The Libertarian Standard » Brutus Property - Prosperity - Peace Sat, 16 May 2015 17:42:43 +0000 en-US hourly 1 A new website and group blog of radical Austro-libertarians, shining the light of reason on truth and justice. The Libertarian Standard clean The Libertarian Standard (The Libertarian Standard) CC-BY Property - Prosperity - Peace The Libertarian Standard » Brutus TV-G Drones in US Airspace? Thu, 17 Jun 2010 04:47:11 +0000 The Departments of Defense and Homeland Security among other groups are pressuring the Federal Aviation Administration to permit drones in US airspace. The Jonas Brothers better watch their backs.

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When the “Gotcha” Moment Disappoints Tue, 27 Apr 2010 02:23:04 +0000 One of my goals when debating the truth of libertarian political philosophy is getting my opponent to realize that he is an advocate of aggression. That is, I want my opponent to realize that his policies necessarily require that the State not only threaten innocent people with physical violence but also that State agents must beat, jail, and even kill those who are unwilling to obey State dictates. My hope is that my opponent will see the wanton immorality of his position and rethink his political philosophy. The reason I think that such recognition will lead to an epiphany is because the people I debate claim to be peaceful people who abhor violence. In my mind, I imagine my opponent realizing that he cannot claim to value peace and abhor violence while defending an institution that is inherently aggressive and violent. This moral contradiction would lead him to see the error of his ways and instantly renounce violence. He then reads and regularly and begins the long process of learning true history and true economics. But this has yet to happen in my experience.

Instead some of my opponents cling to the notion that we must have a monopoly of violence to prevent even more violence. In one recent debate my opponent conceded that the State does indeed reduce material wealth, but he was fine with this because the State also reduces wealth inequality. Why income inequality should be a moral concern was not addressed in this debate. But what really disappointed me in this exchange was that my opponent also claimed to value peace and nonviolence as I do. This is simply false; libertarians are the only people who value peace and nonviolence. We are the only ones who apply the same moral standards to both private and government actors. Theft is theft; murder is murder; fraud is fraud. It does not matter if the thief is a petty-pickpocket or an IRS agent. If both parties did not consent to the exchange, this is theft.

It amazes me that there are liberals and conservatives in this country who really do believe that they value peace; a simple examination of their politics reveals the opposite. While they shout peace, peace, in reality they advocate theft and violence. All of their political ideas necessarily require aggression. Income redistribution, minimum wages, affirmative action, the drug war, the police state, wars in foreign countries, etc., all require a State. None of these policies could be put into existence without a monopoly on violence. Nevertheless, many liberals and conservatives still claim that they value peace. One would think that holding such clearly contradictory ideas would compel one to rethink his political philosophy. But I am still waiting for the “gotcha” moment to lead to a pensive examination of currently held beliefs by my opponent.

Although the “gotcha” moment can be disappointing, I believe that the only reason my opponents advocate such violence is that they themselves do not have to violently enforce their own policies. I seriously doubt that my liberal friend who thinks that the State should redistribute wealth is willing to enforce such a policy himself. In fact, I seriously doubt any liberal or conservative would be willing to enforce any of the policies he advocates. I can’t imagine the typical liberal threatening to jail a tax resister and being prepared for a physical confrontation if he resists. I can’t imagine the typical conservative threatening to jail someone for possessing marijuana and being prepared for a physical confrontation if he resists.

However, the existence of the State, especially a democratic State, increases any violent tendencies individuals may possess. Taxation socializes the costs of aggression, thus making the leaders of democracies more aggressive than they would be. For instance, the US would not be involved in two foreign wars if George Bush and Dick Cheney had to pay for the military with their own wealth. Abraham Lincoln would have let the South secede if he and his friends had to pay for the army themselves. But democracies also deceive the masses into believing that they are the government. As such they believe that the State’s policies reflect “their” will.

But the deception does not stop there. Given that the democratic State is already in place this means that there are enough armed men to enforce the State’s dictates. The masses do not participate in the actual violence that must be committed to compel compliance. Thus, it is easier for the masses to tolerate and advocate aggressive policies because they themselves do not have to engage in the actual violence. The masses do not break into the houses of drug suspects and shoot their pets. The masses do not arrest tax resisters. The masses do not fight wars in foreign countries. Rather armed men who either ingest a much, much stronger cocktail of statist ideology or are thugs by nature enforce these laws and fights these wars. This means that the typical liberal or conservative can advocate his policies without the guilt of actually having to beat or jail or kill someone who disobeys a dictum of the State.

So while there are times the “gotcha” moment disappoints, I find solace in knowing that most of my opponents are unwilling to pick up arms themselves and enforce their policies. This tells me that while State ideology can generate support for the State, it is not enough for the masses to engage in violent acts. They can speak threats against their political opponents through the State all they wish and even vote for their policies; but they are unwilling to pull the trigger themselves.

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Our Generous President Fri, 16 Apr 2010 04:39:24 +0000 The President and his wife made about $5.5 million and paid $1.8 million in federal taxes in 2009. This does not include an estimated $59,639,899 in benefits that he receives annually for being president. Being the generous couple that they are, they gave $329,100 to 40 charities. That’s an average of $8,227.50 per charity. Moreover, $329,100 is also about 6% of their total income for 2009. He did donate the $1.4 million he won for the Nobel Peace prize, although it’s debatable whether he really earned that reward. Nevertheless, Obama had no problem pledging $100 million of taxpayer money to help Haiti. He also pledged $475 million of taxpayer money to rescue the Great Lakes; $3.5 billion of taxpayer money to help Africa; $1.5 billion of taxpayer money to help underwater homeowners and the unemployed; $900 million for schools; $8 billion of taxpayer money on high speed rail; and as much as 3% of GDP, which is about $415 billion of taxpayer money, on scientific research. Perhaps this is why he only donates 6% of his own income. Why be generous with your own money when you can be magnanimous with other people’s money?

Remember when President Obama told Joe the Plumber: ”I think when you spread the wealth around, it’s good for everybody”? The President was not talking about his wealth.

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Liberals to Blacks – “Either You Are a Liberal or a Sell-Out” Thu, 08 Apr 2010 03:46:07 +0000 One of the advantages liberals have with a black president is that they can decry any opposition to him or his policies as “racist”. Do you disagree with the health care bill? Clearly you are a racist. So you oppose Obama’s bailout plan? You must be a racist. Do you think McCain should have been president? You must be a member of the KKK. But what do you call black people who oppose Obama? They must be sell-outs.

Many blacks have been joining the Tea Party and some are paying a personal price for doing so:

“I’ve been told I hate myself. I’ve been called an Uncle Tom. I’ve been told I’m a spook at the door,” said Timothy F. Johnson, chairman of the Frederick Douglass Foundation, a group of black conservatives who support free market principles and limited government.

“Black Republicans find themselves always having to prove who they are. Because the assumption is the Republican Party is for whites and the Democratic Party is for blacks,” he said….

“I’ve gotten the statement, ‘How can you not support the brother?'” said David Webb, an organizer of New York City’s Tea Party 365, Inc. movement and a conservative radio personality.

Since Obama’s election, Webb said some black conservatives have even resorted to hiding their political views.

“I know of people who would play the (liberal) role publicly, but have their private opinions,” he said. “They don’t agree with the policy but they have to work, live and exist in the community … Why can’t we speak openly and honestly if we disagree?”

Liberals have labeled the Tea Party as racist because it comprises mostly middle-aged white men. And we all know that all middle-age conservative white men are racists. No, I’m just joking. But I can understand why liberals take the moral high ground regarding race because they are such great friends to black people. They continue to support public schools that destroy black education; welfare and public housing that destroy black families; the drug war that turns black neighborhoods into war zones; minimum wages that discourage employers from hiring black youth who lack job experience; high taxes that hinder blacks from keeping what money they do earn; and estate taxes that impede blacks from passing wealth to the next generation. They also have a savior-complex that compels them to believe black people owe their improved conditions to their policies and that blacks who have the temerity to think for themselves are ungrateful fools who do not understand that without the liberal, they would still be under Jim Crow. But racist they are not.

I am happy to see some black people finally thinking outside of the liberal/Democrat paradigm that we are taught to see as the way blacks should think about politics. Nevertheless, we must realize that the Tea Party has suffered a major coup by the Republicans who have suddenly discovered that appeals to liberty and free markets increase their popularity when they are out of power. Should the Republicans regain power, however, they will continue their wars, probably start new wars, and spend more money than the Democrats.

Black people in the US have been miseducated about who the real enemy of liberty is. If we genuinely desire freedom, we must come to realize that the true enemy of freedom is not the Democratic Party nor is it the Republican Party. It is the criminal enterprise we know as the State.

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The Cost of Blasphemy Against America the Idol Sun, 04 Apr 2010 21:35:39 +0000 Fourteen years ago, former NBA basketball player Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf set off a firestorm of controversy by refusing to stand for the Pledge of Allegiance. He refused to stand for the national anthem because “the flag represents tyranny and oppression” and he added that standing for the anthem was a form of nationalistic worship forbidden by his religion. He was suspended by the NBA, but served only a one game suspension. He worked out a compromise in which he would stand, but he could close his eyes and look downward. He was booed and jeered by fans in a March 1996 game against Chicago. The former No. 3 overall pick never quite recovered from this:

Abdul-Rauf was traded to Sacramento in the offseason and played for the Kings for two seasons. He then played in Turkey in 1998-99 before returning for his final NBA season with Vancouver in 2000-01. The anthem stance seemingly taken a toll as his numbers declined each of his final three years in the league, and he never quite lived up to the expectations of being a No. 3 pick.

He now plays in Japan.

Some may wonder why I blog under a pseudonym. Abdul-Rauf is one reason why. One thing to realize in the US is that one can be a Democrat or Republican or a liberal or conservative. One can even be an independent. One can discuss politics and even have strong views as to how the State’s power should be used. But one should never under any circumstances question the legitimacy of the State by refusing to honor its flag or sing its hymns or pointing out its tyranny. Such blasphemy is unacceptable and the zealots who worship America can use their collective power to destroy you. They can ostracize you and refuse to engage in trade with you. You will be a pariah and you could lose everything you have worked for because you refuse to bow down and worship this Golden Calf. The NBA is a private organization, but its revenue comes from the average citizen people who are the State’s disciples. Even if the NBA commissioner agreed with everything Abdul-Rauf said, the commissioner would still have to worry about boycotts to his product because the State’s disciples can simply refuse to stop coming to games.

While I’m not a Muslim, I agree with Abdul-Rauf that the flag of the US represents tyranny and oppression. I believe that the US Federal Government is one of the most evil in history. It clearly is not as murderous as Nazi Germany under Hitler or the USSR under Stalin or China under Mao and it has not yet crushed all our liberties. But its wars of aggression have murdered millions of foreigners and such wars have also lead to war on the domestic population. During wartime the Federal Government has taken over any industry it has needed; it has taxed every productive activity it can think of; it has inflated as much as the markets could stand; and it has even enslaved millions of young men to fight its wars. Moreover, the US was ostensibly born in the name of freedom so to see this government accomplish what it has while its citizens cheer it on reveals the deep hypocrisy of proclaiming “land of the free, home of the brave” while its laws continue to oppress its own citizens and it continues to bomb foreigners in distant countries.

If I were to make my opinion known publicly using my real name, it could cost me dearly. It might be hard for me to continue to be employed or get a new job. Sellers might refuse to sell to me because my opinions are heretical. Some of my friends might not want to continue their friendship with me. This is actually more harmful than just being on some government watch list because now my day-to-day existence is at stake. And it is not the State that would doing this, but its disciples who freely choose not to associate with me because this is what their religion demands. This is the cost of blasphemy against the America the Idol.

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Government Action Means Violence Sun, 04 Apr 2010 02:15:18 +0000 The economy gained 162,000 jobs for the month of March and the President, of course, has attributed this success to his stimulus package. He was in Charlotte, North Carolina today discussing the economy at a manufacturing company that received $50 billion in stimulus money to expand one of its facilities and open another elsewhere in the State. Regarding the future of the economy, the President said:

Government can’t reverse the toll of this recession overnight, and government on its own can’t replace the 8 million jobs that have been lost….The true engine of job growth in this country has always been the private sector. What government can do is create the conditions…for companies to hire again.

Just how government can create these conditions for companies to hire again is left unsaid. I seriously doubt the nationalization of the banking sector and the government takeover of GM are favorable conditions for the private sector. In fact, if Robert Higgs is correct about regime uncertainty, these government actions create unfavorable circumstances for investors. Investors who are unsure that their private property rights are going to be respected in the future are loathe to invest in any long term-projects. If the government is willing to take over an entire sector of the economy by passing such legislation over a weekend, clearly investors would be fearful that the government might takeover any sector it wishes in the future. This lack of real investment means that there will be less jobs in the future and ultimately less consumer and producer goods. Our standard of living will fall.

But a better question to ask is Can government act in any way to create favorable conditions for the private sector? What does government action look like? Just look into the barrel of a loaded gun pointed at your head. As Ludwig von Mises wrote in Human Action

government interference always means either violent action or the threat of such action. Government is in the last resort the employment of armed men, of policemen, gendarmes, soldiers, prison guards, and hangmen. The essential feature of government is the enforcement of its decrees by beating, killing, and imprisoning. Those who are asking for more government interference are asking ultimately for more compulsion and less freedom.

Every action, every regulation, every tax, every edict of government is ultimately backed by physical violence. Government does not ask for its citizens’ cooperation; it demands their compliance. And it is this threat of violence that reduces the welfare of the people. When two people exchange without coercion, both people expect to be better off after they exchange. Otherwise, they would not engage in trade. However when a government enters the economy and threatens violence to enforce its regulations, people must either refrain from exchanges they would have made or they must engage in exchanges that otherwise they would not have made. In both of these cases, the people are made worse off because they are not acting according to their own most desired goals. Instead they have to find inferior substitutes due to government action which threatens them with violence should they engage in an illegal, but preferred exchange.

Therefore, government action cannot create the conditions for the private sector to flourish. Rather the government creates rules that prohibit people from increasing their own welfare. In the context of the President’s words, government interference can only discourage the private sector from creating jobs because its rules prohibit buyers and sellers from exchanging on their own terms. Moreover, interference such as government takeover of the banking system can frighten investors who are now uncertain about the security of their private property rights; this paucity of real investment will lead to a sluggish economy in the future. Thus, despite the President’s faith in government, he and his regulatory agencies only create chaos for companies which leads to unemployment and poverty.

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