MCViewPoint

Opinion from a Libertarian ViewPoint

Posts Tagged ‘Government’

Name 2 Things – LewRockwell LewRockwell.com

Posted by M. C. on November 9, 2021

After hundreds of challenges in dozens of markets from NY to LA to DFW, ATL, DC, and even Toledo (!), only once, a caller in North Carolina got the correct answer: “Nothing”. Zip. Zero. None. No “2 things” or even 1 we “come in contact with on a daily basis” is not taxed, regulated, embargoed, licensed, restricted or prohibited by the Government.”

https://www.lewrockwell.com/2021/11/brian-wilson/name-2-things/

By Brian Wilson

Here’s a little game I used to play with listeners on my talk show. The goal was to compel them to think about the Government, its size, the pervasiveness of its laws, and smothering regulations.

The challenge: Name the 2 things you come in contact with every day that are not taxed, regulated, embargoed, licensed, restricted, or prohibited by the Government

Invariably, the phone lines exploded! Unfortunately, the majority of callers usually misunderstood the most important part of the challenge: “…you come in contact with…”. As a result, ‘contestants’ would name “ love”, “sunrise and sunset” and similar misses. (In a tactile sense, you don’t come in contact with ‘love’ and there is Daylight Saving Time). Others would try “children”, “air”, “water” – as if kids aren’t subject to taxes, compulsory education, and a boatload of age-specific rules; air and water have their own mountain of pollution laws, water and ‘wetlands’ regulations. Invariably, there would come “sex”, “economics”, “Government” – some never having heard of sodomy laws, intangible “economics” and untouchable Government. A few creative folks tried “prayer”. While it is problematic whether one “…comes in contact…” with prayer, just try kneeling with some fellow believers at the Lincoln Memorial in DC. It’s a blessed opportunity to get educated by members of the Park Police.

After hundreds of challenges in dozens of markets from NY to LA to DFW, ATL, DC, and even Toledo (!), only once, a caller in North Carolina got the correct answer: “Nothing”. Zip. Zero. None. No “2 things” or even 1 we “come in contact with on a daily basis” is not taxed, regulated, embargoed, licensed, restricted or prohibited by the Government.”

While it’s been 10 years since the last game, we could play it today with just one small change:

“Name the 2 issues impacting your life on a daily basis that have not originated from Government?”

Consider:

Presidential ‘mandates’, lockdowns, ‘social distancing’, family association, church attendance, school attendance, and school board meetings, now with FBI agents monitoring rightfully outraged parent-terrorists, employment security, unemployment income, taxation, inflation, savings, investments, groceries, gas, dining out, football games, birthday parties, weddings, even funerals continue to be subject to capricious Government intrusion. If you or a loved one serve in the Armed Forces, a separate set of COVID-related Government regulations can cost you your rank, job, and earned benefits. The impact of legally dubious State and Federal government intervention continues unabated as politicians ‘green mail’ corporate entities in place of enabling legislation even to the point of ignoring SCOTUS verdicts.

The answer is still the same: None. The issues roiling our lives today come from Government laws, unconstitutional regulations, illegal restrictions, and policies intruding into every aspect of our daily life.

How does this happen in America, “Land of the Free”?

As a prescient Ayn Rand wrote:

“The only power any government has is the power to crack down on criminals. Well, when there aren’t enough criminals, one makes them. One declares so many things to be a crime that it becomes impossible for me to live without breaking laws.”

Tragically,  Reality is not a radio game; there’s no way to tune out. Think ‘Hotel California’. It’s all happening before our eyes right now, every day: specific, intentional parts of a much bigger plan previously discussed here; Mike Nichols reviews the plan and progress in enlightening detail here.

Since there are no prizes for the correct answer, what to do? Play the game anyway with folks you know. Or don’t know. Their reaction will be telling; a new ‘woke-ness’ may come over them and you just may find some valuable comrades for the days ahead.

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Freedom from Fear: Stop Playing the Government’s Mind Games

Posted by M. C. on September 24, 2021

This plague on our nation—one that has been spreading like wildfire—is a potent mix of fear coupled with unhealthy doses of paranoia and intolerance, tragic hallmarks of the post-9/11 America in which we live and the constantly shifting crises that keep the populace in a state of high alert.

Fear has been a critical tool in past fascistic regimes, and it now operates in our contemporary world—all of which raises fundamental questions about us as human beings and what we will give up in order to perpetuate the illusions of safety and security.

By: John Whitehead

America is in the midst of an epidemic of historic proportions.

The contagion being spread like wildfire is turning communities into battlegrounds and setting Americans one against the other.

Normally mild-mannered individuals caught up in the throes of this disease have been transformed into belligerent zealots, while others inclined to pacifism have taken to stockpiling weapons and practicing defensive drills.

This plague on our nation—one that has been spreading like wildfire—is a potent mix of fear coupled with unhealthy doses of paranoia and intolerance, tragic hallmarks of the post-9/11 America in which we live and the constantly shifting crises that keep the populace in a state of high alert.

Everywhere you turn, those on both the left- and right-wing are fomenting distrust and division. You can’t escape it.

We’re being fed a constant diet of fear: fear of a virus, fear of the unmasked, fear of terrorists, fear of illegal immigrants, fear of people who are too religious, fear of people who are not religious enough, fear of extremists, fear of the government, fear of those who fear the government. The list goes on and on.

The strategy is simple yet effective: the best way to control a populace is through fear and discord.

Fear makes people stupid.

Confound them, distract them with mindless news chatter and entertainment, pit them against one another by turning minor disagreements into major skirmishes, and tie them up in knots over matters lacking in national significance.

Most importantly, divide the people into factions, persuade them to see each other as the enemy and keep them screaming at each other so that they drown out all other sounds. In this way, they will never reach consensus about anything and will be too distracted to notice the police state closing in on them until the final crushing curtain falls.

This is how free people enslave themselves and allow tyrants to prevail.

This Machiavellian scheme has so ensnared the nation that few Americans even realize they are being manipulated into adopting an “us” against “them” mindset. Instead, fueled with fear and loathing for phantom opponents, they agree to pour millions of dollars and resources into political elections, militarized police, spy technology, endless wars, COVID-19 mandates, etc., hoping for a guarantee of safety that never comes.

All the while, those in power—bought and paid for by lobbyists and corporations—move their costly agendas forward, and “we the suckers” get saddled with the tax bills and subjected to pat downs, police raids and round-the-clock surveillance.

Turn on the TV or flip open the newspaper on any given day, and you will find yourself accosted by reports of government corruption, corporate malfeasance, militarized police, marauding SWAT teams, and egregious assaults on the rights of the citizenry.

America has already entered a new phase, one in which communities are locked down, employees are forced to choose between keeping their jobs or exercising their freedoms, children are arrested in schools, military veterans are forcibly detained by government agents, and law-abiding Americans are finding their movements tracked, their financial transactions documented and their communications monitored.

These threats are not to be underestimated.

Yet even more dangerous than these violations of our basic rights is the language in which they are couched: the language of fear. It is a language spoken effectively by politicians on both sides of the aisle, shouted by media pundits from their cable TV pulpits, marketed by corporations, and codified into bureaucratic laws that do little to make our lives safer or more secure.

Fear, as history shows, is the method most often used by politicians to increase the power of government.

So far, these tactics are working.

An atmosphere of fear permeates modern America.

Each successive crisis in recent years (a COVID-19 pandemic, terrorism, etc.)—manufactured or legitimate—has succeeded in reducing the American people to what commentator Dan Sanchez refers to as “herd-minded hundreds of millions [who] will stampede to the State for security, bleating to please, please be shorn of their remaining liberties.”

Sanchez continues:

“I am not terrified of the terrorists; i.e., I am not, myself, terrorized. Rather, I am terrified of the terrorized; terrified of the bovine masses who are so easily manipulated by terrorists, governments, and the terror-amplifying media into allowing our country to slip toward totalitarianism and total war…

“I do not irrationally and disproportionately fear Muslim bomb-wielding jihadists or white, gun-toting nutcases. But I rationally and proportionately fear those who do, and the regimes such terror empowers. History demonstrates that governments are capable of mass murder and enslavement far beyond what rogue militants can muster. Industrial-scale terrorists are the ones who wear ties, chevrons, and badges. But such terrorists are a powerless few without the supine acquiescence of the terrorized many. There is nothing to fear but the fearful themselves…

“Stop swallowing the overblown scaremongering of the government and its corporate media cronies. Stop letting them use hysteria over small menaces to drive you into the arms of tyranny, which is the greatest menace of all.”

As history makes clear, fear leads to fascistic, totalitarian regimes.

It’s a simple enough formula. National crises, global pandemics, reported terrorist attacks, and sporadic shootings leave us in a constant state of fear. Fear prevents us from thinking. The emotional panic that accompanies fear actually shuts down the prefrontal cortex or the rational thinking part of our brains. In other words, when we are consumed by fear, we stop thinking.

A populace that stops thinking for themselves is a populace that is easily led, easily manipulated and easily controlled.

The following are a few of the necessary ingredients for a fascist state:

·       The government is managed by a powerful leader (even if he or she assumes office by way of the electoral process). This is the fascistic leadership principle (or father figure).

·       The government assumes it is not restrained in its power. This is authoritarianism, which eventually evolves into totalitarianism.

·       The government ostensibly operates under a capitalist system while being undergirded by an immense bureaucracy.

·       The government through its politicians emits powerful and continuing expressions of nationalism.

·       The government has an obsession with national security while constantly invoking terrifying internal and external enemies.

·       The government establishes a domestic and invasive surveillance system and develops a paramilitary force that is not answerable to the citizenry.

·       The government and its various agencies (federal, state, and local) develop an obsession with crime and punishment. This is overcriminalization.

·       The government becomes increasingly centralized while aligning closely with corporate powers to control all aspects of the country’s social, economic, military, and governmental structures.

·       The government uses militarism as a center point of its economic and taxing structure.

·       The government is increasingly imperialistic in order to maintain the military-industrial corporate forces.

The parallels to modern America are impossible to ignore.

“Every industry is regulated. Every profession is classified and organized,” writes Jeffrey Tucker. “Every good or service is taxed. Endless debt accumulation is preserved. Immense doesn’t begin to describe the bureaucracy. Military preparedness never stops, and war with some evil foreign foe, remains a daily prospect.”

For the final hammer of fascism to fall, it will require the most crucial ingredient: the majority of the people will have to agree that it’s not only expedient but necessary. In times of “crisis,” expediency is upheld as the central principle—that is, in order to keep us safe and secure, the government must militarize the police, strip us of basic constitutional rights and criminalize virtually every form of behavior.

Not only does fear grease the wheels of the transition to fascism by cultivating fearful, controlled, pacified, cowed citizens, but it also embeds itself in our very DNA so that we pass on our fear and compliance to our offspring.

It’s called epigenetic inheritance, the transmission through DNA of traumatic experiences.

For example, neuroscientists have observed how quickly fear can travel through generations of mice DNA. As The Washington Post reports:

In the experiment, researchers taught male mice to fear the smell of cherry blossoms by associating the scent with mild foot shocks. Two weeks later, they bred with females. The resulting pups were raised to adulthood having never been exposed to the smell. Yet when the critters caught a whiff of it for the first time, they suddenly became anxious and fearful. They were even born with more cherry-blossom-detecting neurons in their noses and more brain space devoted to cherry-blossom-smelling.

The conclusion? “A newborn mouse pup, seemingly innocent to the workings of the world, may actually harbor generations’ worth of information passed down by its ancestors.”

Now consider the ramifications of inherited generations of fears and experiences on human beings. As the Post reports, “Studies on humans suggest that children and grandchildren may have felt the epigenetic impact of such traumatic events such as famine, the Holocaust and the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.”

As I make clear in my book Battlefield America: The War on the American People and in its fictional counterpart The Erik Blair Diaries, fear, trauma and compliance can be passed down through the generations.

Fear has been a critical tool in past fascistic regimes, and it now operates in our contemporary world—all of which raises fundamental questions about us as human beings and what we will give up in order to perpetuate the illusions of safety and security.

In the words of psychologist Erich Fromm:

[C]an human nature be changed in such a way that man will forget his longing for freedom, for dignity, for integrity, for love—that is to say, can man forget he is human? Or does human nature have a dynamism which will react to the violation of these basic human needs by attempting to change an inhuman society into a human one?

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Watch the Government and Media’s Credibility Crumble

Posted by M. C. on September 20, 2021

https://app.getresponse.com/view.html?x=a62b&m=BQmvMB&mc=Ic&s=oHMPjb&u=S6bT5&z=ES2M9r2&

Click here to watch: Watch the Government and Media’s Credibility Crumble

I’m back after a brief hiatus.

YouTube deleted my last video for COVID misinformation (I literally read information from the CDC), around the same time that Puerto Rico, where I live, implemented a vaccine passport, and the Biden Administration increased its use of unconstitutional dictatorial edicts to rule.

This all can be overwhelming. But there are some signs that the tide is shifting against the authoritarians. How much longer can they expect people to trust, or even listen to institutions like the Federal Reserve, media, military, scientists– which as I discuss in today’s video, have all shown massive conflicts of interest, just over the past few weeks.

After spending my free time reading Stoicism and Buddhist meditation, I decided the only solution is to forge ahead with building parallel economies to replace the collapsing and untrustworthy institutions we currently rely on.

I get into this a bit at the end of the video, and there will be much more on the subject to come.

Click the links below to follow me on YouTube alternatives:

RumbleBitchuteOdysee/ LBRYBrighteon

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Taxpayers Spend More To Prop Up Government Than They Do On Themselves – Issues & Insights

Posted by M. C. on September 18, 2021

https://issuesinsights.com/2021/09/17/taxpayers-spend-more-to-prop-up-government-than-they-do-on-themselves/

I & I Editorial Board

One would think that in a nation founded on liberty that we’d be free to spend more on personal consumption than the government takes from us. But that’s not the case. Americans are paying more in taxes than they spend on themselves. Anyone who thinks this is healthy has a profoundly warped sense of right and wrong.

In 2020, according to Terence P. Jeffrey at CNS News, who did the arithmetic using Bureau of Labor Statistics data, American “consumer units” – a BLS term – “spent a net total of $17,211.12 on taxes” sent to Washington, state capitals, and local halls of government. Meanwhile, they spent “only $16,839.89 on food, clothing, health care and entertainment combined.”

Apparently the tribute paid to government isn’t enough. Americans just have to “give” more. The Biden administration is expecting to extract trillions more from us to pay for government programs it hopes will cement a permanent Democratic majority in Washington. We’re told that the agenda will be paid for by hiking taxes on the rich, but the reality is, “in the end, average Americans, not the rich,” will have to “pick up the tab.”

A few on the left who are more honest about the plans and the worldview that informs those schemes will make the claim that every penny earned belongs to government, and we’re allowed to keep some of it for ourselves because government is a kind and charitable institution. Americans are certainly free to hold that opinion. But not one of them has the moral right to put such a perverted idea into practice.

Yet it happens every day. Politicians, not all but enough to engage in large-scale racketeering, believe the dollars they rob without a conscience from Americans belong to them.

It’s discouraging that the majority of lawmakers in this country don’t have the same understanding of taxation that 19th century French economist Frederic Bastiat did. He called it “legal plunder.”

Yes, we understand that the federal government needs financial resources to meet its constitutional obligations. It’s the same at the state and local levels – money is needed to fund government functions. But government functions have far exceeded the limits that define government in a truly free society, and the need for more money to fund them is far outstripping any legitimate need.

Few would be complaining about taxes in 2021 if the federal income was still a two‐​page form with two instruction pages, and a top rate of 6%, as it was when it first appeared in 1913 after passage of the 16th Amendment. In that initial year of revenue, 1914, the income tax took in $10 billion in today’s dollars. Now it takes more $2 trillion a year from Americans.

Of course we’re hit with a long list of additional taxes, all of them adding up to a burden no free man and woman should ever pay. If the trend continues, we’ll in the not too distant future be paying more to government than food, clothing, health care, entertainment and housing. There’s no future in that.

— Written by the I&I Editorial Board

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Barbarous Relic: Our enemy is STILL the state

Posted by M. C. on August 9, 2021

Hoppe sums up his discussion of the state with a proposed riddle:

Assume a group of people, aware of the possibility of conflicts between them. Someone then proposes, as a solution to this human problem, that he (or someone) be made the ultimate arbiter in any such case of conflict, including those conflicts in which he is involved. Is this is a deal that you would accept? I am confident that he will be considered either a joker or mentally unstable. Yet this is precisely what all statists propose.

http://barbarous-relic.blogspot.com/2021/08/our-enemy-is-still-state.html

In The Great Fiction, author Hans-Hermann Hoppe starts where any discussion of government should begin, with the defining attributes of a state. 

Why this approach?  Governments that populate the earth are all states, though there is no good reason they should be.  

What are these attributes, exactly? The most salient feature of a state is its self-appointed monopoly powers.  If it declares it can’t be sued, it can’t be sued.  If it or its agents decide to tax its subjects, it will fleece them.  If it decides to go to war, it will unleash its war machine. If it decides to outlaw market-derived money, which has been gold and silver, and replace it with easily-inflatable fiat currency, everyone must begin accepting the state’s money in trade.  Any violation of these laws is subject to punishment, enforced by the state’s badge-carrying thugs.

Those who constitute the state apparatus are a minority in any society, and thus need to convince the rest of the population that their rule is necessary, just, and inevitable.  For this they engage intellectuals, who otherwise would be at the mercy of the market and would largely remain unemployed.  As Hoppe points out, not just some intellectuals but all of them.

Even intellectuals working in mathematics or the natural sciences, for instance, can obviously think for themselves and so become potentially dangerous. It is thus important that [the state secures] their loyalty.  

Thus, during the 2020 presidential campaign we witnessed a major American popular science magazine, among others, endorsing the candidate for whom the state is foundational to his programs. 

In education as elsewhere, the state becomes a monopolist.  Importantly, education up to a certain level must be compulsory, to teach people to think as subjects of the state.   

Have the intellectuals done their job?  Ask people if they think the institution of the state is necessary, and Hoppe believes 99% of them will say it is.  States have been around so long they seem part of nature, like trees and bees, or floods and earthquakes.  One of the great achievements of the statist intellectuals is never allowing the question of the necessity of the state “to come up for serious discussion.  The state is considered as an unquestionable part of the social fabric.” 

But if it is questioned, Hobbes and his “state of nature” argument apparently wins the day.  According to Thomas Hobbes, without a state life is permanent conflict.  As Hoppe writes,

Everyone claims a right to everything, and this will result in interminable war. There is no way out of this predicament by means of agreements; for who would enforce these agreements? 

The only solution is the establishment of a third independent party, by agreement, to serve as “ultimate judge and enforcer,” what has been called a state.  But as Hoppe argues, there’s no way this arrangement can come about peacefully, because a prior state must exist to enforce it.  

States are conquering parties that have imposed their will on its subjects.  

If A and B now agree on something, their agreements are made binding by an external party [the state]. However, the state itself is not so bound by any outside enforcer. . .  The state is bound by nothing except its own self-accepted and enforced rules, i.e., the constraints that it imposes on itself. Vis-à-vis itself, so to speak, the state is still in a natural state of anarchy characterized by self-rule and enforcement, because there is no higher state, which could bind it. 

State has the guns, market has the goods

As states grow their agents make deals with major market entities.  In today’s world it is quite easy for a state to purchase anything it wants.  With a monopoly money producer in its ranks, it can always borrow what it needs if there is insufficient tax loot available.  And as its debt grows no one cares, except a few Austrian economists.  

Why would a nominally private firm deal with the state?  For legislative or other privileges, in addition to the revenue.  A firm that refuses to deal with the state runs the risk of penalties.  Under state rule, laws are made to be broken, and they’re broken every minute of the day.  As Jeff Thomas writes,

The level of governmental dominance now exists to such a degree that literally everyone is a criminal, whether they know it or not. It’s been estimated that the average American commits about three felonies per day, in addition to many lesser crimes. If, for any reason, the authorities wished to victimize you, they’d find their task quite simple.  (My emphasis)

A cozy and broadening relationship with formerly free-market entities develops, often under the heading of state capitalism.  The entrepreneurial spirit that created companies like Facebook, Twitter, Google, Amazon, and others has been corrupted by state interference. 

In our ongoing Covid environment, pharmaceutical firms, social platforms, and government agencies are working hand-in-hand.  How can a vaccine be granted an EUA if other safe and effective treatments are available?  If, for example, ivermectin and hydroxychloroquine are safe and effective, as well as cheap and plentiful, the vaccines get put on hold.  Therefore, not merely dis vaccine alternatives, but threaten and arrest those promoting their use.

Hoppe sums up his discussion of the state with a proposed riddle:

Assume a group of people, aware of the possibility of conflicts between them. Someone then proposes, as a solution to this human problem, that he (or someone) be made the ultimate arbiter in any such case of conflict, including those conflicts in which he is involved. Is this is a deal that you would accept? I am confident that he will be considered either a joker or mentally unstable. Yet this is precisely what all statists propose.

Links used for this article:

If you find value in the author’s articles, please consider purchasing one or more of his products. George Ford Smith is the author of nine books, including The Flight of the Barbarous Relic, a novel about a renegade Fed chairman.  He is also a filmmaker whose works includeDo Not Consent- Think OUTSIDE the voting booth, Last Day, and Risky Pinch Hitter

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How the Elite Trap You in Their Unfree World

Posted by M. C. on July 5, 2021

The government is a big trap designed to keep people in its orbit. You are supposed to work within the context the government provides to live your life, make money, and affect social change. Or you’re at least supposed to be too afraid of the government to step out of line. But even rebelling against the government directly is part of the trap. It means you have accepted the importance of the government– that it is capable of controlling you. Harry Browne identified different “traps” like these that we fall into in his 1973 book, How I Found Freedom in an Unfree World. Buy the book: https://amzn.to/2TX0Xvl (Amazon affiliate link) His main point was that we each have the power to be remarkably free, but we get tricked into believing our freedom is outside of our own control.

By Joe Jarvis

The government is a big trap designed to keep people in its orbit.

You are supposed to work within the context the government provides to live your life, make money, and affect social change.

Or you’re at least supposed to be too afraid of the government to step out of line.

But even rebelling against the government directly is part of the trap. It means you have accepted the importance of the government– that it is capable of controlling you.

Harry Browne identified different “traps” like these that we fall into in his 1973 book, How I Found Freedom in an Unfree World.

His main point was that we each have the power to be remarkably free, but we get tricked into believing our freedom is outside of our own control.

For example, trying to find freedom by working in a group is a trap.

A group as a single united entity does not exist. Only individuals making up the group can act. The will of the group is an illusion. And every accomplishment of a group can be traced back to individual achievement within the group.

When it comes to freedom, effort is wasted on influencing and steering a group that has little chance of achieving the desired outcome. You can accomplish more on your own.

That doesn’t mean groups are never beneficial. Working together is absolutely necessary to live in a modern world. But only by understanding where individual interests overlap, and clearly defining the roles of how various parties can strengthen as a group, is it actually beneficial.

Specialization of labor solves this problem in the free market. But a crucial aspect of making groups work is having the ability to leave the group when it no longer serves your interests.

The government is a type of Group Trap, made worse by the fact that we can’t simply say no thank you for their services, and go your separate ways.

But that doesn’t mean you have to fall into the traps.

Browne outlined four main Government Traps:

  1. The belief that governments perform socially useful functions that deserve your support.
  2. The belief that you have a duty to obey laws.
  3. The belief that the government can be counted upon to carry out a social reform you favor.
  4. The fear that the government is so powerful that it can prevent you from being free.

Governments have done a tremendous job over the millenia convincing people that no other method of organizing could produce safe and prosperous societies– because governments have such good track records, right?

Browne says, “it’s not surprising that most people turn first to the government whenever they become concerned about their freedom. They assume either that the government must do something to help them be free, or that the government is obstructing their freedom.”

Assuming that the government can solve a problem which the free market (individuals making their own decisions) could not is falling into the Group Trap. What magical ability does a group of voters, politicians, or bureaucrats have?

“The Government Traps ensnare many people because they never stop to recognize what a government is. It’s an agency of coercion that’s accepted as necessary by most people within its area of influence. It differs from the Mafia only in that the Mafia isn’t usually considered necessary by the people in the communities it “serves.”

Browne’s solution involves recognizing that the government is not all powerful and all knowing– as Hollywood would have you believe.

And the government does have limited resources, despite what the Federal Reserve’s money printer would have you believe.

But they will certainly make examples of people who defy the government openly.

So when it comes to the government, Browne says:

  1. Don’t be awed by it.
  2. Don’t confront it.
  3. Don’t organize.

The government is not all powerful and omniscient. You generally don’t need to go out of your way to follow all the laws and regulations. Check first, but generally whatever law you want to break has a very minor punishment.

For example, if you ignore permits and build a shed anyway, first you are hopefully in a place where that won’t be detected, or you won’t be turned into the Gestapo by nosy neighbors.

Your chance of being caught is low, and even if you were caught, you’d basically just have to pay the original license fee, and maybe a penalty.

But the government does make examples of people, which is why you don’t want to confront it.

Rather than emboldening a movement that rallies to your cause, confronting the government makes sure you are noticed, and gives them a target to pursue. Punishing you helps them keep others in line.

And the same principle applies when you organize to confront the government.

Now I’m not entirely sure I completely agree with Browne on his point about not organizing.

For example one thing I would love to accomplish one day is to create a community of people who value the same type of freedoms I value.

But it would be run like a business, and follow all laws.

When you’re in the business of talking about how to get around the government, as Browne was and I am, we essentially have to follow all the rules.

By constantly criticizing the government, I put a target on my back, which is why I do everything totally legit. All my tax incentives are perfectly legal and IRS compliant.

I’ve made the calculus that to be in my line of work it is worth the cost of being under more scrutiny.

But for most people, flying below the radar is your best bet to achieve whatever freedoms you desire.

Which, by the way, you should be specific about. A general feeling that the government oppresses you is hard to overcome. You have to identify the specific laws, regulations, or obligations that are most stifling to you, and go about solving each one, step by step.

Harry Browne passed away in 2006, and as I said earlier, the book was originally written in the 1970s. But I recommend How I Found Freedom in an Unfree World to anyone interesting in freeing themselves– and not just from government, that is just one small section of the book.

Browne also talks about traps we fall into when it comes to social obligations, believing certain things should make us happy, or that it is a waste to abandon previous investments.

Other interesting “traps” Browne identifies include:

Despair Trap: The belief that you are powerless to resist, that others can control your freedom and happiness, and that there is nothing you can do about it.

Utopia Trap: The idea that you have to change the world before you can be free. Everyone’s idea of utopia is different, so even if you could get a critical mass, it would be unlikely to line up with your idea of utopia. And even if it did, it would be unlikely to stay that way.

Instead, you can create your own utopia– individual action that doesn’t depend on others.

Burning Issue Trap: See my recent video, No, you don’t have to care about any of this. People try to force you to to care about what they care about. There are too many problems to solve them all anyway, so focus on what matters to you.

Certainty Trap: This is basic the failure to ever examine the premises you are working off of, or to blindly trust experts simply because they are experts. But in reality, nothing is certain. That truth should not be paralyzing, but it should be used to inform your course of action.

Browne helped me realize that a lot of the slavery I felt was in my own head. Yes, it was a reaction to real outside forces that I could not control. But what strangled my freedom was giving them free real estate inside my head.

Freeing myself mentally from the government, elite, and society’s rules was the first step I needed to take in order to free myself in more tangible ways that improve the daily quality of my life.

If you want to grab his book How I Found Freedom in an Unfree World, follow this link.

You can help protect us from BIG TECH DE-PLATFORMING by joining our email list.

This is the single biggest way to ensure we can’t be silenced for speaking out against censorship and corruption.

Plus, when you subscribe, you immediately receive TWO FREE TACTICAL REPORTS:

1. Four Ways The Elite Control You in a Crisis

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The Rutherford Institute :: Make Way for the Snitch State: The All-Seeing Fourth Branch of Government | By John W. Whitehead & Nisha Whitehead |

Posted by M. C. on June 3, 2021

https://www.rutherford.org/publications_resources/john_whiteheads_commentary/make_way_for_the_snitch_state_the_all_seeing_fourth_branch_of_government

By John W. Whitehead & Nisha Whitehead

“It is just when people are all engaged in snooping on themselves and one another that they become anesthetized to the whole process. As information itself becomes the largest business in the world, data banks know more about individual people than the people do themselves. The more the data banks record about each one of us, the less we exist.”—Marshall McLuhan, From Cliche To Archetype

We’re being spied on by a domestic army of government snitches, spies and techno-warriors.

This government of Peeping Toms is watching everything we do, reading everything we write, listening to everything we say, and monitoring everything we spend.

Beware of what you say, what you read, what you write, where you go, and with whom you communicate, because it is all being recorded, stored, and catalogued, and will be used against you eventually, at a time and place of the government’s choosing.

This far-reaching surveillance has paved the way for an omnipresent, militarized fourth branch of government—the Surveillance State—that came into being without any electoral mandate or constitutional referendum.

Indeed, long before the National Security Agency (NSA) became the agency we loved to hate, the Justice Department, the FBI, and the Drug Enforcement Administration were carrying out their own secret mass surveillance on an unsuspecting populace.

Even agencies not traditionally associated with the intelligence community are part of the government’s growing network of snitches and spies.

Just about every branch of the government—from the Postal Service to the Treasury Department and every agency in between—now has its own surveillance sector, authorized to spy on the American people. For instance, the U.S. Postal Service, which has been photographing the exterior of every piece of paper mail for the past 20 years, is also spying on Americans’ texts, emails and social media posts. Headed up by the Postal Service’s law enforcement division, the Internet Covert Operations Program (iCOP) is reportedly using facial recognition technology, combined with fake online identities, to ferret out potential troublemakers with “inflammatory” posts. The agency claims the online surveillance, which falls outside its conventional job scope of processing and delivering paper mail, is necessary to help postal workers avoid “potentially volatile situations.”

Then there are the fusion and counterterrorism centers that gather all of the data from the smaller government spies—the police, public health officials, transportation, etc.—and make it accessible for all those in power. And that doesn’t even begin to touch on the complicity of the corporate sector, which buys and sells us from cradle to grave, until we have no more data left to mine.

It’s not just what we say, where we go and what we buy that is being tracked.

We’re being surveilled right down to our genes,

See the rest here

ABOUT JOHN W. WHITEHEAD

Constitutional attorney and author John W. Whitehead is founder and president The Rutherford Institute. His books Battlefield America: The War on the American People and A Government of Wolves: The Emerging American Police State are available at www.amazon.com. He can be contacted at johnw@rutherford.org. Nisha Whitehead is the Executive Director of The Rutherford Institute. Information about The Rutherford Institute is available at www.rutherford.org.

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What Happens When Governments Force Corporate Boards to Appoint More Women | Mises Wire

Posted by M. C. on May 8, 2021

The effects of gender quotas appear to be nugatory and, in some cases, expensive. Economic research reveals that in Norway, gender quotas reduced firm performance because female directors were on average younger and less experienced. Although some studies link stronger firm performance to female management, deeper analyses show that these results are driven by the propensity of high-quality firms to appoint competent women.

Quota systems

Competence in business, no matter the source, appears to be the key. One would think this applies to government also.

https://mises.org/wire/what-happens-when-governments-force-corporate-boards-appoint-more-women

Lipton Matthews

A controversial new law in California requires publicly traded companies headquartered in the state to include at least one woman on their board of directors. Supporters of those types of laws even contend that gender quotas could boost firm profitability. However, the literature indicates that gender quotas are unlikely to enhance firm performance. What is also shocking is that research argues that quotas may actually be damaging to the presumed goal of increasing the role of women on corporate boards.

No Help for Corporate Profits

According to a 2014 study titled “Women on Boards and Firm Financial Performance: A Meta-analysis” published in the Academy of Management Journal the relationship between female board representation and market performance is nearly zero. Similarly, a later study featured in the journal PLOS One complements the previous conclusion by submitting that a “higher representation of females on corporate boards is neither related to a decrease, nor to an increase in financial performance, confirming findings from a similar meta-analysis on this topic.”

Moreover, using a quota system to elevate women, unfortunately, fuels perceptions of tokenism. “Such females might be perceived as “tokens’’ to meet society’s expectations or those of important stakeholders, and could therefore be marginalized and not be taken seriously on the board, which might subsequently hinder their and the entire board’s performance, ’’ the authors note. Further, Noland, Moran, and Kotschwar (2016) in a shrewd assessment of gender quotas conclude that the “results find no impact of board quotas on firm performance, but they suggest that the payoffs of policies that facilitate women rising through the corporate ranks more broadly could be significant.”

The effects of gender quotas appear to be nugatory and, in some cases, expensive. Economic research reveals that in Norway, gender quotas reduced firm performance because female directors were on average younger and less experienced. Although some studies link stronger firm performance to female management, deeper analyses show that these results are driven by the propensity of high-quality firms to appoint competent women.

Furthermore, because gender quotas are often instituted as a response to demands for diversity, after complying, companies lose interest in pursuing initiatives to cultivate a nurturing environment for women. As Kathleen A. Farrel and Philip L. Hersch (2005) observe,“ Rather than the demand for women directors being performance-based, our results suggest corporations responding to either internal or external calls for diversity…. Consequently, as firms satisfied minimal expectations, they no longer actively sought greater diversity…. We fail to find convincing evidence that gender diversity in the corporate boardroom, on average, is a value enhancing strategy.”

No Help for Junior-Level Employees

In fact, though elites advocate gender quotas, the literature implicates them for failing to uplift low-level female employees. Discussing the inability of gender quotas to improve prospects for junior staff, the Economist writes: “Perhaps the most puzzling shortcoming of the quotas is that they have had no discernible beneficial effect on women at lower levels of the corporate hierarchy.” Neither do quotas increase the representation of women in senior management in firms where the policy is standard practice. 

Another strike against gender quotas is that the evidence refutes the assumption that quotas are beneficial since women bosses are likely to invest in female employees. The truth is that women are not more likely to promote other women, hence expecting gender quotas to induce favorable outcomes for female employees is questionable. In the research article “Meet the New Boss … Same as the Old Boss? Female Supervisors and Subordinate Career Prospects,” David J. Maume demonstrates the futility of expecting female bosses to make a difference. If an organization selects for people with masculine traits, then the women who are promoted will perpetuate the existing culture. “The cog in the machine perspective emphasizes that organizational structures, cultures, and policies remain pervasively male-oriented, and that careerist female managers will have to conform to organizational preferences to promote the careers of male subordinates…. The results are consistent with the notion that female managers are cogs in the machine, in that female supervisors have little or no effect on the career prospects of female subordinates, and instead foster men’s career prospects,” Maume explains.

Interestingly, research duly informs us that gender quotas can erect barriers to female employment. Research led by Pierre Deschamps illuminates the unintended consequences of institutionalizing quotas. According to Deschamps, hiring committees affected by quotas are considerably less likely to employ women. Deschamps asserts that quotas may have reduced the incentive to recruit women by fostering a false semblance of gender equity.

Legislation like California’s board mandates for female board members is being pushed on the grounds that it fundamentally shifts the balance in corporate America in favor of female employees and managers. Moreover, many even justified the change on the grounds these laws would improve corporate governance and profitability. Yet, there is no evidence such legal changes have accomplished any of these goals. Rather, new mandates only serve to further politicize the selection of board members while doing nothing to enrich these firms’ customers or employees.  Author:

Contact Lipton Matthews

Lipton Matthews is a researcher, business analyst, and contributor to Merion West, The Federalist, American Thinker, Intellectual Takeout, mises.org, and Imaginative Conservative. He may be contacted at lo_matthews@yahoo.com or on Twitter (@matthewslipton).

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Rule by Fiat: When the Government Does Whatever It Wants

Posted by M. C. on April 30, 2021

“We are fast approaching the stage of the ultimate inversion: the stage where the government is free to do anything it pleases, while the citizens may act only by permission; which is the stage of the darkest periods of human history, the stage of rule by brute force.” — Ayn Rand

Rule by brute force.

That’s about as good a description as you’ll find for the sorry state of our nation.

SWAT teams crashing through doors. Militarized police shooting unarmed citizens. Traffic cops tasering old men and pregnant women for not complying fast enough with an order. Resource officers shackling children for acting like children. Homeowners finding their homes under siege by police out to confiscate lawfully-owned guns. Drivers having their cash seized under the pretext that they might have done something wrong.

The list of abuses being perpetrated against the American people by their government is growing rapidly.

We are approaching critical mass.

The groundwork has been laid for a new kind of government where it won’t matter if you’re innocent or guilty, whether you’re a threat to the nation, or even if you’re a citizen. What will matter is what the government—or whoever happens to be calling the shots at the time—thinks. And if the powers-that-be think you’re a threat to the nation and should be locked up, then you’ll be locked up with no access to the protections our Constitution provides.

In effect, you will disappear.

Our freedoms are already being made to disappear.

We have seen this come to pass under past presidents with their use of executive orders, decrees, memorandums, proclamations, national security directives and legislative signing statements.

President Biden’s long list of executive orders, executive actions, proclamations and directives is just more of the same: rule by fiat.

Now the Biden Administration is setting its sights on gun control.

Mark my words: gun control legislation, especially in the form of red flag gun laws, which allow the police to remove guns from people “suspected” of being threats, will become yet another means by which to subvert the Constitution and sabotage the rights of the people.

These laws, growing in popularity as a legislative means by which to seize guns from individuals viewed as a danger to themselves or others, are yet another Trojan Horse, a stealth maneuver by the police state to gain greater power over an unsuspecting and largely gullible populace.

Nineteen states and Washington DC have red flag laws on their books.

That number is growing.

As The Washington Post reports, these laws “allow a family member, roommate, beau, law enforcement officer or any type of medical professional to file a petition [with a court] asking that a person’s home be temporarily cleared of firearms. It doesn’t require a mental-health diagnosis or an arrest.

In the midst of what feels like an epidemic of mass shootings (the statistics suggest otherwise), these gun confiscation laws—extreme risk protection order (ERPO) laws—may appease the fears of those who believe that fewer guns in the hands of the general populace will make our society safer.

Of course, it doesn’t always work that way.

Anything—knives, vehicles, planes, pressure cookers—can become a weapon when wielded with deadly intentions.

With these red flag gun laws, the stated intention is to disarm individuals who are potential threats… to “stop dangerous people before they act.”

While in theory it appears perfectly reasonable to want to disarm individuals who are clearly suicidal and/or pose an “immediate danger” to themselves or others, where the problem arises is when you put the power to determine who is a potential danger in the hands of government agencies, the courts and the police.

We’ve been down this road before.

Remember, this is the same government that uses the words “anti-government,” “extremist” and “terrorist” interchangeably.

This is the same government whose agents are spinning a sticky spider-web of threat assessments, behavioral sensing warnings, flagged “words,” and “suspicious” activity reports using automated eyes and ears, social media, behavior sensing software, and citizen spies to identify potential threats.

This is the same government that keeps re-upping the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which allows the military to detain American citizens with no access to friends, family or the courts if the government believes them to be a threat.

This is the same government that has a growing list—shared with fusion centers and law enforcement agencies—of ideologies, behaviors, affiliations and other characteristics that could flag someone as suspicious and result in their being labeled potential enemies of the state.

For instance, if you believe in and exercise your rights under the Constitution (namely, your right to speak freely, worship freely, associate with like-minded individuals who share your political views, criticize the government, own a weapon, demand a warrant before being questioned or searched, or any other activity viewed as potentially anti-government, racist, bigoted, anarchic or sovereign), you could be at the top of the government’s terrorism watch list.

Moreover, as a New York Times editorial warns, you may be an anti-government extremist (a.k.a. domestic terrorist) in the eyes of the police if you are afraid that the government is plotting to confiscate your firearms, if you believe the economy is about to collapse and the government will soon declare martial law, or if you display an unusual number of political and/or ideological bumper stickers on your car.

Let that sink in a moment.

See the rest here

This post was written by: John W. Whitehead

John W. Whitehead is a constitutional attorney, author, and founder and president of The Rutherford Institute. He can be contacted at johnw@rutherford.org. This article is a revised version of a piece that originally appeared on the Rutherford Institute website, http://www.rutherford.org

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12 Myths Fueling Government Overreach in Times of Crisis | Mises Wire

Posted by M. C. on April 26, 2021

Politics cannot be put aside. Politics is what politicians and political interest groups do. Partisanship is inevitable as political actors who seek conflicting ends struggle for maximum control of the government.

https://mises.org/wire/12-myths-fueling-government-overreach-times-crisis

Robert Higgs

Congress and the president have adopted many critically important policies in great haste during brief periods of perceived national emergency. During the first “hundred days” of the Franklin D. Roosevelt administration in the spring of 1933, for example, the government abandoned the gold standard, enacted a system of wide-ranging controls, taxes, and subsidies in agriculture, and set in motion a plan to cartelize the nation’s manufacturing industries. In 2001, the USA PATRIOT Act was enacted in a rush even though no member of Congress had read it in its entirety. Since September 2008, the government and the Federal Reserve System have implemented a rapid-fire series of bailouts, loans, “stimulus” spending programs and partial or complete takeover of big banks and other large firms, acting at each step in great haste.

Any government policymaking on an important matter entails serious risks, but crisis policymaking stands apart from the more deliberate process in which new legislation is usually enacted or new regulatory measures are usually put into effect. Because formal institutional changes—however hastily they might have been made—have a strong tendency to become entrenched, remaining in effect for many years and sometimes for many decades, crisis policymaking has played an important part in generating long-term growth of government through a ratchet effect in which “temporary” emergency measures have expanded the government’s size, scope, or power.

It therefore behooves us to recognize the typical presumptions that give crisis policymaking its potency.

The twelve propositions given here express some of the ideas that are advanced or assumed again and again in connection with episodes of quick, fear-driven policymaking—events whose long-term consequences are often counterproductive.

1. Nothing like the present situation has ever happened before. If the existing crisis were seen as simply the latest incident in a series of similar crises, policy makers and the public would be more inclined to relax, appreciating that such rough seas have been navigated successfully in the past and will be navigated successfully on this occasion, too. Fears would be relieved. Exaggerated doomsday scenarios would be dismissed as overwrought and implausible. Such relaxation, however, would ill serve the sponsors of extraordinary government measures, regardless of their motives for seeking adoption of these measures. Fear is a great motivator, so the proponents of expanded government action have an incentive to represent the current situation as unprecedented and therefore as uniquely menacing unless the government intervenes forcefully to save the day.

2. Unless the government intervenes, the situation will get worse and worse. Crisis always presents some sort of worsening of something: the economy’s output has fallen; prices have risen greatly; the country has been attacked by foreigners. If such untoward developments were seen as having occurred in a one-off manner, then people might be content to stick with the institutional status quo. If, however, people project the recent changes forward, imagining that adverse events will continue to occur and possibly to gather strength as they continue, then they will object to a “do nothing” response, reasoning that “something must be done” lest the course of events eventuate in an utterly ruinous situation. To speed a huge, complex, “anti-terrorism” bill through Congress in 2001, George W. Bush invoked the specter of another terrorist attack. Barack Obama, Invoking the specter of economic collapse, rushed through Congress early in 2009 the huge Economic Recovery and Reinvestment Act before any legislator had digested it. In a February 5, 2009, op-ed in the Washington Post, he wrote, “If nothing is done … our nation will sink deeper into a crisis that, at some point, we may not be able to reverse.”1 At a February 9 press conference, he said “[A] failure to act will only deepen this crisis,” and “could turn a crisis into a catastrophe.”2

3. Today is all-important; we must act immediately.

See the rest here

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