crash.jpg" height="320" width="210" /></a></div>Whereas Harry Dent sees economics as a byproduct of demographic factors, Peter Schiff adheres to the <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Austrian_School" target="_blank">Austrian School of Economics</a>, and next to <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ron_Paul" target="_blank">Ron Paul</a>, he is one of its most famous modern proponents.&nbsp; Schiff had a head start in life in this regard, as he is the son of <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Irwin_Schiff" target="_blank">Irwin Schiff</a>, a libertarian, economist, and famous tax protestor who <a href="http://www.paynoincometax.com/pdf/irwin_schiff_testimony_before_congress_from_the_biggest_con.pdf" target="_blank">testified before congress' committee on banking and currency</a> to speak against the repeal of the gold reserve requirements for United States currency in 1968, 3 years before Nixon took us off the gold standard.&nbsp; Irwin, at the age of 86, is currently serving a sentence for tax crimes and promoting his view that the United States government is applying the income tax incorrectly and unconstitutionally. Peter Schiff has <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZJ-B2oYMvls" target="_blank">spoken about his father's sentence</a>, but I have also heard him tell stories of his father taking him to stores in the 60's as a boy to exchange dollars for pre-1965 coins that had 90% silver content.&nbsp; Growing up, Irwin would also tell Peter and his brother stories that taught economic theory, which eventually came to be published as <a href="http://freedom-school.com/money/how-an-economy-grows.pdf" target="_blank">How an Economy Grows and Why it Doesn't</a>.&nbsp; In tribute to their father, Peter and his brother Andrew released a retold version of that story titled <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/047052670X/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=047052670X&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=nathanklecom-20&amp;linkId=63GA3FHY7UZAYUKD" target="_blank">How an Economy Grows and Why it Crashes</a>, which <a href="http://www.amazon.com/review/R1JWQ11Q68I6T7/" target="_blank">I think is one of the best introductions to economics ever written</a>. <br /><br />Hence, <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1250046564/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=1250046564&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=nathanklecom-20&amp;linkId=C4ZGOIBWGS2NTPYQ" target="_blank">The Real Crash</a> is a book written by someone with a solid background in economic theory.&nbsp; When you hear him<a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jj8rMwdQf6k" target="_blank"> predict the housing bubble to a group of mortgage bankers in 2006</a> or hear him <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EgMclXX5msc" target="_blank">explain why the economic meltdown should have surprised no one</a> at the <a href="http://mises.org/" target="_blank">Austrian Scholars Conference</a> in 2009, he gives the same point-by-point, detailed analysis as he does in his book of how various interventions in the market have side effects that are easily predictable to someone with an understanding of how the free market works.&nbsp; For Schiff, the solution is clear and consistent: <br /><blockquote class="tr_bq">"We need to stop bailouts, government spending, government borrowing, and Federal Reserve manipulation of interest rates and debasement of the dollar.&nbsp; We need to reduce government spending so we can offer real tax relief to the productive sector of our economy.&nbsp; We need to repeal regulations, mandates, and subsidies that create moral hazard, lead to wasteful and inefficient allocation of resources, and artificially drive up the cost of doing business and hiring workers.&nbsp; We need to let wages fall, allow people to pay down debt and start saving, and allow companies to make capital investments so that America can start making things again." </blockquote>His proposed solutions aren't a silver bullet.&nbsp; As he explains, this is like taking control of a car going 80 miles an hour and steering it into a ditch.&nbsp; You might walk away with some injuries, but its better than crashing into a brick wall at 120 mph down the road.&nbsp; But this is the only solution to keep us from continuing our habit of repeating the same mistakes over and over again.&nbsp; In the 1990s we saw the Federal Reserve inject money into the economy that blew up a bubble in stocks, particularly dot-com companies.&nbsp; When that bubble burst, instead of learning from that mistake, we allowed Greenspan to manipulate rates even lower, and combined with other government subsidies and programs, we inflated a bubble in housing and the financial institutions that were involved.&nbsp; Just as Schiff predicted, we didn’t learn from that mistake either, and we compounded the problem with the Wall Street bailouts and government stimulus.&nbsp; Without another bubble to inflate, we are setting ourselves up to destroy the dollar.&nbsp; Schiff explains: <br /><blockquote class="tr_bq">"Just as the housing bubble delayed the economic collapse for much of the last decade on the strength of imaginary wealth, the government bubble is propping us up now.&nbsp; The pressure within the bubble will grow so great that the Federal Reserve will soon have only two options: (a) to finally contract the money supply and let interest rates spike - which will cause immensely more pain than if we had let this happen back in 2002 or 2008; or (b) just keep pumping dollars into the economy, causing hyperinflation and all the evils that come with it. <br /><br />The politically easier choice will be the latter, wiping out the dollar through hyperinflation.&nbsp; The grown-up choice will be the former, electing for some painful tightening - which will also entail the federal government admitting that it cannot fulfill all the promises it has made, and it cannot repay everything it owes. <br /><br />In either case, we'll get the real crash." </blockquote>Schiff is concerned about our 127 trillion debt and some of the other same economic indicators as Harry Dent, he just has faith that our government is going to make the same mistakes that they've been making the last few decades.&nbsp; It's like watching a twilight zone fire department attempt to put out fire with gasoline.&nbsp; It would be great if they'd admit their incompetency and try using water, but this is an institution that has been taught and trained to do things their way for decades.&nbsp; So if you had to take a bet if the fire would continue to grow or get extinguished, knowing what you do about the people trying to put it out, where would you put your money? <br /><br />The difference is two-fold, first the question of political expediency.&nbsp; Can anyone imagine the government admitting we've made a horrible mistake, that social security and our other entitlement programs are bankrupt, and that we need to declare bankruptcy as a country and restructure our debts with our creditors?&nbsp; No, with a 4 year term limit, any administration is going to continue business as usual and kick the can down the road for someone else to inherit.&nbsp; The way Schiff sees it, we'll hear: <br /><blockquote class="tr_bq">"Need to pay off the national debt?&nbsp; Fine, just print more money, and pay it off with that money. <br />Need to pay for unsustainable entitlements like Medicare and Social Security?&nbsp; Fine, just print more money, driving up nominal wages and thus tax revenue." </blockquote>The second big difference between Dent and Schiff is to question what other governments will do when it's clear that the United States has neither the means no the ability to pay off its debts without massive inflation.&nbsp; Dent argues that it doesn't matter, the dollar will not lose value because other countries are also inflating, and besides, 2008 taught him that the dollar is the save haven.&nbsp; Schiff asks the question, will that dynamic last forever? <br /><blockquote class="tr_bq">"As of 2010, 60 percent of foreign exchange reserves are in U.S. dollars.&nbsp; That means, as a foreign country, you're willing to take dollars because you know some other country will be willing to take dollars.&nbsp; That other country will take dollars because some third country will take dollars.&nbsp; If this sounds familiar, its because we've seen it before. <br /><br />In 1999, people were investing in dot-coms not because they thought these companies might make a profit, but because they thought someone else would be willing to buy the stock at an even higher price. <br /><br />In 2006, people were buying houses not because they thought the house was worth that much, but because they thought they'd be able to flip it for more money to someone else. <br /><br />This is only slightly different from a Ponzi scheme.&nbsp; It all depends on the existence of a greater fool.&nbsp; Eventually you run out of fools and the bubble pops." </blockquote>So again, are we never going to run out of fools?&nbsp; Will China continue to send us ships full of goods, only to return to their shores empty with nothing to show for it but more of our bonds?&nbsp; Will they do this forever?&nbsp; And if this won't last forever, what will happen then?&nbsp; Schiff doesn't claim to be able to predict to the same level of accuracy as Harry Dent with respect to when events will happen.&nbsp; He doesn't take the short term approach, but he has confidence in what will happen in the long term, and he's willing to ride out the temporary bumps in the road until we get to that destination.&nbsp; It's not a destination he wants, because it's not a pretty picture: <br /><blockquote class="tr_bq">"Unfortunately, the only way the Fed can keep rates artificially low as inflation rises is to create even more inflation.&nbsp; Our creditors are only willing to lend us money at low rates because they believe inflation is not a problem, and that if it were to become one, the Fed would quickly extinguish it.&nbsp; Once they discover otherwise, our creditors will refuse to lend. <br /><br />So to keep rates down, the Fed will have to buy any bonds our creditors will refuse to roll over.&nbsp; The problem is that the more money the Fed prints to pay off maturing bonds, the more inflation it must create to buy them.&nbsp; This process feeds on itself.&nbsp; Soon it's not just Treasuries the Fed has to buy, but all dollar-denominated debt.&nbsp; No private buyers will purchase corporate or municipal bonds at rates far below the official inflation rate.&nbsp; That is when its balance sheet really explodes.&nbsp; Soon the inflationary fire threatens to burn the dollar and our entire economy to a cinder.&nbsp; At that point the only choice is between hyperinflation and default.&nbsp; This is the rock and the hard place the Fed will eventually be between." </blockquote>Dent may have a point when it comes to the role of demographics in economic trends.&nbsp; It is plausible that you can foresee when the economy will need more apartments vs McMansions vs retirement communities based on the years since the baby boomers peaked.&nbsp; But to ignore the power of a government that will do anything to maintain its status of having the world's reserve currency or of the reckless nature of politicians that will do anything to stay in office is to pretend that the hyperinflations of Weimar Germany or Zimbabwe never occurred.&nbsp; If the bankers are willing or forced to print endless amounts of money, then we will see inflation, demographics be damned. <br /><br /><b>Lost in Translation</b><br /><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-oWnGKJwhBCs/U9ay1yr85zI/AAAAAAAAAmM/TTqaB69Srvk/s1600/Inflation+Translation.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="clear: left; float: left; margin-bottom: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" src="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-oWnGKJwhBCs/U9ay1yr85zI/AAAAAAAAAmM/TTqaB69Srvk/s1600/Inflation+Translation.jpg" height="320" width="320" /></a></div>Now that we've reviewed the cases for deflation and inflation from two leading experts that both predict a coming crisis during this supposed stimulus-induced recovery, let's take a step back and revisit our core definitions.&nbsp; Recently the <a href="http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/07/21/yes-we-have-no-banana/" target="_blank">Austrians have been mocked</a> and accused of making up their own definition for inflation out of thin air, but in actuality there has been a difference of opinion on this term for over 100 years, making meaningful discussion of this concept all the more difficult. <br /><br />As <a href="http://mises.ca/posts/blog/on-mises-definition-of-the-term-inflation/" target="_blank">Robert Murphy recently wrote</a>, Ludwig von Mises and other proponents of the Austrian School of Economics refer to the object of inflation as the money supply itself, while other economists refer to inflation as a rise in the price of goods.&nbsp; Specifically, Mises said the only rational definition of inflation would be "an increase in the quantity of money … that is not offset by a corresponding increase in the need for money."&nbsp; This qualifier is important, because according to the Austrian school an increase in the supply of money and an increase in prices are not the same thing or even a necessary consequence of each other.&nbsp; True, if you imagine a thought experiment where you magically double the supply of money that everyone possesses and hold everything else the same, then twice the number of dollars would be chasing the same amount of goods and services so you would see those prices increase.&nbsp; But in the real world there are many factors that could drive prices down, including demographics and other consumer trends.&nbsp; So all the Austrians can say is that logically, an increase in the supply of money will increase prices <i>higher than they would otherwise be absent that increase in the money supply</i>.&nbsp; What would the prices be absent the inflation of the money supply?&nbsp; It's impossible to say.&nbsp; Maybe other factors would have driven prices down 10%, but due to the inflation of the money supply they only went down 5%.&nbsp; In this case an inflation of the money supply didn't result in "prices rising" - so it's important to distinguish the two. <br /><br />This qualifier is important considering some of the claims that Harry Dent makes when he makes the case for inflation being a good and necessary thing: <br /><blockquote class="tr_bq">"All debt and financial asset bubbles are followed by deflation, not inflation or hyperinflation.&nbsp; The core theory behind the hyperinflation view is that governments, by endlessly inflating, create inflation.&nbsp; The argument is that this causes a debasing of the currency, robbing you of your purchasing power and standard of living.&nbsp; This is simply not the case, and if you don't understand what actually causes inflation and why it is often not a bad thing, you will make bad investment decisions." </blockquote>I was hoping for a well thought out rebuttal, but I came away disappointed: <br /><blockquote class="tr_bq">"Since its invention in 1971, the ever-multiplying microchip has created a revolution in human communications.&nbsp; The microchip's rapid evolution has also been a clear sign of progress and a harbinger of a higher standard of living.&nbsp; So why would the multiplication of dollars not also be a sign of progress that similarly fosters a revolution in urbanization, a more complex and richer specialization of skills, and an improved standard of living?&nbsp; We're not talking about the recent QE here.&nbsp; We are talking about the story of economic history: more dollars per person and, more to the point, increasing urbanization that leads to rising affluence and the need for more dollars for transactions." </blockquote>So according to Dent, as more people enter the work force, the increased specialization requires the need to pay people more money.&nbsp; Through a mechanism that Dent doesn't identify, this need for money results in its creation, thus, inflation is natural and even welcome.&nbsp; Schiff argues the opposite: <br /><blockquote class="tr_bq">"For most of our country's history, the dollar gained value.&nbsp; The dollar was worth 75 percent more in 1912 than it was worth in 1800.&nbsp; You know those stories were your parents or grandparents tell about how they used to buy a sandwich and a fountain soda for a dime?&nbsp; How everything was so much cheaper back in the day? <br /><br />If you were around in 1900, for instance, the old folks didn't tell those sorts of stories.&nbsp; What cost a dime in 1900 probably had cost fifteen cents in 1875, and twenty cents in 1800. <br /><br />Of course, since 1912, the dollar has lost more than 95 percent of its value.&nbsp; What cost a nickel in 1912 costs a dollar today. What cost $50 in 1912 costs $1,000 today." </blockquote>Schiff goes onto explain the economic reasons that inflation is harmful: <br /><blockquote class="tr_bq">"Inflation discourages savings and encourages consumption.&nbsp; If you save your money for later, you know it won't be worth as much later.&nbsp; That means you may as well spend it today before it loses its value. <br /><br />Savings are the only way an economy can progress.&nbsp; Only with savings does anyone have the capital or the leisure time to make machines, invent something new, or launch companies.&nbsp; So by discouraging saving, steady inflation stultifies economic progress." </blockquote>Dent uses the same rationale for explaining why inflation is good to make the case that the dollar hasn’t really lost value since 1913 since we are so much richer today.&nbsp; Ironically, Dent writes: <br /><blockquote class="tr_bq">"Are you better off than your great-granddaddy was? Indeed you are: after adjusting for inflation, wages are 7.1 times higher than in 1900, the very period of rising inflation and the supposedly falling "value" of the dollar.&nbsp; Hence, it's not the "value" of the dollar but what your income in dollars will buy over time that counts." </blockquote><table align="center" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" class="tr-caption-container" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto; text-align: center;"><tbody><tr><td style="text-align: center;"><a href="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-D-ndB4U2XI4/U9azz6vcRkI/AAAAAAAAAmU/xC4hRhySx7g/s1600/inflation_deflation_charts.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;"><img border="0" src="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-D-ndB4U2XI4/U9azz6vcRkI/AAAAAAAAAmU/xC4hRhySx7g/s1600/inflation_deflation_charts.jpg" height="211" width="640" /></a></td></tr><tr><td class="tr-caption" style="text-align: center;">The purchasing power of the dollar has dropped while real manufacturing wages have increased (according to government CPI). &nbsp;So which is it, have we gotten richer or poorer than our grandparents?</td></tr></tbody></table><br />Finally we come back to something that Schiff and Dent would agree on, the "value" of the dollar cannot only be expressed in nominal terms, but in relation to other items.&nbsp; But while Dent points to the conveniences of modern times in proof that the "Purchasing Power of the U.S. Dollar" chart is misleading and wrong, Schiff has made the opposite case through real world examples. <br /><br /><a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kHDcl5aiGus" target="_blank">In one broadcast</a>, Schiff expounded on the statistic that in 1947 the average non-farm worker made $50 per week.&nbsp; Translating this into "real money" (gold), that would be 1.4286 ounces of gold a week (at $35/oz.), which today would be $1,928.61 per week (at $1,350/oz.).&nbsp; But back then people didn't pay income taxes, so instead of making the equivalent of $108,002 a year, assume 30% more from income tax and you arrive at $140,401 per year. <br /><br />Now recall that today the average person makes $43,000 per year, and that person is probably a college graduate.&nbsp; Now the mystery of how the average worker in 1947 with nothing but a high school degree could afford to support a wife and 5 kids in a house with a two car garage - he was making 3 times as much! <br /><br /><a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AzOTykfGxzE" target="_blank">In another episode Schiff reminisces about the Brady Bunch</a>&nbsp;and wonders how a modern day Brady Bunch could afford their live-in house keeper, Alice.&nbsp; Again, we arrive at the same conclusion: back then Mike Brady, an architect, could afford a 4 bedroom house, a live-in house keeper, 6 kids, a wife that didn't have a job, and 2 cars.&nbsp; That show wasn't based on science fiction - that is how the average American could live back then. <br /><br />People can disagree on this point, but I don’t believe the proliferation of iPhones and iPads constitutes an improvement in the standard of living when it now takes two wage earners to put bread on the table instead of one.&nbsp; In a free market economy we should expect falling prices and higher quality as the natural order of things, not higher prices.&nbsp; Since everyone reading this has always lived in a world of rising prices due to the Federal Reserve creating artificially low interest rates and an expanding monetary base, this might be hard to imagine, but Schiff explains: <br /><blockquote class="tr_bq">"Slow, steady deflation, though, is the natural state of things in an economy with sound, stable money. <br /><br />Think about it this way: does creating a particular product or performing a particular service generally become easier or harder over time?&nbsp; In most cases, it becomes easier: your computer becomes faster and the software gets better.&nbsp; Manufacturing equipment improves.&nbsp; Through practice, people figure out more efficient ways of doing the same thing. <br /><br />So as widgets get easier to make, the cost of production goes down.&nbsp; In a competitive market, this will bring the price of the widget down.&nbsp; In other words, what we see with electronics would be the case with everything. <br />... <br />As long as you keep pace with the market, you can keep your pay steady, but prices will fall.&nbsp; That way, you're getting richer." </blockquote>Indeed, we should be getting richer.&nbsp; Absent the government interferences described in <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1250046564/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=1250046564&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=nathanklecom-20&amp;linkId=C4ZGOIBWGS2NTPYQ" target="_blank">The Real Crash</a>, we should be enjoying all the material goods of modern technology while at the same time being able to work less and enjoy more leisure.&nbsp; We should be working 10 hours per week and living in a Jetson's world, but instead our government seems intent on returning us to the world of the Flintstones. <br /><br /><b>Conclusion</b><br /><br />Given the hero like status I confer to Peter Schiff it's hard to come off as objective.&nbsp; That said, since I've been <a href="http://www.nathankleffman.com/2011/08/why-and-how-to-protect-your-savings.html" target="_blank">fearing inflation and preparing for the collapse year after year</a>, I wanted to give Harry Dent the benefit of the doubt and let him make his case for deflation with an open mind.&nbsp; After all, he shares many of the same concerns as other economists I respect, so maybe he is just seeing something that they're not. <br /><br />Needless to say, I came away from his book very much unconvinced.&nbsp; What I admire in people is consistency, and that is not something I find in Harry Dent.&nbsp; While Dent claims to "espouse free-market capitalism as much as anyone", he goes on to call for a carbon-tax to "account for costs that the free market can't control", he supports government enforced savings programs to "combat our worst tendencies to not save", he says we need more government and more taxes to fund it because "Capitalism cannot excel in a libertarian society", and he supports a government-driven one-payer system for the most basic health care services because that brings "universal care and economies of scale and bargaining power to lower costs".&nbsp; With a friend of free markets like that, who needs enemies? <br /><br />Compare his recommendation of how to fix our healthcare system with Peter Schiff's analysis and the difference is striking.&nbsp; Schiff devotes 34 pages to explaining how the government interventions that have been created over the last 50 years have caused our health-care system to be the mess that it is today.&nbsp; It's almost like he's speaking directly to Dent when he writes: <br /><blockquote class="tr_bq">"<i>Health Care is different. </i><br />...<br />Often, politicians and journalists say it in order to justify government interference.&nbsp; <i>We can't just live this up to the market, because the market doesn't work here. Health care is too different. </i><br /><br />Or people say "health care is different" as a way of explaining away all the problems regarding health care in our economy.&nbsp; It's easier than trying to root out the causes. <br /><br />But no, health care isn't that different.&nbsp; The laws of supply and demand still apply.&nbsp; If health care seems to operate outside the normal laws of economics, it's because our government treats it so differently." </blockquote>From there Schiff goes on to explain the how the third-party-payer problem, the tax deduction on health care, over regulation of insurers, Obamacare, socialized medicine, the employer-based insurance system, malpractice reform, the FDA, and the licensing model for doctors all conspire to wreck our healthcare system one way or another.&nbsp; He explains the history of each government intervention and logically traces how it has caused a problem.&nbsp; That problem only leads to another "solution" by government intervention, which leads to another problem, until we get to the point that we're at today where a supposed supporter of free-markets like Harry Dent is endorsing a full-blown single-payer socialized healthcare system as the solution. <br /><br />If there is something to be gained from Dent's book, I find some of the detailed investment advice interesting, such as when would be the best time to invest in apartments, starter homes, or retirement / vacation homes.&nbsp; He believes that businesses that focus on health facilities, nursing homes, and assisted living care facilities will be needed for the next few decades - that makes sense.&nbsp; But given his overall outlook on the future and his severe lack of solid economic theory, I'd take his advice only for short-term investments that I'm willing to lose.&nbsp; When it comes to where I'm putting my money for the long-term, I'm unconcerned with <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1591847273/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=1591847273&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=nathanklecom-20&amp;linkId=YWBDIXJ2CAJNG2CH" target="_blank">The Demographic Cliff</a> and I'm preparing for <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1250046564/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=1250046564&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=nathanklecom-20&amp;linkId=C4ZGOIBWGS2NTPYQ" target="_blank">The Real Crash</a>.Unknownnoreply@blogger.comtag:blogger.com,1999:blog-6497333203175478928.post-64273318783297768952014-05-31T16:11:00.002-05:002015-01-30T13:59:13.620-06:00A Libertarian Party Platform for Libertarians<div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-g7GOVM9DgCM/U4lUhjYw2_I/AAAAAAAAAjw/Gar5aj5hf-w/s1600/LP_Platform.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="clear: left; float: left; margin-bottom: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" src="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-g7GOVM9DgCM/U4lUhjYw2_I/AAAAAAAAAjw/Gar5aj5hf-w/s1600/LP_Platform.jpg" height="400" width="310" /></a></div>I recently spent a weekend locked in an Indianapolis Hotel with 20 other libertarians from around the country.&nbsp; We were either appointed by the Libertarian National Committee or sent as delegates from our state parties to create a report of recommended changes to the <a href="http://www.lp.org/platform" target="_blank">Libertarian Party Platform</a> to be submitted to the delegates at the upcoming <a href="http://lpcon2014.org/" target="_blank">national convention</a>.&nbsp; Organized within the framework of Roberts Rules of Order and Parliamentary Procedure, we debated how libertarian principles, policy recommendations and marketing strategy should guide our party platform.&nbsp; While serious points of contention revolved around grammar, style and the use of oxford commas, there were many fierce debates that got to the heart of what libertarianism is and isn't, putting our very name on the line.<br /><br />I volunteered to be the representative for the Texas Libertarian Party not because I feel passionate about any particular planks I want to see changed in the current platform, but because I pretty much like it the way it is.&nbsp; I've previously written on the dilemma that many principled libertarians face, which is <a href="http://www.nathankleffman.com/2012/10/should-libertarians-vote-libertarian.html" target="_blank">whether or not to vote</a> or otherwise engage in the political process.&nbsp; The authors that contribute to the <a href="http://www.lewrockwell.com/" target="_blank">best-read libertarian website</a> in the world seem to be almost unanimous in condemning political action, even within the LP.&nbsp; I'm of the opinion that as long as the Libertarian Party does not misrepresent their core message to appeal to the masses and truly deserves the name "the party of principle" then the majority of the arguments against joining and supporting the LP don't hold water. <br /><br />This gets to the heart of another topic on which I've written, whether the <a href="http://www.nathankleffman.com/2013/08/the-libertarian-debate-principled-or.html" target="_blank">Libertarian Party should take a principled or a practical approach</a> in the political process.&nbsp; This foundational decision has many implications that don't always fall down the anarchist vs. minarchist party line.&nbsp; What is the primary purpose of the Libertarian Party, to spread libertarianism or to get candidates elected?&nbsp; Who is our target audience, libertarians or non-libertarians?&nbsp; God help us, there are some that even disagree on what libertarianism is!&nbsp; Only when those questions are answered do you have the framework for creating a cohesive and consistent Libertarian Party Platform - and when the delegates and leaders of the party are sharply divided on these issues we are setting ourselves up for some interesting debates in June. <br /><br /><b>What is Libertarianism?</b><br /><br />George Orwell prophetically wrote on how language and the meaning of words can be used as a weapon in the political arena.&nbsp; If you are able to influence culture enough to change or confuse the meaning of words you can thereby narrow the spectrum of allowable opinion and guide the masses without them ever realizing it.&nbsp; One example of this phenomenon is the term liberal.&nbsp; Thomas Jefferson's liberalism aligned to small governments, free markets, and natural rights while today's liberal supports big government, economic regulations, and privileges granted by "society". <br /><br />Taking this lesson from history to heart, it is vitally important for the libertarian movement to not allow our brand to be misrepresented.&nbsp; Without assigning motives to people I don't know, there are some trying to expand the term libertarianism to include things with which it has no concern, thereby diluting the core message into meaninglessness and creating contradictions where there should be none. <br /><br />Quoting from a <a href="http://www.lewrockwell.com/2014/05/laurence-m-vance/i-am-a-libertarian/" target="_blank">recent article by Laurence Vance</a> on this very topic, "Libertarianism is a political philosophy concerned with the permissible use of force or violence."&nbsp; But that can be said of all forms of government, as government is defined as a monopoly on the use of violence, and therefore <a href="http://www.nathankleffman.com/2011/12/america-by-any-other-name-would-be-as.html" target="_blank">the type of government you have</a> guides how violence may be legally used.&nbsp; Democracies adhere to majority rule, such that 51 people can vote to use violence against 49 others.&nbsp; A Monarch can use violence against any of his subjects with impunity.&nbsp; Under communist rule any individual can be aggressed upon if it benefits the commune in the eyes of the communist leadership. <br /><br />Thus, <a href="http://archive.lewrockwell.com/rothbard/rothbard168.html" target="_blank">Murray Rothbard defines libertarianism</a> within this context: <br /><blockquote class="tr_bq">“The only proper role of violence is to defend person and property against violence, that any use of violence that goes beyond such just defense is itself aggressive, unjust, and criminal.&nbsp; Libertarianism, therefore, is a theory which states that everyone should be free of violent invasion, should be free to do as he sees fit except invade the person or property of another.”&nbsp; </blockquote>That is all libertarianism is about: when you can and cannot use violence or the threat of violence.&nbsp; Because of this limitation some criticize libertarianism for not being what it is not and has not ever been: a comprehensive moral philosophy.&nbsp; Libertarians are typically characterized as sexists, racists, bigots, homophobes and elitists because we do not believe in outlawing these types of behaviors.&nbsp; Libertarianism says what you <i>must</i> not do, not what you <i>should</i> do.&nbsp; We stand for the freedom of association, including the freedom not to associate.&nbsp; We stand for the freedom of speech, including unpopular speech.&nbsp; We stand for self-ownership, including the right to do things to your body that may be harmful.&nbsp; Because of our principled stance to always protect individual liberty, even when liberty is used in ways some may disagree with, we are painted as endorsing these vices.&nbsp; However, libertarians have a <a href="http://www.nathankleffman.com/2012/07/libertarian-response-to-vices.html" target="_blank">wide range of non-aggressive responses to vices</a>.&nbsp; Unfortunately, in this day of omnipotent government there are only two options for any given behavior, it should either be forced or forbidden, both carrying the threat of being locked in a cage or worse for disobedience to the state. <br /><br />It is one thing to find this misunderstanding to be pervasive among the average voter, but it is far more serious and disappointing when people calling themselves libertarians display this same ignorance towards the most fundamental concepts of their professed ideology.&nbsp; Sometimes it may be from lack of knowledge but at other times it is a deliberate misrepresentation.&nbsp; At the Libertarian Platform Committee meeting suggestions were made to add and remove language to our platform planks to make them more appealing to the voters.&nbsp; There is nothing wrong with being brief instead of wordy, using plain words instead of libertarian-insider words, and using proven salesmanship approaches - but only as long as you do not distort your message in the process. <br /><br />One misguided idea that came up several times was to add qualifying terms in reference to who could and could not exercise certain rights.&nbsp; For instance, plank 1.6 Self-Defense very boldly defends the right of individuals to own and use firearms in self-defense and correctly calls out our opposition to all laws that would infringe upon this right.&nbsp; This is as libertarian as it gets - the right to own property, including firearms, is only limited by the duty not to infringe on the equal rights of others and any action to pre-emptively violate this right is itself an aggressive, unjust, and criminal action. Despite my best protests the committee voted to recommend a change in the current language from "individual" to "peaceful adult".&nbsp; This might seem like a sensible substitution that doesn't materially change the plank, but let's explore the ramifications of this seemingly innocuous appeal to common-sense. <br /><br />When we say that a right can only be exercised by a "peaceful adult" or use any other qualification it <a href="http://www.nathankleffman.com/2011/09/rights-privileges-and-property.html" target="_blank">ceases to be a right and becomes a privilege</a>.&nbsp; The new language didn't say the use of firearms must be peaceful, that would be implied by the term "self-defense".&nbsp; It described the type of individual who may exercise this right without prior-restraint through law.&nbsp; Now we must define what is "peaceful" and what makes someone an "adult".&nbsp; We are a political party concerned with the use of violence, so when we qualify a right in our capacity as libertarians we are not strictly speaking of the criteria we would impose in our private lives.&nbsp; We're not simply saying, "it's a good idea for gun owners to have a history of being peaceful and mature enough to know the impacts of their decisions with firearms."&nbsp; We are saying that only "peaceful adults" may exercise the "right" to gun-ownership, <i>and others will be violently prevented from doing so</i>.&nbsp; When we beg the question of what is peaceful and don’t define it ourselves we are implying that government will define the answer - and today that answer is non-felons. When scholars report that <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1594035229/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=1594035229&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=nathanklecom-20" target="_blank">the average person commits 3 felonies a day</a>, tens of thousands of which are non-violent, we end up nullifying our entire plank with those two simple adjectives.&nbsp; But even if we narrow our lens to felons with a history of violence, I believe that once they are freed from their cages <a href="http://www.nathankleffman.com/2013/03/the-great-object-and-line-in-sand.html" target="_blank">they regain their right to own firearms and use them in self-defense</a>.&nbsp; In other words, I think that the current system whereby a mistake when you're 18 means you can't defend yourself or your family for the rest of your life is unjust and patently un-libertarian.&nbsp; When you don't defend the rights of the marginal groups of society you strip those rights from everyone.&nbsp; If this change is adopted it amounts to us saying that we defend the right of gun-ownership for some individuals, as long as the government says it's OK.&nbsp; That is hardly a stance worthy of the name "the party of principle". <br /><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-SkHjJPXhEv0/U4o_AFI1vBI/AAAAAAAAAkA/pqsp0JSRwIM/s1600/LP_HarryBrowne.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" src="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-SkHjJPXhEv0/U4o_AFI1vBI/AAAAAAAAAkA/pqsp0JSRwIM/s1600/LP_HarryBrowne.jpg" height="227" width="400" /></a></div><br /><b>What is the Libertarian Party?</b><br /><br />When all the libertarians in the LP understand the implications of our principles and are willing to defend them, even the unpopular ones, we still have some big questions to answer in the realm of tactics and strategy.&nbsp; How do we market ourselves?&nbsp; Who do we market to?&nbsp; What are our goals?&nbsp; These questions have very real impacts to how one constructs a party platform. <br /><br />I believe that our primary goal is to spread libertarianism.&nbsp; Unlike other libertarian groups that share this same goal, we explicitly use the political process, the political party, and candidates for political office as the channels for our message.&nbsp; Every voting season there are millions of dollars worth of free publicity in newspapers, radio, and television.&nbsp; Considering that libertarians are characterized for annoyingly pushing their message to unreceptive hosts at social gatherings, we must take advantage of every opportunity when we have an <i>invitation</i> to talk about libertarianism.&nbsp; Journalists and special interest groups will invite libertarian candidates to speak to them and explain what libertarianism is and how it would solve our problems - and the only cost for this unprecedented opportunity is the time to fill out some paper work! <br /><br />With our primary goal of spreading libertarianism and our means of the political process established our secondary goals naturally follow.&nbsp; First, we need brave souls willing to run for office.&nbsp; Candidates can spread libertarianism by speaking to voter groups, being interviewed by the press, and participating in debates.&nbsp; In order to magnify the candidate's impact libertarian activists can help with their time and money.&nbsp; This can take the form of block-walking a voting district, helping with a phone banking initiative, writing letters to the editor, or merely talking to friends and co-workers about why they are voting for the libertarian candidate when that question naturally arises.&nbsp; For those that are short on time to donate, money can be used to buy advertising, mailers, yard signs, voter lists, and automated calling services.&nbsp; Unfortunately, both time and money are needed in many states to collect signatures and fight lawsuits to get libertarians on the ballet, but this is worthwhile because it is a prerequisite to our means of engaging in the political process to achieve our goal of spreading libertarianism. <br /><br />In order for the LP to do justice to the term libertarianism this prioritization of goals must be adhered to.&nbsp; Unfortunately, a sizable number disagree with this approach.&nbsp; During the Platform Committee meeting one member stated "I don't care about educating people, I want to get elected so I can make a difference."&nbsp; Another member explicitly stated that the #1 goal of the LP should be to get candidates elected and pointed to the <a href="http://lpin.org/about/" target="_blank">Indiana LP's "purpose and principles"</a> as a reference, which states, "The mission of the Libertarian Party is to move public policy in a libertarian direction by electing candidates of the Libertarian Party to public office." <br /><br />Let's consider the implication of this reversal of priority.&nbsp; If the primary mission is to get candidates elected then any secondary goals must necessarily align with the primary goal or be sacrificed, by definition.&nbsp; So if the voting population is not ready to accept the message of libertarianism, if a candidate who promotes a libertarian message cannot win a majority vote, then the candidate's message must be "softened" to increase the odds of electability.&nbsp; But now we find ourselves indistinguishable from candidates of the two major parties - power hungry office-seekers who have no core beliefs but will modify their positions at the drop of a hat based on the latest polls. <br /><br />Maybe that's a little harsh, but it is the logical implication of setting the primary goal as "winning".&nbsp; As the saying goes, if we sacrifice our message we are more likely to lose twice, first because we won't win the election and second because we won't get our message out. <br /><br />But let's suppose we do elect candidates with this "sneak attack" method.&nbsp; Assume we have candidates who will adhere to their libertarian principles once in office but will water down their message when electioneering in order to trick the majority into giving them their vote.&nbsp; In this scenario the elected closet-libertarians reveal their true intentions after taking office, after which they immediately roll back government excess and increase liberty in their district, in other words, "making a difference".&nbsp; Based on the prosperity, peace, and other social goods that libertarianism provides, the voters then reflect that libertarianism is pretty great after all and are converted based on the experience of libertarianism, rather than by rhetoric and logic in the abstract. <br /><br />In the best case scenario we can see this is a short term victory.&nbsp; If we gain libertarians that like the utilitarian benefits of liberty but do not understand how the principles of self-ownership and non-aggression are the logical and economic pre-requisites, then have we really created an ally that's in for the long haul?&nbsp; What happens when the opposing party promises more goodies?&nbsp; Without the foundational understanding and truly creating a change in thinking and culture the best we could hope for is a few years of material improvement before regressing back to our current predicament. <br /><br />But that thought experiment assumed something that would never happen in the first place.&nbsp; A "liberty friendly" message that avoids the logical consequences of libertarianism for reasons of political expediency will never win under the banner of the Libertarian Party.&nbsp; Wayne Alan Root was the most visible proponent of this "big tent" strategy, where he openly called for only appealing to disgruntled republicans and avoiding our beliefs that would not align with this voter block.&nbsp; I attended <a href="http://www.freedomsphoenix.com/Article/064406-2010-01-29-2009-freedom-summit-video-judge-john-buttrick.htm" target="_blank">Freedom Summit in 2009 where Judge John Buttrick debated this strategy</a> head-on and pointed out its flaws. <br /><br />Judge Buttrick's most compelling argument appealed to common sense and asked us to put ourselves in the position of a liberty-friendly disgruntled-republican.&nbsp; Given all the options for spending one's time and energy, in what vehicle will such a person get the greatest returns for their activism buck?&nbsp; Will they go to <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Libertarian_Party_(United_States)" target="_blank">a party that fights to get more than 1% of the vote in a Presidential election and hasn't earned an electoral vote since 1972</a>? Clearly not.&nbsp; They will join Ron Paul and work to reform the Republican Party from the inside. <br /><br />Making the primary goal of the LP to "get candidates elected" is a death-sentence for our party.&nbsp; Not only will it cause us to fail in what our mission should be, to spread our message and increase the number of libertarians, but it will also never be successful in getting candidates elected by misleading the public into giving us their vote.&nbsp; As Lew Rockwell pointed out in his essay <a href="http://www.lewrockwell.com/2014/03/lew-rockwell/what-libertarianism-is-and-isnt/" target="_blank">what libertarianism is and isn't</a>, "if we expect to trick people into becoming libertarians, we will fail."&nbsp; Instead of trying to appeal to the masses we should stick to our principles, even the unpopular ones.&nbsp; This leads me to a novel idea: the Libertarian Party should focus on libertarians. <br /><br /><b>Guiding Principles for a Libertarian Party Platform</b><br /><br />Some believe libertarianism should include things that don't pertain to the permissible use of violence but fall in the category of fairness and egalitarianism.&nbsp; A sizable number of LP leaders believe the primary goal of the Libertarian Party is to get candidates elected so we can pass bills and "get things done".&nbsp; Both of these beliefs directly impact how one approaches what the LP party platform should contain, how it should be written, and who it should cater to.&nbsp; For those that share my position about libertarianism and the Libertarian Party, I offer the following principles that drove my thought process when serving on the LP platform committee and will guide my voting at the convention this June. <br /><br /><u>Platform planks should logically flow from self-ownership and non-aggression</u>.&nbsp; Why do we oppose the war on drugs?&nbsp; For the same reason we oppose taxation.&nbsp; It's the same reason we support freedom of speech, the right to contract, and the right to associate: self-ownership and non-aggression.&nbsp; There are plenty of causes, beliefs, and opinions that libertarians hold in their private lives but if they do not pertain to the use of violence in society they should be left out of our platform.&nbsp; Yes, individual libertarians may believe that it is moral to donate to charity, offer fair wages, and operate without discrimination, but unless we are opposing government violence from forcing us to do these things we have nothing to say in our capacity as libertarians concerning what individuals should do in their private lives. <br /><br /><u>Platform planks should speak to timeless principles, not to specific policies or bills</u>.&nbsp; We are against aggression, and therefore theft, and therefore taxation.&nbsp; We are <b>not for</b> "the fair tax", the "50 payer tax", excise taxes, or other taxes that would be <i>less bad</i> than what we currently have.&nbsp; As individuals or even as candidates we might support these half-measures to ease our suffering.&nbsp; However, we'd support them not in our capacity as libertarians, but as victims of current aggression that we would like to be relieved of, if even partially.&nbsp; We are in the position of a concentration camp victim that would gladly take the opportunity to sign up for work under the supervision of a sympathetic guard instead of a psychopathic one known for his cruelty.&nbsp; In this way we are not confusing the libertarian message by claiming that we are <b>for</b> "low taxes" when libertarianism is logically opposed to all forms of taxation. <br /><br /><u>Platform planks may be aligned with the Constitution, but that is not why we support them</u>.&nbsp; We are not the Constitution Party, we are the Libertarian Party.&nbsp; It is one thing to say "Libertarians support the rights recognized by the Fourth Amendment", it is another to say that we support the Constitution unilaterally or to imply that we support a right because it is in the Constitution.&nbsp; We don't need a piece of paper to guide our decisions, we have something far more powerful. <br /><br /><u>Abide by the <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dallas_Accord" target="_blank">Dallas Accord</a></u>.&nbsp; Frankly, non-aggression and government are polar opposites.&nbsp; The only permissible "government" that would be logically consistent with libertarian principles is one where all services would be paid for voluntarily and any violence executed would be defensive in nature.&nbsp; Of course, one could argue that in that case you are no longer describing governments but private businesses that are in the defense and arbitration industry.&nbsp; It seems a fair compromise to ignore this bit of double-think in exchange for remaining silent on the need or "legitimate purpose" of governments and always allowing for an interpretation of no government without saying so explicitly.&nbsp; Not everyone is ready to go full-blown <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anarcho-capitalism" target="_blank">an-cap</a> so we should welcome the minarchists by allowing for the fantasy of the non-coercive "government".&nbsp; At the same time, we should not turn away our most logically-consistent and principled demographic, the anarchists. <br /><br /><u>Golden rule: don't make candidates oppose the platform</u>.&nbsp; Some candidates might only support a bill that would repeal a tax completely, some might vote for one that would reduce taxation, but both operate under the same principle that taxation is inherently immoral and un-libertarian.&nbsp; Some candidates might rest easy with a night-watchman state and others may not be satisfied until we live in our anarcho-capitalist paradise, but both can agree on the maximum role of government, because technically, a maximum <i>without a minimum</i> can give us a role of nothing.&nbsp; The goal is to give libertarians a platform that teaches by example how our principles of self-ownership and non-aggression logically guide us to all of our policy positions, and from there give candidates the freedom to get more specific within the guidelines we've set.&nbsp; Because the principles of liberty are timeless, an ideal platform would be as relevant and powerful 100 years from now as today. <br /><br /><b>Conclusion</b><br /><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-wPaI5PrK1-4/U4pA97Q1K7I/AAAAAAAAAkM/sHfskvi13hc/s1600/LP_TakeOverTheWorld.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="clear: left; float: left; margin-bottom: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" src="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-wPaI5PrK1-4/U4pA97Q1K7I/AAAAAAAAAkM/sHfskvi13hc/s1600/LP_TakeOverTheWorld.jpg" height="320" width="320" /></a></div>The positions I've set forth would cause some to label me a "purist".&nbsp; While I proudly wear that badge of honor, there is unfortunately some truth to the negative connotation that comes with it.&nbsp; Many of the "purists" lack basic tact and social skills to such an extent that it seems they might actually enjoy arguing with people just for the sake of disagreeing.&nbsp; If talking to a democrat they'll talk about gun rights, if talking to a republican they'll bring up gay marriage.&nbsp; Instead of finding common ground and educating, they will latch on to the biggest point of contention and revel in being marginalized.<br /><br />It doesn't have to be this way.&nbsp; This is not a black or white issue.&nbsp; It is a false choice between upholding a pure and consistent libertarian message and adhering to basic social etiquette.&nbsp; We can utilize proven persuasion and marketing skills when speaking to the public without watering down our message and confusing our brand. <br /><br />Having spent two years as a door to door salesman, and currently working in the consulting field, I have a few suggestions that apply to all areas of sales, including selling the message of libertarianism. <br /><br /><u>Instead of talking, listen</u>.&nbsp; Try to do twice as much listening as talking.&nbsp; Then three times as much, then four.&nbsp; The harder this is for you, the more important it is to work on it.&nbsp; If your goal is truly to wake up minds and change people's perspective, you first need to make them feel understood before they will actually hear your feedback. <br /><br /><u>Speak their language</u>.&nbsp; In other words, be adaptive to their interests.&nbsp; It's perfectly alright to talk about "fiscally conservative" issues with republicans and "socially tolerant" issues with democrats.&nbsp; The opportunity to educate comes with first finding that common ground and using that as an opportunity to explain how the principles of self-ownership and non-aggression align with their beliefs. <br /><br /><u>People hate to be sold, but they love to buy</u>.&nbsp; This has a lot to do with listening instead of talking.&nbsp; Don’t push your ideas on people.&nbsp; You may be 100% correct, but if the other person isn't listening to you because they feel like they are being sold something against their will then what good does it do?.&nbsp; Ask questions, then listen to what the other person has to say.&nbsp; What do they think about a certain problem that they are passionate about?&nbsp; Why do they think it occurs?&nbsp; What do they think should be done about it?&nbsp; If the answer is "there should be a law against it" then the answer isn't to call them a statist.&nbsp; Ultimately this person has the same end goals as everyone else - peace, prosperity and a higher standard of living.&nbsp; When you find the opportunity to answer a question and explain how libertarian principles result in these social goods, you have created the condition where they might just want to buy what you have to sell. <br /><br />Ultimately, the biggest lesson I've learned in my activism career is that the only person I can educate is myself.&nbsp; Oftentimes when someone "<a href="http://www.nathankleffman.com/2014/09/how-i-woke-up.html" target="_blank">wakes up</a>" to the libertarian message they are so excited by this new world view that nothing seems more important than sharing this epiphany with everyone, all the time. This urge, while commendable, should be resisted.&nbsp; The first step is to educate yourself, not just on your pet issue that aligns with libertarianism, but on all of the hard cases too.&nbsp; Walter Block's <a href="http://mises.org/books/defending.pdf" target="_blank">Defending the Undefendable</a> is a classic libertarian book that takes up this challenge head-on.&nbsp; Of course, Murray Rothbard's <a href="http://mises.org/document/1010/For-a-New-Liberty-The-Libertarian-Manifesto" target="_blank">For a New Liberty</a> and <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0814775594/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=0814775594&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=nathanklecom-20&amp;linkId=SZJCEKIRVBKH6BTW" target="_blank">The Ethics of Liberty</a> are must-reads for setting the foundation and exploring the full spectrum of libertarianism.&nbsp; When hard topics like environmental protection and child-labor comes up, we have the shoulders of intellectual giants at our disposal, and we would be foolish not to use them.Unknownnoreply@blogger.comtag:blogger.com,1999:blog-6497333203175478928.post-28920888007532344852014-03-01T16:19:00.002-06:002015-06-29T11:35:26.260-05:00The Planet of Sorrows<div class="separator" style="clear: both;"><a href="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-VjOFF1yviz0/UxIfxDdzFJI/AAAAAAAAAeY/qJRBZl71WZM/s1600/Thiaoouba_bookcover.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="clear: left; float: left; margin-bottom: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" height="320" src="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-VjOFF1yviz0/UxIfxDdzFJI/AAAAAAAAAeY/qJRBZl71WZM/s1600/Thiaoouba_bookcover.jpg" width="225" /></a></div><blockquote class="tr_bq">"Why are we Alive?&nbsp; Why are we Conscious?<br />What happens after death and before we are conceived?&nbsp; Why?<br />What happened to advanced civilizations and continents (Mu, Atlantis)?<br />Shall we also face a global catastrophe?&nbsp; When?&nbsp; What?&nbsp; Why?<br />What are the greatest dangers for humanity on earth?<br />Should we dream or act?&nbsp; Can we change the system without hurting anyone?<br /><br />Whoever seeks answers to any of the above will find this book truly fascinating.<br /><br />There are no theories in this book, no wishful thinking or fantasy.&nbsp; It is an exact witness report of the Reality of the Universe.<br /><br />Are you ready?" </blockquote>Those are bold statements coming from the back of a book that only has <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0646159968/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=0646159968&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=nathanklecom-20" target="_blank">used copies on Amazon</a> and has had its <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thiaoouba_Prophecy" target="_blank">Wikipedia entry deleted twice</a>.&nbsp; But perhaps that's just how it would work in this crazy world.&nbsp; Would you really expect to find pure, unmitigated, ultimate TRUTH to be found on the New York Times bestseller list or in the holy book of a popular religion?&nbsp; It just figures that you would stumble upon a <a href="https://ia700407.us.archive.org/18/items/ThiaooubaProphecyEbook/ThiaooubaProphecy.pdf" target="_blank">random pdf</a> in the farthest corners of the internet and find the answers to the most important secrets of life, death, and the universe itself. <br /><br />So let's cut to the chase.&nbsp; In June of 1987, Michel Desmarquet left his home and family in Australia for nine Earth days.&nbsp; During that time he was abducted by Extra-terrestrial Beings, the most spiritually evolved and technologically advanced in the galaxy, and they physically took him to their planet so that he could bear witness to the Truth, return to Earth, and tell us all about it.&nbsp; He originally published his report as "Abduction to the 9th Planet", and it is now available as "Thiaoouba Prophecy", named after the home planet of Thao, who led Michel through his fantastic journey of time and space, mind and spirit. <br /><br />Thiaoouba Prophecy tells the chronological account of how he spent those 9 days and what he learned while he was with Thao and her people.&nbsp; In his report you will learn that we are not the only human beings in the galaxy, but far from it.&nbsp; The billions and billions of stars in the universe are inhabited by humanoids who may look different than us based on the environmental conditions of their planet, but share a common spiritual purpose with us and all living creatures.&nbsp; His report explains the mysteries of our planet and all the wonders of the ancient world, from the giant statues of Easter Island to the Bermuda Triangle and the Great Pyramids of Egypt.&nbsp; It tells the story of the first humans to colonize this planet and of the various advanced civilizations that rose and fell before our recorded history.&nbsp; His report tells us the most important truths from the Big Bang and the meaning of life and death to the future of humans on this planet - or whatever future we have left.&nbsp; That is the reason Michel was chosen to bear witness and bring back this message at this time - it seems that we are at a turning point in our "civilization" based on the intersection of our current level of technology and our decadent culture.&nbsp; This is our moment to either rise to the occasion and go to the next level of spiritual awareness or go the way of <a href="http://archive.lewrockwell.com/rep4/brazilian-atlantis.html" target="_blank">Atlantis and other ancient civilizations buried at the bottom of the oceans</a>. <br /><br />Before we proceed to review the message that Michel received, let me make a recommendation about how to think about this information, especially if you <a href="https://archive.org/details/ThiaooubaProphecyEbook" target="_blank">read Thiaoouba Prophecy</a>.&nbsp; Michel is adamant that his book is not a work of science fiction, that it is an "exact witness report of the Reality of the Universe".&nbsp; Indeed, he challenges any physicist or anyone else to disprove a single statement in his book, and he declares that it would not be possible for himself, or anyone else, to make up this story.&nbsp; In order to imagine one coherent and consistent account that answers all of life's mysteries you'd have to be a genius and a brilliant science fiction writer, a brilliant theologian, a brilliant historian, a brilliant physicist, etc. - and as Michel is the first to admit that while he may be a brilliant landscape architect, he is none of these other things. <br /><br />But because we all hold beliefs, some or many of which may be in conflict with this book, particularly religious, historical, and political beliefs, you might find yourself "reading" Thiaoouba Prophecy while really just searching for statements that go against your preconceptions.&nbsp; Aha!&nbsp; This book can't be true, because the bible clearly states this, or the latest carbon dating clearly shows that, so this whole thing must be rubbish.&nbsp; I encourage you to keep an open mind, and the best way to do that is to allow yourself to play with the ideas in this book.&nbsp; Entertain them.&nbsp; Read it as if it were science fiction, and ask yourself - what can I learn from this?&nbsp; Does it have any good recommendations?&nbsp; If this were true, how would it change my beliefs or require me to live my life differently?&nbsp; My point is that truth doesn't come from authority.&nbsp; A homeless man can speak a beautiful truth, and a <a href="http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/" target="_blank">PH.D. holding Nobel Prize winner</a> can blather pure nonsense.&nbsp; If Thiaoouba Prophecy does contains truth, whether Ultimate Truth or just enough truth to help you live a better life or help us all improve society, does it matter whether Michel is a humble genius who made this up, or if his fantastic journey to the 9th planet really happened?&nbsp; The only question that matters is, what are you going to do about it? <br /><br /><b>The Reality of the Universe</b><br /><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both;"><a href="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-VNuhejLfhCU/UxImztIRXYI/AAAAAAAAAeo/RdEOinGcvdc/s1600/Thiaoouba_AlexGrey_Wonder.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="clear: left; float: left; margin-bottom: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" height="320" src="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-VNuhejLfhCU/UxImztIRXYI/AAAAAAAAAeo/RdEOinGcvdc/s1600/Thiaoouba_AlexGrey_Wonder.jpg" width="240" /></a></div>"You have been chosen by us, to visit our planet, in order to report certain messages and to offer enlightenment on several important issues when you return to Earth. The time has come when certain events must occur.&nbsp; After several thousand years of darkness and savagery on the planet Earth, a so-called ‘civilization’ appeared and, inevitably, technology was developed - a development, which was accelerated during the last 150 years. <br /><blockquote class="tr_bq">It has been 14,500 years since a comparable level of technological advance existed on Earth.&nbsp; This technology, which is nothing compared with true knowledge, is nevertheless, sufficiently advanced to become harmful to the human race on Earth in the very near future. <br />Harmful, because it is only material knowledge and not spiritual knowledge.&nbsp; Technology should assist spiritual development, not confine people, more and more, within a materialistic world, as is happening now on your planet.<br />...<br />The creator sought spiritual experiences through a material world.<br />…<br />Man exists physically for the sole purpose of developing spiritually.<br />...<br />Universal Law decrees that man's principle obligation, regardless of which planet he happens to inhabit, is to develop his spirituality.<br />...<br />In other words your technology, which is nothing compared with what existed on Earth more than 14,500 years ago, is dragging your civilization down, and pushing it closer and closer to moral and spiritual catastrophe.<br />...<br />A certain percentage of these people are arriving at a very critical point in history and we feel that the time has come to try to assist them.&nbsp; If they will listen, we can ensure that they take the right path. This is why you have been chosen..." </blockquote>Those are quotes scattered throughout Thiaoouba Prophecy which set the stage for what is to follow - the Reality of the Universe.&nbsp; Because the first question that comes to mind is this: Why would Thao choose to take Michel on this trip across the galaxy and back with this message, and why now?&nbsp; But knowing that the purpose of our physical existence is to experience spiritual development, then any familiarity with the plans and predictions of <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ray_Kurzweil" target="_blank">Ray Kurzweil</a> and other leading technocratic elites should make it clear that we are drifting farther and farther from our purpose in life at an ever increasing rate.&nbsp; We're rapidly approaching the tipping point.&nbsp; It's bad enough that everyone is addicted to <a href="http://www.pbs.org/mediashift/2007/10/how-cell-phones-are-killing-face-to-face-interactions295/" target="_blank">smart phones</a>, <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_aspects_of_television#Negative_effects" target="_blank">televisions</a>, and <a href="http://articles.latimes.com/2012/may/08/business/la-fi-tn-self-disclosure-study-20120508" target="_blank">social media</a> instead of being present and engaged in the real world around them.&nbsp; But if you take people like Kurzweil seriously, and imagine a world where we "<a href="http://rt.com/usa/google-kurzweil-singularity-brain-011/" target="_blank">upload our consciousness</a>" and "<a href="http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/merging-of-mind-and-machine/" target="_blank">merge with machines</a>" - well that's just taking it to a whole new level, one that might warrant an interstellar intervention. <br /><br />However, the abduction of Michael Desmarquet isn't the first time the people of Thiaoouba have intervened with the people of earth.&nbsp; In fact, they keep a close watch over our planet, living among us in physical bodies or by projecting their astral presence here.&nbsp; In some situations they intervene directly, such as influencing the behaviors of certain leaders.&nbsp; For example, they prevented Germany from being the first nation to have use of the atomic bomb to avoid the calamity of a Nazi triumph of World War Two.&nbsp; They also removed billions of <a href="http://f3.tiera.ru/other/DVD-009/_Scientific_american_(August_1998)_(1998)(en)(88s).pdf" target="_blank">"needles" from Earth's orbit that the U.S. Department of Defense released in 1963 as part of a telecommunications experiment</a>, as they judged them to have been potentially disastrous for us.&nbsp; So while they can lend us a hand or prevent our experts from playing with matches, they cannot save us from disaster automatically.&nbsp; Not only would it be counter-productive, as it would be like a parent doing their child's homework for them and thereby preventing the child from ever learning his lessons, but more importantly, "serving the meal on a plate" would go against Universal Law.&nbsp; What is Universal Law?&nbsp; Let's start at the beginning - with the Big Bang: <br /><blockquote>"In the beginning there was nothing except darkness and a spirit - THE Spirit. <br /><br />The Spirit was, and is, infinitely powerful - powerful beyond the comprehension of any human mind. The Spirit is so powerful that he was able, by the action of his will alone, to trigger an atomic explosion with chain reactions of unimaginable force. In fact, the Spirit imagined the worlds - he imagined how to create them - from the most enormous to the most minuscule. He imagined the atoms. When he imagined them he created, in his imagination, all that moved and will move: all that lived and will live; all that is motionless, or seems to be - every single thing. <br /><br />But it existed only in his imagination.&nbsp; All was still in darkness.&nbsp; Once he had an overall view of what he wanted to create, he was able, by his exceptional spiritual force, to create, instantaneously, the four forces of the Universe. <br /><br />With these, he directed the first and the most gigantic atomic explosion of all time - what certain people on Earth call ‘The Big Bang’.&nbsp; The Spirit was at its center and induced it.&nbsp; Darkness was gone and the Universe was creating itself according to the will of the Spirit" </blockquote>Thus, using the first of his four forces, the atomic force, the suns, the worlds, and all the atoms were formed over billions of years.&nbsp; The planets cooled, continents formed, and some planets became habitable to life.&nbsp; Then, using the second force, what they call the "Ovocosmic Force", the Spirit created the primary living creatures and plants with cosmic rays which ended up as "cosmic eggs".&nbsp; And now we get to the good part: humans.&nbsp; The Spirit always imagined experiencing feelings through a special creature, and thus he created that creature, man, with the third force, the "Ovoastromic Force".&nbsp; "Blood that circulates thanks to the heart that beats millions of times independently of the will...lungs that purify the blood by means of a complex system...the nervous system...the brain which gives the orders, aided by the five senses...the spinal cord which is ultra-sensitive and which will make you [instantly] withdraw your hand from a hot stove so you won’t burn yourself."&nbsp; All this for billions and billions of completely unique individuals; no two with the same fingerprints and no two having the same "crystalline" of the blood - pretty impressive stuff.&nbsp; And now we come to the fourth force, the reason that our purpose in life is spiritual development:<br /><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-norcRYv_Uqg/UxJICfM5MmI/AAAAAAAAAe4/403McqV1ozA/s1600/Thiaoouba_AlexGrey_AstralBody.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="clear: left; float: left; margin-bottom: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" height="320" src="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-norcRYv_Uqg/UxJICfM5MmI/AAAAAAAAAe4/403McqV1ozA/s1600/Thiaoouba_AlexGrey_AstralBody.jpg" width="177" /></a></div>"The Fourth force had a very important role to play: it had to bring to fruition all that the Spirit had imagined.&nbsp; It ‘inserted’ thus, an infinitesimal part of the Spirit in the human body.&nbsp; This comprises what you could call the Astral body, which forms one ninth of the essential human being and consists of one ninth of a ‘Higher-self’, which is sometimes called ‘overself'.&nbsp; The Higher-self of man is, in other words, an entity which sends one ninth of itself into a human body, becoming the person’s Astral being. Other physical bodies are inhabited, similarly, by other ninths of the same Higher-self and yet each part remains integral to the central entity.&nbsp; Further, the Higher-self is a ninth part of a superior Higher-self which, in turn, is a ninth part of a more superior Higher-self.&nbsp; The process continues as far back as the source, and allows the enormous filtration of spiritual experience required by the Spirit." <br /><br />The Astral body - <a href="http://www.naturalcuresnotmedicine.com/2014/01/scientists-claim-quantum-theory-proves-consciousness-moves-another-universe-death.html" target="_blank">our connection to The Great Spirit</a>.&nbsp; We are in constant communication with our higher-self via our cerebral canal, which acts as a transmitting and receiving post conducting special vibrations between our Astral Body and our Higher-self.&nbsp; Through this mechanism (explored in books like <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/006143518X/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=006143518X&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=nathanklecom-20" target="_blank">The Field: The Quest for the Secret Force of the Universe</a>) our Higher-self monitors us day and night and can do things like save us from accidents, <a href="http://www.collective-evolution.com/2013/08/07/buddha-boy-goes-10-months-without-food-or-water-scientific-community-is-baffled/" target="_blank">refresh us</a> and bring us solutions to our problems in our sleep ("Night brings counsel"), and even perform the miraculous like healings that can't be explained by modern science or even resuscitating the dead (see <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0892819278/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=0892819278&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=nathanklecom-20" target="_blank">DMT: The Spirit Molecule: A Doctor's Revolutionary Research into the Biology of Near-Death and Mystical Experiences</a>). <br /><br />Nine seems to be the number of the universe.&nbsp; Nine planets revolve around a sun, which revolves around a larger sun, each with nine sub-suns and nine planets each, which is again is one chain of nine to a larger sun, ad infinitum, all the way to the center of it all.&nbsp; While for some periods of time a planet may disappear or appear, it always reverts back to a structure based on nine. <br /><br /><table align="center" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" class="tr-caption-container" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto; text-align: center;"><tbody><tr><td style="text-align: center;"><a href="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-b_rGAzFMc8Y/UxJKEfiV0gI/AAAAAAAAAfE/TS40t5zO5A0/s1600/Thiaoouba_Nine.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;"><img border="0" src="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-b_rGAzFMc8Y/UxJKEfiV0gI/AAAAAAAAAfE/TS40t5zO5A0/s1600/Thiaoouba_Nine.jpg" /></a></td></tr><tr><td class="tr-caption" style="text-align: center;">Michael is surprised to find Thao uses the Arabic number system, and in the appendix he shows how the numbers relate to their angles.&nbsp; While <a href="http://message.snopes.com/showthread.php?t=49183">snopes</a> and other <a href="http://math.about.com/b/2011/01/29/creative-imagination-urban-legend.htm">internet detectives</a> have "disproved" this "hoax", I find it interesting.</td></tr></tbody></table>So it is with us.&nbsp; Each human being's Astral Body transfers to its Higher-self all the sensations experienced during its physical life, and "these sensations pass through the immense ‘filter’ of nine Higher-selves before arriving in the etheric ‘ocean’ that surrounds the Spirit."&nbsp; If the sensations are based on materialism (a lifetime of staring at a smart-phone, perhaps?) then the higher-selves have trouble filtering this to get at the good spiritual stuff, just like a water filter clogs quicker if filled with dirty water than purified water.&nbsp; Depending on the spiritual understanding we feed our Astral body during the course of our lives, it can take from 500 to 15,000 Earth years until our Higher-self has nothing left to filter.&nbsp; At that point, one's Astral being is so spiritually advanced that it goes to the next stage where it contends directly with a more superior Higher-self. <br /><br />Hence, there are 9 "levels" of planets, one for each level of humans and their associated Astral body.&nbsp; And you guessed it, we live on a level one planet, sometimes called "The Planet of Sorrows".&nbsp; Earth, like other first category planets, provides a learning environment like a kindergarten with an emphasis on teaching basic social skills.&nbsp; As we are reincarnated and live various lives on this and other level one planets, we eventually graduate to a second category planet, like a primary school where further values are taught.&nbsp; As we move up the chain and reach planets on the sixth, seventh, eight, and eventually ninth categories, both our physical bodies and Astral bodies reach a progressively more highly evolved state.&nbsp; At the ninth level, they have the power to rejoin the Spirit and reach a point of "pure happiness" - definitely something worth working towards. <br /><br /><table align="center" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" class="tr-caption-container" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto; text-align: center;"><tbody><tr><td style="text-align: center;"><a href="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-i5wMO0MOu8Y/UxJMDPbHEDI/AAAAAAAAAfQ/6XItxDYlW5c/s1600/Thiaoouba_AlexGrey_HigherSelf.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;"><img border="0" height="400" src="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-i5wMO0MOu8Y/UxJMDPbHEDI/AAAAAAAAAfQ/6XItxDYlW5c/s1600/Thiaoouba_AlexGrey_HigherSelf.jpg" width="396" /></a></td></tr><tr><td class="tr-caption" style="text-align: center;"><a href="http://alexgrey.com/" target="_blank">Alex Grey's</a>&nbsp;"Godself" also shows nine - he must be on to something.</td></tr></tbody></table>Thiaoouba is one of three ninth category planets in our galaxy, and they are like the adult supervision of our kindergartens and grade schools.&nbsp; Their job is to guide us, to help with spiritual development, and in certain cases to help materially, whether that is to steer us clear of danger or even to punish us when our culture is particularly wicked.&nbsp; But again, they must follow Universal Law: "If you make a mistake, you pay the penalty - immediately, in ten years time, or in ten centuries time, but errors must be paid for."&nbsp; We can't count on them to always bail us out, otherwise, how would we learn our lessons and eventually graduate to the next level?<br /><br />So there we have it, the meaning of life.&nbsp; We all live on this planet in order to learn how to live, suffer, and die, but also to develop spiritually as much as we can.&nbsp; Let's get to it. <br /><br /><b>The Dangers to Mankind</b><br /><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-h-G7O3SgNFA/UxJN3QXweSI/AAAAAAAAAfc/blzLyLJYWdU/s1600/Thiaoouba_dangers.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="clear: left; float: left; margin-bottom: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" height="302" src="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-h-G7O3SgNFA/UxJN3QXweSI/AAAAAAAAAfc/blzLyLJYWdU/s1600/Thiaoouba_dangers.jpg" width="320" /></a></div>In order to maximize our time in this life towards spiritual development, we must be aware of the dangers we face.&nbsp; Thao warns that it is not our physical bodies we should be concerned about, but dangers that brainwash our minds and corrupt our souls.&nbsp; She advises four key areas that we need to be aware of:<br /><blockquote class="tr_bq">"The real dangers on Earth, in order of ‘importance’ are: first money then politicians; third journalists and drugs and fourth religions.&nbsp; These dangers in no way relate to nuclear arms. <br /><br />If the people on Earth are wiped out by a nuclear cataclysm, their Astral beings will go where they must after death and the natural order of death and rebirth will be maintained.&nbsp; The danger does not lie in the death of the physical body, as millions believe: the danger exists in the way in which one lives." </blockquote>Money, the root of all evil?&nbsp; The <a href="http://www.thevenusproject.com/" target="_blank">Venus Project</a> people were right!&nbsp; While there are a few passages that would seem to condemn money, when you take the lessons in context, it doesn't seem to be money as the medium of exchange that they warn against.&nbsp; Money, as created by the market, is what enables the price system, which allows individuals to collectively economize scarce goods without the need for a controlling authority or technocratic elite to determine the infinite possibilities of what, how, where, and when to engage in the production process to serve fellow men.&nbsp; Rather, it is the love of money, the singular pursuit of money and all that money buys to the exclusion of everything else that they warn against. <br /><blockquote class="tr_bq">"The greatest danger concerns ‘materialism’.&nbsp; The people of your planet seek money - to some it’s a means of attaining power; to others it’s a means to acquire drugs, (another curse) yet to others, it’s a way of possessing more than their neighbors possess." </blockquote>So that makes more sense, especially in light of what we've learned about the Reality of the Universe.&nbsp; Our Astral body can only be enriched spiritually - not materially.&nbsp; Our physical body is just a vehicle we use to garble up spiritual experience, and when we die we can't take our toys with us.&nbsp; So a life devoted to money and materialism is a waste of time or even a setback for our spiritual development.&nbsp; That said, when considering the "<a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maslow's_hierarchy_of_needs" target="_blank">hierarchy of needs</a>", it seems money is necessary in order to facilitate trade and secure at least a basic standard of living.&nbsp; Only once the bare necessities are taken care of do we have the time and energy left over to dedicate to the higher and nobler pursuits, including spiritual development.&nbsp; So maybe we <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hxjwBZjADiM" target="_blank">shouldn't abandon money and join the Venus project</a>.&nbsp; Not to mention, the Venus project assumes a technological elite that will dictate how humans interact.&nbsp; Thao condemns all forms of authoritarianism - including communism.&nbsp; But voluntary communism, when individuals choose to pool their resources together and share amongst themselves, whether that is the communism of the family or of small communities - there is nothing wrong with that.&nbsp; In fact it may be very right!&nbsp; It may not be as economical, meaning that scarce goods will not be used to satisfy the most urgently felt needs of all men engaged in the market process, but compared to moving up the spiritual ladder, maybe having the maximum standard of living isn't so all-important. <br /><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-hYeEYWLz0Ig/UxJUG4HPlYI/AAAAAAAAAfs/nvxjRiugwe4/s1600/Thiaoouba_politicians.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="clear: left; float: left; margin-bottom: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" height="219" src="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-hYeEYWLz0Ig/UxJUG4HPlYI/AAAAAAAAAfs/nvxjRiugwe4/s1600/Thiaoouba_politicians.jpg" width="320" /></a></div>"On Earth, there is a great need for discipline, but 'discipline' does not mean dictatorship.&nbsp; The Great Spirit, the Creator himself obliges no creature, human or otherwise, to do anything against their will.&nbsp; We all have free will and it is up to us to discipline ourselves in order to improve spiritually.<br /><blockquote class="tr_bq">To impose one's will on another, in a way which deprives the individual of the privilege of exercising his own free will, is one of the greatest crimes that man can commit."</blockquote>Allow yourself to ponder that statement and reflect on what it means for us.&nbsp; That should give you pause.&nbsp; The very foundation of our whole rotten society is based on violating the "greatest crime" of imposing our will on one another.&nbsp; It's one thing to have a government that forbids <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Malum_in_se" target="_blank"><i>malum in se</i></a> crimes: murder, assault, rape, theft, etc.&nbsp; But we live in a world where it's <a href="https://mises.org/daily/3997" target="_blank">illegal to sell toilets that use more than 1.6 gallons per flush</a>, where <a href="http://www.reviewjournal.com/road-warrior/woman-stung-state-agencys-sting" target="_blank">cops pull sting operations on unsuspecting women for operating a taxi without a license</a>, where scholars estimate every American commits <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1594035229/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=1594035229&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=nathanklecom-20" target="_blank">three felonies a day</a>! <br /><br />So if politicians are our 2nd greatest problem do the Thiaooubians recommend we adopt <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anarcho-capitalism" target="_blank">Rothbardian Anarcho-Capitalism</a>?&nbsp; Unfortunately not - but what can I expect from a Planet of Sorrows?&nbsp; Instead, they describe how decentralized, democratic-monarchist political systems have worked with varying levels of success on other first category planets, where "leaders" operate within a very narrow range of action as opposed to "rulers" with unlimited power. <br /><br />In the example of Mu (an advanced civilization that existed on Earth 14,500 years ago on a lost continent whose only remaining trace is <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Easter_Island" target="_blank">Easter Island</a>) it seems their laws only forbade malum in se crimes, and while the punishments were severe, crime was practically non-existent.&nbsp; They made absolutely sure of the guilt of the person by using several mind-readers for hours at a time, and those mind-readers prepared separate notes which were then given to the judge.&nbsp; If found guilty, murderers were thrown to alligators, rapists were covered in honey and buried next to an ant mound to be slowly eaten alive, and thieves had their primary hand cut off, followed by their second hand, followed by a mark on their forehead.&nbsp; So rather than locking people up in cages and <a href="http://www.globalresearch.ca/the-prison-industry-in-the-united-states-big-business-or-a-new-form-of-slavery/8289" target="_blank">encouraging a new form of slavery via a private prison industry,</a> people that were mortal threats were killed like rabid dogs, while thieves were free to live at the mercy of charity and as walking examples to deter theft.&nbsp; Brutal, but certainly <a href="http://mises.org/rothbard/ethics/thirteen.asp" target="_blank">more just than our current system</a> where the victims of crime are not given restitution and are wronged a second time by being forced to pay tax money to lock up and "rehabilitate" their offenders! <br /><br />So while they don't recommend pure anarchism with <a href="https://mises.org/books/chaostheory.pdf" target="_blank">private defense companies and insurance agencies offering protection and arbitration services</a>, they do recommend something infinitely preferable to what we have today - limited republican monarchies with large swaths of voluntarism.&nbsp; Not only did their example governments refrain from running amuck with <i><a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Malum_prohibitum" target="_blank">malum prohibitum</a></i> "crimes", but they also didn’t appear to claim ownership and dominion of every square inch of land - you are free to leave if you don't like it. And if you choose to be a citizen, then at least you have a very local and direct relationship with your leadership.&nbsp; Thao gave examples from Earth and other first category planets where each town / village would elect elderly leaders known for their wisdom and common sense, and they wouldn't be paid anything for serving their community in this capacity.&nbsp; They also mentioned the election was done with a hand vote, which clearly implies a very favorable representative ratio. <br /><br />In representative-republican fashion, the seven leaders of a town would themselves elect a leader to represent them at the district level, from which they would elect a representative at the state level, where you then arrive at a wise council of seven for their kingdom, who then elect a "king".&nbsp; While <a href="http://www.nathankleffman.com/2011/12/america-by-any-other-name-would-be-as.html" target="_blank">an analysis on the various forms of government is the subject for another blog</a>, I did not need to be convinced that monarchism is preferable to democracy for those that value limited government and individual liberties.&nbsp; I can thank Hans-Hermann Hoppe's <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0765808684/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=0765808684&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=nathanklecom-20" target="_blank">Democracy - The God That Failed: The Economics and Politics of Monarchy, Democracy, and Natural Order</a> for alerting me to that demonstrable fact.&nbsp; So while I may be disappointed that we live on a planet whose people are so spiritually bankrupt that we may always need to have some form of an organization with a monopoly on violence, I do feel validated that the guardians of our galaxy recognize our second greatest danger as being "duped and led in circles by a structure of politician and bureaucrats."&nbsp; But it's even better than that, they more or less validate the <a href="http://wiki.mises.org/wiki/Principle_of_non-aggression" target="_blank">Non-Aggression Principle</a> as a Law of the Universe!&nbsp; Governments, should they be necessary at all, merely enforce punishment for malum in se crimes, while in every other capacity humans can voluntarily follow leaders and are otherwise destined to exercise their free-will in order to develop spiritually.&nbsp; Libertarians of the world - we have a new moral high-ground! <br /><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-ZFJFgkQMxbk/UxJV89W4d3I/AAAAAAAAAf4/VEWfywxWdso/s1600/Thiaoouba_brainwashed.gif" imageanchor="1" style="clear: left; float: left; margin-bottom: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" height="220" src="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-ZFJFgkQMxbk/UxJV89W4d3I/AAAAAAAAAf4/VEWfywxWdso/s1600/Thiaoouba_brainwashed.gif" width="320" /></a></div>"After politicians, you have the problem of journalists and reporters.&nbsp; There are some among them, although unfortunately rare, who try to do their job of disseminating information honestly and sincerely, attending carefully to their sources; but we are greatly alarmed that most of them seek only sensationalism.<br /><blockquote class="tr_bq">Your television stations too, screen more and more scenes of violence.<br />...<br />The harm that such irresponsible reporting can do is unimaginable.&nbsp; Thoughtlessness and irresponsibility are not qualities apparent in civilized nations.&nbsp; That’s why I say, on Earth, you have not even achieved the first letter of the word civilization." </blockquote>Not only do the journalists and reporters of our main stream media fuel the fires of our first two concerns, materialism and our political systems, they also have the power to influence the moral and spiritual development of millions of people.&nbsp; As Thao says, sometimes they do good work, whether by acting as watch-dogs and alerting us of government corruption, or reporting on positive developments in the world, which are unfortunately usually regarded as not "real news" but instead "fluff pieces".&nbsp; But that's the primary problem with media that Thao addresses - that journalists look for sensational stories full of blood, guts, and gore.&nbsp; They figure "we'll give the people what they want" and completely neglect their responsibility they have based on their power over thousands or millions of viewers. <br /><br />I've seen it mentioned before, but perhaps we'll take note when it's said by a 9th level being who is only one step removed from the creator of the universe: if we all agree that school shootings and other massacres are a bad thing, then why in the world does our media thoughtless devote so much time to immortalizing the sad, pathetic, lonely, confused lunatics who commits such atrocities.&nbsp; For all the other poor souls who also want attention, this is a direct incentive for them to copy-cat these crimes in order take their place in the history books.&nbsp; From a conspiratorial viewpoint, there are those in power who crave more power and therefore want to disarm every population that still retains their <a href="http://www.nathankleffman.com/2013/03/the-great-object-and-line-in-sand.html" target="_blank">right to gun ownership and self-defense</a>, and the more <a href="http://www.naturalnews.com/039752_mass_shootings_psychiatric_drugs_antidepressants.html#" target="_blank">Prozac-heads that commit these crimes</a>, and the more attention those crimes receive, the easier it will be to solicit a knee-jerk reaction and disarm the law-abiding population. <br /><br />Regardless of their motivations, whether due to profit, ignorance, or more diabolical intentions, Thao has a common-sense approach to what responsible journalism would look like when tragedies occur: <br /><blockquote class="tr_bq">"Journalists, reporters and anyone else whose function it is to disseminate information should devote no more than two to three lines to such cases of murder.&nbsp; They could simply say: ‘we have just learned of the murder of seven people by an irresponsible lunatic.&nbsp; This murder occurred at whatever location and is a sorry event in a country that considers itself to be civilized.’&nbsp; Full stop’." </blockquote>The other danger that we face, apparently tied with journalists, is the use of drugs.&nbsp; While Thao doesn't give a run-down of exactly which ones are worse than others, the reason they are bad is not just their impact on one's physical health, but how they affect the psyche of the individual.&nbsp; This is not just because it prevents spiritual development when you're in a drug-induced haze, but it can actually cause a reversal of your spiritual path: <br /><blockquote class="tr_bq">"The Astral body can only be harmed by two things: drugs and the vibrations occasioned by certain kinds of noise.&nbsp; Considering only drugs, it must be understood that they have an influence that is totally against Nature.&nbsp; They ‘remove’ the Astral body to another sphere where it should not be.&nbsp; The Astral body should be either in a physical body or with its Higher-self, of which it is a part.&nbsp; When drugged, an individual’s Astral body is as though ‘asleep’ experiencing artificial sensations that completely distort his or her judgment.&nbsp; It is in the same situation as a physical body is during an important surgical operation.&nbsp; If you like, it’s like a tool that we bend or break by using it incorrectly or for a task for which it was not intended. <br /><br />According to the length of time that a person is under the influence of drugs, his or her Astral body is going to decline or, more exactly, it is going to become saturated with false data.&nbsp; ‘Recovery’ for the Astral body can take several lifetimes: for this reason, Michel, drugs should be avoided at all costs." </blockquote><table align="center" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" class="tr-caption-container" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto; text-align: center;"><tbody><tr><td style="text-align: center;"><a href="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-siSWeOsZDzI/UxJWWeYl17I/AAAAAAAAAgA/kxcRX3sCFZY/s1600/Thiaoouba_religion.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;"><img border="0" height="292" src="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-siSWeOsZDzI/UxJWWeYl17I/AAAAAAAAAgA/kxcRX3sCFZY/s1600/Thiaoouba_religion.jpg" width="640" /></a></td></tr><tr><td class="tr-caption" style="text-align: center;">Religion: The hypocrisy of money, power, and war coming from a message of love turns Thao off just a bit.</td></tr></tbody></table>The fourth greatest danger facing humanity is another drug once called the opiate of the masses: Religion.&nbsp; In order to reconcile the most spiritually advanced people in our galaxy condemning religion, we must acknowledge that following an organized religion and being spiritual can be two completely different things.&nbsp; The Thiaooubans continually fight against religions and particular sects because while on the face these organizations claim to help people worship God, they in fact "make it all much more complicated and quite incomprehensible by introducing rituals and laws invented by priests who look to their own personal interests rather than following nature and Universal Law."<br /><br />Thao seems particularly upset when it comes to the double-standard and hypocrisy concerning religious organizations and money.&nbsp; She goes on quite a rant concerning this: <br /><blockquote class="tr_bq">"Sects and religions are a curse on Earth and when you see that the Pope sets aside millions of francs or dollars for his travel, when he could make do with much less, and use what money is available to help countries suffering from famine, you can not persuade me that it is the word of Christ which directs such actions. <br /><br />There is a passage in your Bible that says: ‘It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter Paradise.’ <br /><br />The Vatican is certainly the wealthiest church on your planet, and yet the priests have made vows of poverty.&nbsp; They have no fear of being damned, (yet they believe in damnation), because they say it is the Church which is rich, not them.&nbsp; This is really just a play on words since they make up the Church.&nbsp; It’s like the son of a multi-billionaire claiming that he is not rich - only his father is." </blockquote>The other problem they have with religions is how holy teachings that preach peace and love can be twisted by religious leaders to promote wars and other atrocities.&nbsp; From the times of the Crusades and the Spanish Inquisition, you had supposed Christians killing and enslaving their fellow men all in the name of Christ.&nbsp; While those are older examples, have we really gotten much better?&nbsp; <a href="https://www.lewrockwell.com/author/laurence-m-vance/" target="_blank">Laurence Vance</a> writes extensively on the intersection of American Christianity and our dual-support for any and every War the U.S. empire launches, no matter how pathetic the target or how ridiculous the justification.&nbsp; When churches fly American flags, pray for the troops, and generally turn a blind eye to the sick realities of an unjust, aggressive, and morally unsupportable war - you have to ask if they care more about their 501c3 tax-exempt status than being the modern day messenger of the Prince of Peace. <br /><br />While it's not something Thao specifically mentioned, my concern is that religion is used by politicians to incite ignorance, hatred, and an all-encompassing <a href="http://www.nathankleffman.com/2012/03/shariah-hysteria.html" target="_blank">Sharia Hysteria</a> in our people to support bombing 3rd world countries who pose no justifiable threat to us, while also using these boogeymen as the excuse to restrict our liberties at home.&nbsp; With America's good name being tarnished worldwide when acts of torture, spying, and other crimes against humanity are made known, we may be setting ourselves up to be the bad-guy in the next World War.&nbsp; So it seems that the four greatest dangers that face humanity are conjoining sides to the same object - money, politicians, journalists, drugs, and religions are all tools used by elites, <a href="http://www.nathankleffman.com/2013/06/oblivion-pro-humanity-anti-illuminati.html" target="_blank">secret societies</a>, and other enemies of mankind to corrupt us or at least keep us distracted from what we should be truly focused on - spiritual development through living a code of love, peace, and tolerance. <br /><br /><b>What Should We Do?</b><br /><br />Probably the most objectionable parts of Michel's report, especially for those that consider themselves religious, will be the sections that describe the history of human life on Earth including the first peoples to migrate from another planet, the histories of our religions including Judaism and Christianity, and the rise and fall of ancient civilizations over the last 1,350,000 years.&nbsp; I find this part fascinating, especially as it describes such wonders of the world as the 887 giant statues of Easter Island <a href="https://www.google.com/maps/place/Easter+Island/@-27.130829,-109.3424945,4z/" target="_blank">sitting out in the middle of the Pacific Ocean</a> (it's the remnant of the lost continent Mu) and the true purpose of the Great Pyramids - not slave-built tombs, but technology used to channel energies to communicate with other planets.&nbsp; Anti-gravitation, the secrets of cutting rock using 'electro-ultra-sounds', <a href="http://uk.news.yahoo.com/paracas-elongated-skulls-species-aliens-hoax-133156477.html" target="_blank">the long skulls of Peru</a>, controlling the weather, the secrets of the moon, and other mysteries found on the History Channel now form a coherent story when seen through the lens of Thiaoouba Prophecy. <br /><br /><table align="center" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" class="tr-caption-container" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto; text-align: center;"><tbody><tr><td style="text-align: center;"><a href="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-j3AeRy0TYD0/UxJXClxLTBI/AAAAAAAAAgM/DAkloeb70qw/s1600/Thiaoouba_AncientWorld.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;"><img border="0" height="140" src="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-j3AeRy0TYD0/UxJXClxLTBI/AAAAAAAAAgM/DAkloeb70qw/s1600/Thiaoouba_AncientWorld.jpg" width="640" /></a></td></tr><tr><td class="tr-caption" style="text-align: center;">While not as important as the meaning of life and death, Thao also sheds light on the Wonders of the World.</td></tr></tbody></table>But while those things may be interesting, we come back to the practical questions: What does it matter?&nbsp; How would it change the way I live?&nbsp; What do I do with this information?&nbsp; Luckily, there are some valuable lessons contained in the histories of the peoples that colonized this planet from another first category planet, from which Michel met an ambassador during his travels.<br /><br />First, we can learn from the bad example of Earth's first interstellar immigrants.&nbsp; 1,350,00 years ago, on the planet of Bakaratini of the constellation Centaur, a decision was made by the leaders of that planet to send expeditions to the planets Mars and Earth.&nbsp; By the time they decided to explore our uninhabited planet they had become very spiritually advanced, but that came at the price of some very hard lessons.&nbsp; They were like us, having relatively advanced technology but also enormous political barriers between themselves.&nbsp; Things escalated until they finally destroyed themselves with the atom: <br /><blockquote class="tr_bq">"A nuclear war broke out on such a grand scale that the entire planet was plunged into darkness and temperatures fell to minus 40 of your degrees Celsius.&nbsp; Not only did atomic radiation destroy the population, but cold and lack of food accomplished the rest.&nbsp; It is a recorded fact that a mere 150 black people and 85 yellow people survived the catastrophe, from a population of seven billion black and four billion yellow humans.&nbsp; A register of survivors was taken just before they began to reproduce and when they had stopped killing each other.<br />...<br />Because of the lack of food, when the weakest died, they were eaten; then, in order to eat, they had to kill each other - and that was the worst catastrophe on the planet.<br />...<br />All of this occurred, in spite of all the warnings they had received.&nbsp; It should be said that before this almost total decimation, both the black race and the yellow race had attained a very high level of technological advance.&nbsp; The people lived in great comfort.&nbsp; They worked in factories, private and government enterprises, offices - just as happens now on your planet. <br /><br />They had a strong devotion to money which, to some, meant power and to others, wiser, it meant well-being.&nbsp; They worked on average 12 hours per week. <br /><br />On Bakaratini a week comprises six days of 21 hours each.&nbsp; They tended to the material rather than the spiritual side of their existence.&nbsp; At the same time, they allowed themselves to be duped and led in circles by a structure of politicians and bureaucrats, exactly as is now happening on Earth.&nbsp; Leaders fool the masses with empty words and, motivated by greed or pride, they 'lead' entire nations towards their downfall. <br /><br />Gradually, these two great races began to envy each other and, as there is only one step from envy to hate, eventually they hated each other so much and so completely that the catastrophe occurred.&nbsp; Both possessing sophisticated arms, they achieved their mutual destruction." </blockquote>So that is an example of how things could go very badly for us.&nbsp; Luckily, Michael also comes to us with an example of how to avert a nuclear war scenario that he learned from a fellow first-worlder named Arki.&nbsp; He came from a planet very similar to Earth but about twice the size and with 15 billion inhabitants.&nbsp; They had experienced two nuclear holocausts as well as many of our problems, including "dictatorships, crime, epidemics, cataclysms, a monetary system and all that is associated with it, religions, cults and other things."&nbsp; But 80 years ago something happened which can be an example for us: how a small group of people can peacefully resist their government, and how that example can inspire an entire nation to withdraw their consent and gain their freedom: <br /><blockquote class="tr_bq">"The reform was set in motion by a group of four people from a small village on the shores of one of our largest oceans.&nbsp; This group, comprising three men and one woman, preached peace, love and freedom of expression.&nbsp; They traveled to the capital city of their country and requested an audience with the leaders.&nbsp; Their request was denied for the regime was dictatorial and military.&nbsp; For six days and five nights, the four slept in front of the palace gates, eating nothing and drinking little water. <br /><br />Their perseverance attracted public attention and by the sixth day, a crowd of 2000 had gathered in front of the palace.&nbsp; With feeble voices, the four preached to the crowd of uniting in love to change the regime - until guards put an end to their ‘sermon’ by shooting the four and threatening to shoot members of the crowd if they did not disperse.&nbsp; This they quickly did, in genuine fear of the guards.&nbsp; Nevertheless, a seed had been sown in the minds of the people.&nbsp; On reflection, thousands of them came to realize that, without a peaceful understanding, they were powerless, absolutely powerless. <br /><br />Word was passed around among the people - rich and poor, employer and employee, worker and foreman, and one day, six months later, the entire nation came to a standstill.<br />...<br />The nuclear power stations shut down, transport systems halted, freeways were blocked. Everything stopped.&nbsp; The farmers didn’t deliver their produce; radio and television networks ceased transmitting; communication systems shut down.&nbsp; The police were helpless in the face of such unity, for, in a matter of hours, millions of people had joined the ‘cease work’.&nbsp; It seemed, for that time, the people had forgotten their hates, jealousies, differences of opinion as they united against injustice and tyranny.&nbsp; A police force and an army comprise human beings and these human beings had relatives and friends among the crowd. <br /><br />It was no longer a question of killing four subversive individuals.&nbsp; Hundreds of thousands would have had to be killed just to ‘liberate’ one power station. <br /><br />In the face of the people’s determination, the police, the army and the Dictator were forced to capitulate." </blockquote>This story reminds me of two things from our own planet, the <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PhFvZRT7Ds0" target="_blank">historic speech</a> by <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mario_Savio" target="_blank">Mario Savio</a> and the essay <a href="http://mises.org/rothbard/boetie.pdf" target="_blank">The Politics of Obedience: The Discourse of Voluntary Servitude</a> by <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/%C3%89tienne_de_La_Bo%C3%A9tie" target="_blank">Étienne de La Boétie</a>.&nbsp; Mario Savio speaks of the realization one comes to when the system around you is so corrupt, so morally and spiritually bankrupt, that you can no longer walk through life as a single piece in this great puzzle, because even though your own individual actions may not amount to horrible sins, the system you are supporting is committing great evils.&nbsp; By doing nothing and continuing to play your role, to be nothing but a robot in an assembly line, your sin is one of omission.&nbsp; For not doing all you can to stop the "<a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eichmann_in_Jerusalem#The_banality_of_evil" target="_blank">banality of evil</a>" you share in the responsibility. <br /><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><iframe allowfullscreen='allowfullscreen' webkitallowfullscreen='webkitallowfullscreen' mozallowfullscreen='mozallowfullscreen' width='320' height='266' src='https://www.youtube.com/embed/PhFvZRT7Ds0?feature=player_embedded' frameborder='0' /></div><br />Étienne&nbsp;de La Boétie's great work approaches this aspect from a slightly different angle.&nbsp; Rather than deciding to "throw yourself upon the gears and upon the wheels" of the machine, he takes a hard look at the reality of voluntary servitude and recommends that you merely walk away from the machine and it will fall apart on its own accord.&nbsp; Stop propping up your government, stop consenting to be ruled, and you will be ruled no longer: <br /><blockquote class="tr_bq">"Resolve to serve no more, and you are at once freed.&nbsp; I do not ask that you place hands upon the tyrant to topple him over, but simply that you support him no longer; then you will behold him, like a great Colossus whose pedestal has been pulled away, fall of his own weight and break into pieces?" </blockquote>So the first brave four of Arki's revolution took the path of Mario Savio, they decided they had nothing left to lose, they could no longer take part, even passively take part, in the evils of their government, and they sacrificed themselves as martyrs by being an example of peaceful resistance and non-compliance.&nbsp; For this they were killed, but like the <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tank_Man" target="_blank">Tank Man</a>, a seed of resistance and realization was sown in their countrymen.&nbsp; Bullets could kill those first four, but the idea could not be stopped.&nbsp; As this idea spread like a virus through their country, the recommendation of Boétie became a reality.&nbsp; By using the power of numbers and inertia, by merely not going to work in an organized and systematized effort, the individuals may have each lost a day's wages but the owners of the system lost billions.&nbsp; This was how they won their freedom and saved their nation from disaster, and if they can do it on their Planet of Sorrows, then so can we. <br /><br /><b>Conclusion</b><br /><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-uKqEnc02_ys/UxJb7d1aMAI/AAAAAAAAAgc/4EQ3lUzsKV4/s1600/Thiaoouba_bumpersticker.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" src="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-uKqEnc02_ys/UxJb7d1aMAI/AAAAAAAAAgc/4EQ3lUzsKV4/s1600/Thiaoouba_bumpersticker.jpg" /></a></div><br />In the postscript of Thiaoouba Prophecy, Michael recommends that the book is read three times, and he says that at the end of the third reading you will fall into one of three categories:<br /><br /><ul><li>The first, who form the majority, have said they still don’t believe I went to another planet, but have admitted they were moved by the book.&nbsp; In any case, they have said, it doesn’t really matter whether or not it happened, what matters is the powerful underlying message.&nbsp;</li><li>The second, is the former sceptic who, having read the book three times in a row, is convinced that my story is factual, and this reader is right.&nbsp;</li><li>The third, is already more evolved from the outset, and knows from the outset that this is a true story.</li></ul><br />If you've gotten through this blog, then my recommendation is more humble.&nbsp; <a href="https://ia700407.us.archive.org/18/items/ThiaooubaProphecyEbook/ThiaooubaProphecy.pdf" target="_blank">Read it once</a>.&nbsp; There is so much more to this book and I was only able to scratch the surface.&nbsp; If you prefer physical books like myself, you can pick up a new copy for $27 <a href="http://www.bioresonant.com/bookshop.html" target="_blank">here</a>.&nbsp; After you read the book, you can <a href="https://archive.org/details/ThiaooubaProphecy" target="_blank">watch a lecture Michel gave regarding his trip to Thiaoouba</a>.<br /><br />I don't know how much it matters whether you fall in the first, second, or third categories of readers that Michel described.&nbsp; But I do think reading this book is important.&nbsp; After having read the book, the most important question isn't whether or not his journey really happened, but if there is truth contained in his story, and if so, what are you going to do about?&nbsp; Maybe you won't lead the revolution yourself, but at the least this book will challenge many of your basic assumptions and foundational beliefs.&nbsp; Not only that, but it's so interesting!&nbsp; Once you've read it you can join me in the fun game of finding stories in the news that validate things in Thiaoouba Prophecy. <br /><br />When I <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lEV5AFFcZ-s" target="_blank">watch the documentary</a> <a href="http://www.thrivemovement.com/" target="_blank">Thrive</a> and it shows the <a href="http://www.collective-evolution.com/2013/10/11/multiple-scientists-confirm-the-reality-of-free-energy-heres-the-proof/" target="_blank">free-energy technologies</a> that are being suppressed, I say, "interesting, Thao described that."&nbsp; When <a href="http://www.franckgoddio.org/projects/sunken-civilizations/heracleion.html" target="_blank">ancient cities are discovered deep in the oceans</a> and <a href="http://listverse.com/2013/04/12/10-mysteries-that-hint-at-forgotten-advanced-civilizations/" target="_blank">evidence of advanced technology</a> is found in the relics I am not surprised.&nbsp; As <a href="http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2372171/Carlo-Van-Roers-Auracam-6000-photographs-capture-colors-persons-soul.html" target="_blank">technologies develop that allow us to see Auras</a> I feel relief, as Thao says it is imperative that our experts invent the special equipment necessary to perceive the Aura so that we can make the correct choices in the times ahead. <br /><br />But the main benefit I've received from Thiaoouba Prophecy is peace of mind.&nbsp; Especially helpful for those in the liberty movement that follow every news event in great trepidation of the acceleration towards the Big Event, the words of Thao allow me to keep perspective on the big picture and remind me to focus on <a href="http://www.nathankleffman.com/2013/05/the-choice-is-yours.html" target="_blank">controlling the controllables</a>.&nbsp; It is a comforting feeling to know that, even in the worse case scenario, if the tensions in the Middle East or on Russia's doorstep lead us to nuclear war, that this is part of the natural cycle that first-category planets go through.&nbsp; It wouldn't be the first and it wouldn't be the last time this has happened on a Planet of Sorrows like ours.&nbsp; I don't want to come off as nihilistic, we should most definitely do everything we can to follow the path of Arki's revolution and not of the Bakaratinians.&nbsp; But in the end the only person we can truly control is ourselves, and if we each work on our own spiritual development by living a code of friendship, tolerance, peace, and love, then even if we don't save this world, at least we'll each have a better chance of moving on to the next level! <br /><br /><table align="center" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" class="tr-caption-container" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto; text-align: center;"><tbody><tr><td style="text-align: center;"><a href="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-Ikc8v2sfGpY/UxJcDGb23BI/AAAAAAAAAgk/33efigdidKQ/s1600/Thiaoouba_DhaliLama.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;"><img border="0" src="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-Ikc8v2sfGpY/UxJcDGb23BI/AAAAAAAAAgk/33efigdidKQ/s1600/Thiaoouba_DhaliLama.jpg" /></a></td></tr><tr><td class="tr-caption" style="text-align: center;">Keep it simple: Focus on improving yourself, it's the only person you can truly change.</td></tr></tbody></table>Unknownnoreply@blogger.comtag:blogger.com,1999:blog-6497333203175478928.post-50480877456485746262013-10-30T16:39:00.000-05:002014-09-23T08:02:41.963-05:00Population Boom or Bust?<div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-bUr3WAIMqpo/UnFtyDg0GDI/AAAAAAAAAZo/imazJa90Jao/s1600/population_KillYourself.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="clear: left; float: left; margin-bottom: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" src="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-bUr3WAIMqpo/UnFtyDg0GDI/AAAAAAAAAZo/imazJa90Jao/s320/population_KillYourself.jpg" height="222" width="320" /></a></div>Since 1798 when <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_Robert_Malthus" target="_blank">Thomas Malthus</a> published "An Essay on the Principle of Population", the causes and consequences of a steadily increasing human population have been studied by society's elite and have influenced government policies, cultural institutions, and family norms.&nbsp; During his time the debate waged between whether or not we had a population problem.&nbsp; Does human population really grow geometrically while food production grows arithmetically, leading to inevitable starvations, wars for scarce resources, and other sources of misery?&nbsp; Or is this an imaginary problem?&nbsp; Can technological advances in agriculture keep pace with human population growth?&nbsp; If not, can individuals limit their collective growth to not exceed the scarce resources on this planet without the heavy hand of government?&nbsp; Or why look to this planet as the limit, is exponential growth our glorious destiny, with this planet just being the first stop to Alpha Centauri and beyond? <br /><br />Today the general consensus to these latter questions is no.&nbsp; There are too many people, and those people can't be counted on to live sustainable lives on their own accord.&nbsp; For every thousand specialists combating the social problems of crime, poverty, drug addiction, mental illness, suicide, and child abuse, you have one that sees these symptoms as branches, and unsustainable population growth as the root.&nbsp; But a tree needs soil, nutrients, water, and sunlight to live - so what feeds this tree of misery?&nbsp; Is it the human condition itself?&nbsp; Are we destined to breed beyond the earth's capacity to sustain us, always resulting in a society of haves and have-nots?&nbsp; Or is there something else feeding this problem?&nbsp; If so, what? <br /><br /><b>Human Beings as the Problem</b><br /><br />In the movie The Matrix, Agent Smith says that human beings are a disease.&nbsp; Many of our intellectual and government elite share that sentiment.&nbsp; They say <a href="http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/earthnews/9815862/Humans-are-plague-on-Earth-Attenborough.html" target="_blank">we are a plague</a>.&nbsp; Prince Henry fantasizes about being reincarnated as a deadly virus to thin the human population.&nbsp; Are they right?&nbsp; <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yZvLoaKMBrI" target="_blank">Does the earth have a bad case of the "humans"</a>?&nbsp; If so, then blasting off to other galaxies would just delay the inevitable.&nbsp; Einstein called compound interest the most powerful force in the universe, and we've all heard the legend of the mathematician's challenge to the king concerning <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wheat_and_chessboard_problem" target="_blank">rice and a chessboard</a>.&nbsp; Starting with 1 grain of rice and doubling it for every square on a chessboard results in 18,446,744,073,709,551,615 grains - a heap the size of Mount Everest.&nbsp; So if humans cannot live any way but through perpetual, exponential growth, assuming we live in a finite universe, then we would end up filling the stars until we've consumed every last resource - and then we'd all die. <br /><br /><table align="center" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" class="tr-caption-container" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto; text-align: center;"><tbody><tr><td style="text-align: center;"><a href="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-fFyfays4vgI/UnF0juOG1oI/AAAAAAAAAZ4/yjRiq1aQYDI/s1600/Population_exponentialgrowth.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;"><img border="0" src="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-fFyfays4vgI/UnF0juOG1oI/AAAAAAAAAZ4/yjRiq1aQYDI/s1600/Population_exponentialgrowth.jpg" /></a></td></tr><tr><td class="tr-caption" style="text-align: center;">If human populations grow exponentially in a finite universe, then the anti-humanists are right.&nbsp; Let's hope we can challenge one of those assumptions.</td></tr></tbody></table><br />This is a pretty grim picture, and there are only two answers to this scenario.&nbsp; The first is to challenge the assumption of living in a finite universe.&nbsp; If we could create free, limitless energy through cold fusion, taping into the <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zero-point_energy" target="_blank">zero-point field</a> or other methods, then perhaps the next advance in technology right around the corner will solve this seemingly insurmountable problem.&nbsp; Or do we live in a far uglier world, where free-energy devices have been suppressed by shadowy conspiracies as described in the documentary <a href="http://www.thrivemovement.com/" target="_blank">Thrive</a>? <br /><br />If we discount free-energy and assume that humans cannot naturally limit their growth through voluntary means, then an ends-justifies-the-means argument that most would find abhorrent becomes debatable.&nbsp; Should powerful governments use their monopoly on violence to force their captive citizens to limit their growth?&nbsp; Starting with the least objectionable means, governments could use "soft power" to promote zero-growth behaviors by offering free contraceptives and education to those that would otherwise go without.&nbsp; In the novel <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0393315088/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=0393315088&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=nathanklecom-20">The Wanting Seed</a> by Anthony Burgess, the governments in a world plagued by overpopulation resort to similar means, such as promoting homosexuality and sterilization while criminalizing families that have more than one child. <br /><br />Unfortunately, we don’t need to look to fiction to find examples of the "hard power" available to governments in their fight against population growth, and China's one-child policy is not the only illustration.&nbsp; The United States of America was the first country to forcibly sterilize tens of thousands of people when pursuing the pseudo-science of <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eugenics" target="_blank">eugenics</a>.&nbsp; As documented in Edwin Black's scholarly work, <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0914153293/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=0914153293&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=nathanklecom-20">War Against the Weak</a>, Hitler wrote love letters to American eugenicists while he sat in jail for the <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beer_Hall_Putsch" target="_blank">Beer Haul Putsch</a>.&nbsp; And the praise went both ways.&nbsp; American eugenicists wrote letters to each other describing their mutual admiration of Nazi Germany for taking the necessary steps that Americans were just not ready for.&nbsp; Needless to say, they kept their mouths shut when their dream of eugenics was exposed as a nightmare of crematoriums and concentration camps to the horror of the American public.&nbsp; As Michael Crichton writes in his essay <a href="http://www.crichton-official.com/essay-stateoffear-whypoliticizedscienceisdangerous.html" target="_blank">Why Politicized Science is Dangerous</a>, all of a sudden "nobody was a eugenicist, and nobody had ever been a eugenicist." <br /><br /><table align="center" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" class="tr-caption-container" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto; text-align: center;"><tbody><tr><td style="text-align: center;"><a href="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-3u8matnSqp4/UnF3VBGyTbI/AAAAAAAAAaE/dSHeuMFZr90/s1600/Population_eugenics.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;"><img border="0" src="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-3u8matnSqp4/UnF3VBGyTbI/AAAAAAAAAaE/dSHeuMFZr90/s1600/Population_eugenics.jpg" /></a></td></tr><tr><td class="tr-caption" style="text-align: center;">When governments get in the business of managing human&nbsp; populations they may have noble sounding reasons.&nbsp; Whether it's for improving the genetics of the human race or saving the earth, the ends do not justify the means.</td></tr></tbody></table><br />Reflecting on this example, we know the evils that governments are capable of when pursuing eugenics and its seemingly noble goal of "improving the qualities of future generations either physically or mentally".&nbsp; Given this recent history, it's not without precedent to suppose that future governments could resort to similarly genocidal means in the equally serious fight against overpopulation.&nbsp; <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x-CrNlilZho" target="_blank">Some will argue</a> that it's already happening right before our eyes, the only difference being the transition from Hitler's iron fist to a technocratic elite's velvet glove.&nbsp; Is this the Brave New World we have to look forward to?&nbsp; Is this truly our predicament? <br /><br /><b>One Culture as the Problem</b><br /><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-S0mRr0wAyGw/UnF4NvULzrI/AAAAAAAAAaM/tBElCFe9nas/s1600/Population_Ishmael.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="clear: left; float: left; margin-bottom: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" src="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-S0mRr0wAyGw/UnF4NvULzrI/AAAAAAAAAaM/tBElCFe9nas/s320/Population_Ishmael.jpg" height="320" width="304" /></a></div>At least one man says no: Humans qua humans are not the problem.&nbsp; Instead, it is only one human culture that is inherently unstable and plunging towards disaster.&nbsp; Unfortunately, that is the dominant culture compromising 99.99% of the people on planet earth.&nbsp; The man identified by this lone voice is <a href="http://ishmael.org/welcome.cfm" target="_blank">Daniel Quinn</a>, and he calls this a positive message.&nbsp; From his unique perspective it is very positive.&nbsp; After all, if human beings are truly the problem then the only solution to saving the planet consists of submitting to a scientific dictatorship, killing ourselves, and seeking happiness in the afterlife.&nbsp; But if it is just one culture that is the culprit, one particular set of rules, customs and way of thinking, just one culture out of the tens of thousands that have existed, then at least this can be changed.&nbsp; There is at least the possibility of hope. <br /><br />Quinn's worldview is explored in a quasi-trilogy consisting of three philosophical novels: <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0553375407/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=0553375407&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=nathanklecom-20">Ishmael</a>, <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0553379011/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=0553379011&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=nathanklecom-20">The Story of B</a>, and <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0553379658/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=0553379658&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=nathanklecom-20">My Ishmael</a>.&nbsp; All three are sub-titled "An Adventure of the Mind and Spirit" and they truly meet the definition of adventure as each book leads the unsuspecting reader through completely unknown territory via a Socratic dialogue that challenges our holiest beliefs and our most sacred cows.&nbsp; Whether or not you walk away converted by his message you will be changed.&nbsp; Unable to view our institutions and cultural norms through the same unquestioning eyes, you will hear the voice of Ishmael challenging you and pointing out the other way. <br /><br />So what is this new way of looking at the world, and how does it relate to the cause of our assumed population problem?&nbsp; The basis of this vision is the relatively new but seemingly unremarkable fact that the history of humans on this planet is not 10,000 years old, but approximately 3 million years old.&nbsp; This claim is considered uncontroversial stuff for everyone except the most die-hard bible thumpers, those who would claim that the earth itself is only a few thousand years old and <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R370YkYhV0w" target="_blank">dinosaur bones were placed by the devil to test our faith</a>. <br /><br />8,000 B.C. does not mark the creation of the earth or the birth of humans, but it does approximate the event we call the <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Agricultural_revolution" target="_blank">Agricultural Revolution</a>, which is the primary factor that unites our superficially different cultures both east and west.&nbsp; We are taught to view the Agricultural Revolution as the zeitgeist that lifted humanity out of the mud and set us on a journey that would eventually put us on the moon.&nbsp; Our evolutionary story is progressive and linear, always moving forward, never backward.&nbsp; From single-celled organisms that evolved into human's prehistoric ancestors, it was all leading up to the discovery of agriculture so that man could leave his animal brethren behind and take his rightful place with the gods as master of all he surveyed.&nbsp; It was only with the Agricultural Revolution that we started truly being human.&nbsp; Only with this milestone could we realize our vision that "the World was made for Man, and Man was made to conquer and rule it." <br /><br />Quinn's revolutionary doctrine posits the existence of a contrary world vision, one that is out of fashion today, but prior to the agricultural revolution was the world vision shared by the thousands of distinct human cultures that had spread to every continent on the earth at that time.&nbsp; This 3 million year old vision, still held by the 0.01% of the population that haven't joined us, like the Bushmen of Africa or the Alawa of Australia, says "the world is a sacred place and a sacred process, and we are a part of it." <br /><br /><table align="center" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" class="tr-caption-container" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto; text-align: center;"><tbody><tr><td style="text-align: center;"><a href="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-QXOIIbd4huI/UnF5pj7upcI/AAAAAAAAAac/V2XzI03mI50/s1600/Population_timeline.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;"><img border="0" src="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-QXOIIbd4huI/UnF5pj7upcI/AAAAAAAAAac/V2XzI03mI50/s640/Population_timeline.jpg" height="188" width="640" /></a></td></tr><tr><td class="tr-caption" style="text-align: center;">Leavers vs. Takers: not as a linear and evolutionary progression, but as a short-term deviation from a stable way of living that served us for millions of years.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>Will we survive it?</td></tr></tbody></table><br />For lack of a better term, Quinn calls the peoples that lived and still live by this radically different world view as "Leavers" while the rest of us are categorized as "Takers".&nbsp; The takers believe that humans own the world, while the leavers believe humans are part of the world.&nbsp; The takers live by the same law that regulates every other creature that we share this planet with, what Quinn calls the law of limited competition.&nbsp; This law says, "You may compete to the full extent of your capabilities, but you may not hunt down competitors or destroy their food or deny them access to food. In other words, you may compete but you may not wage war." <br /><br />For Quinn, this law of limited competition regulates the lives of lions, toads, and wombats.&nbsp; Indeed, all creatures that fly in the air, swim in the sea or slither on the ground must obey this law or face extinction, and the great folly of our culture is that we do not believe this law applies to us.&nbsp; If Quinn is correct, and humans aren't exempt from this law, then we may be in the same situation as the would-be pilot who is pushed off a cliff and trying to operate a flying machine that was not built according to the laws of aerodynamics.&nbsp; As our delusional pilot plummets to the ground he may believe he is flying, but that fantasy will be short lived as he rapidly approaches the consequences of disobeying a natural law.&nbsp; Similarly, since our culture does not obey the natural law that allowed our ancestors to live in harmony with the world for 3 million years, our last 10,000 years of history is a mere blink of the eye in the proper perspective.&nbsp; We may think we're flying, but we're really accelerating towards the destruction of all life on this planet, or at least the destruction of our own lives. <br /><br /><b>Agriculture as the Problem</b><br /><br />Now that the necessary background of leavers vs. takers has been introduced, we can visit Quinn's ideas concerning how agriculture contributes to the population problem. <br /><br />In <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0553375407/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=0553375407&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=nathanklecom-20">Ishmael</a>, Quinn seemed to argue that the Taker worldview is directly manifested through their form of agriculture.&nbsp; If man's destiny is to conquer and rule the world, then man's duty is to decide what lives and what dies.&nbsp; So we kill the wolves and the lions because they eat our sheep.&nbsp; We kill the grasshoppers and other insects that eat our crops.&nbsp; The Takers decided that rather than eating from the Garden of Eden like their Leaver brothers they would only dine on their most favorite foods and declare war on anything that got in their way. <br /><br />While it is much harder work to toil in the fields than to live as hunter-gatherers (Kalahari Bushman worked 12-19 hours a week for food, Tanzania Hadz nomads about 14 hours), it does create greater food surpluses than any other method.&nbsp; And here we come to Quinn's next radical claim: the food surpluses caused by adopting agriculture will result in a population increase, which will require more forests to be plowed over to plant our favorite foods, which will always lead to a further increase in population, which will require more land put to the plow, which will yet again enable an increased population, ad infinitum. <br /><br />In <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0553379011/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=0553379011&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=nathanklecom-20">The Story of B</a>, Quinn calls this an inevitable consequence of the ABCs of Ecology, where "A" represents "food" in its most general context.&nbsp; Food includes every creature in the community of life.&nbsp; Plant food, swimming food, flying food, crawling food, even humans - we are all food.&nbsp; The "B" represents how populations rise and fall depending on food availability, and he states this as a unbreakable law.&nbsp; "There is no species that dwindles in the midst of abundance, no species that thrives on nothing."&nbsp; It's hard to argue with that logic.<br /><br /><table align="center" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" class="tr-caption-container" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto; text-align: center;"><tbody><tr><td style="text-align: center;"><a href="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-8feT3GbsMgo/UnF6feHdhtI/AAAAAAAAAag/r2_7j7HyoRw/s1600/Population_ABCs.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;"><img border="0" src="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-8feT3GbsMgo/UnF6feHdhtI/AAAAAAAAAag/r2_7j7HyoRw/s1600/Population_ABCs.jpg" /></a></td></tr><tr><td class="tr-caption" style="text-align: center;">The ABC's of Ecology: As food populations increase, feeder populations increase. As feeder populations increase, food populations decrease. As food populations decrease, feeder populations decrease. As feeder populations decrease, food populations increase.</td></tr></tbody></table><br />Not only is this law of ecology plausible on the surface, but it seems to have some empirical evidence behind it as well.&nbsp; In <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0553375407/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=0553375407&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=nathanklecom-20">Ishmael</a>, Quinn walks us through our forgotten history as he plots the estimated human population from 3,000,000 B.C. to today.&nbsp; His point seems inescapable.&nbsp; For 3 million years man and his ancestors spread to every continent on the globe and developed a stable population with their environment.&nbsp; Even going from 200,000 B.C. to 10,000 B.C. gives us an estimated doubling rate of once every 19,000 years.&nbsp; But once you hit that 8,000 B.C. mark everything changes.&nbsp; All of a sudden that stable and slow growth starts looking exponential.&nbsp; The doubling takes 5,000 years, then 2,000 years, then 1,600.&nbsp; 1,400 years later we're at 1 B.C. and the human population has reached 200 million.&nbsp; It took us 1,200 years to reach 400 million, then just 500 years for 800 million.&nbsp; By 1900, 200 years later, we're at 1.5 billion.&nbsp; 1960 takes us to 3 billion, and by 1998 we've reached 6 billion - a doubling in just 36 years. <br /><br />For Quinn, these data points are fundamentally no different than what you'd see running an experiment with a population of rats as you increase their food supply and widen their cage.&nbsp; Our species is governed by the same laws as rats and deer and mountain lions, and we ignore this at our own peril.&nbsp; Our form of agriculture is unsustainable.&nbsp; We will never feed the whole world.&nbsp; For those in the 3rd world, their bellies will forever be empty.&nbsp; Any increase in food production will not feed them, it will just result in more damn people.&nbsp; It is was a losing battle before it ever began. <br /><br /><b>Libido Dominandi as the Problem</b><br /><br />After reading <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0553375407/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=0553375407&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=nathanklecom-20">Ishmael</a> I estimated that I was about 90% supportive of what he had to say.&nbsp; I enjoyed looking through his unique worldview.&nbsp; I found his arguments interesting and his Socratic dialogue engaging, but I wasn't ready to jump on the blame-agriculture bandwagon.&nbsp; I definitely agreed that our world is headed for disaster and that our culture as opposed to humans themselves require some major changes - but putting it all on agriculture didn't make sense.&nbsp; There were too many counter-arguments and counter-examples, some of which admitted by Quinn himself. <br /><br />In the first place, Quinn gives examples of Leaver cultures that practiced agriculture in various degrees.&nbsp; Some, like the Plains Indians, just devoted a fraction of their time to promoting the crops they enjoyed while still using the majority of their time to hunt and forage.&nbsp; He gives other examples of Leaver cultures that seemed to have experimented with heavy-duty agriculture but then apparently decided to abandon the practice and return to an easier way of life.&nbsp; If just one Leaver culture can practice agriculture without turning Taker, then clearly agriculture cannot be the defining characteristic of Takers nor the sine qua non of our population dilemma. <br /><br />In <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0553379011/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=0553379011&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=nathanklecom-20">The Story of B</a> Quinn introduces the term Totalitarian Agriculture, and defines it as "the style of agriculture whereby its practitioners destroy all competition and assume all resources are made only for their own use".&nbsp; But again, this is a matter of degrees.&nbsp; At what point are you merely promoting the crops you enjoy most versus declaring war on all life?&nbsp; That line is too fuzzy. <br /><br />In my mind, the key to what defines the Taker culture is revealed by Quinn himself as he describes how the Agricultural Revolution started in the fertile crescent and from there expanded until it eventually filled the world.&nbsp; The key is that the Takers would not let the Leavers live as they wanted to.&nbsp; The Takers either exterminated their Leaver competitors through war or assimilated them.&nbsp; The Takers did not agree with the philosophy of "live and let live".&nbsp; This is what puts the Totalitarian in Totalitarian Agriculture.&nbsp; The Taker's lust to dominate their fellow men is the key to this puzzle.&nbsp; Their insatiable desire to rule others is the real culprit, not agriculture. <br /><br />To be fair, this does introduce a chicken or egg scenario.&nbsp; Did the use of agriculture and the concomitant increase in population necessitate the conquering of neighboring tribes to capture their land?&nbsp; Or did the lust to dominate and rule other tribes give the first Taker the idea to put their captured slaves to work in the fields in order to feed this new ruling class?&nbsp; Where is the original sin?&nbsp; And just because one came first, does that make it the true cause of our problem? <br /><br />At the risk of appearing as one that sees a world of nails because all he has is a hammer, I believe libido dominandi, the lust to dominate, is the true issue.&nbsp; <a href="http://www.polyfacefarms.com/" target="_blank">Agriculture can be practiced sustainably and with respect to the environment</a> without introducing the spiraling chain of events that have led us to this unenviable position.&nbsp; The problem is not agriculture, but the desire to rule others, i.e. government.&nbsp; If the culture of governing is the problem, then a new culture of anarchism is the solution.<br /><br /><table align="center" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" class="tr-caption-container" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto; text-align: center;"><tbody><tr><td style="text-align: center;"><a href="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-hqcA7zb-JDU/UnF6upc9YmI/AAAAAAAAAao/EYknJpcTBaU/s1600/Population_99problems.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;"><img border="0" src="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-hqcA7zb-JDU/UnF6upc9YmI/AAAAAAAAAao/EYknJpcTBaU/s400/Population_99problems.jpg" height="400" width="276" /></a></td></tr><tr><td class="tr-caption" style="text-align: center;">Even the population problem?&nbsp; That's the way it looks...</td></tr></tbody></table><br />Although he never says it, Quinn gives plenty of supporting evidence to this claim.&nbsp; In <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0553379658/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=0553379658&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=nathanklecom-20">My Ishmael</a>, Quinn focuses mainly on our social institutions - how we raise our children, how we educate them, how we deal with conflicts, how we live as people.&nbsp; He compares our current methods with those employed by Leaver cultures, and points out that humans had ways of living peaceably for 3 million years, but we lost that knowledge over the last 10,000 years during "the Great Forgetting".&nbsp; The point that seemed obvious to me was that every leaver culture he described operated in a state of anarchy - there were no rulers.&nbsp; Now there were leaders to be sure, people voluntarily followed because of their wisdom or other qualities, but you never found a separate class of individuals with a monopoly on violence that lorded over everyone else. <br /><br />But more important than who started this fight, the question we must answer is how to fix it.&nbsp; Again, for every problem we currently face that Quinn described across his trilogy, I could always think of a government intervention as the cause.&nbsp; We're producing too much food? Look at the government subsidies to agriculture that distort market signals and cause entrepreneurs to grow more food then they otherwise would.&nbsp; Too many people?&nbsp; Look at the government programs that incentivize the very people that can least afford to have more children. <br /><br />Let's revisit the ABC's of Ecology through a more critical lens.&nbsp; The first challenge is against the claim that humans follow this law just like all other creatures on this planet.&nbsp; All of <a href="http://mises.org/" target="_blank">Austrian Economics</a> is predicated on the action acxiom.&nbsp; The defining characteristic of human beings is that they act, they engage in purposeful behavior.&nbsp; We are not billiard balls in an physics experiment that always act predictably given certain stimuli, we have the capacity to choose one thing over the other.&nbsp; And this choice could include the decision of whether to have children or to abstain from procreation. <br /><br />Quinn addresses this challenge by arguing that even though you don't see the population increase in the same vicinity as the over-production of food, that food still causes the increase in population in other countries.&nbsp; It's like a steam valve that must find some place to let loose the excess pressure, and in this case the North American bread basket is responsible for the population nightmare in the 3rd world.&nbsp; But there seems to be a much more obvious cause for these high birth rates. <br /><br />Look at the <a href="https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/rankorder/2127rank.html" target="_blank">birth rates by country rankings</a> compiled by the CIA.&nbsp; Now take a look at one of the <a href="http://www.heritage.org/index/ranking" target="_blank">freedom indexes</a> available.&nbsp; A <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sub-replacement_fertility" target="_blank">sub-replacement fertility rate</a> is anything lower than 2.1, and in the 3rd world countries of Africa you see the highest birth rates of 4, 5, 6 and as high as 7.03 in Niger.&nbsp; Western European countries have rates between 1.4 and 1.7 while America is just below the sub-replacement fertility rate at 2.06 and the UK is at 1.9.&nbsp; The countries with the lowest birth rates are the Asian countries with Japan at 1.39, South Korea at 1.24, Hong Kong at 1.11, and Singapore at 0.79.&nbsp; Notice that the two countries with the lowest birth rates are ranked as the #1 and #2 positions on the freedom index?&nbsp; Is it a coincidence that the countries with the least amount of freedom have the highest birth rates? <br /><br />Here's a theory: The freer a country is, the more prosperous it is.&nbsp; With a more prosperous country, the people of that country have a higher propensity to plan out their lives and choose to postpone or completely abstain from life decisions like marriage and/or children.&nbsp; As standards of living improve, people have a wider range of options for taking advantage of all the opportunities that capitalism provides with respect to both time and money.&nbsp; The pursuit of things like higher-education, a fulfilling career, personal interests, and travel necessitate having fewer children than a person otherwise would.&nbsp; But it doesn't have to be an all or nothing decision.&nbsp; Merely postponing a family to enjoy the luxuries of life leave fewer child-bearing years for mothers, so instead of starting at 20 and having 5 kids, they may start at 35 and have 1-2.&nbsp; This seems like a much more plausible explanation for the birth-rate difference while acknowledging that human beings have the power to choose their procreation plans. <br /><br />The governments of the world are holding the people of the 3rd world hostage.&nbsp; By oppressing them and denying them the benefits of private property and voluntary trade these governments keep the standard of living abysmally low and the population rate ridiculously unsustainable.&nbsp; Humans do not have to follow the ABCs of Ecology like garter snakes, dolphins and wildebeests.&nbsp; If the people in the freest countries can collectively choose to have a sub-replacement fertility rate and stabilize their population, then so can the people most oppressed in the 3rd world.&nbsp; We don't have to submit to a scientific dictatorship, kill each other, or resort to hunter-gatherer lifestyles to save the planet, we just need to be free. <br /><br /><b>Conclusion</b><br /><br />When trying to arrive at any serious concluding remarks on a topic like this, the term "pretense of knowledge" comes to mind.&nbsp; Writing a post that contains <a href="http://www.nathankleffman.com/2013/03/the-great-object-and-line-in-sand.html" target="_blank">everything I have to say about guns and gun rights</a> is a pretty straightforward task: assemble all of the known view points, categorize them, and support or attack the various arguments in a logical flow.<br /><br />But where do we start with the topic of our population problem?&nbsp; Maybe half the people believe we have a population problem and have already concluded that it is up to the government to stop it, the other half have either not heard of this problem or deny it exists, and virtually no one is even familiar with Daniel Quinn's perspective on this issue.&nbsp; Rather than claiming to write the definitive conclusion on the population problem, it seems much more honest to be one that merely spreads awareness that this topic exists and humbly attempts to add something of value to the ongoing conversation. <br /><br />While I might disagree with the final conclusions that Quinn draws, assuming I have correctly understood his position, I still can't recommend his books enough.&nbsp; I'm generally satisfied with a book if it teaches me something new, perhaps a re-branding of an old but forgotten insight, or a new argument that I hadn't considered before but am happy to add to my intellectual tool-belt.&nbsp; Based on that criteria, this Ishmael trilogy should be at the top of everyone's reading list, as it is so rare to come across a book or any form of media that exposes you to a completely new world view - to ways of thinking that you've never come across your whole life. <br /><br />Daniel Quinn explores the most important questions that we could possibly ponder, and we should all be exposed to his valuable perspective.&nbsp; What I have covered here is just the tip of the iceberg.&nbsp; His insights into our philosophies, myths, religions and social institutions are equally interesting.&nbsp; But if you choose not to expose yourself to these books and some potentially uncomfortable truths, then I at least hope you'll give it a second thought the next time someone boldly states as unquestionable fact that we have too many people and governments must be responsible for bringing us in check.&nbsp; Remember the following quote from Ismael, and challenge this very dangerous claim.&nbsp; The consequences of remaining silent and allowing this myth to spread from common-sense "fact" to government policy could be very dangerous for all of us. <br /><blockquote class="tr_bq">"There's nothing fundamentally wrong with people.&nbsp; Given a story to enact that puts them in accord with the world, they will live in accord with the world.&nbsp; But given a story to enact that puts them at odds with the world, as yours does, they will live at odds with the world.&nbsp; Given a story to enact in which they are the lords of the world, they will act as the lords of the world.&nbsp; And, given a story to enact in which the world is a foe to be conquered, they will conquer it like a foe, and one day, inevitably, their foe will lie bleeding to death at their feet, as the world is now."</blockquote><table align="center" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" class="tr-caption-container" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto; text-align: center;"><tbody><tr><td style="text-align: center;"><a href="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-pLN29k8GTak/UnF7fmB63tI/AAAAAAAAAa0/Jq12VFPhx-k/s1600/Population_ReadIshmael.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;"><img border="0" src="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-pLN29k8GTak/UnF7fmB63tI/AAAAAAAAAa0/Jq12VFPhx-k/s1600/Population_ReadIshmael.jpg" /></a></td></tr><tr><td class="tr-caption" style="text-align: center;">Seriously, read these books.&nbsp; Look - here's a guy in a gorilla suit.&nbsp; He can't be wrong.</td></tr></tbody></table>Unknownnoreply@blogger.comtag:blogger.com,1999:blog-6497333203175478928.post-74027594194426599982013-08-13T01:09:00.002-05:002014-09-23T08:00:22.702-05:00The Libertarian Debate: Principled or Practical?<div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-CimZKyFlRsk/UgnGeVMDb0I/AAAAAAAAAXw/icqn3H6Jk6I/s1600/libertarian_debate.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="clear: left; float: left; margin-bottom: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" src="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-CimZKyFlRsk/UgnGeVMDb0I/AAAAAAAAAXw/icqn3H6Jk6I/s400/libertarian_debate.jpg" height="132" width="400" /></a></div>The big and powerful political parties must always guard themselves from being taken over by hostile elements.&nbsp; Decades ago, small "s" socialists had a strategic decision to make: do we work to build the Socialist Party of America, or do we infiltrate the Democratic Party and take it over?&nbsp; They made their decision.&nbsp; Similarly, many small "l" libertarians have chosen to work with Dr. Paul on an outright takeover of the Republican Party.&nbsp; Time will tell whether the Ron Paul Republicans will be as successful as the socialists have been. <br /><br />Within the Libertarian Party we don't have as much to worry about from coup d'états and power grabs, but rather our infighting is like an honest and good-faith difference of opinion amongst old friends.&nbsp; We don't like to air our dirty laundry to the public, but within the "big tent" Libertarian Party, where we may agree on 95% of everything worth talking about, that last 5% is a doozy.&nbsp; Minarchism vs. Anarchism. <br /><br />As I first found out at the 2012 LP National Convention in Las Vegas, an understanding was reached at the 1974 Libertarian National Convention regarding this divisive issue.&nbsp; Known as the <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dallas_Accord" target="_blank">Dallas Accord</a>, it was a agreement that would satisfy both the minarchist and anarchist factions within the LP by keeping the platform purposefully vague as to whether a state should exist at all.&nbsp; The thinking behind the truce was that all libertarians can agree our present government needs to get dramatically smaller, so let's join together in that common goal where we have that 95% agreement.&nbsp; <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Perfect_is_the_enemy_of_good" target="_blank">Don't let perfect be the enemy of the good</a>.&nbsp; With a slogan like "<a href="http://www.lp.org/" target="_blank">Minimum Government, Maximum Freedom</a>", each libertarian can define that minimum in his own mind, whether it be the minarchist "night watchmen state" or the true minimum of zero, a society that lacks an institution with a monopoly on aggressive violence.&nbsp; As more conservative and constitutional leaning libertarians have joined the party in the last decade, 2006 and 2008 saw a swing in the LP power structure in favor of the minarchists, where our choice of candidates and changes to our platform disenchanted many an-cap libertarians. <br /><br /><a href="http://reason.com/blog/2012/05/05/anarchy-at-the-libertarian-party-convent" target="_blank">The 2012 national convention saw a partial reversal of this power swing</a>, making it an excellent time for the party to have an honest conversation with itself and revisit the reasons the Dallas Accord was made in the first place.&nbsp; The Libertarian Party of Texas decided to host such a conversation in the form of a 2 on 2 debate this summer titled "<a href="http://www.lptexas.org/node/200" target="_blank">The Ultimate Debate: Low Tax versus No Tax</a>".&nbsp; Since there are some that don't want libertarians to say the word "anarchism", let alone acknowledge such forces exist within the party, "no taxes" was chosen as a suitable marketing substitute for the "A" word. <br /><br />One of the participants on the "No Tax" side could not attend due to a family emergency, and I was asked to take his place 2 hours before the debate.&nbsp; "The show must go on". <br /><br /><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/hpMjEsQnh98" width="560"></iframe> <br />Going into the debate I planned to focus on three lines of attack: the moral argument against taxation, the economic argument against taxation, and the naiveté of expecting "low taxes" to stay low in the long run.&nbsp; My opponents were very clever.&nbsp; They didn't challenge me that taxation was theft - they agreed.&nbsp; They didn't challenge me that our ultimate aim should be to get rid of taxes altogether, they agreed that was a worthwhile goal.&nbsp; One of my opponents didn't even resort to the "what about the roads" argument, he acknowledged that services like roads, defense, and arbitration could be supplied in a free and voluntary market. <br /><br />So where did they get me?&nbsp; The real debate came down to this: do we take the principled or the practical route on this journey to freedom?&nbsp; A "no taxes" / anarcho-capitalist platform is not currently practical.&nbsp; Can I get elected on this platform?&nbsp; Could I get any bills passed?&nbsp; Are the American people ready to entertain these ideas, let alone vote for someone openly advocating them?&nbsp; I admit the answer is "no".&nbsp; This is not a question of beliefs, but one of tactics and strategy.&nbsp; More or less, the debate came down to, "Yes, I agree that "no taxes" is the correct moral choice, and I may even acknowledge it could work economically, but the people just aren't ready for it, so let's be reasonable or they won't take us seriously." <br /><br />I didn't have a satisfactory answer to that line of attack during the debate, but now I offer a story followed by a few arguments for why libertarians should stick to our principled beliefs rather than water-down our platform or message to what is expedient or currently practical.&nbsp; In short, why we should live up to the name "The Party of Principle". <br /><br /><b>The Story of the Practical Abolitionist</b><br /><br />It's pre-civil war America, and a small minority of people have come to a radical conclusion: the institution of slavery is wretched, indefensible, and morally <i>wrong</i>.&nbsp; They call themselves abolitionists, and their common goal is to end slavery.&nbsp; They have quite an uphill battle.&nbsp; Most of their countrymen do not agree with the abolitionists, either believing that slavery is a good thing (at least for the non-slaves) or that slavery is a necessary feature of this imperfect life.&nbsp; Like death and taxes, you may not like it, but there is no escaping it.&nbsp; The best you can hope for is to be on the right side of the whip. <br /><br />We have established the abolitionist's common purpose, their goal, the vision that unites them and defines them as "abolitionists": the end of slavery.&nbsp; Now comes the question of tactics and strategy, which is a topic that divides the abolitionists into different camps.&nbsp; Some believe that education and persuasion is the right course of action.&nbsp; Abolitionists should write letters, give speeches, and utilize every non-coercive means available to spread their message and change the hearts of their brethren one at a time. <br /><br />Other abolitionists are not patient enough for this line of thinking.&nbsp; Slavery is horrible, and people are suffering <i>every day</i>.&nbsp; There is simply no time to wait for a slow conversion of hearts and minds.&nbsp; Direct action must be taken to show these slave masters that we mean business.&nbsp; Run-away slaves should be protected and transported to free lands.&nbsp; Slave insurrections should be encouraged and nurtured.&nbsp; Every law that protects this evil institution should be resisted and openly broken.&nbsp; Anything less makes you nothing but an "Ivory Tower Abolitionist".<br /><br /><table align="center" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" class="tr-caption-container" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto; text-align: center;"><tbody><tr><td style="text-align: center;"><a href="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-SMTzhutUQ5I/UgnLPYA5frI/AAAAAAAAAYA/saSJW3MZmag/s1600/abolitionist_options.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;"><img border="0" src="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-SMTzhutUQ5I/UgnLPYA5frI/AAAAAAAAAYA/saSJW3MZmag/s640/abolitionist_options.jpg" height="310" width="640" /></a></td></tr><tr><td class="tr-caption" style="text-align: center;">The abolitionists have a wide range of options in pursuit of their common goal.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>Everything from peaceful persuasion to violent rebellion is a conceivable option in the fight against slavery.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>But what is the right strategy in the short term vs. the long term?<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>The two may not be the same.</td></tr></tbody></table><br />Another group of abolitionists recognize that their government's policy is a major contributor to the institution of slavery.&nbsp; Fugitive slave laws make it a crime to assist run-away slaves, even when their masters are in far away states.&nbsp; Since none of the major parties would risk going against the majority of the voters by taking a principled stand against slavery, this group wants to use the political mechanisms available to them to promote their cause.&nbsp; By creating the "Abolitionist Party" they can not only use this vehicle to educate their countrymen when they go to the polls, but it is conceivable that they could influence other parties as they take away votes, and perhaps even someday win and implement abolitionist policies to end slavery. <br /><br />Within this politically oriented group there is another question that divides them: how do we craft our message?&nbsp; The "hardcore" and "radical" elements of the Abolitionist Party want to openly promote the complete end of slavery.&nbsp; They boldly proclaim, "No man should be owned as the property of another.&nbsp; The way to interact with each other is through commerce and voluntary association, not with chains and whips." <br /><br />But another faction thinks otherwise.&nbsp; The people will never take our party seriously if we advocate completely ending slavery over-night.&nbsp; Yes, it's a worthwhile goal in the long run, but for the next election it would be disastrous!&nbsp; Number one, it would destroy the economy that is built upon the institution of slavery.&nbsp; Second, these slaves are not equipped with the responsibilities that freedom requires; who would take care of them?&nbsp; Or maybe taking care of them is the last thing to be worried about, maybe some will be angry and we'll have violent riots on our hands!&nbsp; "Don't get me wrong", says the practical abolitionist, "I'm with you on ending slavery, but let's not let the perfect be the enemy of the good.&nbsp; How about we endorse a measure to decrease slavery by 29%?&nbsp; Today we have slavery 7 days a week, so if we grant 2 days of freedom a week, say on Saturday and Sunday, then that would certainly be an improvement over current conditions.&nbsp; Once we have 2 days of freedom, we can work on a 3rd, 4th, etc.&nbsp; That is certainly a more practical strategy given current conditions, right?" <br /><br /><b>Lessons from the Practical Abolitionist</b><br /><br />How do we respond to the practical abolitionist?&nbsp; With knowledge of how the past played itself out we can easily point out the error of his ways.&nbsp; In fact, knowing that the abolitionist cause ultimately succeeds makes this story a little silly.&nbsp; But the point isn't whether it's silly or not from our vantage point, but whether the parallel is a valid one.&nbsp; If so, then perhaps the practical elements of our own party will seem silly to our descendants in the utopic libertarian future. <br /><br />With 20/20 hindsight vision, it's clear that the "practical abolitionist" is his own worst enemy by endorsing a goal of "reducing slavery by 29%".&nbsp; Given the conditions of that time, it may be more realistic to reduce slavery then to end it, but he is making the mistake of sacrificing the integrity of his long-term goal for a short-term win.&nbsp; He is playing into the hands of his opponents.&nbsp; Why should anyone else adopt the long term goal of "ending slavery completely" when even the so-called abolitionists seem to endorse slavery for 5 days a week? If slavery is a moral outrage, a crime against humanity, and a sin under god, then it must be totally wiped out.&nbsp; But if the group that is most publicly denouncing slavery is satisfied with a mere reduction in this great sin, then there must be some flaw in the arguments.&nbsp; Now the abolitionist brand has been compromised.&nbsp; As "purists" in the Libertarian Party have been known to point out, when we water down our message we lose twice, first by not winning the election, and second because we didn't even get our message out.&nbsp; By focusing too much on short-term wins in the political arena we forget about the long term goal of education and spreading the message.&nbsp; Without that the big political wins can never be accomplished. <br /><br />While it might bring charges ranging from rudeness to being a proponent of "abolition purity tests", the impact of the "practical abolitionist" is so disastrous to the Abolitionist Party that it may be prudent to question the sincerity of his beliefs.&nbsp; After all, the practical abolitionist is confusing the abolitionist message in the minds of the voter, he is giving his opponents an easy line of attack with charges of hypocrisy and insincerity, and in some cases he even gives lip service to his enemy's propaganda rather than combating it when he uses it as the excuse for why people aren't ready for the "hard-core" message. <br /><br /><table align="center" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" class="tr-caption-container" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto; text-align: center;"><tbody><tr><td style="text-align: center;"><a href="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-HpxIogFafM4/UgnLeRQfLSI/AAAAAAAAAYI/4FfmMg6seuk/s1600/break_the_chains.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;"><img border="0" src="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-HpxIogFafM4/UgnLeRQfLSI/AAAAAAAAAYI/4FfmMg6seuk/s400/break_the_chains.jpg" height="190" width="400" /></a></td></tr><tr><td class="tr-caption" style="text-align: center;">We should always advocate breaking the chains of slavery, never to make the chains more comfortable.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>When we take the practical route we inadvertently advocate<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;"> </span>the very system we claim to fight.</td></tr></tbody></table><br />It gets even worse than this.&nbsp; If slavery is the evil that the abolitionists claim, why would they support any goal that would make slavery more tolerable to live under?&nbsp; The more obvious the evil is, the easier it will be to recruit new abolitionists to combat it.&nbsp; But if they are successful at "reducing slavery" then they will also be taking the wind out of the sails of their movement.&nbsp; Those that were at the edge of pledging their "lives, fortunes, and sacred honor" will now be placated with this bone thrown at them.&nbsp; From this perspective, the message of the practical abolitionist isn't so different from the deviously clever strategy of "Mr. Smith" in Larken Rose's parable of "<a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vb8Rj5xkDPk" target="_blank">The Jones Plantation</a>". <br /><br />This brings up the next point, what inspires people to join a movement?&nbsp; When you're up against the odds and looking to change hearts and minds, it's not prudency or the ability to compromise that converts people to your cause.&nbsp; From my own perspective I can say with confidence it was the opposite; I fell in love with the logical consistency and principled stance of the libertarian message.&nbsp; Here are people that when they say something, they really mean it.&nbsp; But beyond my personal anecdote, which may be a fluke, we can look to the man who has undoubtedly turned more people onto the libertarian message than anyone else, Dr. Ron Paul.&nbsp; When new converts speak of him, they don't get into the details of the libertarian message, they talk about his consistency.&nbsp; Here is a man that I can trust because he stands for something; he says what he believes and he believes what he says. <br /><br />Back to the abolitionist analogy, we see the same respect for the man of principle and disgust with the compromisers and hypocrites.&nbsp; Say anything positive about the constitution or the libertarian beliefs of the founding fathers and the msm talking point is immediately relayed like a dog salivating to the ring of a bell: "The founders were hypocrites!&nbsp; A bunch of white men that talked about freedom and equality but owned slaves, why should I trust anything they said?" <br /><br />And the worst part is… they are right.&nbsp; It was hypocritical to talk about freedom being an unalienable right granted by a creator from one side of your mouth while defending the ownership of slaves with the other.&nbsp; It is cognitive dissonance, doublethink, and schizophrenic thinking at its worst.&nbsp; Now the opponents of freedom can denigrate the idea completely.&nbsp; If these so-called founders didn't even believe in freedom, then surely no one did… well, except for someone named <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lysander_Spooner" target="_blank">Lysander Spooner</a>. <br /><br />A tribute to this heroic man deserves its own post, but long story short, here is an abolitionist that walked the walk.&nbsp; He used every action available to him to further the abolitionist cause.&nbsp; He wrote pamphlets and books to spread the message, including the very influential "<a href="http://lysanderspooner.org/node/23" target="_blank">The Unconstitutionality of Slavery</a>."&nbsp; He promoted plans for guerrilla warfare against slave holders and conspired with the "activist" members of his group to plot insurrections, even participating in one himself to free a fellow abolitionist.&nbsp; And most obviously, he didn't own any slaves.&nbsp; Today Lysander is a hero to principled libertarians.&nbsp; His writings did not debate the petty issues of his day, instead he wrote about broad principles of liberty and justice that transcend space and time; hence his legacy will live on forever.&nbsp; We want to be the Lysander Spooners of the freedom movement, not the "practical abolitionists".<br /><br /><table align="center" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" class="tr-caption-container" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto; text-align: center;"><tbody><tr><td style="text-align: center;"><a href="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-e45nvsp_hKE/UgnL7HrPknI/AAAAAAAAAYQ/ZGYkd2hzres/s1600/Lysander_meme_collage.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;"><img border="0" src="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-e45nvsp_hKE/UgnL7HrPknI/AAAAAAAAAYQ/ZGYkd2hzres/s640/Lysander_meme_collage.jpg" height="273" width="640" /></a></td></tr><tr><td class="tr-caption" style="text-align: center;">No one remembers the practical abolitionists, but Lysander's memes will live in the internet forever.</td></tr></tbody></table><br /><b>Conclusion</b><br /><br />The most compelling part of the practical argument for low taxes is painting the picture of what would happen to the less fortunate if we ended taxation tomorrow.&nbsp; Most obviously, goods and services that have been monopolized by the government would take time to transition to being run by the private sector.&nbsp; So think of all of the people dependent on these government services, including welfare, Medicaid, and Social Security.&nbsp; These programs are paid via taxation, so what happens to them if that revenue stream no longer has a gun to keep it flowing? <br /><br />Going back to the slavery / abolitionist theme, it reminds me of the following quote from the great British abolitionist <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_Babington_Macaulay,_1st_Baron_Macaulay" target="_blank">Thomas Macaulay</a>: <br /><blockquote class="tr_bq">"There is only one cure for evils which newly acquired freedom produces, and that cure is freedom.&nbsp; When a prisoner first leaves his cell, he cannot bear the light of day, he is unable to discriminate colors, or recognize faces.&nbsp; The remedy is to accustom him to the rays of the sun. <br /><br />The blaze of truth and liberty may at first dazzle and bewilder nations which have become half blind in the house of bondage.&nbsp; But let them gaze on, and they will soon be able to bear it,… <br /><br />Many politicians of our time are in the habit of laying it down as a self-evident proposition, that no people out to be free till they are fit to use their freedom.&nbsp; The maxim is worthy of the fool in the old story, who resolved not to go into the water till he had learned to swim.&nbsp; If men are to wait for liberty till they become wise and good in slavery, they may indeed wait forever." </blockquote>This quote is the ultimate answer to the "practical abolitionist" of the 19th century and to his descendants within the Libertarian Party today.&nbsp; The flip side to freedom is responsibility, and the ability to take responsibility for your actions is a muscle that must be flexed from regular use or it will atrophy and decay to a shadow of its potential.&nbsp; The "practical abolitionist" says the people aren't ready for freedom, so let's be reasonable and promote practical measures.&nbsp; History tells us he was wrong.&nbsp; If Dr. Martin Luther King was correct, and “the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice”, then we should look to the optimist within and have confidence that in time our message will succeed.&nbsp; And when that day comes, we want to be standing on the right side of history.&nbsp; The next viral video shouldn't be "<a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=meFjza6BpEA" target="_blank">Ron Paul was Right</a>" or "<a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2I0QN-FYkpw" target="_blank">Peter Schiff was Right</a>", but "The Libertarians were Right!" Unknownnoreply@blogger.comtag:blogger.com,1999:blog-6497333203175478928.post-36559265257454787812013-07-04T09:32:00.000-05:002014-09-22T17:32:34.332-05:00Our Most Shameful Holiday<div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-_2TPRGW-7j0/UdWAeI-ayfI/AAAAAAAAAV0/vWMIrbg_I6M/s515/July4th_Shame.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="clear: left; float: left; margin-bottom: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" src="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-_2TPRGW-7j0/UdWAeI-ayfI/AAAAAAAAAV0/vWMIrbg_I6M/s320/July4th_Shame.jpg" height="320" width="310" /></a></div>Today is the 4th of July.&nbsp; It is a little known fact that we get off work not because it's the 4th day of the 7th month, or because the government declared this holiday to stimulate the boating, fireworks, and alcohol industries, but because it commemorates Independence Day.&nbsp; If you know this refers to the year 1776 when the delegates of the 13 colonies signed the Declaration of Independence to formally break their ties with Great Britain and kick-start the American Revolution, then good for you.&nbsp; Your neck must hurt from carrying around your giant brain.&nbsp; It's painful to watch, but <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SRkFDcX_72c" target="_blank">man on the street interviews like this</a> show just how clueless the average person is when it comes to basic American history.&nbsp; We declared independence from China in 1976 when Jesse Ventura signed the Declaration of Independence?&nbsp; Sure, why not? <br /><br />However, it is not just the gross ignorance of the American <a href="http://www.achehtimes.com/wordwealth/a-z/b/booboisie.htm" target="_blank">booboisie</a> that makes me ashamed to celebrate the 4th of July.&nbsp; Indeed, no matter how educated you are or what you believe, I don't think anyone can be proud of this holiday.&nbsp; No celebration should be had.&nbsp; Take the day off, drink some beer, eat some hot dogs, but don't salute the flag, shed a tear at the national anthem, or speak fondly of the freest country on Earth.&nbsp; The most appropriate action would be one of mourning, like pouring out a beer for a dead homie. <br /><br /><b>Proud of our Government?</b><br /><br />Proud of our "<a href="http://www.nathankleffman.com/2011/12/america-by-any-other-name-would-be-as.html" target="_blank">democracy</a>"?&nbsp; We're spreading freedom throughout the globe after all.&nbsp; Are you one of the <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2013/06/most-americans-still-ok-nsa-spying-programs" target="_blank">56% of Americans that think NSA spying is a good thing if it keeps us safe</a>?&nbsp; Do you thank your TSA officer after he gives you a thorough pat-down?&nbsp; It must be a hard job to have to touch people like that, but good for them, our security is their priority.&nbsp; And <a href="http://www.newsmax.com/Newsfront/poll-liberty-versus-security/2013/05/01/id/502326" target="_blank">4 out of 10 Americans agree</a>: giving up some of our liberties is a good thing if it makes us safer.&nbsp; Are you one of the <a href="http://blogs.wsj.com/washwire/2013/06/05/wsjnbc-poll-drone-attacks-have-broad-support/" target="_blank">66% of Americans that approve of our use of drone strikes across the globe</a>?&nbsp; Hey, Obama didn't start the war, but he's got to finish it, right?&nbsp; What else is a Nobel Peace Prize winner to do? <br /><br />Do you feel that justice is served when drug dealers, prostitutes, tax-evaders, gun nuts, and other breakers of law and order are arrested and go to jail?&nbsp; When Randy Weaver's son was gunned down and his wife executed while holding her infant baby in her arms at Ruby Ridge, did you comfort yourself by reflecting that anyone that breaks a gun law and resists arrest gets what is coming to him?&nbsp; When <a href="http://topdocumentaryfilms.com/waco-a-new-revelation/" target="_blank">Delta Force and Bradley tanks ended the siege in Waco, Texas</a> and 76 Branch Davidians were burned alive, did you shrug off this event as they were nothing but cultists?&nbsp; Do you think Julian Assange, Bradley Manning, and Edward Snowden are spies, terrorists, or otherwise enemies of America that should be locked up without a trial?&nbsp; When martial law, I mean, shelter-in-place, was declared in Boston and the suspected teenage terrorists were killed and brought to justice, did you cheer "USA, USA, USA"? <br /><br />Alright then.&nbsp; You have no business celebrating the 4th of July. <br /><br />After all, just what exactly are you celebrating?&nbsp; Who were these founding fathers and what was the Declaration of Independence? <br /><br /><table align="center" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" class="tr-caption-container" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto; text-align: center;"><tbody><tr><td style="text-align: center;"><a href="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-upculKCYbdI/UdWB8nf2fzI/AAAAAAAAAWE/pMgVYPr--n8/s652/July4th_SchoolTeaching.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;"><img border="0" src="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-upculKCYbdI/UdWB8nf2fzI/AAAAAAAAAWE/pMgVYPr--n8/s640/July4th_SchoolTeaching.jpg" height="430" width="640" /></a></td></tr><tr><td class="tr-caption" style="text-align: center;">Even if we celebrate the actions of terrorists, at least our children will know better.</td></tr></tbody></table><br /><a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZPg9MdN9Gio" target="_blank">Ask this FEMA trainer</a>, and he'll tell you that the founders were America's first home-grown terrorists.&nbsp; The Declaration of Independence was a traitorous, secessionist document.&nbsp; The first shots at Lexington and Concord were those of criminals murdering the police and soldiers of their lawful government!&nbsp; Thankfully, our public schools are beginning to identify these domestic extremist's actions, <a href="http://beforeitsnews.com/tea-party/2012/11/the-boston-tea-partiers-were-terrorists-2465858.html" target="_blank">like the Boston Tea Party</a>, as acts of terrorism.&nbsp; And there is no debating it, they are correct. <br /><br />As <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2Msr01w7iYw" target="_blank">Larken Rose eloquently spoke</a> of the so-called founding fathers in front of Independence Hall on July 4th, 2009: <br /><blockquote class="tr_bq">"In short, they committed treason.&nbsp; They broke the law.&nbsp; They disobeyed their government.&nbsp; They were traitors, criminals and tax cheats.&nbsp; The Boston Tea Party was not merely a tax protest, but open lawlessness.&nbsp; Furthermore, truth be told, some of the colonists were even cop-killers.&nbsp; At Lexington, when King George's "law enforcers" told the colonists to lay down their guns, the colonists responded with, "No, you're not the boss of us!"&nbsp; And so we had "The Shot Heard 'Round the World," widely regarded as the beginning of the American Revolution. <br /><br />Looking back now, we know the outcome.&nbsp; We know who eventually won, and we don't mind cheering for the rebels.&nbsp; But make no mistake: when you cheer for the founders of this country, you are cheering for law-breakers and traitors. <br /><br />... <br /><br />Suppose a group in this country today did what the founders did 233 years ago?&nbsp; Suppose they wrote a letter to the United States government, a letter to Congress and the President, and said "We will not pay your taxes ever again.&nbsp; We will not obey your laws ever again.&nbsp; We do not acknowledge your right to rule us at all ever again, and when you send your thugs to enforce your will on us we will resist". <br /><br />How many Americans dare to even think that?&nbsp; And what would most Americans think of any group that did that?&nbsp; Horrible criminals and traitors and fringe lunatics and we can't have that!&nbsp; Why do we have this double standard?&nbsp; Why does the whole country have these huge celebrations over Independence Day when a bunch of criminals broke the law, committed treason, and resisted authority?" </blockquote>Indeed, why celebrate the 4th of July at all?&nbsp; For someone that is pleased with the American government, celebrating Independence Day is as grotesque and inappropriate as celebrating the anniversary of the Trail of Tears, the Tuskegee Experiments, the internment of Japanese Americans during WWII, and other blemishes on our country's history.&nbsp; Have we no shame? <br /><br /><b>Proud of the Founders?</b><br /><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-5ZH-Qm0SW3M/UdWGKXt8F3I/AAAAAAAAAWs/lvYpKJyiFZg/s471/July4th_FreeSpeech.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="clear: left; float: left; margin-bottom: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" src="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-5ZH-Qm0SW3M/UdWGKXt8F3I/AAAAAAAAAWs/lvYpKJyiFZg/s320/July4th_FreeSpeech.jpg" height="320" width="262" /></a></div>So let's look at the other side of this coin.&nbsp; Are you a conservative that admires the founding fathers?&nbsp; Do you consider yourself a constitutionalist and think it was a document inspired by God?&nbsp; Even without going to that extreme, do you like the idea of limited government, free markets, and the rule of law?&nbsp; Do you think taxes are too high or regulations too tight?&nbsp; Do you think you have <a href="http://www.nathankleffman.com/2011/09/rights-privileges-and-property.html" target="_blank">natural rights as opposed to privileges</a> conferred by government?&nbsp; Do you feel we have moved away from principles of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights to our own detriment and peril? <br /><br />If that's the case, then you should celebrate the 4th of July like you would celebrate the funeral of your mother. <br /><br />Read Gary North's article "<a href="http://lewrockwell.com/north/north1002.html" target="_blank">Tricked on the Fourth of July</a>".&nbsp; Did you ever realize how good the British people had it?&nbsp; 1% - 2.5% of the national income went to taxes, that's all?&nbsp; No income tax?&nbsp; No property or sales taxes, just a measly excise tax on tea?&nbsp; I can only dream of being as free as an American colonist under the "tyranny" of King George! <br /><br />Read Jacob G. Hornberger's article "<a href="http://www.lewrockwell.com/hornberger/hornberger149.html" target="_blank">The Real Meaning of the fourth of July</a>".&nbsp; How quaint.&nbsp; So you're telling me this holiday is about all men having fundamental and unalienable rights, with a lawful government's only role as the protection of those inherent rights?&nbsp; And if the government becomes destructive towards those rights, it is the right of the people to alter or abolish it?&nbsp; Pure treason and lunacy in this day and age.&nbsp; The real kicker is when he speaks of a <a href="http://www.nathankleffman.com/2012/05/constitution-and-intellectual-honesty.html" target="_blank">limited government which only has the powers enumerated within the Constitution</a>.&nbsp; Apparently he's never heard of "Necessary and Proper", the "General Welfare", or "Interstate Commerce".&nbsp; Everyone knows that the government can pass any law that can command us to do, not do, buy or not buy, just about anything under these provisions.&nbsp; The gods in black robes called the Supreme Court said so! <br /><br />In all seriousness, for anyone that cherishes the principles that America was founded on, it is a daily exercise to keep from sinking into depression, let alone on a day meant to celebrate those principles. <br /><br />In Eric Peter's article "<a href="http://www.lewrockwell.com/peters-e/peters-e45.1.html" target="_blank">The fourth of July: Why Bother?</a>", he touches on just a few of the freedoms this day is supposed to celebrate, and contrasts them with our grim reality.&nbsp; Since analyzing the supposedly constitutionally protected rights that are violated daily is a child's exercise, he looks at rights not enumerated in the Bill of Rights that would fall under the 9th Amendment such as the right to travel, the right to associate, the right to own property and the right to buy or not buy health insurance.&nbsp; But the list could go on and on, so why not?&nbsp; A disease cannot be treated until it is diagnosed, and we don’t do ourselves any favors by wearing rose-colored glasses to disguise just how far we've fallen from the founder's America. <br /><br />Not codified in any founding documents, but an American principle nonetheless, was America's attitude towards foreign wars.&nbsp; In <a href="http://avalon.law.yale.edu/18th_century/washing.asp" target="_blank">George Washington's farewell address</a>, he warned against the "insidious wiles of foreign influence" and to "steer clear of permanent alliances", as our true rule of conduct with foreign nations is in "extending our commercial relations" and "to have with them as little political connection as possible".&nbsp; On July 4th, 1821 <a href="http://millercenter.org/president/speeches/detail/3484" target="_blank">John Quincy Adams spoke to the U.S. House of Representatives</a>&nbsp;and said: <br /><blockquote class="tr_bq">"Wherever the standard of freedom and Independence has been or shall be unfurled, there will her heart, her benedictions and her prayers be.<br />But she goes not abroad, in search of monsters to destroy.<br />She is the well-wisher to the freedom and independence of all.<br />She is the champion and vindicator only of her own.<br />She will commend the general cause by the countenance of her voice, and the benignant sympathy of her example.<br />She well knows that by once enlisting under other banners than her own, were they even the banners of foreign independence, she would involve herself beyond the power of extrication, in all the wars of interest and intrigue, of individual avarice, envy, and ambition, which assume the colors and usurp the standard of freedom.<br />The fundamental maxims of her policy would insensibly change from liberty to force....<br />She might become the dictatress of the world. She would be no longer the ruler of her own spirit....<br />[America’s] glory is not dominion, but liberty. Her march is the march of the mind. She has a spear and a shield: but the motto upon her shield is, Freedom, Independence, Peace. This has been her Declaration: this has been, as far as her necessary intercourse with the rest of mankind would permit, her practice." </blockquote>So much for all that.&nbsp; America has 700 military bases in 120 different foreign countries, and our troops are involved in <a href="http://www.globalresearch.ca/u-s-currently-fighting-74-different-wars-and-many-more-covert-wars/5334676" target="_blank">74 different wars</a>.&nbsp; And yet, with as many troops as we have fighting "terrorists" in other countries, we are losing more troops to suicide then to combat, <a href="http://www.forbes.com/sites/melaniehaiken/2013/02/05/22-the-number-of-veterans-who-now-commit-suicide-every-day/" target="_blank">some 22 a day</a>, just about 1 an hour. <br /><br />So when we're asked to support our troops this Independence Day, as false analogies compare our murderous adventures abroad to a defensive war at home, remember the suicide letter of <a href="http://gawker.com/i-am-sorry-that-it-has-come-to-this-a-soldiers-last-534538357" target="_blank">Daniel Summers, a veteran of the Iraq war</a>: <br /><blockquote class="tr_bq">"The simple truth is this: During my first deployment, I was made to participate in things, the enormity of which is hard to describe.&nbsp; War crimes, crimes against humanity.&nbsp; Though I did not participate willingly, and made what I thought was my best effort to stop these events, there are some things that a person simply can not come back from.&nbsp; I take some pride in that, actually, as to move on in life after being part of such a thing would be the mark of a sociopath in my mind.&nbsp; These things go far beyond what most are even aware of. <br /><br />To force me to do these things and then participate in the ensuing coverup is more than any government has the right to demand. <br /><br />... <br /><br />The fact is that any kind of ordinary life is an insult to those who died at my hand.&nbsp; How can I possibly go around like everyone else while the widows and orphans I created continue to struggle?&nbsp; If they could see me sitting here in suburbia, in my comfortable home working on some music project they would be outraged, and rightfully so." </blockquote><table align="center" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" class="tr-caption-container" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto; text-align: center;"><tbody><tr><td style="text-align: center;"><a href="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-DowrNZy9Ong/UdWFHaR40rI/AAAAAAAAAWU/ticko9sEP9c/s703/July4th_SupportTheTroops.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;"><img border="0" src="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-DowrNZy9Ong/UdWFHaR40rI/AAAAAAAAAWU/ticko9sEP9c/s640/July4th_SupportTheTroops.jpg" height="248" width="640" /></a></td></tr><tr><td class="tr-caption" style="text-align: center;">This July 4th support the troops and their innocent victims at the same time: protest our wars.</td></tr></tbody></table><br />&nbsp;It's bad enough that our young pups are turned into vicious dogs of war to commit "crimes against humanity" in the words of the late Mr. Summers, but if that was the end of our descent then at least we could still selfishly get by while the consequences of our actions are a world away.&nbsp; But what goes around comes around.&nbsp; The founders were very fearful and distrustful of a standing army.&nbsp; Jefferson said that a central bank is more injurious to the liberties of the people than a standing army, and now we have both!&nbsp; However, even with our standing army, <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Posse_Comitatus_Act" target="_blank">Posse Comitatus</a> was supposed to ensure that our military would never be used to enforce state law or police the American people. <br /><br />Soldiers are trained to kill enemies at any cost.&nbsp; Peace officers are supposed to protect the rights of Americans and… keep the peace.&nbsp; The two professions are mutually exclusive and the training one receives in the military cultivates the exact opposite traits one would like to see in an Andy Griffith peace officer.&nbsp; Yet not only do we have our PTSD-ridden soldiers coming back from foreign wars to primarily serve as police, but the last bits of respect for Posse Comitatus have finally gone out the window with the passage of anti-terrorism bills such as the Patriot Act, NDAA, and the Military Commissions Act.&nbsp; However, it's one thing to see it on paper, it's another to see <a href="http://antiwar.com/blog/2013/04/22/martial-law-in-boston/" target="_blank">full-blown martial law declared in an American city</a>, let alone the city famous for the revolutionary Boston Tea Party. <br /><br /><table align="center" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" class="tr-caption-container" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto; text-align: center;"><tbody><tr><td style="text-align: center;"><a href="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-P-qZ040Fd44/UdWFcpHeTsI/AAAAAAAAAWc/PA408-SefVA/s822/July4th_BostonYay.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;"><img border="0" src="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-P-qZ040Fd44/UdWFcpHeTsI/AAAAAAAAAWc/PA408-SefVA/s640/July4th_BostonYay.jpg" height="256" width="640" /></a></td></tr><tr><td class="tr-caption" style="text-align: center;">Attention Boston: <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stockholm_syndrome" target="_blank">Stockholm</a> called, it wants its syndrome back.</td></tr></tbody></table><br />If there was ever a time and place to be ashamed, it is this day in the city of Boston.&nbsp; The American revolutionaries were hard-core.&nbsp; So convinced in the rightness of their cause, they were willing to risk their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor by openly declaring war against their lawful government.&nbsp; When the British imposed excise taxes so small it would be a rounding error on our current tax burden, those men did everything from tar and feather the tax collectors to raiding British ships and throwing their tea into the ocean.&nbsp; Finally, when the British said lay down your arms, they gave them to them, one bullet at a time.&nbsp; These were men that would rather die on their feet then live on their knees, and the most powerful military on earth couldn't weaken their resolve to fight till the end. <br /><br />The American revolutionaries, including many Bostonians, knew their rights, were willing to vigorously defend them, and could tell when someone pissed on their leg and told them it was raining.&nbsp; And what do we see in Boston today?&nbsp; A home-made explosive kills and injures some people, 2 teenagers are on the loose, and somehow we've gotten to the point where the proper response is for the government to forcibly and completely shut down a city of 1 million people.&nbsp; The word martial law was avoided as much as possible, but it's hard to find a difference between martial law and "shelter-in-place" when no one is allowed out of their homes or offices while tanks and soldiers in Darth Vader costumes with fully automatic weapons are <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2LrbsUVSVl8" target="_blank">patrolling the streets going door-to-door</a>.&nbsp; Was there outrage at this ridiculous display of bravado and hubris by the part of our government masters?&nbsp; Did the invaded home owners say "Wait here dammit, this is my private property, and you're not allowed here without a warrant specifically describing the place to be searched and the persons or things to be seized!"&nbsp; No, the Bostonians meekly emerged from hiding readily equipped with American flags and eager to chant "USA! USA! USA !" <br /><br /><b>Conclusion</b><br /><b>&nbsp;</b><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-RmeTwJ_cWzY/UdWGCTd3XjI/AAAAAAAAAWk/OLMNA1K1s5E/s680/July4th_BostonStrong.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="clear: left; float: left; margin-bottom: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" src="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-RmeTwJ_cWzY/UdWGCTd3XjI/AAAAAAAAAWk/OLMNA1K1s5E/s320/July4th_BostonStrong.jpg" height="240" width="320" /></a></div>If you don’t fall into one of the above categories, then congratulations.&nbsp; You're unburdened by the dilemma of thinking through the consequences of the 4th of July.&nbsp; You don't need to worry about sticking out by abstaining from the festivities while everyone else enjoys their day off work.&nbsp; Eat your hot dogs, drink till you're stupid, and enjoy the fireworks.&nbsp; If some blame-America-firster gets in your face, tell them "God Bless 'Merica, and if you don't like it, you can geeet out".&nbsp; You have no reason to feel ashamed by celebrating Independence Day.&nbsp; The only thing you have to be ashamed of is yourself. Unknownnoreply@blogger.comtag:blogger.com,1999:blog-6497333203175478928.post-47214385860515258262013-06-12T00:12:00.002-05:002014-09-23T08:03:30.258-05:00Oblivion: Pro-Humanity, Anti-Illuminati<div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B008JFUO36/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B008JFUO36&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=nathanklecom-20" style="clear: left; float: left; margin-bottom: 1em; margin-right: 1em;" target="_blank"><img border="0" src="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-okQ8ATv-x0A/Ubf4SlHAD6I/AAAAAAAAAT8/NBqGkt8yyK4/s320/oblivion_Title.jpg" height="216" width="320" /></a></div>At first glance <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oblivion_%282013_film%29" target="_blank">Oblivion</a> is just another post-apocalyptic science fiction film that is strong in the special effects department but weak in the storyline.&nbsp; Rotten Tomatoes gave Oblivion 55% with a consensus of "Visually striking but thinly scripted".&nbsp; The professional reviews more or less agreed, with CNN declaring "<a href="http://www.cnn.com/2013/04/19/showbiz/movies/cruise-oblivion-review-charity" target="_blank">Oblivion shoots for the moon and falls short</a>", and Breitbart feeling that <a href="http://www.breitbart.com/Big-Hollywood/2013/04/18/oblivion-review" target="_blank">awkward questions were left unanswered</a>.&nbsp; NPR was particularly nasty, saying Oblivion is the "<a href="http://www.npr.org/2013/04/22/178415429/tom-cruises-latest-headed-for-oblivion" target="_blank">most incoherent piece of storytelling since John Travolta's Battlefield Earth</a>" before wondering if "Cruise was trying to beat out fellow Scientologist John Travolta for the worst plotted sci-fi movie ever". <br /><br />Like every other conceivable topic, radio-host <a href="http://www.infowars.com/" target="_blank">Alex Jones</a> had a radically different take on Oblivion.&nbsp; When I heard him praise the movie and call it an <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VnXXxt4AwzA" target="_blank">anti-illuminati tour de force</a>, I decided to give it a shot despite the unimpressive previews and the mixed reviews.&nbsp; I'm certainly glad I did, as Oblivion is the only movie I can remember seeing twice in the theaters.&nbsp; It now ranks amongst my all-time favorite "everything is a lie" movies where the protagonist wakes up to an earth-shattering paradigm-shift such as <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/They_Live" target="_blank">They Live</a>, <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solyent_green" target="_blank">Solyent Green</a>, and <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_matrix" target="_blank">The Matrix</a>.&nbsp; Oblivion is an amazingly profound movie with a plot that is air tight as long as you understand the symbolism and the messages it is promoting.&nbsp; Unfortunately, I think that was lost on most viewers, but I'm happy to explain in the hopes that Oblivion receives the credit it deserves. <br /><br /><b>Symbolism - Jack Harper and the Tet</b><br /><br />The year is 2077, and Tech 49 Jack Harper believes he is one of the last humans on planet Earth.&nbsp; Sixty years ago an alien attack destroyed the moon causing cataclysmic events on Earth, which was followed by a ground invasion by the "Scavs".&nbsp; The surviving humans were able to defeat the aliens using nuclear weapons, but at the cost of making the earth mostly inhospitable for human life.&nbsp; The humans built a giant tetrahedral space station called the Tet and migrated to Titan, a moon of Saturn.&nbsp; Jack is a member of the "mop-up crew" on planet Earth, watching over flying power stations that create fusion energy from sea water.&nbsp; His mission is to protect these power stations from the remaining Scavs by repairing the autonomous, weaponized drones, which protect the power stations and hunt down Scavs.&nbsp; Due to the criticality of his mission, Jack's memory was wiped out 5 years ago, but in two short weeks he will go with his partner Victoria to reunite with his human brethren on Titan.&nbsp; At least, that's what he thinks. <br /><br />As Jack Harper discovers during the course of the film, the reality concerning his own identity, the Scavs, and the Tet is the opposite of what he was lead to believe.&nbsp; The Scavs are not the alien menace he thought, but are the tattered remains of human civilization that live underground and disguise their appearance to avoid the murderous drones.&nbsp; The Tet is not of human creation, but is itself the source of the alien attack that destroyed the moon and most of the life on planet Earth.&nbsp; And finally, Jack Harper is not a man with a mere 5 year memory wipe, but is one of countless clones of a NASA pilot who was captured by the Tet 60 years ago.&nbsp; The first wave of the Tet's ground invasion consisted of armies of Jack Harpers programmed to destroy their own kind.&nbsp; Now in the next phase, the Jack Harper clones serve the more efficient role of repairmen, delegating the job of hunting and killing to the drones. <br /><br />So what does the Tet symbolize?&nbsp; When Jack has his final confrontation with the Tet he encounters a sentient, upside-down pyramid with an all-seeing eye that says "I am your God!".&nbsp; The Tet exists to destroy humanity while controlling them like cattle when they can serve its purpose.&nbsp; The Tet has perfected the art of concealing the truth and programing human beings with a false reality so that these "useful idiots" may assist in the fulfillment of its master plan.&nbsp; The Tet is the Illuminati.<br /><br /><table align="center" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" class="tr-caption-container" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto; text-align: center;"><tbody><tr><td style="text-align: center;"><a href="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-fS8NDCSDJOE/Ubf6fdipfXI/AAAAAAAAAUM/lMZPw7ZGndM/s1600/Oblivion_TetSymbolism.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;"><img border="0" src="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-fS8NDCSDJOE/Ubf6fdipfXI/AAAAAAAAAUM/lMZPw7ZGndM/s640/Oblivion_TetSymbolism.jpg" height="528" width="640" /></a></td></tr><tr><td class="tr-caption" style="text-align: center;">The final villain is a pyramid with an all-seeing eye, could the symbolism be more obvious?&nbsp; Like <a href="http://bravenewbookstore.com/" target="_blank">Brave New Bookstore</a>, Oblivion inverts the Illuminati symbol as a sign of resistance and disrespect to their top-down power structure.</td></tr></tbody></table><br />For those only familiar with the Illuminati and its symbolic all-seeing eye pyramid through Dan Brown novels, the National Treasure movies, or the back of the $1 bill, the historical <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Illuminati" target="_blank">Illuminati</a> was a secret society founded by Adam Weishaupt on May 1st, 1776 in Bavaria.&nbsp; The ruler of Bavaria later banned all secret societies, including the Order of the Illuminati, and this resulted in many of their secret documents being seized and published in 1787 as their members fled and disbanded. <br /><br />While no one denies that the Bavarian Illuminati existed, any reference to such a group after their suppression in Bavaria is pure conjecture and the object of ridicule.&nbsp; Various conspiracy theorists will point to the hand of the Illuminati pulling strings and planning events ranging from the French Revolution, the Federal Reserve System, JFK's assassination, and the various maneuverings towards a one-world government, or a <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pb33Xv73Acg" target="_blank">New World Order</a>, up to this day. <br /><br /><table align="center" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" class="tr-caption-container" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto; text-align: center;"><tbody><tr><td style="text-align: center;"><a href="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-9HC-HA8IPOg/Ubf9A5eYOMI/AAAAAAAAAUc/QGTtBJRCrxg/s1600/oblivion_illuminatipyramid.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;"><img border="0" src="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-9HC-HA8IPOg/Ubf9A5eYOMI/AAAAAAAAAUc/QGTtBJRCrxg/s640/oblivion_illuminatipyramid.jpg" height="227" width="640" /></a></td></tr><tr><td class="tr-caption" style="text-align: center;">Take a close look at a $1 bill and ask yourself, when did an all-seeing eye pyramid become an American symbol?</td></tr></tbody></table><br />Whether or not the Illuminati exists a la <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eyes_Wide_Shut" target="_blank">Eyes Wide Shut</a>, the prevalence of its concept and symbolism is hard to deny.&nbsp; Consider the pyramid and the all-seeing eye.&nbsp; The bottom of the pyramid is the foundation and the widest part of the structure.&nbsp; Here lie the masses that prop the power structure up and are in turn dominated by those above them.&nbsp; Each succeeding level of the pyramid represents fewer people with a higher level of understanding and greater power over those below them.&nbsp; At the very top of the pyramid you reach "illumination" with god-like power and knowledge.&nbsp; This symbol would accurately represent the functioning of any secret society, such as the Masons, where it is argued that "porch Masons" at the bottom think their organization is all about charity and fraternity, but only select members that advance through the ranks to ultimately reach the status of the 33rd degree would be made privy to the true secrets and goals of their organization.&nbsp; This compartmentalized structure common in all secret societies makes plausible the claim that the Illuminati did not disband after Bavaria, but merely infiltrated other shadowy organizations. <br /><br />With a secret society being, by definition, officially non-existent, the same group may be referred to by various names such as the Illuminati, the New World Order, or the Insiders.&nbsp; Call it what you will.&nbsp; However, credibility becomes an issue when you cannot point to anything more concrete than a hypothetical shadowy group, so it is important to note these claims are not only found on obscure websites where people can say anything.&nbsp; <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carroll_Quigley" target="_blank">Dr. Carroll Quigley</a> of Georgetown University wrote <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/094500110X/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=094500110X&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=nathanklecom-20" target="_blank">Tragedy and Hope</a>, which exposed the true role that elite secret societies have played in the historical events of the last 100 years.&nbsp; He also wrote <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0945001010/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=0945001010&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=nathanklecom-20" target="_blank">The Anglo-American Establishment</a>, which documented how Cecil Rhodes used his fortune to set up secret societies known by various names, including the "Round Table Group" and the "Milner Group", which in turn created front organizations including the <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Royal_Institute_of_International_Affairs" target="_blank">Royal Institute of International Affairs</a>, the <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Institute_of_Pacific_Relations" target="_blank">Institute of Pacific Relations</a>, and the <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Council_on_Foreign_Relations" target="_blank">Council on Foreign Relations</a>.&nbsp; In his books Quigley made it clear that he was aligned with this nameless secret society, he agreed with their methods and goals, he just believed that their true role in history is too important to be left in the shadows.&nbsp; And the shadows is exactly where they would prefer to stay.<br /><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-PfPdQP7g9e8/Ubf957g9VDI/AAAAAAAAAUo/b4Mf3Hv53k0/s1600/oblivion_podpeople.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="clear: left; float: left; margin-bottom: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" src="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-PfPdQP7g9e8/Ubf957g9VDI/AAAAAAAAAUo/b4Mf3Hv53k0/s320/oblivion_podpeople.jpg" height="163" width="320" /></a></div>So if the Tet represents the Illuminati, what does Jack Harper represent?&nbsp; The original NASA pilot Jack Harper was captured by the Tet, with his last memory being engulfed (illuminated?) in a bright white light.&nbsp; Fast forward 60 years, and Tech 49 Jack Harper is one of countless clones created, grown, and programmed by the Tet.&nbsp; Jack Harper has been taught an official story to explain his surroundings, and as long as he obeys authority and doesn't go outside of his prescribed boundaries his reality is mostly coherent.&nbsp; Day by day he wakes up, puts his pants on one leg at a time, and does his job of repairing drones and killing Scavs, waiting to be rewarded for his service with his retirement on Titan.&nbsp; Jack Harper has no idea that his actions are serving a sinister agenda that he would take no part in if he understood the full truth. <br /><br />Jack Harper could be generally thought of as the American <a href="http://www.achehtimes.com/wordwealth/a-z/b/booboisie.htm" target="_blank">booboisie</a>.&nbsp; He is a man born in America, numbered and tracked from birth, raised in a government school that teaches him that everything good in the world comes from government and that it is perfectly normal to have every activity he wants to engage in licensed, regulated, and dictated by his superiors.&nbsp; Jack Harper is the man who is taught that the highest form of morality is to obey authority, whether that is the teacher, the drill Sargent, or the President.&nbsp; Jack Harper is the American who swears an oath to protect and defend the constitution, but <a href="http://www.nathankleffman.com/2012/05/constitution-and-intellectual-honesty.html" target="_blank">has no idea what it means</a>.&nbsp; He is the man that sheds a tear at the pledge of allegiance, but has no concept of <a href="http://www.nathankleffman.com/2011/12/america-by-any-other-name-would-be-as.html" target="_blank">the principles that America was founded upon</a>.&nbsp; Jack Harper is the 18-year old high school senior that wants to serve his country, puts trust in the authority of those around him, and ends up massacring innocent people in 3rd world countries.&nbsp; Perhaps the closest comparison is to the <a href="http://salem-news.com/articles/april182013/american-killers-vp.php" target="_blank">22 year-old serial-killer drone pilot</a>, as he, like Jack, doesn't get up close and personal to the Scavs he believes are his enemies, and is thus prevented from recognizing their common humanity.&nbsp; It's hard to be angry at a Jack Harper, pity is the most appropriate response.&nbsp; All you can try to do is wake him up, and if that fails, forgive him because "he knows not what he does". <br /><br /><b>The Implications of Serving the Tet</b><br /><br />Recognizing the Tet as the Illuminati, or whatever name you choose to give the power behind the throne, and Jack Harper as the useful idiot who serves them, several powerful messages are readily apparent.&nbsp; The first is to recognize that Jack Harper and those like him that serve evil usually think they are doing good.&nbsp; Creating such a person is accomplished through instilling the belief in obeying authority rather than thinking for oneself, being brainwashed with a false history, and staying within very narrow confines of reality that constitute one's compartmentalization. <br /><br />For Tech 49 Jack Harper, the compartmentalization couldn't be more obvious.&nbsp; Jack is told that the whole world is radioactive and inhospitable, such that he never leaves the designated area that he is assigned to monitor.&nbsp; Whenever his spacecraft approaches the edge of the box that he is confined in, flashing lights warn him to turn around before he enters the deadly radiation zone.&nbsp; As long as he stays within the boundaries of his pre-approved reality he will continue to be a trusting and obedient servant to his masters.&nbsp; But the moment he breaks out of the radiation zone and comes face to face with Tech 52, a clone of himself, he realizes that his entire life is based on lies. <br /><br /><table align="center" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" class="tr-caption-container" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto; text-align: center;"><tbody><tr><td style="text-align: center;"><a href="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-xCtI6XTd_vk/Ubf-fw9c6gI/AAAAAAAAAUw/k3ffou1-WGs/s1600/oblivion_jack_vs_drone.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;"><img border="0" src="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-xCtI6XTd_vk/Ubf-fw9c6gI/AAAAAAAAAUw/k3ffou1-WGs/s640/oblivion_jack_vs_drone.jpg" height="363" width="640" /></a></td></tr><tr><td class="tr-caption" style="text-align: center;">Drones aren't so cool when they're pointed at you.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>As Tech 49 Jack Harper says, "It's just a machine, I'm the weapon."</td></tr></tbody></table><br />Another of Oblivion's messages is that you can't join evil.&nbsp; You may serve it, but you are still the enemy.&nbsp; Jack Harper and Victoria of station 49 believe that their 5 year duty is almost up and they'll finally get their just rewards on Titan.&nbsp; But that's not the way the Tet works.&nbsp; If they continued to serve the Tet then they'd only have 2 weeks left before they would be liquidated and replaced with new clones off the factory line.&nbsp; The odds of beating the Tet may seem insurmountable to Jack, but at least by facing reality and turning against his true enemy he has a fighting chance, and more importantly, is not willfully working towards his own destruction. <br /><br />While Tech 49 Jack Harper at least shows curiosity and a willingness to disobey authority, his partner Victoria represents the willfully ignorant.&nbsp; She never questions authority, and she never disobeys.&nbsp; Jack sees beauty in a flower and brings it to her, but all she sees is a violation of their regulations such that she quickly throws it away under the excuse that "it could have germs".&nbsp; When Jack commits an offense against authority so severe in her eyes she betrays him and turns him in to the Tet, it's not only Jack that the drone turns against, but it actually kills Victoria first.&nbsp; Thus, there is no winning when serving evil.&nbsp; You can, like Victoria, turn away from the awful truth and say, "I don't want to know!" while sticking your head in the sand like an ostrich.&nbsp; But that's what the evil wants, it depends on your naiveté, your inability to comprehend the darkness in the heart of man.&nbsp; When your head is in the sand you are a much easier target. <br /><br /><b>A Message of Hope: Wake up and Fight!</b><br /><br />The most uplifting message in Oblivion is that it's never too late to wake up, regain your humanity, and join in the fight against evil.&nbsp; Many complain, myself included, about the dangerous tyranny that seems to be accelerating towards our front door, but what do we face compared to the living nightmare of Oblivion?&nbsp; And yet there is hope.&nbsp; No matter how much propaganda and disinformation the system puts out, all it takes is someone with a little curiosity and love in their hearts to recognize the lies for what they are and break out of their conditioning. <br /><br />Jack is curious, but he is also courageous.&nbsp; He is irrevocably changed when he witnesses a drone killing human beings in sleep pods that crash-landed in his sector.&nbsp; When he interposes himself between a total stranger and the drone that he was responsible for fixing, totally willing to die in order to save the life of another, he has crossed the tipping point.&nbsp; Morgan Freeman's character is a leader of the Scavs / Humans, and he remarks that he first thought Tech 49 Jack Harper was different when he saw him pick up a book and display curiosity, but when he saw Jack risk his life to save another from the drone, he knew Jack was the one he was looking for.<br /><br /><table align="center" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" class="tr-caption-container" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto; text-align: center;"><tbody><tr><td style="text-align: center;"><a href="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-EtmQyep0U2I/Ubf-4cT6F9I/AAAAAAAAAU4/lHWGqCTuxTY/s1600/oblivion_numerology.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;"><img border="0" src="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-EtmQyep0U2I/Ubf-4cT6F9I/AAAAAAAAAU4/lHWGqCTuxTY/s640/oblivion_numerology.jpg" height="214" width="640" /></a></td></tr><tr><td class="tr-caption" style="text-align: center;">Mentioning the Illuminati requires a reference to numerology: note that Tech 49 Jack Harper and the main drone he fights, #166, both add up to 13, <a href="http://www.bibliotecapleyades.net/sociopolitica/esp_sociopol_illuminati_14.htm" target="_blank">which is supposedly a sacred number to the Illuminati</a>, referring to their <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0972792929/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=0972792929&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=nathanklecom-20" target="_blank">13 bloodlines</a>.</td></tr></tbody></table><br />Once Jack Harper obeys a moral law rather than the law of authority, once he chooses to protect a stranger against the drone that he is ordered to serve, not only does the system turn against him, but he finally sees the truth of the world around him.&nbsp; His entire paradigm is turned upside down in a moment.&nbsp; This is the symbolic death of Tech 49 drone-repairman Jack Harper and the rebirth of someone new, someone like the NASA pilot captured 60 years before.&nbsp; As bad as things are, the system always has a weak spot because it is built on a foundation of lies and it completely depends on the Jack Harpers of the world to follow orders and never cross outside of their designated zone.&nbsp; But all it takes is a little curiosity, a willingness to disobey authority, to ask "why?" rather than to say "yes, sir", and the whole evil system can be brought down in the blink of an eye. <br /><br /><b>Conclusion: Recognize the reborn Jack Harpers all around us</b><br /><br />When Jack Harper sees the drone that he is ordered to serve murder innocent people in front of his eyes, all of his training, programming, and brainwashing goes out the window.&nbsp; He risks his very life to stand up against a gross injustice, even though it goes against everything he was taught to believe.&nbsp; He is a hero, and we should learn to recognize the heroes around us that answer to a higher morality than that of blindly obeying authority.&nbsp; When our overseers call them traitors, we need to ask just what have they committed treason against - good or evil? <br /><br /><table cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" class="tr-caption-container" style="float: left; margin-right: 1em; text-align: left;"><tbody><tr><td style="text-align: center;"><a href="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-LGshWyrtPNc/UbgACviPLcI/AAAAAAAAAVI/DQQVRgwBSc8/s1600/oblivion_forgottenhero.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="clear: left; margin-bottom: 1em; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;"><img border="0" src="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-LGshWyrtPNc/UbgACviPLcI/AAAAAAAAAVI/DQQVRgwBSc8/s320/oblivion_forgottenhero.jpg" height="320" width="210" /></a></td></tr><tr><td class="tr-caption" style="text-align: center;">They called him a traitor, now we call him a hero.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;"> </span></td></tr></tbody></table>Think of <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hugh_Thompson,_Jr" target="_blank">Hugh Thompson</a>, the helicopter pilot that stopped the <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/My_Lai_Massacre" target="_blank">My Lai Massacre</a> when he flew his helicopter between the fleeing civilians and his own troops and ordered them to stop massacring women and children or he would open fire.&nbsp; Though he was trained to see the Vietnamese as sub-human Scavs, he broke out of his conditioning to stand up for what was right. <br /><br />Think of <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bradley_Manning" target="_blank">Bradley Manning</a> as he rots in a secret prison somewhere.&nbsp; He too saw that his supposed enemies did not deserve to be shot like dogs in the street, and he risked everything, his very freedom, to expose the "<a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5rXPrfnU3G0" target="_blank">collateral murder</a>" that occurred in his name. <br /><br />Today the <a href="http://freebeacon.com/king-snowden-a-traitor-who-has-harmed-our-country/" target="_blank">cries of treason</a> are being launched against <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edward_Snowden" target="_blank">Edward Snowden</a>.&nbsp; He has risked everything he is and has to expose the blatantly unconstitutional violations committed by our government, explaining that he doesn't want to live in a world where everything he says and does is recorded.&nbsp; The question is the title of a hundred articles, is he a traitor or a hero? <br /><br />Whether you decide traitor or hero for a particular circumstance, at least we still live in a world where human beings have the capacity to choose whether to follow orders or obey a higher law.&nbsp; As is made terrifyingly clear in Oblivion, <a href="http://www.stripes.com/news/us/militaries-growing-use-of-ground-robots-raises-ethics-concerns-1.221577" target="_blank">weaponized, autonomous drones will not question orders</a>.&nbsp; They will obey their masters, always.&nbsp; We're not there yet, and <a href="http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2013/may/29/killer-robots-ban-un-warning" target="_blank">we should make every effort to keep it that way</a>. Unknownnoreply@blogger.comtag:blogger.com,1999:blog-6497333203175478928.post-29759901248085405942013-05-12T00:15:00.000-05:002014-09-22T17:28:38.618-05:00The Choice is Yours<a href="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-QFMw9MRe87k/UY6OI-Eqm0I/AAAAAAAAASk/ck_3jX7kX4M/s1600/choice_sign.jpg" imageanchor="1"><img border="0" src="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-QFMw9MRe87k/UY6OI-Eqm0I/AAAAAAAAASk/ck_3jX7kX4M/s400/choice_sign.jpg" height="200" width="400" /></a><br /><blockquote class="tr_bq"><span style="font-style: italic;">Life is 10% what happens to you, and 90% how you </span><span style="font-style: italic; font-weight: bold;">choose</span><span style="font-style: italic;"> to react to it</span> </blockquote>To be a sophomore in college without a care in the world, what a blissfully ignorant fool I was.&nbsp; At that time the fun police had not yet conquered Iowa City, and it was still legal for an 18-year-old to go to the bars.&nbsp; The rationale for this wonderful state of affairs was that young people just want to dance and socialize.&nbsp; The reality was that they go to the bars for the same reason everyone else does.&nbsp; The culture was so lax that bouncers didn't bat an eye as one ID was used to get 5 guys into a bar via the "pass-back" method. 18-year-olds were treated like the adults they supposedly are.&nbsp; It was glorious. <br /><br />But at the same time it was all a racket.&nbsp; Cops would enter the bars and start handing out tickets like shooting fish in a barrel.&nbsp; Iowa is consistently ranked as a top party school, and I'd wager we also ranked at the top of <a href="http://thegazette.com/2011/05/13/old-charges-can-haunt-job-hunting-college-grads/" target="_blank">colleges whose graduates have a criminal record</a>.&nbsp; Adopting the 'work hard, play hard' philosophy, I quickly contributed to that statistic.&nbsp; By the end of my sophomore year I had used both of my life-time deferments in the State of Iowa.&nbsp; The final straw was being charged with a DUI, driving under the influence, when I was neither drunk nor driving.&nbsp; I put the key in the ignition, I saw cherries, and I took the key out of the ignition.&nbsp; The single beer that allowed me to blow over 0.0 but far below the legal limit put me in the slammer.&nbsp; When you're under 21 there is "zero-tolerance" for this kind of thing, so one drink is the same as being blacked-out behind the wheel.&nbsp; It seemed an injustice at the time, and still does, but little did I know this incident would lead to the best decision I ever made. <br /><br />I recognized that if I stayed in Iowa City I would not stop going out and drinking with my friends because it was too much fun and too easy to "get away with."&nbsp; Realizing that a misdemeanor charge for possession of alcohol no longer meant a $100 slap on the wrist, but jail time for violating probation and throwing away the $2,500 I had spent on a lawyer to get my DUI deferred, I did the only logical thing I could: I exiled myself from Iowa City for two summers by joining the <a href="http://www.southwestern.com/" target="_blank">Southwestern Company's</a> door-to-door sales program. <br /><br /><b>What I Learned as a Door-to-Door Salesman</b><br /><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="http://www.southwestern.com/" style="clear: left; float: left; margin-bottom: 1em; margin-right: 1em;" target="_blank"><img border="0" src="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-XwFJR-lksGM/UY6XqtRKLYI/AAAAAAAAAS0/Dg7SF_tqYQw/s320/choice_southwestern.jpg" height="100" width="320" /></a></div>14 hours a day, 6 days a week, cold-calling door-to-door as an independent contractor on straight commission all alone in a state far away from your friends and family.&nbsp; What's not to like?&nbsp; I was a book-man, and Yuba City, California was my territory.&nbsp; I couldn't understand why anyone else would sign up for this, but my reasoning was simple: no matter how challenging selling books door-to-door would be, it definitely beats rotting in jail.&nbsp; That was my story, and I decided to stick to it. <br /><br />Once the decision was made that I would finish my summer, that quitting was truly not an option, the next life-changing decision came naturally: I would drink all the Kool-Aid the Southwestern Company served.&nbsp; Some people warned me to stay clear of Southwestern, <a href="http://www.southwesterncompanytruth.com/" target="_blank">they said it was a cult</a>.&nbsp; But if their cult would brainwash me to succeed and make a lot of money, then sign me up.&nbsp; Ultimately, by eagerly gulping down the Kool-Aid with both hands, I would be a top first year dealer and bring home over $10,000 in profit my first summer.&nbsp; But looking back on my door-to-door career I don't think of the money that is long gone, but at the success principles that I was taught, and which I still use today. <br /><br /><table align="center" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" class="tr-caption-container" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto; text-align: center;"><tbody><tr><td style="text-align: center;"><a href="http://www.southwestern.com/what-we-believe.aspx" target="_blank"><img border="0" src="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-gSnazTeWdps/UY77skfaFGI/AAAAAAAAATE/XvBHWzz7zLc/s1600/choice_southwestern_beliefs.jpg" /></a></td></tr><tr><td class="tr-caption" style="text-align: center;">All companies talk about core-values, but few walk the walk.&nbsp; A book-man doesn't hold these beliefs on faith, he knows they are true from first-hand experience.</td></tr></tbody></table><br /><b>Cultivating the Habit of a Positive Attitude</b><br /><blockquote class="tr_bq">"<i>Weak is he who permits his thoughts to control his actions; strong is he who forces his actions to control his thoughts.</i>" - Og Mandino, Scroll VI, The Greatest Salesman in the World</blockquote>It's noon on a Wednesday in California.&nbsp; I haven't had a sale all day, and instead of being focused on the next door, I'm praying for a "sit-down demo" of my books just to get out of the heat.&nbsp; But instead of getting invited into an air-conditioned living room with a glass of lemonade, I get the door slammed on my face.&nbsp; Meanwhile, my friends are back in Iowa City relaxing in the pool and boozing with beautiful women.&nbsp; What was I thinking? <br /><br />But Southwestern's sales school prepared me for this.&nbsp; They told me that the job would be hard, that I would want to quit.&nbsp; They told me this job would give me my highest-highs and my lowest-lows.&nbsp; This is what I signed up for.&nbsp; I looked my sales manager in the eye and promised that come hell or high-water I would finish my summer and see him in Nashville in 11 weeks and not a day sooner.&nbsp; Would I keep my promise? <br /><br />While it is possible some people are born with a positive attitude, for most it only comes through force of habit.&nbsp; And how does one make positive thinking a habit?&nbsp; By first changing the existing habit of being negative.&nbsp; Thus, we were taught to launch a pre-emptive strike against the negative thoughts that were sure to come by saying positive phrases out-loud.&nbsp; It might make you look like a crazy person running around talking to yourself, but you're crazy like a fox. <br /><br />So every morning at 5:59 AM we'd shoot out of bed saying "Great day", "Today is the best day of my life", and "I love my job".&nbsp; We'd have post-it notes with these cheesy one-liners all over our room and the bathroom mirror to remind us to say them out-loud.&nbsp; And before we'd hit our first house of the day, we would read aloud one of the scrolls from <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Og_Mandino" target="_blank">Og Mandino's</a> <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/055327757X/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=055327757X&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=nathanklecom-20" target="_blank">The Greatest Salesman in the World</a><img alt="" border="0" src="http://www.assoc-amazon.com/e/ir?t=nathanklecom-20&amp;l=as2&amp;o=1&amp;a=055327757X" height="1" style="border: none !important; margin: 0px !important;" width="1" />.&nbsp; Scroll III, "I will persist until I succeed", and Scroll VI, "Today I will be master of my emotions", were my two favorites.&nbsp; And that wasn't the end.&nbsp; In between every house, all day long, the positive phrases were a constant companion.&nbsp; Every time I could feel a negative thought like "this sucks", "this isn't for me", or "I want to quit" coming along, I'd counter-attack by shouting a positive phrase from my arsenal of one-liners. <br /><br />By the <a href="http://habitforge.com/" target="_blank">requisite 21 days needed to form a habit</a>, the negative thoughts occurred less and less, and the positive phrases became more and more natural.&nbsp; When someone would ask "how are you doing", the quasi-negative answer of "not bad" would be naturally replaced with "today is the best day of my life".&nbsp; Was it really?&nbsp; Objectively maybe not, but the motto was "fake it till you make it".&nbsp; If you say "today is the best day of my life" long enough, you will begin to believe it, and then amazing things begin to happen.<br /><br /><table align="center" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" class="tr-caption-container" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto; text-align: center;"><tbody><tr><td style="text-align: center;"><a href="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-GNOhJVYU4zc/UY8Q-NhsdlI/AAAAAAAAATU/ZvVnUNV0l3o/s1600/choice_attitude.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;"><img border="0" src="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-GNOhJVYU4zc/UY8Q-NhsdlI/AAAAAAAAATU/ZvVnUNV0l3o/s640/choice_attitude.jpg" height="496" width="640" /></a></td></tr><tr><td class="tr-caption" style="text-align: center;"><i>"Our lives are not determined by what happens to us, but by how we react to what happens; not by what life brings to us, but by the attitude we bring to life.&nbsp; A positive attitude causes a chain reaction of positive thoughts, events and outcomes.&nbsp; It is a catalyst...a spark that creates extraordinary results"</i>.&nbsp; No surprise that <a href="http://www.successories.com/" target="_blank">Successories</a>, the company that makes these inspirational posters, was founded by a book-man.</td></tr></tbody></table><br /><b>Control the Controllables</b><br /><br />While there are obvious benefits to cultivating the habit of a positive attitude, <a href="http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/positive-thinking/SR00009" target="_blank">including health benefits</a>, a positive attitude is not necessarily an end in itself.&nbsp; Life is full of tragedies, and sometimes it is impossible or inappropriate to find the "positive" in those situations.&nbsp; This is where the book-man motto "Control the Controllables" comes into play. <br /><br />When despite your best planning life doesn't go your way and the unfortunate happens, you are left with the choice of how to respond.&nbsp; Your options are divided into two logical categories: the things you can control, and the things you cannot control.&nbsp; This may seem self-evident, but by consciously analyzing your situation along these lines you immediately improve your situation. <br /><br />Why worry about something you can't control?&nbsp; What does it buy you?&nbsp; It might make you feel better to call up a friend or family member and relate the story of the horrible thing that happened to you, but how has that materially changed your situation?&nbsp; With this attitude towards things you can't control, the mere act of identifying them automatically frees you of any further injury they could cause.&nbsp; The bad thing happened, it's over, it's done with, now what?&nbsp; At least the bad thing that you can't control won't make matters worse by taking up your time thinking about it and keeping you from acting on what's truly important: the things you can control. <br /><br />In the middle of my first summer I was struck with an <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ingrown_nail" target="_blank">ingrown toenail</a> which required a surgical procedure at the local hospital to have the offending piece of nail removed.&nbsp; I couldn't do anything about the fact that the ingrown toenail happened, I couldn't do anything about the pain, and I couldn't keep up the pace I had grown accustomed to.&nbsp; Those were the things I couldn't control.&nbsp; But I could control my attitude, and I could decide to get back to work and get as close as possible to 30 demos a day.&nbsp; While the temptation existed to milk the injury for all it was worth and maybe spend a few days on the couch to rest up, I decided to work the hours I pledged, even if that meant limping door-to-door. <br /><br />As I discovered, even though I sold far more books on other days, I was most proud of those few days I spent hobbling around with a bandaged toe.&nbsp; I was even more focused on getting "sit-down demos" instead of "door-demos" then before, as every invitation inside meant an opportunity to change my bandage and soak my toe in warm salt-water as the doctor instructed.&nbsp; Ironically, maybe some of the sales I got were due to sympathy and wouldn't have been achieved without the injury!&nbsp; Words from sales school rang true: act with integrity by doing what you say you will do, real success is doing your personal best, and if the path you're on isn't a difficult one, then you're going in the wrong direction. <br /><br /><b>The Power of Taking Responsibility</b><br /><br />With a positive attitude and a mindset of "controlling the controllables", the next lesson I learned on the book-field was the power of taking responsibility for my actions and my attitude.&nbsp; But first I have a story that can only be told by Mort Utley, National Speakers Association Hall of Famer, as he gave the keynote address to Southwestern in the late 1980's: <br /><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><iframe allowfullscreen='allowfullscreen' webkitallowfullscreen='webkitallowfullscreen' mozallowfullscreen='mozallowfullscreen' width='320' height='266' src='https://www.youtube.com/embed/pWgnBzS2IpU?feature=player_embedded' frameborder='0' /></div><br />Remember the Pony.&nbsp; This story serves two purposes for me.&nbsp; On the one hand, it's the perfect way to lighten up the mood and help you stay positive when something bad happens.&nbsp; Another door slammed in my face after crashing my bike, cutting up my knees, and losing my lunch in a puddle?&nbsp; Wow, I must have a big pony coming my way! <br /><br />On the other hand, there is obviously no direct connection between the trials and tribulations you face and how "big" the ponies will be, that is, as long as you are looking at it from the short-term material perspective.&nbsp; However, if you view the ponies not as your sales, but as the lessons you learn and the growth in character that you acquire by overcoming challenges and persisting in the face of adversity, then the direct connection is very real. <br /><br />Every challenge you face can be viewed from two perspectives, it can be the bad thing that happened to you which becomes your excuse for not meeting your life goals, or it can be the story of how you turned the challenge into an opportunity to accomplish something you never thought possible.&nbsp; It's a slight twist on the phrase "whether you think you can or you can't, you are right." <br /><br />It makes no sense to take responsibility for things you can't control, and with a negative attitude focusing on your responsibility risks sinking into the depths self-pity and depression over past mistakes.&nbsp; But with all three techniques you can become very powerful.&nbsp; Consider two people who have experienced the exact same scenario, Smith and Jones.&nbsp; Smith explains how the bad thing in life "happened to him", and he can relate a perfectly reasonable and compelling explanation for why his past victim-hood caused him to fail in his goals.&nbsp; Nods of sympathy all around.&nbsp; But Jones tells a different story, the bad thing that happened is not the heart of the story, instead he focuses on how he failed to control his emotions.&nbsp; He takes responsibility for his failure to control the only thing he could control, his attitude, and he looks forward to an opportunity to learn from his mistake and succeed in mastering his emotions the next time tragedy strikes.&nbsp; Question: Who is the more powerful person?&nbsp; Who is in a better position in the future? <br /><br />The answer seems so obvious and perfectly rational, and so it begs the question: if it truly is in our best interest to take responsibility for our actions, why don't people do it?&nbsp; I asked my sales manager a similar question after my first summer.&nbsp; I couldn't understand why people would go out for the summer only to not follow the lessons learned in sales school.&nbsp; We all gave up our college summers to go work hard and make money, so why in the world would you suffer the pain but not take the extra steps to gain?&nbsp; I didn't think it was rational, but he gave me a very insightful explanation: "They get to be right". <br /><br />By not following the techniques to cultivate the habit of a positive attitude, usually because it appears so lame and cultish to people on the outside, the negative thoughts are a constant companion: "I hate this job", "This isn't for me", "I should quit", "No one likes these books", "I'm not cut out for sales", "I'm bothering people", "I have a bad territory", "This is a scam".&nbsp; These thoughts influence your mood, and your mood will influence your actions.&nbsp; You can give the exact same demo word for word, but if your heart isn't in it, if you don’t have a positive, service-minded attitude, your potential customers are far less likely to want to do business with you. <br /><br />So what do you get out of it?&nbsp; You get to be right.&nbsp; Every slammed door is another confirmation of your negative bias, that you were right all along, that selling books door-to-door really isn't for you.&nbsp; Smith says, "Another mom that doesn't want my books, I knew my territory sucks.&nbsp; No one cares about their kid's education here!&nbsp; If only I had Jones' territory, then I'd succeed.&nbsp; This isn't fair, I quit!".&nbsp; Jones says the only territory that matters is the 6 inches between his ears, he thanks the mom for her "No", because he is one door closer to a "Yes".&nbsp; And the crazy thing is, they are both right. <br /><br /><b>Success Principles for Libertarians</b><br /><br />This world can be a lonely, scary, and depressing place for a libertarian.&nbsp; Society seems to be moving further and further away from the principles of freedom and towards the principles of violence, compulsion, and coercion at an accelerating rate.&nbsp; <a href="http://www.globalresearch.ca/martial-law-in-boston-american-democracy-in-shambles/5332581" target="_blank">Violations of our rights</a> that would have been unthinkable 5 or 10 years back are now touted as the only option.&nbsp; Every country's economic policy is based on <a href="http://mises.org/daily/3804/The-Broken-Window" target="_blank">a fallacy that should have been put to rest 160 years ago</a>.&nbsp; What can a single man do versus all the power of the state? <br /><br />For one thing, a libertarian can focus on controlling the controllables.&nbsp; We can't turn the world into a libertarian paradise overnight, but it turns out there is quite a lot we can control in our daily lives that adds up to big changes in the aggregate.<br /><ul><li>We can control <a href="http://www.marksdailyapple.com/" target="_blank">the food we eat</a>.</li><li>We can control <a href="http://parentsforliberty.org/" target="_blank">the way we raise our children</a>.</li><li>We can control <a href="http://harrybrowne.org/articles/UnselfishnessTrap.htm" target="_blank">the relationships we choose to have</a>.</li><li>We can control <a href="http://bitcoin.org/en/" target="_blank">how we choose to buy and sell</a>.</li><li>We can control <a href="http://centerfornaturalliving.org/" target="_blank">how we participate in our communities</a>.</li><li>We can control our attitude.</li></ul>With our attitudes ultimately being the one and only thing that we can control 100%, this is the most important thing libertarians should focus on.&nbsp; When a new activist goes down the rabbit hole and understands the depths of our problems, the initial reaction is commonly to tell everyone, everywhere, all the time.&nbsp; This leads to disappointment when the masses aren't readily convinced and don't immediately join us in our noble cause.&nbsp; This rejection often leads to activists "burning out" and choosing to disengage from activism because they don't readily see fruit from their labors. <br /><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-rwMjbzkvuWc/UY8VgrUIe4I/AAAAAAAAATg/WoFoq0C8qrw/s1600/choice_greatestsalesmanintheworld.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="clear: left; float: left; margin-bottom: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" src="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-rwMjbzkvuWc/UY8VgrUIe4I/AAAAAAAAATg/WoFoq0C8qrw/s200/choice_greatestsalesmanintheworld.jpg" height="200" width="122" /></a></div>But what if libertarian activists started applying the success principles outlined above, starting with reading the scrolls from <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/055327757X/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=055327757X&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=nathanklecom-20" target="_blank">The Greatest Salesman in the World</a><img alt="" border="0" src="http://www.assoc-amazon.com/e/ir?t=nathanklecom-20&amp;l=as2&amp;o=1&amp;a=055327757X" height="1" style="border: none !important; margin: 0px !important;" width="1" />?&nbsp; After all, we are salesman, we sell what we believe to be the truth, and we make a sale every time we introduce that truth to a new mind.&nbsp; Every day we can have little victories.&nbsp; Every conversation with a friend, family member, co-worker, or complete stranger is one step closer to our ultimate goal of <a href="http://freestateproject.org/" target="_blank">liberty in our lifetime</a>.&nbsp; And even if that conversation doesn't immediately wake the person up, you have planted a seed that could bear fruit days, weeks, or even years later.&nbsp; Imagine what would happen if every morning every libertarian activist started his day by reading aloud Scroll III, I will persist until I succeed, and took that lesson to heart.&nbsp; Forget liberty in our lifetime, we'd have it within 2-3 weeks tops. <br /><blockquote class="tr_bq">"<b>I will persist until I succeed.</b><br /><br />... <br /><br />I was not delivered unto this world in defeat, nor does failure course in my veins.&nbsp; I am not a sheep waiting to be prodded by my shepherd.&nbsp; I am a lion and I refuse to talk, to walk, to sleep with the sheep.&nbsp; I will hear not those who weep and complain, for their disease is contagious.&nbsp; Let them join the sheep.&nbsp; The slaughterhouse of failure is not my destiny. <br /><br /><b>I will persist until I succeed.</b><br /><br />The prizes of life are at the end of each journey, not near the beginning; and it is not given to me to know how many steps are necessary in order to reach my goal.&nbsp; Failure I may still encounter at the thousandth step, yet success hides behind the next bend in the road.&nbsp; Never will I know how close it lies until I turn the corner. <br /><br />Always will I take another step.&nbsp; If that is of no avail I will take another, and yet another.&nbsp; In truth, one step at a time is not too difficult. <br /><br /><b>I will persist until I succeed.</b><br /><br />Henceforth, I will consider each day's effort as but one blow of my blade against a mighty oak.&nbsp; The first blow may cause not a tremor in the wood, nor the second, nor the third.&nbsp; Each blow, by itself, may be trifling, and seem of no consequence.&nbsp; Yet from childish swipes the oak will eventually tumble.&nbsp; So it will be with my efforts of today. <br /><br />I will be liken to the rain drop which washes away the mountain; the ant who devours a tiger; the star which brightens the earth; the slave who builds a pyramid.&nbsp; I will build my castle one brick at a time for I know that small attempts, repeated, will complete my undertaking. <br /><br />... <br /><br /><b>I will persist until I succeed.</b><br /><br />I will try, and try, and try again.&nbsp; Each obstacle I will consider as a mere detour to my goal and a challenge to my profession.&nbsp; I will persist and develop my skills as the mariner develops his, by learning to ride out the wrath of each storm. <br /><br />... <br /><br /><b>I will persist until I succeed.</b><br /><br />Nor will I allow yesterday's success to lull me into today's complacency, for this is the great foundation of failure.&nbsp; I will forget the happenings of the day that is gone, whether they were good or bad, and greet the new sun with confidence that this will be the best day of my life. <br /><br />So long as there is breath in me, that long will I persist.&nbsp; For now I know one of the greatest principles of success; if I persist long enough I will win. <br /><br /><b>I will persist.</b><br /><br /><b>I will win.</b>" </blockquote><table align="center" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" class="tr-caption-container" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto; text-align: center;"><tbody><tr><td style="text-align: center;"><a href="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-aKtPn92MpvE/UY8XxU3-tJI/AAAAAAAAATs/4Ewoi8_HrSs/s1600/choice_horse.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;"><img border="0" src="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-aKtPn92MpvE/UY8XxU3-tJI/AAAAAAAAATs/4Ewoi8_HrSs/s1600/choice_horse.jpg" /></a></td></tr><tr><td class="tr-caption" style="text-align: center;">Libertarians can also learn from Scroll IX, "I will act now", by focusing our energies where we can achieve liberty that doesn't involve waiting 4 more years to "kick the bums out".</td></tr></tbody></table>Unknownnoreply@blogger.comtag:blogger.com,1999:blog-6497333203175478928.post-12501165532395264712013-03-21T03:08:00.002-05:002014-10-30T07:33:09.642-05:00The Great Object and the Line in the Sand<blockquote class="tr_bq">"The great object is, that every man be armed. [...] Every one who is able may have a gun." - Patrick Henry, in the <a href="http://www.constitution.org/rc/rat_va_12.htm#henry-07" target="_blank">Virginia Convention on the ratification of the Constitution, June 14, 1788</a></blockquote>The history of man is a history of violence.&nbsp; From a biblical perspective, the first human born on this planet, Cain, was also the first murderer, as he slew his brother Abel, the first human to die.&nbsp; From an evolutionary perspective, Stanley Kubrick defined "The Dawn of Man" in his film <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2001:_A_Space_Odyssey_(film)" target="_blank">2001: A Space Odyssey</a> when one tribe of pre-historic ape-men first discovered how to use a bone as a weapon to both kill prey for food and to fight rival tribes of ape-men over territory. <br /><br /><table align="center" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" class="tr-caption-container" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto; text-align: center;"><tbody><tr><td style="text-align: center;"><a href="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-D7wt7o46DN0/UUqyJBGyrDI/AAAAAAAAAPM/p_OmifL6J9E/s1600/2nd_bible_kubrik.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;"><img border="0" src="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-D7wt7o46DN0/UUqyJBGyrDI/AAAAAAAAAPM/p_OmifL6J9E/s640/2nd_bible_kubrik.jpg" height="273" width="640" /></a></td></tr><tr><td class="tr-caption" style="text-align: center;">Kubrick and the Bible agree: Men were violent before the invention of firearms.</td></tr></tbody></table><br />Man's reorganization from a tribal to a state system of governance did not put an end to violence.&nbsp; Instead, as the exercise of violence was usurped from the anarchy of the tribe to the ruling class of the state, the disparity of power between the oppressor and the oppressed increased.&nbsp; When the implements of war consist of hands, feet, and blunt objects, the man blessed by nature with the strongest muscles and the quickest reflexes will win the day.&nbsp; But with the invention of more specialized weapons, the training required to master them could only be taken on by the enforcement class of the state, as they lived off the taxes and tribute of the peasants who were too busy trying to survive to have time to train in the arts of war. <br /><br />Hence, we find the peasant rebellions were easily squashed by the professional soldiers and armies of the state.&nbsp; This was true in medieval Europe as well as ancient Japan, where the Samurai were the only ones allowed to carry swords and the laws stated that any disrespect against a samurai from a peasant was justifiable cause to be killed on the spot.&nbsp; In some regions this lead to "practice murder" where a samurai could kill a peasant for any reason whatsoever with total impunity. <br /><br />Lucky for those that don't wish to live in a world with such a disparity of force and the concomitant tyranny it brings, the pendulum of power would begin to swing back into the hands of the common people with the invention of firearms.&nbsp; On April 19th, 1775, in the towns of Lexington and Concord Massachusetts, the American militia had their first military engagements against the British regulars to start the American Revolutionary War.&nbsp; The sun didn't set on the British Empire, they had the largest and best trained armies the world had ever seen, but they could not dominate common men that had access to the same level of firepower as they had. <br /><br />Each advance in the science of firearms brings more power into the hands of the common people against those who would aggress upon them.&nbsp; Modern firearms are a great blessing for everyone who cheers for the underdog over the bully.&nbsp; Guns, the great equalizer, put a little old lady in the same arena as a 300 lb. linebacker.&nbsp; Without firearms the weaker members of our societies are de-facto victims, but with a firearm <a href="http://www.wcyb.com/news/86-year-old-woman-grabs-gun-in-self-defense/-/14590844/18404728/-/9fdio6z/-/index.html" target="_blank">an 86-year-old woman can defend herself after repeated break-ins</a>, <a href="http://www.nbcmiami.com/news/local/71-Year-Old-Man-Shoots-Would-Be-Robbers-at-Ocala-Internet-Cafe-Authorities-162941656.html" target="_blank">a 71-year-old man can save a café full of people from two armed criminals</a>, <a href="http://myfox8.com/2013/01/06/ga-mom-shoots-intruder-5-times-saves-children/" target="_blank">a mother can protect her children during a home invasion</a>, <a href="http://www.khou.com/news/crime/Burglary-suspect-shot-by-15-year-old-son-of-deputy-97430719.html" target="_blank">a 15-year-old boy can defend his younger sister from a pair of robbers</a>, and <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FHmIB03xJBg" target="_blank">a 12-year-old home-alone girl can fight back against a home intruder</a>. <br /><br />Unfortunately, the same tools that can confer such a blessing to the weak would-be victims in our society can also be used to give added advantage to the aggressors, criminals, and mad-men.&nbsp; Recent mass-shootings of innocent people, including the wanton slaughtering of children, have brought forth calls to blame guns for the violence in the hearts of men and to return back to a time when the ownership of weapons are restricted to the enforcement class of the state. <br /><br />For American patriot Patrick Henry, "the Great Object" is for every man to be armed.&nbsp; His great object is mine as well, and I will promote it with constitutional, empirical, economic, logical, and natural rights-based arguments.&nbsp; While <a href="http://www.nathankleffman.com/2012/05/constitution-and-intellectual-honesty.html" target="_blank">all gun regulations are unconstitutional</a>, I will also define the conditions for which every freedom-loving American should draw his line in the sand and decidedly resist any further encroachments on his individual right to keep and bear arms in order to avoid the greatest danger of all, <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Democide" target="_blank">democide</a>. <br /><br /><strong>A Constitutionally-Protected Right</strong><br /><br /><table cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" class="tr-caption-container" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto; text-align: center;"><tbody><tr><td style="text-align: center;"><a href="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-ZzVe923c8kM/UUqzBY_OSwI/AAAAAAAAAPY/D3Tu0FUGuCU/s1600/2nd_lexington_concord.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="clear: left; margin-bottom: 1em; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;"><img border="0" src="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-ZzVe923c8kM/UUqzBY_OSwI/AAAAAAAAAPY/D3Tu0FUGuCU/s1600/2nd_lexington_concord.jpg" /></a></td></tr><tr><td class="tr-caption" style="text-align: center;">The British said "lay down your arms, you damned rebels!", and the Americans gave it to them, one shot at a time.</td></tr></tbody></table><blockquote class="tr_bq">"The very atmosphere of firearms anywhere and everywhere restrains evil interference - they deserve a place of honor with all that's good" -George Washington </blockquote><blockquote class="tr_bq">“Americans have the right and advantage of being armed – unlike the citizens of other countries whose governments are afraid to trust the people with arms.” - James Madison </blockquote><blockquote class="tr_bq">"No free man shall ever be debarred the use of arms. The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government" - Thomas Jefferson </blockquote><blockquote class="tr_bq">"A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed" - The Bill of Rights </blockquote>In a more <a href="http://www.nathankleffman.com/2012/05/constitution-and-intellectual-honesty.html" target="_blank">intellectually honest society</a>, the constitutional argument promoting an individual's right to own guns would not need to be made.&nbsp; It would go without question that the Bill of Rights recognizes the right of the people to keep and bear arms, and furthermore pledges that our form of government will never infringe upon that right.&nbsp; The 2nd amendment means what it says.&nbsp; With that understanding, any debate on this issue would confine itself to whether or not the Constitution should be amended to repeal Article II of the Bill of Rights and in turn grant the government the power to create and enforce laws that would restrict an individual's right to own guns. <br /><br />Unfortunately, the opponents of gun ownership do not confine themselves to intellectually honest arguments.&nbsp; With a straight face pseudo-scholars will claim that the 2nd amendment gives the government the right to "regulate" firearms, that the 2nd amendment granted a right to own firearms not to individuals, but to the national guard, that the 2nd amendment only applies to hunting, and that the founders never envisioned the 2nd amendment applying to modern combat firearms. <br /><br />Regarding the changing meaning of the term "regulate", I responded to this argument in <a href="http://www.nathankleffman.com/2012/05/constitution-and-intellectual-honesty.html" target="_blank">a previous blog</a>: <br /><blockquote class="tr_bq">"Today, the word regulate supposedly gives the government the power to dictate how many rounds my rifle can have, how long the barrel must be, and whether or not it can be suppressed, semi-auto or full-auto, etc.&nbsp; However, when the Constitution was written a well regulated Militia did not mean the government could tell the colonists what types of muskets they could use, as shown in <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1566637929/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=1566637929&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=nathanklecom-20">The Founders' Second Amendment: Origins of the Right to Bear Arms </a><img alt="" border="0" src="http://www.assoc-amazon.com/e/ir?t=nathanklecom-20&amp;l=as2&amp;o=1&amp;a=1566637929" height="1" style="border: none !important; margin: 0px !important;" width="1" /> by Stephen P. Halbrook.&nbsp; He convincingly shows that a well regulated Militia referred to every able bodied man aged 16-60 having a properly working firearm and being trained in its use and ready in a moment's notice to use it should the call be made." </blockquote>Thus, the first two constitutional arguments proposed by those that wish to restrict gun ownership in America are both based on <a href="http://www.nathankleffman.com/2014/10/lawyer-tricks-vampire-ethics.html" target="_blank">lawyer tricks</a> and playing on the public's ignorance regarding what a term meant at the time the constitution was written and today.&nbsp; In 1776 "regulate" meant "to keep regular", such that a "well regulated" militia meant the individuals compromising that militia were well trained and had properly working firearms.&nbsp; Today the power to "regulate" is commonly viewed as the government's power to create and enforce laws that require permits, licensing, and obeying the dictates of petty bureaucrats.&nbsp; Quite a difference!&nbsp; It's even more outrageous to equate the militia with the National Guard, as the founders were smart guys, but not omniscient, since the National Guard wasn't formed for more than 100 years after the Constitution was written!&nbsp; Instead, the militia referred to every able bodied male aged 16-60, thus, the people themselves. <br /><br />As <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Suzanna_Hupp" target="_blank">Suzanna Hupp</a> said in her <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DEJFAvA-ZUE" target="_blank">famous testimony to congress</a>, "the 2nd amendment is not about duck hunting... it's about our right to be able to protect ourselves from all of you guys up there", referring to the government.&nbsp; So when the <a href="http://york-governor-proposes-strictest-assault-weapons-ban-214137931/" target="_blank">Governor of New York cries out that you don't need 10 bullets to kill a deer</a>, he is merely blowing wind against a straw man.&nbsp; One can kill a deer without any guns at all, but that doesn't mean that the constitution only allows the people of the United States to own bows and arrows.&nbsp; As Jefferson said, "The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government."&nbsp; Put another way, the people have 3 "boxes" they can use to protect themselves from their government.&nbsp; They can use the "soap box" by exercising their 1st amendment protected right to try and change the minds of others through speech and the press, they can use the "ballot box" to vote for representatives that obey their oath to protect the constitution, and finally, as a last resort, they can use the "cartridge box" to overthrow their government.&nbsp; As <a href="http://www.constitutionpreservation.org/" target="_blank">Michael Badnarik</a> said, "if the 1st amendment doesn't work, the 2nd amendment will". <br /><br /><table align="center" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" class="tr-caption-container" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto; text-align: center;"><tbody><tr><td style="text-align: center;"><a href="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-QS_TjvgZNgE/UUq0mwrHI3I/AAAAAAAAAPk/wuHpid68I2k/s1600/2nd_AR15_Hunting.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;"><img border="0" src="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-QS_TjvgZNgE/UUq0mwrHI3I/AAAAAAAAAPk/wuHpid68I2k/s640/2nd_AR15_Hunting.jpg" height="484" width="640" /></a></td></tr><tr><td class="tr-caption" style="text-align: center;">Not only do we need AR-15s, but even more powerful weapons so we can compete against things like this as a last resort.</td></tr></tbody></table><br />The final constitutional argument that the 2nd amendment doesn't protect the right to own "assault weapons" used in combat couldn't be more wrong.&nbsp; Look at quotes from any of the founding fathers and it is clear that's exactly what the 2nd amendment is all about.&nbsp; Jefferson said it was the <em>strongest</em> reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms.&nbsp; If the 2nd amendment is there to give the people a last resort to fight a tyrannical government, then clearly the types of arms that are protected are the very same arms that the government itself has at its disposal.&nbsp; Just as the American people of 1776 owned the same level of fire-power as their British government, one could argue that the 2nd amendment protects today's American's right to own the same level of fire-power that our government has today, meaning Bradley tanks, F-16s, fully automatic weapons, and most certainly semi-automatic weapons with a pistol grip that hold more than 10 rounds, otherwise demonized as "<a href="http://www.assaultweapon.info/" target="_blank">assault weapons</a>". <br /><br /><strong>More Guns, Less Crime, and Vice Versa</strong><br /><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: left;"><a href="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-gaxfDlfn6Es/UUq1SQQrI2I/AAAAAAAAAPw/xBrX3DpCFhs/s1600/2nd_TJ_quote.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="clear: left; float: left; margin-bottom: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" src="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-gaxfDlfn6Es/UUq1SQQrI2I/AAAAAAAAAPw/xBrX3DpCFhs/s320/2nd_TJ_quote.jpg" height="320" width="320" /></a>Considering this quote, if Thomas Jefferson came back today he probably wouldn't think it is a coincidence that our cities with the highest crime rates, New York, Chicago, and Washington DC, also have the strictest gun control laws.&nbsp; However, those that are pre-disposed towards victim disarmament laws often claim that other factors could be at work here, whether it be inner-city culture, poverty, or other socio-economic causes.&nbsp; <a href="http://www.nathankleffman.com/2012/05/give-me-facts.html" target="_blank">This is the problem with statistical analysis</a>.&nbsp; Sloppy research and bias can easily be used to create a study and a corresponding statistic that "proves" just about anything. Investigating socio-economic issues is not the same as chemistry or physics experiments in a lab; it's just about impossible to freeze human beings and isolate just one factor to prove or disprove a given hypothesis.&nbsp; The closest one gets to such an experiment are the few scenarios in human history where a people that share a common culture are split in two via government, with examples that show the merits of capitalism over communism being East and West Germany following World War II and when Korea was split into North and South Korea. </div><br />Given these challenges, <a href="http://johnrlott.blogspot.com/" target="_blank">John Lott</a>, Ph.D. in Economics from UCLA and author of <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0226493660/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=0226493660&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=nathanklecom-20">More Guns, Less Crime</a><img alt="" border="0" src="http://www.assoc-amazon.com/e/ir?t=nathanklecom-20&amp;l=as2&amp;o=1&amp;a=0226493660" height="1" style="border: none !important; margin: 0px !important;" width="1" />, conducted the most comprehensive data analysis on the impact of right-to-carry laws and crime statistics in the United States.&nbsp; With many states relaxing their gun control laws and legalizing concealed carry over the last few decades, he used these states as mini-laboratories to see what, if any, impact these laws had on the crime rate. <br /><br />The first point that he comes to should make any intellectually honest gun-grabber think twice.&nbsp; You cannot point to a single example that shows a statistical decrease in violent crime following a gun control law.&nbsp; One can misleadingly compare the gun death rate in Britain to the United States, but those are two different "laboratories" with other factors at play.&nbsp; In fact, one can read <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0674016084/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=0674016084&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=nathanklecom-20">Guns and Violence: The English Experience</a><img alt="" border="0" src="http://www.assoc-amazon.com/e/ir?t=nathanklecom-20&amp;l=as2&amp;o=1&amp;a=0674016084" height="1" style="border: none !important; margin: 0px !important;" width="1" /> by Joyce Lee Malcolm to learn how Great Britain's violent crime rate has increased since they've introduced stricter gun control laws.&nbsp; At the end of the day, what does it matter if you're assaulted by a thug with a gun or a knife if you've been disarmed by your government and being a victim is your only legal choice?&nbsp; The people of Australia are also finding out that a lower gun crime rate doesn't sound so nice when it's accompanied by <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fGBgH5_wcs0" target="_blank">an increase in violent crime</a>. <br /><br />Not only is there not a single example of a gun control law doing what it's purported to do: save lives by decreasing crime, Lott's studies found dozens of examples where the repeal of gun laws and the passing of right-to-carry laws resulted in a statistically significant drop in violent crime. <br /><br />There are several explanations for these results that might seem counter-intuitive.&nbsp; The first is to understand that not all criminals are lunatics, meaning they respond somewhat rationally to incentives and their circumstances.&nbsp; As Jefferson quoted long ago, "an unarmed man may be attacked with greater confidence than an armed one".&nbsp; Thus, with the introduction of concealed carry laws, we see that the rate of violent crime goes down, while the rate of property crime goes up.&nbsp; Criminals decide to forgo crimes that could result in them getting shot by a concealed carry holder, such as assault, rape, and armed robbery, and substitute that action with crimes that have a lesser probability of such an altercation with an armed citizen, such as a robbery when no one is home. <br /><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: left;"><a href="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-sj2n4wDWjSM/UUq26bSb_gI/AAAAAAAAAP8/xq-55kR9KR4/s1600/2nd_criminal_quote.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="clear: left; float: left; margin-bottom: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" src="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-sj2n4wDWjSM/UUq26bSb_gI/AAAAAAAAAP8/xq-55kR9KR4/s400/2nd_criminal_quote.jpg" height="318" width="400" /></a>In addition to looking at the impact of states legalizing concealed carry, Lott has also provided some interesting analysis of the impact of gun free zones. &nbsp; For instance, the person that committed the massacre in Aurora, Colorado had 7 other theatres that were showing Batman that were closer to his apartment, but he chose the only theatre where guns were banned. &nbsp;Why would he do that? &nbsp;As Mr. Lott says, <a href="http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2012/09/10/did-colorado-shooter-single-out-cinemark-theater/" target="_blank">disarming law-abiding citizens leaves them as siting ducks</a>. &nbsp;Just as criminals adjust their behavior and choose to commit different crimes when more of their would-be victims start carrying guns concealed, even certifiable mad-men adjust their behavior to achieve their goals. </div><br />For someone whose mission is to kill as many innocent people as possible to gain notoriety and die in sick glory, they know that they are more likely to accomplish their goal in a place where all of the law abiding citizens are disarmed, such as a school. &nbsp;Selective reporting by the media can also distort the public's perception regarding gun-free zones and mass shootings. &nbsp;Everyone knows about the massacre at Sandy Hook, but how many know about the massacres that never took place because they were prevented by a someone carrying a concealed weapon? &nbsp;Interestingly enough, the same week that the Sandy Hook massacre took place in a gun-free school <a href="http://www.kgw.com/news/Clackamas-man-armed-confronts-mall-shooter-183593571.html" target="_blank">an Oregon concealed carry holder stopped a massacre in a mall</a> while <a href="http://radio.woai.com/cc-common/mainheadlines3.html?feed=119078&amp;article=10644119" target="_blank">an off-duty cop stopped a shooter in a Texas theatre</a>. <br /><br /><table align="center" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" class="tr-caption-container" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto; text-align: center;"><tbody><tr><td style="text-align: center;"><a href="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-H14VL6D82SQ/UUq310VGZEI/AAAAAAAAAQI/QCG1mSzKD1A/s1600/2nd_gun_free_zone.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;"><img border="0" src="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-H14VL6D82SQ/UUq310VGZEI/AAAAAAAAAQI/QCG1mSzKD1A/s640/2nd_gun_free_zone.jpg" height="238" width="640" /></a></td></tr><tr><td class="tr-caption" style="text-align: center;">Gun-Free Zones: The perfect opportunity for mass shooters to fulfill their sick fantasies.</td></tr></tbody></table><br /><strong>Prohibition: A Case Study</strong><br /><br />Not only can we learn something about any proposed gun control laws that may descend upon the nation by reviewing what's happened with other countries and states that tried similar experiments, we can also look at a seemingly unrelated case study and make some predictions based on the <a href="http://mises.org/books/prohibition.pdf" target="_blank">laws of economics</a>. <br /><br />In 1920 the 18th amendment to the Constitution went into effect, prohibiting the manufacture, sale, and transportation of intoxicating liquors, aka alcohol. The law-abiding suppliers of alcohol were put out of the market by the new amendment, but the demand for alcohol remained.&nbsp; As could be expected, new entrepreneurs entered the market to fill this need, and the imbalance of supply and demand caused the price of alcohol to increase to clear the market.&nbsp; With increased prices come increased profits, and those profits were used by these new entrepreneurs to further their business.&nbsp; While the previous manufacturers of alcohol had to compete to produce the best product at the lowest cost, the new businessmen were only successful to the extent that they could circumvent the law, meaning they had to use violence instead of the courts to settle disputes and to acquire territory while doing their best to either stay under the radar of the police or to pay them off to look the other way. <br /><br />Not only did alcohol prohibition fail to rid America of alcohol, alcoholism actually increased during this time.&nbsp; <a href="http://www2.potsdam.edu/hansondj/Controversies/20081125100215.html" target="_blank">New York City had far more speakeasies during prohibition</a> then it has bars today!&nbsp; Not only were Americans consuming more alcohol, they were consuming dangerous alcohol as they had to substitute store-bought booze of a known quality with bath-tub moonshine of dubious quality.&nbsp; Thus we have the added effect of prohibition causing more alcohol-related deaths because people could never be sure of what they were drinking. <br /><br /><table align="center" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" class="tr-caption-container" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto; text-align: center;"><tbody><tr><td style="text-align: center;"><a href="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-toEaJZ7dMME/UUq7WjUp_XI/AAAAAAAAAQc/gIILkEA4Ec8/s1600/2nd_prohibition_baby.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;"><img border="0" src="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-toEaJZ7dMME/UUq7WjUp_XI/AAAAAAAAAQc/gIILkEA4Ec8/s640/2nd_prohibition_baby.jpg" height="640" width="479" /></a></td></tr><tr><td class="tr-caption" style="text-align: center;">Prohibition didn't work with alcohol, doesn't work with drugs, but this time it will work with guns?</td></tr></tbody></table><br />When the 21st amendment was passed to repeal the 18th, America had still not learned its lesson on the economic effects of prohibition.&nbsp; Namely, that the effect of prohibition for any good will result in criminal elements taking over the business, where these criminals will receive high profits to evade the law and corrupt the police by buying them off, and the products they sell will be of lesser quality and potentially more harmful to the end user. <br /><br />Does this remind anyone of the current drug war?&nbsp; After decades of the war on drugs we have more drug use, where the drugs used are more dangerous and have a higher potency.&nbsp; Instead of using medical grade cocaine of a known quality, users must get their fix from criminals who have cut the cocaine with baby-powder and god knows what else.&nbsp; Just as alcohol users started drinking home-made moonshine during prohibition, the war on drugs is responsible for the horrible meth epidemic in the United States, as it's much easier to create that poison using cold medicine and other household products than securing a Columbia hook-up. <br /><br />So what can we expect from any future gun prohibition?&nbsp; Instead of having law-abiding companies manufacturing guns under the supervision of the ATF, the gun business will move underground and will be entirely run by the criminal element.&nbsp; Already <a href="http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/jurisprudence/2013/01/obama_s_gun_control_proposals_off_the_book_sellers_react.html" target="_blank">under-the-counter gun sellers have boasted that any new prohibitions will only benefit their trade</a>.&nbsp; With the advent of 3D-printing, the gun grabbers' cause is even more hopeless, as now <a href="http://www.infowars.com/3d-printed-lower-receiver-withstands-more-than-650-rounds-gun-grabbers-panic/" target="_blank">anyone with a 3D-printer can create an AR-15 lower receiver that can withstand hundreds of rounds</a>.&nbsp; There are over 200 million guns in this country, and even if you could push a magic button to get rid of all of them, you cannot un-invent welding techniques or get rid of all the substances used to make guns, as they are beautifully simple machines.&nbsp; So the gun business will move into the hands of criminals, their profits will soar, the police will become even more corrupted then they already are, and law abiding citizens will be defenseless. <br /><br /><table align="center" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" class="tr-caption-container" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto; text-align: center;"><tbody><tr><td style="text-align: center;"><a href="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-74_M8j7aJPk/UUq7kNmEOCI/AAAAAAAAAQk/k_CNNV2GyPU/s1600/2nd_before_after.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;"><img border="0" src="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-74_M8j7aJPk/UUq7kNmEOCI/AAAAAAAAAQk/k_CNNV2GyPU/s1600/2nd_before_after.jpg" /></a></td></tr><tr><td class="tr-caption" style="text-align: center;">When guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have guns.</td></tr></tbody></table><br /><strong>Calling all Good Guys, Regardless of Costume</strong><br /><br />When victim disarmament proponents shed big crocodile tears for the innocents killed during mass shootings, they claim they want gun control so that a similar tragedy cannot happen again.&nbsp; But as we just saw, gun prohibition will result in only two classes of people having guns: the government and the criminals.&nbsp; This cannot be denied, as no one is talking about disarming the government, and by definition, criminals will break gun control laws just as they break all the other laws. <br /><br />So what happens when you hear the glass break in the middle of the night and you realize that a criminal has broken into your house?&nbsp; If you've allowed yourself to become disarmed then you only have one choice: call 9-1-1.&nbsp; And what exactly are you hoping to achieve with that call?&nbsp; You want a good-guy with a gun to get there as fast as possible and deal with the bad-guy. <br /><br />The first thing to recognize is that if you have given up the responsibility of protecting your own life and are depending on the police to do it for you, the case of <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Warren_v._District_of_Columbia" target="_blank">Warren v. District of Columbia</a> should make you think twice about this decision.&nbsp; Carolyn Warren and her roommate heard the screams of another defenseless woman who lived one floor below them as she was beaten and raped by Marvin Kent and James Morse.&nbsp; Warren called the police twice to request immediate assistance, and both times the dispatcher assured them that help was on the way.&nbsp; Thinking the police had arrived and the worst was over, their nightmare had only begun when the two men realized the presence of the two additional women and for the next 14 hours held them captive as they were robbed, beaten, raped, and forced to commit sexual acts on each other and their two captors. <br /><br />When Warren sued under claims of negligence the District of Columbia court of appeals ruled that the police do not have a duty to provide police services to victims of criminal acts.&nbsp; In other words, their job is not to protect you, but to draw a chalk-line around your dead body.&nbsp; You've been warned. <br /><br /><table align="center" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" class="tr-caption-container" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto; text-align: center;"><tbody><tr><td style="text-align: center;"><a href="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-71h_g-8vzJQ/UUq7tNHPEvI/AAAAAAAAAQs/mcSekJ49bOY/s1600/2nd_2_ways_2_shield.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;"><img border="0" src="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-71h_g-8vzJQ/UUq7tNHPEvI/AAAAAAAAAQs/mcSekJ49bOY/s400/2nd_2_ways_2_shield.jpg" height="210" width="400" /></a></td></tr><tr><td class="tr-caption" style="text-align: center;">Protecting your life is your responsibility, delegate it to others at your own risk.</td></tr></tbody></table><br />The second thing to recognize in this thought experiment is that no one is truly anti-gun, because when the glass breaks and you dial 9-1-1 you are praying not just for a good-guy, but for a good-guy with a gun.&nbsp; The only thing that can stop a bad-guy with a gun is a good-guy with a gun, and I'm of the radical opinion that you don't have to be employed by the government to qualify as a good-guy.&nbsp; Just as there are most definitely good cops who will respond heroically to defend the innocent, there are also doctors, pilots, teachers, plumbers, and taxidermists that would qualify as good-guys.&nbsp; So what is the basis for this prejudice against the good-guys who don't happen to be wearing a police-man costume? <br /><br />I can't carry a cop around with me in my back pocket, but I can carry a concealed .45 ACP semi-automatic pistol.&nbsp; Not only do I want as many good-guys to be armed as possible, but I actually prefer the electricians and musicians and writers to the police.&nbsp; Why?&nbsp; Because anyone that has gone through a concealed carry course understands that they are civilly and criminally responsible for every bullet they fire in self-defense. Often times these concealed carry holders will merely brandish the gun and won't even have to fire it in order to prevent a crime.&nbsp; Compare this with the police who seem to have a license to kill. <br /><br />In August, 2012 when a disgruntled former apparel designer murdered his former co-worker outside the Empire State building, initial reports thought it might be another mass-shooting as nine people were wounded with one dead.&nbsp; Soon after it was realized that the police unleashed a hail of gunfire into a crowd of people to try and stop him, and that <a href="http://www.cnn.com/2012/08/25/justice/new-york-empire-state-shooting" target="_blank">all of the wounded pedestrians were struck by the police officer's bullets</a>.&nbsp; If a concealed-carry holder not wearing a police costume had fired a gun so recklessly into a crowd of people he'd be sued for every dollar he had and would spend the rest of his life in jail. <br /><br />An even more ridiculous example of police incompetence with firearms comes from the recent case of Christopher Dorner, the ex-cop who was suspected of hunting down his former brethren and their families.&nbsp; When the call came out that their suspect, a large black man, was driving around in a grey Nissan Titan truck, <a href="http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-torrance-shooting-20130209,0,4414028.story" target="_blank">two officers did the logical thing and unleashed a barrage of bullets at an aqua blue Toyota Tacoma containing two Hispanic women delivering newspapers</a>.&nbsp; The LAPD chief called it a "tragic misinterpretation" that their officers gave "no commands, no instructions and no opportunity to surrender" before opening fire on the two women, one of which was 71. <br /><br />So yes, if I need someone to back me up, give me an ordinary citizen who understands the dire consequences of firing a weapon any day over the Keystone Cops who see a home-grown terrorist underneath every bed and face absolutely zero liability for the people they wound or kill. <br /><br /><strong>A Natural Right</strong><br /><br />Every living creature defends itself, it's a law of nature.&nbsp; The cat has its claws, the dog has its teeth, the rattlesnake has its venom, the porcupine has its quills, and the three-toed salamander has a powerful bite.&nbsp; Man not only has to protect himself from the beasts of the wild, but also the men who have chosen to become beasts themselves and prey on their fellow men. <br /><br />So forget what the constitution says, who cares what the statistics show, throw out the arguments based on common sense, logic, or the laws of economics. &nbsp; Let's get down to the morality of taking away a living thing's means of protection.&nbsp; If you de-claw a cat and throw it in the wild it won't last very long, and the death is on your shoulders.&nbsp; In the same way, gun control laws make law-abiding citizens defenseless and they make free men slaves.&nbsp; And I literally mean slaves, never forget that <a href="http://www.firearmsandliberty.com/cramer.racism.html" target="_blank">the first gun control laws in the United States only applied to blacks and Hispanics</a>. <br /><br />Therefore, all free men should be free to exercise their right to keep and bear arms, and I do mean all free men, even those that are guilty of making a mistake in the past.&nbsp; Before the <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gun_Control_Act_of_1968" target="_blank">Gun Control Act of 1968</a>, someone that was arrested with a shotgun and served their time would be given back their property upon leaving prison.&nbsp; But this law, much of which was copied word for word from the <a href="http://jpfo.org/filegen-a-m/GCA_68.htm" target="_blank">Nazi's 1934 Weapon Law</a>, for the first time made it illegal for a felon to possess a firearm under any circumstances. <br /><br />With much of the supposed pro-gun crowd ready to make the concession that "of course felons shouldn't have guns", we have given up the principle of the natural right to self-defense and have become our own worst enemy.&nbsp; Do I want violent murderers and rapists to be armed? Of course not, but there are only two logical situations that arise when a felon is released from jail.&nbsp; Either the person has fooled the parole board and decided to return to a life of crime, in which case a gun law restricting legal sales to felons won't make the slightest bit of difference.&nbsp; On the other hand, if this person has decided to turn his life around, this law banning his right to the means to protect himself is a truly evil injustice of the highest order.&nbsp; It is very similar to the fate of the protagonist in Kubrick's <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_Clockwork_Orange_(film)" target="_blank">A Clockwork Orange</a>, where a young social delinquent signs up for trauma based mind-control which makes him physically ill at the thought of defending himself in exchange for early parole.&nbsp; He finds himself not a man, but a pathetic worm who lives at the mercy of those he used to prey on as well as his former partners in crime. <br /><br /><table align="center" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" class="tr-caption-container" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto; text-align: center;"><tbody><tr><td style="text-align: center;"><a href="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-TYnjnScTs7o/UUq73s-1IcI/AAAAAAAAAQ0/4F0zU5CxyZs/s1600/2nd_kubrick_felon.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;"><img border="0" src="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-TYnjnScTs7o/UUq73s-1IcI/AAAAAAAAAQ0/4F0zU5CxyZs/s640/2nd_kubrick_felon.jpg" height="193" width="640" /></a></td></tr><tr><td class="tr-caption" style="text-align: center;">Today's felons are in the same situation as young Alex in A Clockwork Orange, they have been released back into the world not as free men, but as slaves who cannot defend themselves from violence.</td></tr></tbody></table><br />True defenders of the right to bear arms shouldn't just be on the defense against further encroachments, we should be on the offensive working to overturn the evil gun control laws of 1934 and 1968.&nbsp; Every free man should be able to exercise his natural right to defend himself, even if he's made a mistake in the past.&nbsp; I believe this applies even for those who have made the most heinous of mistakes, let alone for the poor souls that are labeled as felons for committing non-violent crimes, such as those described in Henry Silvergate's <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1594035229/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=1594035229&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=nathanklecom-20">Three Felonies A Day: How the Feds Target the Innocent</a><img alt="" border="0" src="http://www.assoc-amazon.com/e/ir?t=nathanklecom-20&amp;l=as2&amp;o=1&amp;a=1594035229" height="1" style="border: none !important; margin: 0px !important;" width="1" />.&nbsp; If we don't stand up for the rights of felons, then we have accepted the principle that the government can take away a free man's right to bear arms and the next thing you know we'll have an <a href="http://www.wnd.com/2013/02/doctor-warns-obama-taking-over-psychiatry/" target="_blank">army of psychiatrists who can unilaterally declare you "mentally ill"</a> based on their own definitions and strip you of your 2nd amendment protected natural right to keep and bear arms with no due process whatsoever. <br /><br /><strong>The Line in the Sand</strong><br /><blockquote class="tr_bq">"Are we at last brought to such a humiliating and debasing degradation, that we cannot be trusted with arms for our own defence?&nbsp; Where is the difference between having our arms in our own possession and under our own direction, and having them under the management of Congress?&nbsp; If our defence be the <strong>real</strong> object of having those arms, in whose hands can they be trusted with more propriety, or equal safety to us, as in our own hands?" - Patrick Henry, 1788 </blockquote><blockquote class="tr_bq">"This year will go down in history. For the first time, a civilized nation has full gun registration. Our streets will be safer, our police more efficient, and the world will follow our lead into the future!" -Adolf Hitler, 1935 </blockquote>If constitutional, empirical, economic, logical, and moral arguments have not convinced you to adopt Patrick Henry's "Great Object" that every man be armed, perhaps this sobering dose of reality will win you over.&nbsp; While the media will spend countless news cycles covering tragedies that are as likely to happen as getting struck by lightning <em>twice</em>, they conveniently forget that bit of history described in books like R.J. Rummel's <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1560009276/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=1560009276&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=nathanklecom-20">Death by Government</a><img alt="" border="0" src="http://www.assoc-amazon.com/e/ir?t=nathanklecom-20&amp;l=as2&amp;o=1&amp;a=1560009276" height="1" style="border: none !important; margin: 0px !important;" width="1" />.&nbsp; In this scholarly work the author examines the history of <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Democide" target="_blank">democide</a>, the intentional killing by governments through genocide, politicide, massacre and terror.&nbsp; With <a href="http://www.hawaii.edu/powerkills/20TH.HTM" target="_blank">14 democides in the 20th century</a> easily amounting to over 200 million unnatural deaths, this book helps put things in perspective when the occasional madmen kills a few dozen innocent people, especially when you consider that every single <a href="http://www.mercyseat.net/gun_genocide.html" target="_blank">genocide was first preceded by gun control against the targeted population</a>.&nbsp; Ottoman Turkey, the Soviet Union, Nazi Germany, Communist China, and the hell on earth that was <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pol_Pot" target="_blank">Pol Pot's Cambodia</a> all could not have taken place if the millions that were slaughtered had not relinquished their natural right to keep and bear arms. <br /><br /><table align="center" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" class="tr-caption-container" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto; text-align: center;"><tbody><tr><td style="text-align: center;"><a href="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-1ZBTPbYytHc/UUq8AJQ-uFI/AAAAAAAAAQ8/f5d5r8JpXn8/s1600/2nd_gun_control_works.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;"><img border="0" src="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-1ZBTPbYytHc/UUq8AJQ-uFI/AAAAAAAAAQ8/f5d5r8JpXn8/s640/2nd_gun_control_works.jpg" height="448" width="640" /></a></td></tr><tr><td class="tr-caption" style="text-align: center;">Stalin, Hitler, Mao, and Pol Pot all agree: Gun Control Works!</td></tr></tbody></table><br />So I beg of you, learn from history.&nbsp; In the words of <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TbNIU2KEz4g" target="_blank">Michael Badnarik</a>, decide now how bad things will have to get before you draw your line in the sand, and when that time comes, do not back down.&nbsp; Does a criminal government have to turn all of your rights into privileges, take away all your property, license every activity you want to engage in, and completely disarm you before you stand up? Will you not resist until they're hauling you away on cattle cars to a concentration camp?&nbsp; At that point it's too late!&nbsp; Learn from the immortal words of <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aleksandr_Solzhenitsyn" target="_blank">Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn</a> in <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0813332893/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=0813332893&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=nathanklecom-20">The Gulag Archipelago</a><img alt="" border="0" src="http://www.assoc-amazon.com/e/ir?t=nathanklecom-20&amp;l=as2&amp;o=1&amp;a=0813332893" height="1" style="border: none !important; margin: 0px !important;" width="1" />: <br /><blockquote class="tr_bq">"And how we burned in the camps later, thinking: What would things have been like if every Security operative, when he went out at night to make an arrest, had been uncertain whether he would return alive and had to say good-bye to his family?&nbsp; Or if, during periods of mass arrests, as for example in Leningrad, when they arrested a quarter of the entire city, people had not simply sat there in their lairs, paling with terror at every bang of the downstairs door and at every step on the staircase, but had understood they had nothing left to lose and had boldly set up in the downstairs hall an ambush of half a dozen people with axes, hammers, pokers, or whatever else was at hand?...&nbsp; The Organs would very quickly have suffered a shortage of officers and transport and, notwithstanding all of Stalin's thirst, the cursed machine would have ground to a halt!&nbsp; If...if...We didn't love freedom enough. And even more – we had no awareness of the real situation....&nbsp; We purely and simply deserved everything that happened afterward." </blockquote><strong>Conclusion</strong><br /><br />As much as I'd like to end with Solzhenitsyn's emotionally charged "Oh how we burned" quote, I would be doing a disservice to those who might be swayed by my arguments if I didn't supply some resources for those who want to take on the responsibility of protecting their lives from criminals and their natural rights from governments. <br /><br />Before you go out and buy your first gun, I highly recommend you first seek out proper training.&nbsp; Not because the government's forcing you, but because it's just the smart thing to do!&nbsp; Would you operate a chain saw without reading the instruction manual?&nbsp; Guns are dangerous tools that must be understood and respected.&nbsp; If everyone would only religiously follow the <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gun_safety" target="_blank">4 laws of gun safety</a>, 99.9% of all tragic gun accidents would be averted.&nbsp; Those rules are: <br /><ol><li>Treat every gun as if it were loaded. </li><li>Never point your gun at something you are not willing to destroy. </li><li>Keep your finger off the trigger until your sights are on the target. </li><li>Be sure of your target and what is beyond it. </li></ol>In addition to taking basic gun safety training, I highly recommend participating in <a href="http://www.appleseedinfo.org/" target="_blank">project appleseed</a> to jump start your education on learning the art of the rifle.&nbsp; It's put on by volunteers, very cheap if not free, they mix in stories of the American Revolutionary War, and they teach time-tested techniques that will have you hitting man sized targets as far as you can see by the end of the weekend.&nbsp; Once you are carrying concealed, (or better yet, <a href="http://www.opencarry.org/" target="_blank">open carrying</a>!) a great way to practice your skills and have a great time doing so is by joining concealed carry shooting competitions like <a href="http://www.idpa.com/" target="_blank">IDPA</a>. <br /><br />I highly recommend <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1888766069/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=1888766069&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=nathanklecom-20">Boston's Gun Bible</a><img alt="" border="0" src="http://www.assoc-amazon.com/e/ir?t=nathanklecom-20&amp;l=as2&amp;o=1&amp;a=1888766069" height="1" style="border: none !important; margin: 0px !important;" width="1" /> by <a href="http://www.javelinpress.com/" target="_blank">Kenneth W Royce</a> for great advice about guns for novices and experienced shooters alike, including the gear, training, and mindset it takes to adopt the American tradition of becoming a rifleman.&nbsp; Here's one pearl of wisdom he offers: Don't try and "child-proof" your guns, "gun-proof" your children!&nbsp; Teach them respect for weapons and make them available under your supervision and you won't have them sneaking into your closet and taking them to show-and-tell or thinking they're a toy and killing themselves or someone else. <br /><br />Finally, we should do everything in our power to use the "Soap Box" and the "Ballot Box" so that we never have to use the "Cartridge Box".&nbsp; While the <a href="http://home.nra.org/#/nraorg" target="_blank">NRA</a> has gotten better since Ted Nugent has joined their <a href="http://www.nra.org/board/" target="_blank">board of directors</a>, I'm not a fan of theirs simply because <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/adam-winkler/when-the-nra-promoted-gun_b_992043.html" target="_blank">they supported the Firearms Protection Act of 1934</a> <a href="http://www.salon.com/2013/01/14/the_nra_once_supported_gun_control/" target="_blank">and the Gun Control Act of 1968</a>.&nbsp; With friends like that who needs enemies?&nbsp; I'm a proud member of the GOA, <a href="http://gunowners.org/" target="_blank">Gun Owners of America</a>, the only no-compromise gun lobby in Washington.&nbsp; JFPO, <a href="http://jpfo.org/" target="_blank">Jews for the Preservation of Firearms</a>, is another great organization that aggressively defends firearm ownership in America. <br /><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: left;"><a href="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-wZf9OZJo-hE/UUq8Ht0AKQI/AAAAAAAAARE/mgtrE51zS3c/s1600/2nd_come_and_take_it.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="clear: left; float: left; margin-bottom: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" src="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-wZf9OZJo-hE/UUq8Ht0AKQI/AAAAAAAAARE/mgtrE51zS3c/s320/2nd_come_and_take_it.jpg" height="158" width="320" /></a>So speak out to others, write your representatives, and don't just sheepishly beg them to let you have your natural right to keep and bear arms.&nbsp; We should get off the defense and be on the offensive trying to get gun control laws repealed.&nbsp; Don't be afraid to let them know, if they want our guns, they can <a href="https://soundcloud.com/#stevevaus/come-and-take-it" target="_blank">come and take it!</a></div><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><iframe allowfullscreen='allowfullscreen' webkitallowfullscreen='webkitallowfullscreen' mozallowfullscreen='mozallowfullscreen' width='320' height='266' src='https://www.youtube.com/embed/3vcr5-QvMdY?feature=player_embedded' frameborder='0' /></div>Unknownnoreply@blogger.comtag:blogger.com,1999:blog-6497333203175478928.post-49954075969544431382012-12-20T01:04:00.000-06:002014-09-23T08:30:38.350-05:00It's Time to Ban Spoons and End Obesity<div class="separator" style="clear: both;"><a href="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-0tL3DZB3DS0/UNKwhc1kI9I/AAAAAAAAAOE/k9M-eaQPW7Y/s1600/spoon_control.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="clear: left; float: left; margin-bottom: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" height="196" src="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-0tL3DZB3DS0/UNKwhc1kI9I/AAAAAAAAAOE/k9M-eaQPW7Y/s200/spoon_control.jpg" width="200" /></a>In 2004 the <a href="http://www.cdc.gov/" target="_blank">US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)</a> ranked obesity as the number one health risk facing America. &nbsp;Obesity currently results in an estimated 400,000 deaths a year in the United States and costs the national economy nearly $122.9 billion annually. &nbsp;Experts believe that obesity will soon become <a href="http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/releases/6438.php" target="_blank">America's number one killer</a>, overtaking smoking and leaving other forms of death such as car accidents, gun violence, and terrorist attacks in the dust. </div><br />For far too long America has been in the grips of the special interests that lobby our congressmen and have hijacked our government to keep Americans addicted to the #1 cause of obesity: Spoons. &nbsp;But all that is about to change. <br /><br />Having a rational debate about the undeniable relationship between America's obsession with spoons and our obesity epidemic is no longer taboo. &nbsp;Ever since Mayor Bloomberg heroically led the country in <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2012/09/14/nyregion/health-board-approves-bloombergs-soda-ban.html" target="_blank">protecting us from the evils of large sugary drinks</a>, people everywhere are becoming more used to the idea of applying this kind of forward-thinking leadership in other areas. <br /><br />Just a few years ago the ignorant individualists clinging to their spoons would protest that we as a country have no right to regulate or ban their use. &nbsp;Thankfully,&nbsp;as a result of our new free health-care system, these ignoramuses can no longer hide behind this excuse. &nbsp;We are all paying for each other's health-care, and if you harm yourself through the criminal use of spoons, then we all suffer the consequences. <br /><br />The pro-spoon pro-obesity pro-death industrial complex is finally losing its iron grip on our country. &nbsp;We are at the tipping point. &nbsp;Now is the time to act. &nbsp; I will prove without a shadow of a doubt that spoons cause obesity, and I will give you the solution for how we can end obesity once and for all by enacting responsible <a href="https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/petition/immediately-address-issue-obesity-through-introduction-spoon-control-legislation-congress/gdMC98WZ" target="_blank">Spoon Control legislation</a> on the path towards a total ban of this evil utensil. <br /><br /><strong>The Evidence is Undeniable</strong><br /><br />Study after study has proven the relationship between spoons and obesity. &nbsp;Recent studies surveying every country on the planet have established an irrefutable link between countries that have a high number of spoons per capita and the percentage of the population that is obese. &nbsp;A random sampling of these countries clearly show that the trend line of spoons per capita is a perfect match with a country's rate of obesity. <br /><br /><table align="center" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" class="tr-caption-container" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto; text-align: center;"><tbody><tr><td style="text-align: center;"><a href="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-p6asoAsYLtw/UNKyt50Zq5I/AAAAAAAAAOY/aB_t7t4k9q4/s1600/Countries_Spoons_Obesity.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;"><img border="0" src="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-p6asoAsYLtw/UNKyt50Zq5I/AAAAAAAAAOY/aB_t7t4k9q4/s1600/Countries_Spoons_Obesity.jpg" /></a></td></tr><tr><td class="tr-caption" style="text-align: center;">Western Countries have high obesity rates and high spoons per capita.&nbsp; The Asian countries, which use chop sticks, use fewer spoons and therefore have a lower obesity rate.&nbsp; Finally, the third world countries have no spoons and no obesity.&nbsp; The truth is inescapable.</td></tr></tbody></table><br />The logic is obvious. &nbsp;As we can see above, the western countries including the United States, the UK, Australia, New Zealand, and Canada all have a high rate of spoons per capita and a correspondingly high rate of obesity. &nbsp;As we move to the Asian countries such as South Korea and Japan, their obesity rate dramatically decreases along with their lower number of spoons per capita, as they use chop sticks. &nbsp;Finally, the more enlightened countries such as Haiti, Ethiopia and Zimbabwe have virtually no spoons at all and they have managed to completely eradicate the plague of obesity. <br /><br />More spoons = more obesity. &nbsp;<a href="http://www.nathankleffman.com/2012/05/give-me-facts.html" target="_blank">There is no other possible explanation</a>. <br /><br /><strong>No One Needs a Spoon</strong><br /><br />The founders of this country used wooden spoons to eat their simple meals, and they never would have dreamed that in the future these utensils would be used to consume the incredibly fatty foods that Americans eat today. &nbsp;Luckily, the American forefathers were smart enough to found this country with a <a href="http://www.nathankleffman.com/2012/05/constitution-and-intellectual-honesty.html" target="_blank">constitution that is a living document</a> and is flexible enough to face the challenges of our changing world. <br /><br /><table align="center" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" class="tr-caption-container" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto; text-align: center;"><tbody><tr><td style="text-align: center;"><a href="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-jF1o5aXSK5g/UNKy3njKwXI/AAAAAAAAAOg/YdgKNDB9R7A/s1600/founding_fathers_wooden_spoon.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;"><img border="0" height="218" src="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-jF1o5aXSK5g/UNKy3njKwXI/AAAAAAAAAOg/YdgKNDB9R7A/s400/founding_fathers_wooden_spoon.jpg" width="400" /></a></td></tr><tr><td class="tr-caption" style="text-align: center;">The founding fathers with their wooden spoons would be shocked at how we abuse them today.</td></tr></tbody></table><br />Clearly, no one has a legitimate reason to own a spoon in this day and age, as they are only used today to consume large amounts of unhealthy and fatty foods. &nbsp;A simple knife and fork is all that is needed to eat a healthy diet of fruit, vegetables, whole grains, dairy products, and meat. &nbsp;For those that insist on eating soup and cereal, surely they can just drink it directly out of the bowl. <br /><br />Unfortunately, many Americans are so brainwashed towards the use of spoons that we may not be able to enact a complete spoon ban right away. &nbsp;In that case we can at least start with responsible <a href="https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/petition/immediately-address-issue-obesity-through-introduction-spoon-control-legislation-congress/gdMC98WZ" target="_blank">Spoon Control legislation</a>, such as no more than 1 spoon per household, with compulsory spoon registration to ensure this regulation is enforced.&nbsp;&nbsp;Only teaspoon sized spoons&nbsp;should be allowed, as anything larger is just asking for abuse.&nbsp; In addition, we must ensure that properly registered spoons are kept at least 15 feet away from the refrigerator where fatty foods like ice cream are stored. &nbsp;But even these steps will not stop the obesity epidemic; we will never eradicate ourselves of this horrible disease until every last spoon is destroyed. <br /><br /><strong>Do it for the Children</strong><br /><br />It's one thing to try and make an argument that adults should be able to make their own choices when it comes to spoons, but that logic does not apply at all when we talk about the children. &nbsp;Children are young, and sweet, and innocent. &nbsp;If we don't come together as a nation and protect them from the evils of spoons, no one else will. <br /><br />Consider how the pro-spoon pro-child-obesity lobbyists have infiltrated the media and programmed our children to love spoons before they could even understand what they were watching. &nbsp;The most obvious example was the cartoon show "<a href="http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0112196/" target="_blank">The Tick</a>", where the supposed hero's catch-phrase was, you guessed it, "Spooooooooon!" Is there nothing these monsters won't do? <br /><br /><table align="center" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" class="tr-caption-container" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto; text-align: center;"><tbody><tr><td style="text-align: center;"><a href="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-sfZuNfk_byA/UNKzIwYmPwI/AAAAAAAAAOo/tompT4Vx2MA/s1600/The_Tick_Spoooooon.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;"><img border="0" height="229" src="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-sfZuNfk_byA/UNKzIwYmPwI/AAAAAAAAAOo/tompT4Vx2MA/s320/The_Tick_Spoooooon.jpg" width="320" /></a></td></tr><tr><td class="tr-caption" style="text-align: center;">They brainwash our children to use spoons and become obese.&nbsp; The pro-spoon forces are pure evil.</td></tr></tbody></table><br />The pro-spoon media programming was just the beginning. &nbsp;Over the last 30 years childhood obesity has tripled. &nbsp;According to the CDC, in 2008 <a href="http://www.cdc.gov/healthyyouth/obesity/facts.htm" target="_blank">more than one third of children and adolescents were overweight or obese</a>. &nbsp;The following chart shows the vicious cycle of how spoons lead to childhood obesity and to a lifetime of misery. &nbsp;Even worse, the cycle continues from generation to generation, with parents blindly passing on their spoon addiction to their children. &nbsp;If these parents cannot keep spoons from their children to keep them fit and healthy, we as a country must do it for them. &nbsp;It is time to break the cycle! <br /><br /><a href="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-sTbcRtbInqQ/UNKzck4glHI/AAAAAAAAAOw/ogdwbXgpZxI/s1600/Childhood_Obesity_Spoon_Cycle.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" height="640" src="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-sTbcRtbInqQ/UNKzck4glHI/AAAAAAAAAOw/ogdwbXgpZxI/s640/Childhood_Obesity_Spoon_Cycle.jpg" width="610" /></a><br /><strong>What You Can Do About It</strong><br /><br />Now is the time to finally put an end to obesity once and for all. &nbsp;Luckily the solution is very simple. &nbsp;You don't have to persuade and convince others to stop using spoons and becoming obese, and you don't even have to try and forcefully stop them yourselves. &nbsp;All you have to do is <a href="https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/petition/immediately-address-issue-obesity-through-introduction-spoon-control-legislation-congress/gdMC98WZ" target="_blank">sign this petition</a> and demand that our government enact responsible spoon control legislation! <br /><br />The great thing about our country is if we can get enough people behind this movement we can force everyone else to do what we want. &nbsp;When someone else isn't smart enough to do the right thing, we can force them to do it through our government. &nbsp;It's called <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0765808684/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;tag=nathanklecom-20&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=0765808684" target="_blank">democracy</a><img alt="" border="0" height="1" src="http://www.assoc-amazon.com/e/ir?t=nathanklecom-20&amp;l=as2&amp;o=1&amp;a=0765808684" style="border: currentColor !important; margin: 0px !important;" width="1" />, and it's what makes <a href="http://www.nathankleffman.com/2011/12/america-by-any-other-name-would-be-as.html" target="_blank">America the freest country in the world</a>. <br /><br />So please, if you care about children, and if you want to stop obesity, <a href="https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/petition/immediately-address-issue-obesity-through-introduction-spoon-control-legislation-congress/gdMC98WZ" target="_blank">sign&nbsp;the petition</a> and join&nbsp;us in this heroic battle of good versus evil. <br /><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/petition/immediately-address-issue-obesity-through-introduction-spoon-control-legislation-congress/gdMC98WZ" target="_blank"><img border="0" height="494" src="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-sUm5mb8c48I/UNKzrQdrFqI/AAAAAAAAAO4/4j8m1ME2bmU/s640/spoon_legislation.jpg" width="640" /></a></div>Unknownnoreply@blogger.comtag:blogger.com,1999:blog-6497333203175478928.post-52573394604658127022012-10-31T23:36:00.000-05:002015-01-30T13:59:34.624-06:00Should Libertarians Vote Libertarian?<div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-Z7N-iNkAHoU/UJH9AyTxfVI/AAAAAAAAANU/x2vXXY1bcFc/s1600/vote_question.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="clear: left; float: left; margin-bottom: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" src="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-Z7N-iNkAHoU/UJH9AyTxfVI/AAAAAAAAANU/x2vXXY1bcFc/s200/vote_question.jpg" height="92" width="200" /></a></div>Should libertarians vote Libertarian? &nbsp;You will never see a similar question seriously considered for any other political party. &nbsp;A person who identifies himself as a "republican" is, by definition, someone who is engaged in the political process and will vote for the Republican Party. &nbsp;Likewise for the self-identified democrat. &nbsp;Democrats vote for the Democratic Party, and republicans vote for the Republican Party. &nbsp;That's what they do. <br /><br />Things aren't so simple for "small l" libertarians. &nbsp;For a libertarian to join, promote, and vote for the <a href="http://www.lp.org/" target="_blank">Libertarian Party</a>, both pragmatic and moral objections must be overcome. &nbsp;A sampling of those objections could be found any day this October on <a href="http://lewrockwell.com/" target="_blank">Lewrockwell.com</a>, the best-read libertarian website in the world. &nbsp;"<a href="http://lewrockwell.com/orig13/sanchez-d1.1.1.html" target="_blank">Vote for Liberty by Not Voting</a>", "<a href="http://lewrockwell.com/barnett/barnett54.1.html" target="_blank">Voting, A Fool's Game!</a>", and "<a href="http://lewrockwell.com/orig12/poindexter7.1.1.html" target="_blank">Libertarians Should Vote for… No One</a>" are all recent articles by libertarians I admire, and they all make excellent points that every thoughtful libertarian should consider before choosing whether or not to go to the ballot box this November. <br /><br />Nevertheless, I have chosen to ironically take the characteristically libertarian minority position on this libertarian voting issue. &nbsp;At the risk of failing a future libertarian purity test, I believe, with a few qualifications, that libertarians should vote for candidates of the Libertarian Party. <br /><br />As hard as it is to group and categorize libertarians, I will target my message towards two distinct groups: the minarchists who are planning to vote for Mitt Romney or write in Ron Paul, and the anarchists who plan to abstain from voting altogether in order to sleep well at night knowing they did not give their endorsement to the state nor bring it additional legitimacy. <br /><br /><strong>A Message to Ron Paul Revolutionaries and Libertarian Minarchists Working in the Republican Party</strong><br /><br />Libertarians are split into two camps, anarchists and minarchists. &nbsp;The minarchists, believing in the legitimacy or expediency of a night-watchmen state, have no objection to engaging in the political process to work for smaller government. &nbsp;For the minarchist, the biggest decision to make is where to get the most bang for your political activism buck. &nbsp;Do you work to reform one of the two major parties to make it more liberty-friendly, or do you work to grow the Libertarian Party? <br /><br />Forget the slogan, "<a href="http://freestateproject.org/" target="_blank">liberty in our lifetime</a>"; there are some that want liberty as soon as possible, preferably this election. &nbsp;With that kind of goal, building up a no-compromise liberty-oriented party of principle by changing hearts and minds one at a time over years, if not decades, just isn't very attractive. &nbsp;Ruling out a political party that has not received more than 1% of the presidential vote leaves these libertarian political activists with one real alternative: take over the Republican Party. <br /><br />There are several appealing reasons that libertarians choose to work within the Republican Party instead of the Libertarian Party. &nbsp;For many newcomers to libertarianism the reason is simple, the man that woke them up, Dr. Ron Paul, has used the Republican Party machinery very effectively to spread the message of liberty. &nbsp;Inventing the "money bomb", starting the Tea Party, passing "Audit the Fed", breaking fundraising records and drawing crowds of thousands at college campuses are all praise-worthy accomplishments of Dr. Paul's 2008 and 2012 presidential campaigns. &nbsp;However, these quantitative achievements are mere reflections of the real reason to be excited: the thousands of people that have been converted to the libertarian cause or are at least more sympathetic to these ideas as a result of Dr. Paul's engagement in the political process. <br /><br />So what shall we do after accomplishing so much? After the 2008 election Dr. Paul encouraged his followers to get involved in their local Republican Party, play by the rules, and make a difference in the next election. &nbsp;In a fair and just world Dr. Paul would have been recognized for having achieved wins in several primary states, but instead, we saw the red team break every rule of their party platform and common decency in order to keep Ron from gaining momentum and causing division in their party. <br /><br />So what now? &nbsp;Some Ron Paul revolutionaries have become so wedded to the idea of taking over the red team that they are planning to vote for the red candidate, even if he's barely distinguishable from the dreaded blue candidate. &nbsp;Maybe those that have begrudgingly joined team Romney don't want to seem like "sore losers", maybe some have endorsed Mitt to strengthen their future political careers, or maybe they really think that Mitt will be slightly better than Obama on some issues. <br /><br />Whatever "lesser of two evils" logic some have adopted, let's keep in mind that it hasn't worked on Ron. &nbsp;Dr. Paul has heroically abstained from endorsing his party's candidate, and at the same time has said some very nice things about Gary Johnson's campaign and encouraged his supporters to make their own choice this November. <br /><br />I'm hoping you consider my message when you make this choice, and for you, my message is harsh but simple: Dr. Paul woke you up by using the Republican Party as a communication platform. &nbsp;You were intrigued by his unique ideas during the debates, and maybe he turned you on to a few books on libertarianism and Austrian economics. &nbsp;But do not confuse your admiration of Dr. Paul with allegiance to the Republican Party. &nbsp;Remember that it is <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0761526463/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=0761526463&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=nathanklecom-20" target="_blank">Lincoln's Party</a><img alt="" border="0" src="http://www.assoc-amazon.com/e/ir?t=nathanklecom-20&amp;l=as2&amp;o=1&amp;a=0761526463" height="1" style="border: currentColor !important; margin: 0px !important;" width="1" />: a party of war, corporatism, and big government. <br /><br />The Republican Party doesn't want your ideas of liberty or small government, and just forget about a non-interventionist foreign policy. &nbsp;Yes they want your vote, but they don't want you. &nbsp;They pay lip service to libertarian slogans and then make us all look like fools as they vote in bigger government then democrats could ever get away with. &nbsp;The republicans are gambling that you fear Obama more than you love integrity. &nbsp;They are hoping that you'd rather take the long road to serfdom rather than a principled stance that a slick-talking, <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EQwrB1vu74c" target="_blank">flip-flopping</a>, big-government republican will never get your vote. <br /><br />So come home. &nbsp;Come home to the <a href="http://www.lp.org/" target="_blank">Libertarian Party</a>. &nbsp;It's an uphill battle, but it will be a fun ride. &nbsp;You'll be amongst like-minded people and won't have to rub shoulders with neo-cons and war-mongers. &nbsp;Join a party that actually believes what you believe. &nbsp;Don't get suckered into the empty promises of the red team. &nbsp;They are playing you all for fools. <br /><br />Now, for those minarchists who are planning on writing in 'Ron Paul'... What are you thinking? &nbsp;If we had only the two major parties on the ballot then yes, I'd write in "Ron Paul", "Donald Duck", or "Lysander Spooner". &nbsp;In that scenario I have no problem siding with H.L. Mencken and "vot[ing] on Artemus Ward's principle that if we can't have a live man who amounts to anything, by all means let's have a first-class corpse." <br /><br />But we don't have only two choices. &nbsp;We do have a sincere libertarian who will be on the ballot&nbsp;in all 50 states. &nbsp;You don't need to throw your vote away in order to protest a corrupt and blatantly unfair election process. &nbsp;If you want to cast a protest vote, by all means, cast that vote by voting against both sides of the big-government party, against the two wings of the same bird of prey, against the left and right boots stomping your face into the mud... vote for <a href="http://www.garyjohnson2012.com/" target="_blank">Gary Johnson</a>. <br /><br /><table align="center" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" class="tr-caption-container" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto; text-align: center;"><tbody><tr><td style="text-align: center;"><a href="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-VGTq37Q5W-U/UJH9ldD4uuI/AAAAAAAAANc/awedHwKR1co/s1600/revolution_whips_out_its_johnson.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;"><img border="0" src="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-VGTq37Q5W-U/UJH9ldD4uuI/AAAAAAAAANc/awedHwKR1co/s320/revolution_whips_out_its_johnson.jpg" height="320" width="320" /></a></td></tr><tr><td class="tr-caption" style="text-align: center;">Damn right we did.</td></tr></tbody></table><br /><strong>A Message to Principled Anarchists</strong><br /><br />A friend who volunteers for the Libertarian Party once asked me, "if libertarians make up 5 - 10% of the United States population, then why can we never get more than 1% of the vote for the presidential election?". &nbsp;I can answer his question with a joke, "What is the difference between a minarchist and an anarchist?" &nbsp;"About 6 months." <br /><br />In other words, just as fast as we gain new libertarians, those new converts become stricken with a disease of logical consistency. &nbsp;At some point along the libertarian journey one comes to the realization that if private voluntary transactions on the free-market can bring us cell-phones, vegetables, and health-care better than theft, coercion, and organized violence, then perhaps security and arbitration services are additional candidates for privatization. &nbsp;Now the last excuses for the night-watchmen state fall apart, and a man must make a choice between intellectual integrity and the risk of being labeled a Molotov-cocktail-throwing, v-for-vendetta-mask-wearing social delinquent. <br /><br />Once you accept that the government that governs least governs best, and the least amount of governing is zero, then you have practical and moral considerations to make when it comes to engaging in the political process. &nbsp;The moral question asks if one can be a principled and consistent libertarian anarchist while engaging in the political process. &nbsp;The practical question is one of tactics: does my political activism support, endorse, legitimize, or provide a mandate for the very system that I would like to see eventually dismantled? &nbsp;If I support a bill that will lower taxes, am I acknowledging that the state has a right to steal from me? &nbsp;If I vote for a candidate who pledges to lower taxes, is my vote for a lower amount of theft endorsing theft nonetheless? <br /><br />Many prominent libertarians certainly think so. &nbsp;Consider this passage from "<a href="http://lewrockwell.com/orig13/sanchez-d1.1.1.html" target="_blank">Vote for Liberty by Not Voting</a>" by Daniel J Sanchez: <br /><blockquote class="tr_bq">"...your vote helps provide a mandate for all of the elected officer’s policies, whether you support those policies or not. &nbsp;As one author has said, voting "just encourages the bastards." <br /><br />Furthermore, every vote for a federal office is a vote for the hyper-state known as the U.S. federal government, and for hyper-states in general. &nbsp;It is effectively an endorsement of centralized power and a vote of no confidence in localism. &nbsp;And yes, this would be true of a vote for a middling libertarian like Gary Johnson, or even an exceptionally heroic individual like Ron Paul. &nbsp;True progress toward liberty cannot be achieved through the offices of a gargantuan state."</blockquote><br />In "<a href="http://lewrockwell.com/barnett/barnett54.1.html" target="_blank">Voting: A Fool's Game!</a>", Gary Barnett flips the conventional wisdom on its head, and argues that not only does voting legitimize the state, but it also forces you to accept the results and invalidates your grounds for complaining. <br /><blockquote class="tr_bq">"Many libertarians think that voting is acceptable only if one votes for someone other than those in the two major parties, or someone who is a Democrat or Republican that is accepted by a majority of "libertarian type" individuals. &nbsp;I disagree with this thinking entirely. &nbsp;I disagree because even if a good man might run for high office, regardless of who wins, every single vote cast legitimizes not only the outcome, but also the very flawed political system itself. &nbsp;This is not an option to my way of thinking, because libertarianism is based upon individual rights, and when voting is evident, the individual is abandoned. <br /><br />Because voting supports the system, those who vote are obligated to accept the results. &nbsp;To accept the results means to accept the system, and to accept the system, means to accept what that system produces. &nbsp;What is produced in the governing system in the U.S. is based upon theft, coercion, police state force, and imprisonment, all for political gain. &nbsp;The laws of the land written by those elected officials in this same system support this criminal activity, so by voting, one’s ability to complain is eliminated. &nbsp;I do realize that this is the reverse of how many think, but it is the only logical position to take. <br /><br />In my mind, not voting is the only way to denounce entirely the current political system, and to not give consent, implied or otherwise, to its evil ways."</blockquote><br />Joel Poindexter's article "<a href="http://lewrockwell.com/orig12/poindexter7.1.1.html" target="_blank">Libertarians Should Vote for… No One</a>" mainly argues against voting for either of the two major candidates, which I am in perfect agreement with. &nbsp;However, he seems to believe that voting for the Libertarian Party candidate won't accomplish as much as abstaining from voting entirely. <br /><blockquote class="tr_bq">"... it should be noted that voting for another candidate – even one nominated by the Libertarian party – does little to stall, rollback, or smash the state, as should be every libertarian's goal. &nbsp;Libertarians should instead avoid the polls, and convince as many others to do likewise."</blockquote><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: left;"><a href="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-pEQrJEOE4Gw/UJH_xAoQtlI/AAAAAAAAANs/_U7nwQbngmE/s1600/dangerous_superstition.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="clear: left; float: left; margin-bottom: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" src="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-pEQrJEOE4Gw/UJH_xAoQtlI/AAAAAAAAANs/_U7nwQbngmE/s200/dangerous_superstition.jpg" height="200" width="154" /></a>While these are all thoughtful reason to abstain from voting, the best arguments against engaging in the sacrament of the political religion that I've read were in <a href="http://www.larkenrose.com/" target="_blank">Larken Rose's</a> excellent book <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/145075063X/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=145075063X&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=nathanklecom-20" target="_blank">The Most Dangerous Superstition</a><img alt="" border="0" src="http://www.assoc-amazon.com/e/ir?t=nathanklecom-20&amp;l=as2&amp;o=1&amp;a=145075063X" height="1" style="border: currentColor !important; margin: 0px !important;" width="1" />. </div><br />On page 144 Mr. Rose gives us "The Libertarian Contradiction": <br /><blockquote class="tr_bq">" trying to make it [the non-aggression principle] a reality via any political process is completely self-contradictory, because "government" and non-aggression are utterly incompatible. <br />... <br />Trying to convert libertarianism into a political movement requires a mangled, perverted hybrid of the two options: the idea that a system of domination ("government") can be used to achieve individual freedom. &nbsp;Whenever a "libertarian" lobbies for legislation or runs for office, he is, by his own actions, conceding that "authority" and man-made "law" is legitimate. <br />... <br />There is a fundamental difference between arguing about what the master should do - which is what all "politics" consists of - and declaring that the master has no right to rule at all. &nbsp;To be a libertarian candidate is to try to do both of these conflicting things. &nbsp;It obviously legitimizes the office the candidate seeks to hold, even while the candidate is claiming to believe in the principles of non-aggression and self-ownership, which completely rule out the possibility of any legitimate "public office." &nbsp;In short, if the goal is individual freedom, "political action" is not only worthless, it is hugely counter-productive, because the main thing it accomplishes is to legitimize the ruling class's power. <br />... <br />If enough people recognize and let go of the "authority" myth, there is no need for any election, any political action, or any revolution."</blockquote><br />Answering the common objections in these passages in order from easiest to hardest, I'll first respond to the challenge that abstaining from voting is a more effective means of resistance to the state than voting for the Libertarian Candidate. <br /><br />While it may make one feel warm and fuzzy to stay home on election day, the reality is this decision only hampers our ability to reach the masses. &nbsp;Remember that the news cycle will not report that of the 36% of eligible voters that stayed at home, 8% of them were principled anarchists that have rejected the state and refuse to endorse it. &nbsp;Instead they will report only the percentages of those that choose to vote, and the collective decision of libertarian non-voters to remain silent means that instead of getting 5%-10% and becoming a force to be reckoned with, we may never pass that embarrassing 1% barrier and our ideas will never be considered by the common man because of that stigma. <br /><br />Next we have the argument of providing aid and comfort to the enemy. &nbsp;The act of voting for anyone, even a libertarian, provides a mandate for all government officials, legitimizes their illegitimate power, provides endorsement of their crimes against humanity, and obligates you to accept the state in all of its horror. <br /><br />If the choice were between the lesser of two evils, then I would absolutely agree. &nbsp;But remember, we have a Libertarian Party candidate on the ballot in all 50 states! &nbsp;Is Gary Johnson the reincarnation of <a href="http://murrayrothbard.com/" target="_blank">Murray Rothbard</a>? &nbsp;He's far from it. &nbsp;In fact, when I went to Las Vegas as a delegate I supported <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/R._Lee_Wrights" target="_blank">R. Lee Wrights</a> because I felt he was a more principled candidate. &nbsp;But that being admitted, it is grossly unfair to lump the LP in the same group as the blue and red wings of the big government party. &nbsp;How better can you denounce the system then by voting for a candidate who has the polar opposite beliefs of that system's front men? &nbsp;Everything they want to promote and expand, be it war, taxes, or the power of government itself, we want to decrease, eliminate, and roll back.<br /><br /><table align="center" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" class="tr-caption-container" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto; text-align: center;"><tbody><tr><td style="text-align: center;"><a href="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-HDu4dyeG_Hw/UJH-GGfT5UI/AAAAAAAAANk/CsBaot9yMF4/s1600/voting.png" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;"><img border="0" src="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-HDu4dyeG_Hw/UJH-GGfT5UI/AAAAAAAAANk/CsBaot9yMF4/s320/voting.png" height="320" width="242" /></a></td></tr><tr><td class="tr-caption" style="text-align: center;">Agreed.&nbsp; So vote for a candidate who wants to&nbsp;get rid of&nbsp;the masters, break the chains, and set the slaves free!</td></tr></tbody></table><br />And if the objection is that Gary Johnson isn't a pure enough libertarian to earn the anarchist vote, you frankly have no one to blame but yourself. &nbsp;Just as there has been an ideological battle in the Republican Party, there has been a similar struggle in the Libertarian Party. &nbsp;The forces aligned with Wayne Alan Root fought for a "big-tent" libertarian party, which was code for watering down our beautifully radical platform to become the Republican-lite party. &nbsp;Those forces succeeded in 2008, but in 2012 I am proud to say that the libertarian wing of the Libertarian Party <a href="http://reason.com/blog/2012/05/05/anarchy-at-the-libertarian-party-convent" target="_blank">heroically fought them off and succeeded</a> in defeating their attempt to completely take over the party and disenfranchise the anarchists. &nbsp;We were able to fill the Libertarian Party Executive Committee completely with radicals, and that setback is a big reason we were finally able to run off Wayne Alan Root himself, as he has formally left the LP, endorsed Romney, and announced his intention&nbsp;to run for office as a Republican. <br /><br />So can we answer the hardest objection of them all? &nbsp;Do I have an answer for Mr. Rose's libertarian contradiction? &nbsp;Having run for office on the LP ticket myself, I was taken aback by his challenge. Did my campaign do more harm than good? &nbsp;Ask the question another way, is it possible to be a libertarian candidate and not bring legitimacy to the state? <br /><br />I think it is possible, and while I can't speak for the minarchist candidates of the LP, you can definitely imagine an anarchist campaign that would not violate Mr. Rose's objections. &nbsp;Imagine a campaign where every voter questionnaire, every interview, and every chance to speak centered around an educational message denouncing the system of government itself and encouraging people to free themselves from their masters. &nbsp;If every campaign message was about not only dismantling the state, but encouraging people to actively resist the state to help bring that about, then Mr. Rose's objections wouldn't hold water. <br /><br />And now I am left in an awkward position. &nbsp;If a principled anarchist could only vote for a principled anarchist candidate, then am I not admitting that some should not vote for the LP because Gary Johnson's campaign does not meet the criteria that I just laid out? <br /><br />Thankfully, I have at least one prominent libertarian hero on my side, <a href="http://www.walterblock.com/" target="_blank">Dr. Walter Block</a>, who has provided me with <a href="http://youtu.be/0B0hs8S_CjA?t=33m8s" target="_blank">the perfect reductio ad absurdum rebuttal</a>. &nbsp;Yes, Gary Johnson's campaign does not meet the qualifications necessary to earn the vote of a principled anarchist... &nbsp;Luckily, I am not a principled anarchist. <br /><br />I accept federal reserve notes for payment, which legitimizes the government's theft and fraud through a fractional reserve fiat money system enforced through violence. &nbsp;I use government roads and other public services, even though I know they were paid for with blood money stolen at the point of a gun. &nbsp;I have abandoned my unalienable and natural right to self-defense, and instead I have sheepishly applied for a concealed carry permit. &nbsp;And long before I traded that right for a privilege, I acknowledged that I have no right to travel without the state's permission, as I possess a driver's license. <br /><br />My list of transgressions against my anarchist principles could go on forever. &nbsp;The point being, don't throw stones if you live in a glass house. &nbsp;One of the most hardcore libertarians I know, <a href="http://www.constitutionpreservation.org/" target="_blank">Michael Badnarik</a>, really walks the walk. &nbsp;He drives without a driver's license and&nbsp;he will never get a permit to exercise his natural right to bear arms.&nbsp; The guy is hard-core principled. &nbsp;And considering that he was the LP's 2004 presidential candidate, I think we can deduce where he falls on the voting issue. &nbsp;If he can make the sacrifice, what is your excuse? <br /><br /><strong>Conclusion</strong><br /><br />The <a href="http://www.lp.org/" target="_blank">Libertarian Party</a> is not perfect. &nbsp;Our pathetic choice for our presidential candidate in 2008 is testament to that. &nbsp;However, our <a href="http://www.lp.org/platform" target="_blank">party platform</a> is still something a radical libertarian can be proud of, and our recent reversal of the Wayne Alan Root forces is also a great victory for every hardcore libertarian. <br /><br />Every time I hear "this is the election cycle that can change everything" I shake my head. &nbsp;It is counter-productive to have delusions of grandeur and set yourself up for failure. &nbsp;But that being said... this is the year that can change everything. &nbsp;Not to win, but to finally pass that dreaded 1% mark. &nbsp;We are not only in a position to break 1%, but we have a real chance of passing the 5% mark. &nbsp;This means that all of the time, money, and energy that is spent every election in every state to qualify or re-qualify the Libertarian Party for ballot access will no longer be necessary. <br /><br />With 5%, we get automatic ballot access. &nbsp;All of the lawsuits, all of the petition gathering, the tens of thousands of dollars… all of it can finally go towards promoting our candidates and more importantly, promoting our message. <br /><br />One of <a href="http://www.garyjohnson2012.com/" target="_blank">Gary Johnson's</a> campaign slogans is "Be libertarian with me for one election". &nbsp;My slogan is "libertarians, vote libertarian with me for one election!"<br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><br /></div><iframe allowfullscreen='allowfullscreen' webkitallowfullscreen='webkitallowfullscreen' mozallowfullscreen='mozallowfullscreen' width='320' height='266' src='https://www.youtube.com/embed/OdotOMXG56Y?feature=player_embedded' frameborder='0' />Unknownnoreply@blogger.comtag:blogger.com,1999:blog-6497333203175478928.post-27088196869151068852012-07-07T18:37:00.001-05:002014-10-28T17:09:09.113-05:00The Libertarian Response to VicesLooking back on my run for State Representative, my most rewarding experience was being invited to speak about libertarianism to a class of gifted students at a local high school. &nbsp;I started by handing out the <a href="http://www.theadvocates.org/quiz/" target="_blank">Worlds Smallest Political Quiz</a> and gave a brief overview of what libertarianism is all about. &nbsp;Then I opened the floor for questions, and no one can accuse the students of pulling any punches. &nbsp;We discussed many different topics, but I clearly remember that one of the main subjects that kept coming back was drugs. &nbsp;Several students challenged my support of legalizing drugs, telling me that drugs are bad, they destroy families and communities, etc. &nbsp;How could I support the use of deadly drugs that cause so much harm? <br /><br />I distinctly remember defending my position along empirical grounds. &nbsp;I explained that while "<a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BNbExvU42q4" target="_blank">drugs are bad</a>" the effects from prohibition are the main cause of the problems associated with drug use. &nbsp;I made a parallel to alcohol prohibition, explaining that our experiment with outlawing booze resulted in increased alcoholism, deadlier and lower quality alcohol (moonshine), higher prices attracting criminal mobsters, an increase in violence as those mobsters fought the police and each other for territory, and the corruption of the police. <br /><br />However, one thing I don't remember explaining is the moral argument, the "who am I to judge" argument. &nbsp;I'm not sure if I was bold enough to propose that drug use is a <a href="http://www.mind-trek.com/treatise/ls-vanc.htm" target="_blank">vice and not a crime</a>. &nbsp;Perhaps the students were familiar with the phrase, "I may disagree with what you have to say, but I will defend your right to say it". &nbsp;But if they were, many of them didn't draw the parallel between offensive language and offensive behavior. <br /><br /><a href="http://www.lysanderspooner.org/" target="_blank">Lysander Spooner</a> defined vices as "those acts by which a man harms himself or his property… simply the errors which a man makes in his search after his own happiness. &nbsp;Unlike crimes, they imply no malice toward others, and no interference with their persons or property." &nbsp;Today we live in a world where many vices are outlawed, and the price for breaking these laws include fines, imprisonment, and even death. &nbsp;Libertarianism is often portrayed as an extreme ideology, where the libertarian position of being opposed to drug prohibition is seen to imply favoring drug use. &nbsp;Nothing could be further from the truth. <br /><br />This blog will show that endorsing a vice and using government violence to combat a vice are two extreme positions on a spectrum that includes other options, including tolerance and the use of ostracism. &nbsp;We will see that libertarians adopt these median options as the proper response to various vices, and consequently show that libertarianism is actually the moderate position compared to irresponsible promotion of self-destructive behavior on the one hand, and the use of aggressive violence by government agents on the other. <br /><br /><strong>The spectrum of possible responses to other people's vices</strong><br /><br /><a href="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-x1TWJwdq3xA/T_i-lWEmRhI/AAAAAAAAAMU/7v2ad8BC-fo/s1600/Vice_Response_Spectrum.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" src="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-x1TWJwdq3xA/T_i-lWEmRhI/AAAAAAAAAMU/7v2ad8BC-fo/s640/Vice_Response_Spectrum.jpg" height="203" width="640" /></a><br />Starting from the far left of my "Responses to Vices Spectrum", we can think of a few scenarios where someone would be inclined to endorse, support, and approve of another person's vices. &nbsp;One scenario would be when a person himself suffers from the vice that he endorses. &nbsp;People that are considered addicted to a drug or a behavior like gambling often surround themselves with people that share the same vice. &nbsp;This mutually reinforcing support network allows them to both normalize their destructive behavior because "everyone else is doing it", while also creating an example that allows them to legitimize their behavior, "Yes I just got my second DUI, but at least I haven't gotten a fourth one like Bob. &nbsp;Now he <i>really</i> has problems." <br /><br />On the flip side, there are countless examples of promoting vices where the person or organization making the endorsement does so for self-interested reasons. &nbsp;The pimp that convinces a confused girl to sell herself for money and the drug pusher that encourages a teenager to sample his products to ensure a new customer are examples of endorsing illegal vices. &nbsp;However, let us not forget that, thankfully, many vices are not illegal. &nbsp;One can't watch more than a few minutes of television without being bombarded with countless endorsements of vices, whether outright commercials or strategic product placement. &nbsp;The abuse of alcohol, cigarettes, and pharmaceutical drugs cause far more social damage than many illegal drugs, especially <a href="http://www.saferchoice.org/content/view/24/53/" target="_blank">compared to marijuana</a>. &nbsp;Even the over indulgence of junk food and soda would rate higher on a social damage scale in terms of health costs, yet commercials promoting endless consumption of these products populate our billboards and rank as our favorite super bowl commercials. <br /><br />Even when you don't have a specific product to sell we see vices glamorized in American culture, including promiscuity and gambling. &nbsp;But don't think private greed is the only source of this endorsement, as the government also has its hands in the dirty pot when encouraging the poor and mathematically ignorant into spending their few precious dollars on state-sponsored lotteries. <br /><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-tAmVeMCJIao/T_i_FJwWBHI/AAAAAAAAAMc/g0WWhfX1fZ4/s1600/lottery_idiot_tax.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" src="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-tAmVeMCJIao/T_i_FJwWBHI/AAAAAAAAAMc/g0WWhfX1fZ4/s400/lottery_idiot_tax.jpg" height="342" width="400" /></a></div><br />Moving rightward on my spectrum, the next logical option for responding to a vice is tolerance. &nbsp;In this case, an individual may not personally approve of the behavior, may even actively try to persuade others against the particular vice, but nonetheless they tolerate those that engage in the vice and keep a place for them in their lives. &nbsp;These scenarios could include the permanent designated driver that responsibly handles alcohol and drives his booze-hound friends from bar to bar, the person that goes to Vegas and takes in a few shows while a friend loses his life savings, or a religious fundamentalist that believes homosexuality to be a sin but maintains a loving relationship with an openly gay family member. <br /><br />As we move from tolerance to intolerance, the next non-aggressive response to a vice is ostracism. &nbsp;In this case the person believes the vice to be so dangerous that they don't want anything to do with the vice, nor with those that engage in it. &nbsp;According to <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ostracism" target="_blank">Wikipedia</a>, the word ostracism comes from the Greeks and described a procedure where a citizen would be expelled from Athens for ten years. &nbsp;Ostracism could be practiced for the benefit of the ostracized, where a parent realizes they have been enabling destructive behavior by condoning a hopelessly alcoholic or drug-abusing child, and decide to "cut them off" from the family until they get their lives back on track. &nbsp;On the other hand, the parent could ostracize the "prodigal son" not for his own well-being, but for the sake of sparing the negative influence from the other children. <br /><br />At last we arrive at the option available to the State, the use of aggressive violence against someone because of their vices. &nbsp;Remember, we are not talking about a response to crimes, where the committer of theft, rape, assault, or murder is the aggressor and a government or private security company is acting in the defense. &nbsp;No, this is the unfortunately common response used today that when someone doesn't approve of the behavior of another, including a mutually beneficial voluntary arrangement between two or more other people, and they respond by passing a law. &nbsp;Even if the penalty is merely a small fine, we must remember the price of non-compliance and escalation with the State. &nbsp;To resist a fine can mean imprisonment, and to resist imprisonment can mean death. &nbsp;As law enforcement officers, formerly known as peace officers, become <a href="http://www.theatlantic.com/national/archive/2011/11/how-the-war-on-terror-has-militarized-the-police/248047/" target="_blank">increasingly militarized</a>, it should become more and more clear how crazy it is to employ state violence against those that "imply no malice toward others, and no interference with their persons or property." <br /><br /><a href="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-LyEOq3NJ-68/T_i_cJIzYGI/AAAAAAAAAMk/Gpo0ZAWfzBM/s1600/three_felonies_a_day.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="clear: left; float: left; margin-bottom: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" src="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-LyEOq3NJ-68/T_i_cJIzYGI/AAAAAAAAAMk/Gpo0ZAWfzBM/s200/three_felonies_a_day.jpg" height="200" width="132" /></a>Unfortunately, the use of violence by government to respond against men and their vices has a long history in America. &nbsp;As I found in Murray Rothbard's <a href="https://mises.org/store/Product2.aspx?ProductId=10605" target="_blank">Conceived in Liberty</a>, many of the pre-revolutionary colonies were much more oppressive than the British, where the price for exposing too much skin or missing church included fines, whipping, and locking people up. &nbsp;While we no longer outlaw those specific infractions, we have not evolved much past our Puritan ancestors. &nbsp;Instead, we have replaced every religious law with a thousand or ten-thousand regulatory laws. <a href="http://www.forbes.com/sites/erikkain/2011/08/04/the-rawesome-raid-and-raw-milk-controversy/" target="_blank"> &nbsp;Selling raw milk</a>, more than <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/06/06/new-york-soda-ban-business-owners_n_1572714.html" target="_blank">16 oz. of soda</a>, or a toilet that uses more than <a href="http://mises.org/daily/3997" target="_blank">1.6 gallons per flush</a> can land you in the crosshairs of the State. &nbsp;Books like Paul Craig Robert's <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0307396061/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;tag=nathanklecom-20&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=0307396061" target="_blank">The Tyranny of Good Intentions</a><img alt="" border="0" src="http://www.assoc-amazon.com/e/ir?t=nathanklecom-20&amp;l=as2&amp;o=1&amp;a=0307396061" height="1" style="border: currentColor !important; margin: 0px !important;" width="1" /> and Harvey Silverglate's <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1594035229/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;tag=nathanklecom-20&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=1594035229" target="_blank">Three Felonies A Day</a><img alt="" border="0" src="http://www.assoc-amazon.com/e/ir?t=nathanklecom-20&amp;l=as2&amp;o=1&amp;a=1594035229" height="1" style="border: currentColor !important; margin: 0px !important;" width="1" /> are two of my favorites that expose the outrageous extent to which we have criminalized people's vices, and the danger that we have put ourselves in now that the precedent has been set. <br /><br />Now that we have defined the four major categories of how a person can respond to another's vice, we can explore how a libertarian might respond to some of the hot-button issues facing America today that are so often misrepresented in the public. <br /><br /><strong>Drug Use</strong><br /><br />Undoubtedly, drug use is a vice and not a crime. &nbsp;On the one hand we have those that abuse drugs, both the pharmaceutical and illegal variety, which harms no one but themselves. &nbsp;On the other hand, we have the pushers of drugs <i>qua</i> drug pusher, where they are guilty of nothing but voluntarily offering a product which the person is free to accept or reject. &nbsp;After quickly reviewing the empirical arguments for repealing prohibition (I highly recommend Mark Thornton's <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000XGAFQ0/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;tag=nathanklecom-20&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B000XGAFQ0" target="_blank">The Economics of Prohibition</a><img alt="" border="0" src="http://www.assoc-amazon.com/e/ir?t=nathanklecom-20&amp;l=as2&amp;o=1&amp;a=B000XGAFQ0" height="1" style="border: currentColor !important; margin: 0px !important;" width="1" />, available at <a href="http://mises.org/" target="_blank">mises.org</a> <a href="http://mises.org/books/prohibition.pdf">for free</a>) we can turn to the libertarian solutions to this vice in a world that has rejected the government-violence response. <br /><br /><a href="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-ycRp3jjYcRk/T_jDMetV4_I/AAAAAAAAAM4/ww0xyhlX5Eg/s1600/The_Economics_of_Prohibition_cover.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="clear: left; float: left; margin-bottom: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" src="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-ycRp3jjYcRk/T_jDMetV4_I/AAAAAAAAAM4/ww0xyhlX5Eg/s200/The_Economics_of_Prohibition_cover.jpg" height="200" width="131" /></a>First, let's remember that a world where drug possession and selling is not illegal would look very different from the one we have today. &nbsp;Many illegal drugs come from naturally growing plants and have no patents or intellectual property rights associated with them. &nbsp;Absent this artificial monopoly, we would see the prices for these drugs plummet. &nbsp;Absent enormous profits, we would see the violence and corruption associated with drugs disappear. &nbsp;Criminal gangs would not be interested in selling marijuana for the same reason they are not engaged in selling wheat or rice, as their strategic advantage only applies in the trade of illegal products with the accompanying need to evade or bribe government agents. <br /><br />However, we would still be left with the problem of the abuser of drugs. &nbsp;The poor soul who cannot take responsibility for his actions and finds himself making one mistake after another due to his short time-preference and inability to resist the highs and lows of drugs would still exist. &nbsp;What to do with him? &nbsp;First off, we have already done a great service to this person by reclassifying him from a criminal to a person in need of help. &nbsp;If he already has a drug addiction problem, the last thing that would help is throwing him in a cage with violent criminals. <br /><br />Under the category of tolerance, we can predict that for-profit and charitable rehabilitation centers would cater to drug abusers and their families. &nbsp;These institutions would compete by offering the lowest costs and the highest quality service, trying to win the business and donations of others by advertising the best recovery rates. <br /><br />Finally, considering that mandatory minimum sentencing for drug "crimes" have exploded our prison population beyond capacity, forcing jails to release truly dangerous criminals while keeping millions of non-violent drug offenders <a href="http://10140493-inside-the-secret-industry-of-inmate-staffed-call-centers/" target="_blank">performing slave labor</a>, I hope the libertarian solution is looking less radical and more sane. <br /><br /><strong>Racism</strong><br /><br />Racism, or any kind of unjust discrimination for that matter, is a practice that most people find disgusting, and many would probably end a friendship with someone who suddenly revealed themselves as some kind of hateful racist or bigot. &nbsp;Yet the libertarian views this as a moral issue, not a legal issue. &nbsp;The right to associate implies the right to not associate. &nbsp;So far at least, it is not a crime to choose friends or lovers based on race or some other superficial characteristic, yet it is a crime calling forth the violence of the state to choose private employees and customers based on being a member of a government recognized minority group. <br /><br /><a href="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-FWo6nDtY3Qk/T_jDa8mxKMI/AAAAAAAAANA/R9ASuhkjDNI/s1600/case_for_discrimination.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="clear: left; float: left; margin-bottom: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" src="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-FWo6nDtY3Qk/T_jDa8mxKMI/AAAAAAAAANA/R9ASuhkjDNI/s200/case_for_discrimination.jpg" height="200" width="129" /></a>On the empirical side, <a href="http://www.schiffradio.com/" target="_blank">Peter Schiff</a> has made excellent arguments calling for the repeal of racial discrimination laws. &nbsp;From the perspective of a customer and a Jewish American, Schiff has claimed that he'd rather a business be free to discriminate against him so that he can in turn identify the racist / bigoted employer and cease doing business with him. &nbsp;This is an example of the ostracism approach to racists. &nbsp;Today we have no idea which business owners are racist or not, but allow them to expose themselves and we'll be able to ostracize the racist and even lead boycotts against him. &nbsp;The consequence will be that racist store owners will be put out of business, while non-racist businessmen will gain market share. &nbsp;As <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hOCJdTV14a0" target="_blank">Walter Block</a> has said, the only color a smart businessman sees is green, and if racist behavior causes him to lose money, this could in itself cause him to change his tune without the need to bring in the violence of the state. <br /><br />Peter Schiff has also made the case for repealing racial discrimination laws from the perspective of an employer, as he has made a compelling case that these laws can create racist behavior in a person who would not be racist absent these laws. &nbsp;Anyone who has hired or supervised an employee can testify that not every employee works out. &nbsp;Sometimes people lie on their resumes, slack on the job, or reasons having nothing to do with the particular employee require a business man to let someone go. &nbsp;Knowing that hiring any employee carries the risk of firing them in the future, the non-racist employer will rationally respond to the fact that there are some people who have the potential to sue them under racial / minority discrimination laws. &nbsp;Hence, the employer may choose the white straight male over a more qualified member of a minority because the former cannot sue him, while the latter has that option available. &nbsp;Even if the lawsuit is totally without merit, the time and cost of fighting and winning such a lawsuit can certainly influence the business decision that would be about pure dollars and cents absent these laws. <br /><br />Thus, by rejecting the government-violence response to the vice of racism, we may not end racism overnight, but at least we will unleash market incentives to punish racist employers with ostracism and refusing to do business with them, while abandoning the perverse incentives that may cause a non-racist employer to engage in racist behavior that exist today. <br /><br /><strong>Abortion</strong><br /><br />The <a href="http://www.lp.org/" target="_blank">Libertarian Party</a> <a href="http://www.lp.org/platform" target="_blank">platform</a> states, <br /><blockquote class="tr_bq">"Recognizing that abortion is a sensitive issue and that people can hold good-faith views on all sides, we believe that government should be kept out of the matter, leaving the question to each person for their conscientious consideration." </blockquote>At the risk of opening up a controversial can of worms, I'd like to explore this hot-button issue, as it is often the single issue that people vote on. &nbsp;The 1988 Libertarian Party Presidential Candidate Ron Paul is Pro-Life, endorsing laws that would define life at conception and outlawing abortion. &nbsp;Many other libertarians are Pro-Choice, including 2012 Libertarian Party Presidential Candidate <a href="http://www.garyjohnson2012.com/" target="_blank">Gary Johnson</a>, supporting a woman's right to choose. <br /><br />Having libertarian representatives on opposite sides of this polarizing issue may seem schizophrenic, but there is a libertarian position that doesn't have a simple label and requires a little explaining. &nbsp;One can be Pro-Life in their capacity to influence and persuade those around them, including the choice they would personally make in the position of choosing life or death for the fetus developing in the womb of the mother. &nbsp;At the same time, this person can be Pro-Choice in that they reject using the government-violence response of locking up women who make this questionable choice and the doctors who offer this service. <br /><br /><a href="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-OUX2hM0rwNM/T_jAmbSx61I/AAAAAAAAAMs/TbkR2xShBag/s1600/For_A_New_Liberty.png" imageanchor="1" style="clear: left; float: left; margin-bottom: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" src="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-OUX2hM0rwNM/T_jAmbSx61I/AAAAAAAAAMs/TbkR2xShBag/s200/For_A_New_Liberty.png" height="200" width="147" /></a>As all libertarian positions logically flow from our principles of Self-Ownership and Non-Aggression, it is not surprising to find Murray Rothbard frame the issue in this manner in <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1610162641/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;tag=nathanklecom-20&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=1610162641" target="_blank">For a New Liberty</a><img alt="" border="0" src="http://www.assoc-amazon.com/e/ir?t=nathanklecom-20&amp;l=as2&amp;o=1&amp;a=1610162641" height="1" style="border: currentColor !important; margin: 0px !important;" width="1" /> (<a href="http://mises.org/rothbard/foranewlb.pdf" target="_blank">free pdf</a>): <br /><blockquote class="tr_bq">"If we are to treat the fetus as having the same rights as humans, then let us ask: What <em>human</em> has the right to remain, unbidden, as an unwanted parasite within some other human being's body? &nbsp;This is the nub of the issue: the absolute right of every person and hence every woman, to the ownership of her own body." </blockquote>Thus, we are separating the moral issue from the legal issue. &nbsp;Just as I might oppose what someone does to their body when it comes to the drugs they ingest, I might be extremely opposed to the choice a woman makes to abort her baby. &nbsp;However, as a libertarian I will not endorse the use of government violence as the proper response to this decision. &nbsp;I can try to persuade the woman out of the decision, I can donate money to an organization that pays women to keep their babies and finds good homes for them, I could even use the ostracism response and decide to not associate with abortion doctors and the women who make this choice, but what I won't do is lock them up in a cage or endorse a government agency to do so in my name. <br /><br /><strong>Conclusion</strong><br /><blockquote class="tr_bq">"The ultimate result of shielding men from the effects of folly is to fill the world with fools " -Herbert Spencer </blockquote>I hope that my "Responses to Vices Spectrum" can be a useful aid when explaining the libertarian options that are aligned with the non-aggression principle. &nbsp;Libertarians are portrayed in the media as having extreme positions, as our policy recommendations do not fit into the left / right narrative where there are two and only two choices presented, where often both choices are two versions of the government-violence response. <br /><br />Just because we libertarians don't want to initiate violence against others for their vices, including stealing their money, locking them in a cage, and killing them, mainstream opinion seems to imply that we seek a world where 12 year olds are addicted to heroin working for a dollar a day in a coal mine for racist employers. &nbsp;This is not the case. &nbsp;We want peace and prosperity for ourselves and our children, we just believe there is a better way to deal with social issues then the extreme position of government violence. &nbsp;The cost of freedom is personal responsibility, and we believe that allowing people to learn from their mistakes is not only the best way to promote personal growth, but that non-aggressive methods of responding to the vices of others is morally superior than trying to combine two wrongs and somehow arriving at a right.Unknownnoreply@blogger.com