Monday, May 23, 2005

National Defense

The last resort of the State is the realm of National Defense. Briefly put, National Defense is defined as the need for a government to protect citizens from invasion by other governments.

This is an interesting paradox, even beyond the obvious one of using government to protect us from governments. If you were able to run a magic survey throughout history, which government do you think people would be most frightened of? Would it be (a), their local State or Lord, or (b), some State or Lord in some other country. What about ancient Rome – would it be the local rulers, who forced young Romans into military service for 20 years or more, or the Carthaginians? What about England in the Middle Ages? Were the peasants more alarmed by the crushing taxation and strangling mobility restrictions imposed by their local Lord, or was the King of France their primary concern? Let stop in Russia during the 18th century, and ask the serfs: “Are you more frightened of the Tsar’s soldiers, or the German Kaiser?” Let’s go to a US citizen of today, and demand to know: “Are you more frightened of foreign invaders, or of the fact that if you don’t pay half your income in taxes, your own government will throw you in jail?”

Of course, we have to stop at the Second World War, which has had more propaganda thrown at it than any other single conflict. Didn’t the British government save the country from Germany? That’s an interesting question. The British government got into WWI, helped impose the brutal Treaty of Versailles, then contributed to the boom-and-bust cycle of the 1920’s, which destroyed the German middle class and aided Hitler’s rise to power. During the 1930s, the British government supported the growing aggression of Hitler through subsidies, loans and mealy-mouthed appeasement. And then, when everything had failed, it threw the bodies of thousands of young men at the German air force in the Battle of Britain. Finally, it caused the deaths of hundreds of thousands more British citizens by defending Africa and invading France, rather than let Nazism collapse on its own accord – as it was bound to do, just as every tyranny has done throughout history. Can it really be said, then, that the British government protected its citizens throughout the first half of the 20th century? Millions killed, families shattered, the economy destroyed, and half of Europe lost to Stalin… Can we consider that a great success? I think not. Only States win wars. Never citizens.

The fact of the matter is that we do not face threats to our lives and property from foreign governments, but rather from our own. The State will tell us that it must exist, at the very least, to protect us from foreign governments, but that is morally equivalent to the local Mafia don telling us that we have to pay him 50% of our income so that he can protect us from the Mafia in Paraguay. Are we given the choice to buy a gun and take our chances? Of course not. Who endangers us more – the local Mafia guy, or some guy in Paraguay we’ve never met that our local Mafia guys says just might want a piece of us? I know which chance I’d take.

Here in Canada, all this talk of foreign invasion is patently absurd. If the US suddenly decided to appropriate our natural resources, what would happen? We’d hand it over with a barely-audible whimper, because the US would just threaten to nuke Ottawa and then walk over the border. So the idea that we need our government to protect us is utterly foolish.

There is a tried-and-true method for resisting foreign occupation which doesn’t require any government – which we can see being played out in our daily news. During the recent invasion, the US completely destroyed the Iraqi government, and now has total control over the people and infrastructure. And what is happening? They are being attacked and harried until they will just have to get out of the country – just as they had to do in Korea and Vietnam, and just as the USSR had to do in Afghanistan. The Iraqi insurgents don’t have a government at all – any more than the Afghani fighters did in the 1980s. So even if we were invaded here in Canada – and we didn’t like the invaders – we could just take to the sewers and pick them off one by one until they were forced to leave.

(Of course, if some foreign government invaded Canada and cut my taxes in half, well I’d still fight them – but it sure as hell wouldn’t be to restore our current band of bandits!)

But let’s look at the Iraqi conflict in a slightly different light. It’s crucial to understand that America was attacked on 9/11 because the American government has troops in Saudi Arabia – and because it caused the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Iraqi children through Clinton’s Iraqi bombing campaign. Given that the US government provoked the attacks, how well were the innocent victims of 9/11 protected by their government? Even if we don’t count the physical casualties of the war, given the massive national debt being run up to pay for the Iraq war, how well is the property of American citizens being protected? How much power would Bush have to wage war if he didn’t have the power to steal almost half the wealth of the entire country? As I have written elsewhere, the government does not need taxes in order to wage war; it wages war because it already has the power of taxation – and it uses the war to raise taxes, either on the current citizens through increases, or on future citizens through deficits.

This simple fact helps explain why there were almost no wars throughout the West from the end of the Napoleonic Wars in 1915 to the start of WWI in 1914. This was largely because governments could not afford wars – but then they all got their very own special Central Banks and were able to pave the bloody path to the Great War with printed money and deficit financing. World War I resulted from an increase in State power – and in turn fed State power, and set the stage for the next war. Thus the idea that we need to give governments the power to tax us in order to protect us is laughable – because it is taxation that gives governments the power to wage war.

For pacifist countries, this ‘war’ may be a war on poverty, or illiteracy, or drugs, or for universal health care, or whatever. It doesn’t matter. The moment you give one man the power – and moral ‘right’ – to force money out of others, you set the stage for the eventual destruction of your society.

So the question arises – how does a citizen keep his property and person safe? It’s an interesting question. The first answer that I would give is another question, which is:

Which sector does more to protect you and your property – the public or the private?

Let’s look at the security mechanisms the private sector has introduced in just the last 40 years:
- ATMs (less need to carry cash)
- Cell phones (can always call for help)
- Call display (virtually eliminates harassing phone calls)
- Sophisticated home security systems
- ID tracking tags
- Credit card numeric security
- Pepper spray
- and much more...

What has the public sector done? Well, they shoot harmless drug users and seize property. They’ll shoot you, too, if you don’t pay the massive tax increases they demand. The police are virtually useless in property crimes – and many violent criminals are turned loose because the courts are too slow, or are put in ‘house arrest’ because the prisons are too full of non-violent offenders.

So, who has most helped you secure your person and property over the past twenty years? The government, or your friendly local capitalist? Those who have stepped in to protect you, or those who have doubled your taxes while letting criminals walk? Have capitalist companies enraged foreigners to the point of terrorism? Of course not – the 9/11 terrorists attacked the World Trade Center (for protest the financing of the US government), the Pentagon, and the White House. They didn’t go for a Ford motor plant or a Nike store – and why would they? No one kills for shoes. They kill to protest military power, which rests on financing.

Thus the most effective securer of our person and property is the private sector. And even if we never get a private-sector army, it doesn’t really matter. Even without an army, the most effective method for keeping foreign invaders out of Canada is for us to get rid of our government. Then, no foreign invader has a clue as to how many of us have rifles, or bombs, or landmines lying around. If you’re some foreign government looking to pillage, are you going to set your sights on some weak government which has disarmed its citizens, or a land with strong private security forces, and where no records exist as to who is armed with what?

In summation, then, it makes about as much sense to rely on governments for security as it does on the Mafia for ‘protection’. The Mafia is really just protecting you from itself, as are all governments. Any man who comes up to you and says: “I need to threaten your person and steal your property in order to protect your person and property” is obviously either deranged, or not particularly interested, shall we say, in protecting your person or property. As long as we keep falling for the same old lies, we will forever be robbed blind for the sake of our supposed property rights, and sent to wage war against internal or external ‘enemies’ so that those in power can further pick the pockets of those we leave behind.

Thursday, May 12, 2005

A Perfectly Legal Tax Revolt

It falls upon certain generations to wrestle liberty back from an ever-expanding State. It happened in England in the 17th century, America in the 18th century – now, in Canada, in the 21st century, our time has also come. For the sake of our freedoms, our futures, and our children, we must now take a stand against the increasing predations of our leaders. To save a once-noble system, we must cut off the supply of money to the politicians – just as one must stop serving liquor to an alcoholic.

Therefore, in order to protest the crazed pillaging of our public finances, I invite all my fellow Canadians to stop paying the GST and PST. It is time for us to understand that the Federal Government will never reform itself, populated as it is by corrupt, selfish and power-hungry autocrats.

How can this be achieved? Why, quite simply! All we have to do is take advantage of one perfectly legal method for avoiding the GST and PST. One simple little trick which will withhold billions of tax dollars from corrupt politicians. It is, perhaps, the simplest and easiest tax revolt in history.

How can you avoid paying the GST and PST? The trick is as simsple as this: stop buying stuff.

Buy groceries, pay your mortgage, fill your gas tank, buy presents for children too young to understand our struggle – but apart from that, stop buying stuff. No clothes, furniture, cars, cell phones, vacuum cleaners, mittens, shoes, computers – anything you can conceivably live without – live without!

What will this achieve? First of all, it will cut off a vital source of revenue for the government, forcing them to stop wasting our money. Secondly, it will propel leaders of industry – who have far more access to politicians than you and I – to sit down with the government and hammer out an agreement to truly cut spending and waste. Will this harm the economy in the short run? Of course – but what harm does out-of-control government spending do? Far more!

Our goal? For me, the existence of the income tax is the entire problem. First introduced in 1917 as a temporary war measure, it has swollen to mammoth proportions, and gives politicians a near-bottomless pit of money to plunder. Thus to secure our liberties – both now and in the future – I want nothing less than the abolition of the income tax. Your goals might be more modest. That’s fine! If all you want is for government to be less corrupt, or less wasteful, then we are fellow-travelers, and should aid each other any way we can.

Therefore, my fellow citizens, join with me today and stop shopping! Go on strike as a consumer until the government reforms itself. Close your wallets! Cut off the drug that turns leaders into bandits!

In our current crisis, if we fail to act, we shall deserve our eventual fate. However, if we rise and act as one, we can take back control of our government, our lives, our incomes – and secure our children’s liberties, which surely is the most precious gift we can bestow upon the future.

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

The Vanity of the Leftists

One of the questions I have heard asked over and over is just why intellectuals tend to be so left-wing? (A similar question is: why do people with verbal skills tend to be left-wing?)

I find this question rather perplexing. Intellectuals are an utterly useless lot – as are people with merely verbal skills (usually honed by compulsive lying). Intellectuals are know-it-all bores who think the world owes them a living. They are vain, shallow and entitled. Why do they tend to be left-wing? Good Lord – for the same reason that a bad worker tends to favour unionization! If you are an unproductive leech stuffed with fantasies about your own wonderful self, are you really going to be in favour of the free market? Of course not! Deep down, everyone has an innate and honest sense of their own objective value – if they did not, then vanity would inflict no emotional penalties, and if you have ever known a really vain person, you would know the horrors they suffer.

Anyone who comes out swinging against the free market is driven to protect his own ‘value fantasy’. He thinks he’s great, but he doesn’t want to put it to the test. Most intellectuals, without the blood money provided by the State (for which they sell their souls!), would end up working as temps, or baristas, or ESL teachers in Bali. They would not end up with well-paid and socially-respectable positions like professor, reporter, or publisher – not because these positions would not exist, but because their own vanity would make them terrible at them. As I once wrote in a novel, vanity is the natural enemy of statistics. It is also the natural enemy of customer satisfaction – and so of the free market. If you’re touchy, and smug, and falsely superior, you can’t be empathetic. You can’t work for the pleasure of others, because your vanity will turn the act of selling into crushing humiliation. People should just know how wonderful you are. You shouldn’t have to prove it – how base!

It is the old aristocratic instinct – I am born into greatness, and should never have to negotiate, or prove my worth.

The simple fact is that being good at language is, in and of itself, just not that valuable. It’s not like being able to build a bridge, or set a broken bone. If you have other emotional skills such as empathy, you can use your language skills in advertising – if you are creative, you can write. If you are funny, you can be a comedian. But being just ‘verbally acute’? So what? It doesn’t add much value. You might think it does, but you have to mix it with something a lot more valuable in order to really make it shine. I work in IT, and I am a good writer and speaker. But you have to have something to write or speak about – in my case, software. It’s better to be a geek who can speak than just a geek – but the ‘geek’ part is far more important. (In fact, those with only verbal skills give software a bad name, since they get into sales without a clue about what they’re selling.)

In short, the answer to almost all questions about social motivation is: follow the money and/or the power. The answer to the question: why are intellectuals usually socialists is – because the State pays them a hell of a lot more than the free marlet would.

Monday, May 02, 2005

Who Is Evil?

The word ‘evil’ is thrown around rather carelessly. George Bush is regularly called ‘evil’, as is Hitler of course. There seems to be little or no distinction between those who perform violence and those who counsel violence. This muddies the moral problem of good and evil – and obscures those who are actually evil.

So – what is evil? It’s simpler than you might think. Let’s look at a couple of examples.

If I write up a list of people I wanted killed, and tuck that list away in a filing cabinet in the basement of my house, am I evil? Of course not. What harm have I done?

If I write up that same list, and give it to a friend of mine, who goes out and kills those people – without instigation from me – then am I evil? Of course not. I neither condoned nor encouraged my friend’s actions.

Let us say that I stand in my backyard and say that I am declaring war against Antigua. Am I evil? Of course not. What effect do my words have? None. I can point at people over my fence and say: “I conscript you and you and you to fight my war against Antigua!” Now I have declared war and I have a draft. Am I evil? Of course not. No one is likely to pay me the slightest attention.

So – words and letters and intentions and speeches are never evil, since they can just be ignored. We don’t have to dig much deeper to get to the grist of the matter.

Let’s look at the war in Iraq. Who is evil? George Bush? Good Lord no! What has he done? Made some speeches, signed some papers. So what? You and I can do that too. Morality is not circumstantial to the degree that two men can both do exactly the same thing, and only one be called evil. If it is, then there can be no such thing as principles.

If Congress evil? No – being windy, dull and overly white is not evil.

What about the recruiters who go out and get young men and women to sign up? Well, have you ever been to a job fair? Lots of companies go out and canvas for people to come and work in dangerous positions – logging companies, for example. What’s the innate harm in that?

The soldiers are paid through tax money. Are the tax collectors evil then? If I don’t pay my taxes, they send me letters. So what? I can just throw their correspondence out. If I send a letter to someone telling them that they owe me half of their income from last year, they’ll probably just laugh and crumple it up.

The difference between what you and I do and what George Bush does is really quite simple: George Bush has enforcers. If I declare war on Antigua, who cares? If George Bush declares war on Antigua, he has men in uniform who will go around and shoot anyone who refuses to pay the money he needs to wage his war. These men are not acting in self-defense. They are the enforcers, who will take aim at whoever their leader points at. Don’t blame the leader. Pointing is not evil. Blame the enforcers, who are willing to murder on command.

These vicious parasites – the police and military – are usually portrayed as noble heroes. Perhaps some of them are. But the question to ask these men and women is: what law would you refuse to enforce – and why?

I bet not one in a thousand would be able to answer that question. A few would raise issues about torture – but that’s irrelevant. The State enjoys its power and privilege because we are all afraid of being imprisoned, not of torture.

If you want a clear view of the police, talk to minorities. Talk to illegal immigrants. Talk to drug users. They are under constant threat from the enforcers. They are on the front lines of social terror. They know what makes the cop tick. They know what he’s in it for. Brute power and humiliation.

Another interesting question to ask a cop is: what level of taxation would you refuse to enforce? So far the police force has had no problem enforcing tax rates rising from 10-60%. Would they enforce a tax rate of 70%? 80%? What about pure communism, or 100%? So – what, really is the difference between our police force or the SS or the NKVD? It’s only in degree. Not kind. There are almost no laws that a policeman would refuse to enforce. They are not heroes. They don’t have any real moral opinions about the violence they inflict on society. They are paid thugs, well-paid to wave their guns at the helpless.

So – George Bush is not evil. The war in Iraq involves only two groups of evil people. The first is the soldiers, who will go and gun down Iraqi citizens just because they’re told to. The second is the cops, who will shoot anyone who refuses to pay for the war. Take away those two ingredients, and George Bush is just a guy at a desk – a rather sad little rich boy making rather mediocre speeches and declaring ‘war’ in the privacy of his own imagination.