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Opinion from a Libertarian ViewPoint

Posts Tagged ‘Liberty’

Watch “Liberty in America — Are We Past the Point of No Return?” on YouTube

Posted by M. C. on October 21, 2021

George Leef gave the fifth talk in our webinar “Restoring Our Civil Liberties.” Giving an overview of the state of civil liberties in the United States, George tells us where we are and where we are going.

https://youtu.be/-QD2wmieYd8

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WaPo Editors: “Liberty” Requires Us to Implement Vaccine Passports | Mises Wire

Posted by M. C. on August 21, 2021

Mandating private and government employees to be immunized against covid-19 and requiring the use of standardized electronic passes as proof of immunization across the nation is what liberty is made of,

https://mises.org/wire/wapo-editors-liberty-requires-us-implement-vaccine-passports

Alice Salles

Mandating private and government employees to be immunized against covid-19 and requiring the use of standardized electronic passes as proof of immunization across the nation is what liberty is made of, the editors of the Washington Post argued last week

State governors such as Florida governor Ron DeSantis (R), who are blocking or attempting to block “government agencies, local businesses or both from mandating vaccination,” are engaged in “efforts that fly in the face of the values of liberty that their proponents purport to defend,” the editors added. 

“The highly transmissible delta variant of the coronavirus has ushered in mask mandates in some places, but vaccination remains the key to containing the pandemic once and for all,” the editors wrote. But to ensure we can all trust those who claim to be vaccinated, they added, states should be “developing a smartphone-compatible certificate that’s easily downloadable and easily scannable.” 

With this standardized approach to the vaccine mandate, they argued, Americans who are reluctant to get the jab would be forced to think differently. “At the least, enabling vaccine requirements will help organizations keep their spaces safer. At best, they also could inspire some holdouts to get the shot at long last.”

But if “safety” is so important to these editors, shouldn’t we also consider the safety of medical treatments (i.e., vaccines) themselves? Moreover, shouldn’t we consider the ways that providers of vaccines can be held accountable when their vaccines do harm? 

That discussion, apparently, is not on the table. I have yet to see a proponent of covid-19 vaccine mandates that talks about the vaccine industry’s immunity before federal law and how the current vaccination campaign is just a continuation of that scheme.

Ronald Reagan’s Socialized Medicine 

The covid-19 vaccine isn’t the first inoculation program that is both financially backed by the government and immune from legal accountability in US history. 

Thanks to President Ronald Reagan’s National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act (NCVIA) of 1986, vaccine makers are able to develop vaccines, many of which are produced using unethical methods such as using cells taken from aborted fetal tissue, deliberately mislead patients and health officials by making false efficacy claims, and go on doing so unabatedly even after countless victims come forward saying they have been injured—sometimes for life—by their products. 

Due to the 1986 law, these victims don’t get the chance to have their cases heard by a jury of their peers. Instead, their cases must necessarily be funneled through the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP), which was created in 1988 after the NCVIA was signed into law.

The VICP is in place to shield manufacturers from liability related to their vaccine products, as explained by AMA Journal of Ethics.

The act establishes a special court program for vaccine injury claims that caps damages and allows for the injured party to be compensated without having to prove that the maker committed any wrongdoing. (emphasis added)

Since its inception, the VICP has paid out about $4.6 billion in settlements. But while the VICP is funded by an excise tax on each vaccine purchased, it is run by the US government. 

Considering that pharmaceuticals were threatening to give up on producing vaccines due to the expensive injury-related court battles prior to 1986 and that they remain unwilling to stand behind their products’ safety to this day, it is clear that given the opportunity to function in a market unprotected by the federal government, these manufacturers would likely have not managed to stay in business. It is in this context that the covid-19 vaccines exist. 

Because currently the covid vaccines do not have full Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authorization, injury claims must be funneled through a different but similar program, the Countermeasures Injury Compensation Program (CICP), run by the Health and Human Services Department. But it is only a matter of time before the vaccine “courts” take over. 

With record-breaking numbers of adverse reactions reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and growing concerns regarding the covid vaccines’ effectiveness, paper pushers are promising more mandates will come once the FDA concedes the vaccine manufacturers full approval. Considering that all other vaccines currently in use regularly across the nation were given the same FDA approval and yet remain immune from legal accountability, why should we trust whatever the health czars have to say? Author:

Alice Salles

Alice Salles was born and raised in Brazil but has lived in America for over ten years. She now lives in Fort Wayne, Indiana with her husband Nick Hankoff and their three children.  

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Who Is Joe Manchin? | Mises Institute

Posted by M. C. on August 11, 2021

https://mises.org/power-market/who-joe-manchin

Robert Aro

He may not be a household name, but the letter Senator Joe Manchin (D) from West Virginia wrote to the Federal Reserve chair Thursday is worthy of consideration. The notable part is where he writes:

With the recession over and our strong economic recovery well underway, I am increasingly alarmed that the Fed continues to inject record amounts of stimulus into our economy by continuing an emergency level of quantitative easing (QE) with asset purchases of $120 billion per month of Treasury securities and mortgage backed securities.

Recall that the shortest recession in US history, all of two months, ended last April, as announced by the National Bureau of Economic Research in July. Perhaps the delay in reporting the recession data, or the surprisingly short span of the recession helped prompt the senator’s frustration? He continues:

The Fed has sustained $120 billion per month in asset purchases since June 2020, despite increasing vaccination rates to combat the virus and additional fiscal stimulus from Congress in the ARP [American Rescue Plan]. The record amount of stimulus in the economy has led to the most inflation momentum in 30 years, and our economy has not even fully reopened yet.

At the time of writing, the Fed’s balance sheet stood at $8.2 trillion, which is an increase of over $4 trillion since the formal start of the recession last year. He goes on to say that continual stimulus, coupled with further fiscal stimulus, will lead to “unavoidable inflation taxes” Americans cannot afford. He concludes that

it is imperative we begin to understand that long term policy responses tailored for an economic depression, like the Great Depression and Great Recession of 2008, may not be what is required for today’s economy and could result in higher than desired inflation if not removed in time.

The letter is hardly perfect. He doesn’t convey all the nuances, such as the issues with inflation, the Fed’s role in causing booms and busts, etc. And ultimately, he commends the Fed for their intervention, though he questions why it’s continuing this long. It’s understandable, as he’s a senator, not an economist, and may not even be aware of the over-a-century-long history of Austrian economics. However, he seems aware that something isn’t quite right and correctly notes that it’s the Fed’s actions which hurt a lot of Americans.

Albeit small, when someone in the Senate takes an interest in the Fed’s activities and even questions their behavior, it is a step in a better direction. If the ninety-nine other senators and more average citizens question the Fed, it could create opportunities to invoke societal change, to severely limit, and potentially erase the state entirely … one day.

As for the Fed’s response, as reported by Politico:

A Fed spokesperson said the central bank received Manchin’s letter and planned to respond.

We will continue to monitor the situation and look forward to hearing more from the Fed. Until then, let’s consider another question: Where do all the mainstream economists stand with the Fed’s intervention in the free market?

Across the USA, there are a handful of Ivy League schools and countless institutions of higher learning that all teach economics. They each have a roster of academics who get paid to continually study, teach, and write about economics. But the silence from these “intellectuals” remains deafening. It’s almost as if the mainstream academic community didn’t understand what the Fed is doing and therefore remains silent. Or maybe they do understand but don’t care to warn the public. If the latter is true, it could be due to the intellectuals’ comfort and security, which is handsomely paid for by the state. As Hans-Hermann Hoppe once said, the state offers the intellectual “a warm, secure, and permanent berth in its apparatus.”

How difficult is it for the truth, freedom, and liberty to compete with that?

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Defining Liberty – Doug Casey’s International Man

Posted by M. C. on August 4, 2021

How many laws exist in the US today? The answer is that no one knows. It’s too complex to define. There are roughly 20,000 laws regarding gun control alone – and that’s just the federal laws. State, county and city laws also exist in abundance.

At that time, the Russian Ayn Rand, living in the US, stated,

“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.”

https://internationalman.com/articles/defining-liberty/

by Jeff Thomas

Here we have a most interesting collection of signage. Some low-level civil servant who’s in charge of deciding what the motorist may do at this particular junction has become quite thorough in creating restrictions.

The motorist may not proceed, may not turn left or right, and, most interestingly, in the second sign from the bottom, may not reverse out. In essence, “You’re stuck here and whatever you do to get out, you’re in violation of the rules we’ve placed upon you.”

Of course, if we were to encounter this particular intersection, we might say, “That’s absurd – they can’t possibly hold me to this.”

But, interestingly, under the traffic laws, a policeman can cite us for violating the signage. If we’re lucky, he might agree that it’s absurd and give us a break, but his job is to enforce it, regardless of its absurdity. And if he enjoys his position of authority, as many in his position do, he just may choose to demonstrate his power.

And, if we defy him, we’re in real trouble.

How many laws exist in the US today? The answer is that no one knows. It’s too complex to define. There are roughly 20,000 laws regarding gun control alone – and that’s just the federal laws. State, county and city laws also exist in abundance.

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.

Yet, there’s a general assumption amongst those who simply accept the laws that are heaped upon their shoulders, that they were somehow “necessary,” that legislators only pass laws if they have no other choice.

In my estimation, this view is diametrically opposite to what is true. One of my own principles regarding governance is,

“It is the primary business of any government to grow its own power and wealth at the expense of its people.”

This is an important principle to understand, as it opens the mind to recognize that governments always move in a direction of increased control. Given enough time, governments will always create a state of despotism. And, historically, no government has ever reversed its level of control and introduced greater liberty.

It then follows that each country is in the process of becoming increasingly tyrannical. The only difference between them is the degree of tyranny that’s been achieved so far.

Liberty and governmental control are polar opposites. Yet, most people have a rather vague perception of the term “liberty” and might even find it difficult to define. This is unfortunate, as it means that, when liberty is lost, those same people will be unlikely to recognize the fact.

Here are two good working definitions of liberty, courtesy of the dictionary:

“The power or scope to act as one pleases.”

“The state of being free within society from oppressive restrictions imposed by authority on one’s way of life, behavior, or political views.”

The first is interesting, as it suggests that liberty means each person doing exactly as he pleases. Doug Casey often offers a similarly simple, but more refined rule of life:

“Do as thou wilt, but be prepared to accept the consequences.”

The latter dictionary definition is probably in keeping with the perception of most Americans around 1800, but today’s American would caution that, “Ideally, that would be true, but without our current laws and regulations, there’d be chaos.

Libertarians would disagree and offer only two principles that they believe would largely negate the need for laws:

“Do all that you say that you’ll do and don’t initiate aggression against another person or his property.”

And, again, non-libertarian thinkers would shake their heads and assert that this would result in chaos. Americans have become indoctrinated to believe this through slow measures. As Thomas Jefferson said,

“Even under the best forms of Government, those entrusted with power have, in time, and by slow operations, perverted it into tyranny.”

The key to governmental domination is that we tend to tolerate the loss of liberty if it’s taken away slowly.

In the US, liberty has been in decline, by my reckoning, for about one hundred years, but has been in rapid decline since 2001.

Of course, in all countries, at some point, the governmental domination becomes so intolerable that the people rise up. Revolution follows – a period of great upheaval and hardship. Eventually, a recovery begins and the entire process starts over.

It stands to reason that the best place to be is a country that has already recovered and is in the reconstruction stage – a time when liberty is at its greatest.

The US was in this stage in the nineteenth century – a period of great expansion and development.

However, by the mid-twentieth century, the rot had set in. America was past its peak and was ready to begin the final, and most rapid, period of decline.

At that time, the Russian Ayn Rand, living in the US, stated,

“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.”

At the time Ms. Rand made this statement, she was largely dismissed. After all, Americans had never seen riot squads, dressed in black and heavily-armed, barging into homes without a warrant.

Authorities did not yet have the legal right to confiscate all of the possessions of an individual, based upon suspicion alone.

Yet, this is exactly what Ms. Rand warned against when she said, “the stage of total dominance is fast approaching.”

In reflection, we can have a laugh at the signage above, as it was clearly created by a low-level civil servant who was careless with his own puffed-up authority to the point of creating an absurdity.

But, in the larger picture, the signs are equally in place. Liberty in the US, at this point, is all but extinguished. And greater restrictions are being written every day.

The reader is left with a choice. He can either accept the signs that tell him he’s not allowed to go left, right, forward or back and wait until his government instructs him as to what he’s allowed to do, or he may say, “That’s it – I’m reversing out of here and finding a location where liberty is still in abundance.”

Editor’s Note: For too long, careless governments have used shortsighted strategies to prop up major world economies and prolong their time in power. This can only go on for so long…

In this urgent special report, Doug Casey and his team reveal why an unprecedented global financial disaster is now inevitable—and what you can do to protect yourself. Click here to download the PDF now.

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TGIF: Liberty as a Problem-Solving Process | The Libertarian Institute

Posted by M. C. on June 25, 2021

Much more could be and has been said on this subject, but the upshot is this: the best way to expose and correct problems and errors is to leave people free.

https://libertarianinstitute.org/articles/tgif-liberty-as-problem-solver/

by Sheldon Richman

Strictly speaking, liberty isn’t the solution to problems. It’s what creates the framework in which solutions can be discovered. That is an important distinction because it reminds us that advocates of full-blown liberty do not offer the world a problem-free society but “only” a society in which problems are discovered and problem-solvers are mobilized as quickly, fairly, and efficiently as impossible.

To get this point across to students in lectures, I used to quote the the title of a 1970 hit record: “I beg your pardon, I never promised you a rose garden.” Social troubles will not disappear with the emergence of full freedom, but the chances of spotting and addressing them will be maximized in the most just way. That’s the best we can hope for in a world of scarcity and uncertainty. On the other hand, that’s not too shabby, is it?

What makes this happen? The answer can be captured in a single word: incentives. In a free society people are rewarded–they profit–by spotting and solving problems or correcting errors, before others have done so. Self-interest is further aligned with the interest of others.

This aspect of social life has been developed for many decades by the most important economists, among whom I would spotlight those of the Austrian school. In the 20th century they include Ludwig von Mises, F. A. Hayek, Israel Kirzner, and Murray Rothbard, followed by a couple of later generations of social scientists who continue to work in this tradition.

If the incentive system is to work, people need to be free to offer solutions. The scientist Joseph Priestley (1733–1804), in writing about education, wrote that to discover the best methods, we need an environment characterized by “unbounded liberty, and even caprice.” As Priestley also put it, “Now, of all arts, those stand the fairest chance of being brought to perfection, in which there is opportunity of making the most experiments and trials.” (I wrote about Priestley’s radical advocacy of freedom in education in Freedom and School Choice in American Education.)

The logic behind Priestley’s idea isn’t complicated. We don’t always know if a method of accomplishing something will work–however good it may look on paper. It has to be tried. Since that’s the case, we need a highly decentralized environment in which ideas can be tested. (I don’t like the word system for what I have in mind because that suggests an overall design rather than what Hayek called “spontaneous order.”) In a centralized system, trial and error would be dicey since the inevitable mistakes would be committed on a large scale, with little chance for individuals to opt out. But in a decentralized environment, mistakes are necessarily contained, readily observed by others, and then corrected by those who offer a different product or service.

Government agents face different incentives since government usually is the only game in town. In fact, they face perverse incentives: politicians and bureaucrats may prosper by the existence and even the exacerbation of problems. If an agency is failing, the solution most often is to appropriate more money! And since government centralizes approaches to problems, mistakes are committed on a large scale, especially when they are undertaken at the national level. Federalism can reduce the scale of error, but not nearly as much as the free market can because state and local governments lack other features of the marketplace.

This point turns the spotlight on another aspect of a free society: competition. Competition is what happens with one person thinks he or she has a better way of doing something than someone else does. The way to find out is to offer it to the public. This shows that competition and cooperation are two sides of the same coin, not opposites. But if the government erects obstacles to upstart competitors, the it throttles the process, and better ways of addressing problems are left on the shelf, if undiscovered at all.

Hayek called competition a “discovery procedure,” which gets at a crucial point. I call competition the “universal solvent.” We can find a similar idea in John Stuart Mill’s On Liberty, in which he extols the truth-discovering value of the radically free exchange of ideas. (My favorite line from that book: “He who knows only his own side of the case, knows little of that.”)

Freedom and competition make possible discoveries that would not have been found otherwise precisely because it is only in that environment–the market order–that people encounter circumstances and alternatives with respect to which they will demonstrate in action their true preferences–preferences they might not have expected to demonstrate. This is part of what is meant by “spontaneous order.” For this reason, government planners cannot hope to simulate market outcomes. The planners are barred from ever knowing what would have happened if people were left free. As James Buchanan pointed out:

I want to argue that the “order” of the market emerges only from the process of voluntary exchange among the participating individuals. The “order” is, itself, defined as the outcome of the process that generates it. The “it,” the allocation-distribution result, does not, and cannot, exist independently of the trading process. Absent this process, there is and can be no order.”

…Individuals do not act so as to maximize utilities described in independently-existing functions. They confront genuine choices, and the sequence of decisions taken may be conceptualized, ex post (after the choices), in terms of “as if” functions that are maximized. But these “as if” functions are, themselves, generated in the choosing process, not separately from such process. If viewed in this perspective, there is no means by which even the most idealized omniscient designer could duplicate the results of voluntary interchange. The potential participants do not know until they enter the process what their own choices will be. From this it follows that it is logically impossible for an omniscient designer to know, unless, of course, we are to preclude individual freedom of will.

Much more could be and has been said on this subject, but the upshot is this: the best way to expose and correct problems and errors is to leave people free.

About Sheldon Richman

Sheldon Richman is the executive editor of The Libertarian Institute, senior fellow and chair of the trustees of the Center for a Stateless Society, and a contributing editor at Antiwar.com. He is the former senior editor at the Cato Institute and Institute for Humane Studies, former editor of The Freeman, published by the Foundation for Economic Education, and former vice president at the Future of Freedom Foundation. His latest books are Coming to Palestine and What Social Animals Owe to Each Other.

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The “War on Cash” Is Really A War on Freedom

Posted by M. C. on April 9, 2021

“Vaccine Passports”? … “War on Cash,”? … The common thread is that these authoritarian ideas are war on our freedom. Total surveillance has been sought by authoritarians for thousands of years; always with the goal of trying to control how people move, or how they spend their money. The spread of the ideas of Liberty are necessary in order to save us from encroaching tyranny.

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Keeping Liberty Alive in an Age of ‘Coronavistas’ | Chronicles

Posted by M. C. on April 9, 2021

With social media acting as the arbiter of allowable discussion, and with continued censorship and cancellation of those with views challenging the ‘accepted narrative,’ the United States is on the verge of losing its cherished freedoms. It is not at all clear whether our democratic republic will survive—but it is clear it will not survive unless more people begin to step up in defense of freedom of thought and speech.

https://www.chroniclesmagazine.org/blog/keeping-liberty-alive-in-an-age-of–coronavistas-/

By Jeff Minick

A look around at our coronavirus-obsessed world leaves those of us still possessing common sense with one question: What on earth have we become?

This question arises when viewing videos such as this one, where a pregnant, Catholic mother refusing to wear a mask is cited for trespassing during a Mass in Dallas, Texas. This young woman broke neither the mandates of the governor of that state nor of the bishop of that diocese, but was nevertheless reported to the police in the middle of Mass by the pastor of the parish. One of the ushers reportedly shouted, “Arrest her!” and then went to the parking lot to record her license plate number.

Three police officers—three!—showed up to haul her out of Mass and accuse her of violating the regulations of a business, i.e. the church. They then issued her a ticket for trespassing, forbidding her attendance at any future services at that church.

I’m not indulging in hyperbole when I say that some among us have lost their minds. Like fashionistas, who devote themselves to the intricate workings of the fashion industry, we now have “Coronavistas” in our midst, devoted to upholding the precise regulations which allegedly help prevent the spread of the virus.

Here in Virginia the nonsense continues. Nearly everyone in the local grocery store wears a mask. If you want to buy a bottle of vodka from the ABC store, put on a mask. In the coffee shop and other restaurants I sometimes visit, patrons are required to wear a mask when entering those establishments, but may then remove the mask throughout the course of their meal. Why is that? Does the virus only attack human beings on their feet?

My local library requires patrons to wear a mask and it also quarantines all returned books for three days. For months, they quarantined books for five days, but they have now reduced that time. Were either of those book quarantine times based on science? If we can catch the virus from a book, then the librarians shouldn’t allow visitors like me to roam the library shelves, touching book after book.

Meanwhile, in a tiny convenience store off the beaten path in my town, no one—not the owners, not the employees, not the customers—wears a mask. I go there frequently for various supplies, and as far as I know, none of these folks have keeled over from COVID-19. Do country folks and rednecks know more than our experts?

Thankfully it seems that some experts  have not lost their minds and become “Coronavistas.” Dr. Scott Atlas is one of these, and in an article written for Hillsdale College’s Imprimis, he assails the mainstream media and the medical establishment’s advocacy of masks, closures, and lockdowns. He accuses publications like the Journal of the American Medical AssociationThe Lancet, the New England Journal of Medicine, and Science of being contaminated by politics.

I have been shocked at the unprecedented exertion of power by the government since last March—issuing unilateral decrees, ordering the closure of businesses, churches, and schools, restricting personal movement, mandating behavior, and suspending indefinitely personal freedoms. Second, I was and remained stunned—almost frightened—at the acquiescence of the American people to such destructive, arbitrary, and wholly unscientific rules, restrictions, and mandates.

Atlas concludes his article with these words:

With social media acting as the arbiter of allowable discussion, and with continued censorship and cancellation of those with views challenging the ‘accepted narrative,’ the United States is on the verge of losing its cherished freedoms. It is not at all clear whether our democratic republic will survive—but it is clear it will not survive unless more people begin to step up in defense of freedom of thought and speech.

Meanwhile, our shutdowns damaged our children’s education and emotional development, restricted our religious practices, killed off tens of thousands of small businesses, brought a booming economy to its knees, and separated all of us from one another.

Were these sacrifices worthwhile? Were they beneficial?

We may never know the answers to these questions. What is perfectly clear, however, is that Atlas’s conclusions are right on the money. Big tech, corporations, many of our universities, and our federal and state governments have spent the last year silencing critics of their policies and usurping American liberties.

Benjamin Franklin once wrote, “Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.” In a letter to his wife Abigail, John Adams stated, “Liberty once lost is lost forever.”

There is no magical formula to guarantee the preservation of our freedoms, but there are steps all of us can take to regain and keep our liberties. Listening skeptically to the mainstream media and to government officials, voting, protesting to our elected leaders at all levels when our rights are trampled, engaging when possible in peaceful disobedience like that woman in church: these are but a few possibilities.

Most of all, however, we must keep the fires of freedom burning in our hearts. It is that liberty which makes America unique.

Jeff Minick

Jeff Minick lives in Front Royal, Virginia, and may be found online at jeffminick.com. He is the author of two novels, Amanda Bell and Dust on Their Wings, and two works of non-fiction, Learning as I Go and Movies Make the Man.

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The Success of Socialist Newspeak | Mises Wire

Posted by M. C. on April 3, 2021

Liberty, says the Bolshevist, is a bourgeois prejudice. The common man does not have any ideas of his own, he does not write books, does not hatch heresies, and does not invent new methods of production. He just wants to enjoy life. He has no use for the class interests of the intellectuals who make a living as professional dissenters and innovators.

https://mises.org/wire/success-socialist-newspeak

Ludwig von Mises

The socialists have engineered a semantic revolution in converting the meaning of terms into their opposite.

In the vocabulary of their “Newspeak,” as George Orwell called it, there is a term “the one-party principle.” Now etymologically party is derived from the noun part. The brotherless part is no longer different from its antonym, the whole; it is identical with it. A brotherless party is not a party, and the one party principle is in fact a no-party principle. It is a suppression of any kind of opposition. Freedom implies the right to choose between assent and dissent. But in Newspeak it means the duty to assent unconditionally and strict interdiction of dissent. This reversal of the traditional connotation of all words of the political terminology is not merely a peculiarity of the language of the Russian Communists and their Fascist and Nazi disciples. The social order that in abolishing private property deprives the consumers of their autonomy and independence, and thereby subjects every man to the arbitrary discretion of the central planning board, could not win the support of the masses if they were not to camouflage its main character. The socialists would have never duped the voters if they had openly told them that their ultimate end is to cast them into bondage. For exoteric use they were forced to pay lip-service to the traditional appreciation of liberty.

It was different in the esoteric discussions among the inner circles of the great conspiracy. There the initiated did not dissemble their intentions concerning liberty. Liberty was, in their opinion, certainly a good feature in the past in the frame of bourgeois society because it provided them with the opportunity to embark on their schemes. But once socialism has triumphed, there is no longer any need for free thought and autonomous action on the part of individuals. Any further change can only be a deviation from the perfect state that mankind has attained in reaching the bliss of socialism. Under such conditions, it would be simply lunacy to tolerate dissent.

Liberty, says the Bolshevist, is a bourgeois prejudice. The common man does not have any ideas of his own, he does not write books, does not hatch heresies, and does not invent new methods of production. He just wants to enjoy life. He has no use for the class interests of the intellectuals who make a living as professional dissenters and innovators.

This is certainly the most arrogant disdain of the plain citizen ever devised. There is no need to argue this point. For the question is not whether or not the common man can himself take advantage of the liberty to think, to speak, and to write books. The question is whether or not the sluggish routinist profits from the freedom granted to those who eclipse him in intelligence and will power. The common man may look with indifference and even contempt upon the dealings of better people. But he is delighted to enjoy all the benefits which the endeavors of the innovators put at his disposal. He has no comprehension of what in his eyes is merely inane hair-splitting. But as soon as these thoughts and theories are utilized by enterprising businessmen for satisfying some of his latent wishes, he hurries to acquire the new products. The common man is without doubt the main beneficiary of all the accomplishments of modern science and technology.

It is true, a man of average intellectual abilities has no chance to rise to the rank of a captain of industry. But the sovereignty that the market assigns to him in economic affairs stimulates technologists and promoters to convert to his use all the achievements of scientific research. Only people whose intellectual horizon does not extend beyond the internal organization of the factory and who do not realize what makes the businessmen run, fail to notice this fact.

The admirers of the Soviet system tell us again and again that freedom is not the supreme good. It is “not worth having,” if it implies poverty. To sacrifice it in order to attain wealth for the masses, is in their eyes fully justified. But for a few unruly individualists who cannot adjust themselves to the ways of regular fellows, all people in Russia are perfectly happy. We may leave it undecided whether this happiness was also shared by the millions of Ukrainian peasants who died from starvation, by the inmates of the forced labor camps, and by the Marxian leaders who were purged. But we cannot pass over the fact that the standard of living was incomparably higher in the free countries of the West than in the communist East. In giving away liberty as the price to be paid for the acquisition of prosperity, the Russians made a poor bargain. They now have neither the one nor the other.

[Excerpted from Liberty & Property.] Author:

Ludwig von Mises

Ludwig von Mises was the acknowledged leader of the Austrian school of economic thought, a prodigious originator in economic theory, and a prolific author. Mises’s writings and lectures encompassed economic theory, history, epistemology, government, and political philosophy. His contributions to economic theory include important clarifications on the quantity theory of money, the theory of the trade cycle, the integration of monetary theory with economic theory in general, and a demonstration that socialism must fail because it cannot solve the problem of economic calculation. Mises was the first scholar to recognize that economics is part of a larger science in human action, a science that he called praxeology.

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The Never-Ending Battle between Leviathan and Liberty | Mises Wire

Posted by M. C. on March 19, 2021

https://mises.org/wire/never-ending-battle-between-leviathan-and-liberty

James Bovard

The notion that Americans will always be free is part of the catechism that is force-fed to public school students. For hundreds of years, philosophers, politicians, and reformers have touted a law of history that assures the ultimate triumph of freedom. “Oppressed people cannot remain oppressed forever. The urge for freedom will eventually come,” Martin Luther King Jr. wrote in his famous “Letter from Birmingham Jail.”

But few political follies are more hazardous than presuming that one’s liberties are forever safe. None of the arguments on why liberty is inevitable can explain why it has not yet arrived. Most of the human race existed with little or no freedom for 95+ percent of recorded history. If liberty is God’s gift to humanity, then why were most people who ever lived on Earth denied this divine bequest?

Many efforts at limiting state power have failed almost immediately. In the thirteenth century, oppressed English nobles revolted and sought to bind their kings in perpetuity. King John signed the Magna Carta in 1215, petulantly accepting a limit to his prerogative to pillage everything in his domain. While the Magna Carta is celebrated nowadays as the dawn of a new age, it failed to even bind the king who signed the document. The ink on his signature was barely dry before King John brought in foreign forces and proceeded to slaughter the barons who forced his signature. King John died just after his vengeance commenced, providing a respite for Englishmen. In the final realm, the Magna Carta was simply a political pledge that was honored only insofar as private courage and weaponry compelled sovereigns to limit their abuses.

History is a chronology of nations pillaged by reckless regimes. English kings recited coronation oaths that limited their power. Such oaths were as binding as a congressional candidate’s campaign promises. Rampaging kings sometimes converted smouldering discontent into a raging fire of resistance. Historian Thomas Macaulay summarized England’s path to its Glorious Revolution of 1688: “Oppression speedily did what philosophy and eloquence … failed to do.” King James II was ousted in 1688 and Parliament speedily enacted laws to curb all subsequent monarchs.

The United States was the first government to be created with strict limitations on its power, enshrined in the Constitution. As James Madison wrote in the Federalist Papers, “If men were angels, no government would be necessary. If angels were to govern men, neither external nor internal controls on government would be necessary.” The Founders included numerous checks and balances in the Constitution to restrain political ambition. But they were never so naïve as to presume that a parchment barrier would keep American liberty safe in perpetuity.

Within the first decade of the nation’s existence, Congress and President John Adams enacted the Alien and Sedition Acts, which destroyed freedom of the press and speech. Thomas Jefferson responded by writing a resolution in 1799 that warned, “Free government is founded in jealousy, not confidence…. In questions of power, then, let no more be heard of confidence in men, but bind him down from mischief by the chains of the Constitution.” Senator John Taylor, in his 1821 book Tyranny Unmasked, scoffed at presuming “our good theoretical system of government is a sufficient security against actual tyranny.”

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Author:

James Bovard

James Bovard is the author of ten books, including 2012’s Public Policy Hooligan, and 2006’s Attention Deficit Democracy. He has written for the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Playboy, Washington Post, and many other publications.

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The Asinine Notion That There Is an Easy Solution To Gaining Back ‘Freedom’ – LewRockwell

Posted by M. C. on March 15, 2021

And yes, Americans were much less dumbed down and much more intelligent in the past, but allowed this government to steal all the schools so that nearly every citizen could be trained to be stupid and obedient. They did this in plain sight. I understood this when I was a young teenager, so why did not millions more also see it? I can tell you, they do not want to know the truth, they simply want to be taken care of at the expense of their neighbors. Soon they will get their wish, as all will be slaves to this heinous and evil system allowed by the very people now complaining.

https://www.lewrockwell.com/2021/03/gary-d-barnett/the-asinine-notion-that-there-is-an-easy-solution-to-gaining-back-freedom/

By Gary D. Barnett

GaryDBarnett.com

Every single week, and sometimes, several times a week, I get letters, usually nasty, about how I have never given any solution to this takeover being experienced today. It is normally something to the tune of: “All you (and others) do is tell us what the problem is, but you ‘never’ tell us what to do about it, and what the solution (apparently a one time fix-all solution) should be to fix it. This question and criticism is irritating to no end, and exposes the real problem that faces us today.

For how am I, or anyone else for that matter, going to be able to convince hundreds of millions, or in this case billions of people, to all act in a way that is not only sane, but that will drive these masses of humanity to at least attempt to help themselves? The very thought of such an attitude should be fully descriptive of why this country and the world are now consumed by a lack of drive to do anything to address their own plight by simply taking personal responsibility. Most everyone in this country apparently thinks that someone else should come up with a ‘plan’ for them, and all ills will magically be cured. How absolutely childish and absurd!

I have penned tens of thousands of words just this past year alone as to what the solution entails, but that does not mean that any large number of people are listening, or more importantly are willing to take any real risk to save themselves.

I am sick of this question, and of those that expect me to fix all their problems in life by “telling them what to do and how to act,” as if they would ever take my advice in the first place. They are willing to do as they are told by government, but not willing to fight or do anything else to save their own liberty. They continually seek a “master’s” approval, and desire to follow the orders of others. This is the problem.

The long letter I received this morning from a reader was pretty much as all the others asking this question or demanding a ‘solution,’ but at least this gentleman was fairly cordial and non-threatening, but still very critical of me and any exposing the problems we face, but not fixing the problems we describe. I am not including his letter, as it was long and somewhat repetitive. I felt I owed him a decent response, so this is what I told him:

“Thank you for writing to me. I appreciate it. I am always disheartened by letters like yours, because I have given the solution over and over again. There is but one, but it is impossible to bring it to fruition by announcing some sort of trick to get this ignorant and indifferent population to do anything other than follow orders. They simply have no desire to protect their own freedom, and seem content to wallow in apathy while waiting for the government to tell them what to do. They go to the polls to choose new masters every year, and every four years, they scream and fight to see which of  the selected two presidential masters will rule them. In what has always been a scam, people continue to vote, which is a fools game, and think because of it they are free. Indoctrination at this level cannot be overcome by simply saying; “Here is a plan for you.” 

If one is to walk the streets of America today and not understand the idiocy present and the depth of our problems due to the people themselves, then blindness has certainly consumed all the masses plus those expecting someone else to come up with a solution to change the minds of 330 million people just by saying “do this.”

The solution is mass disobedience and dissent, but by me telling people to do this, as I have been for over two decades, will not change anything. The people themselves have to stand up and take risk to protect their own liberty, because I or no one else can do it for them.

As to patriots, those that do the state’s bidding in war are not patriots, but simply murderers for the state, and are perpetuating their own servitude by taking orders to kill others instead of doing something to free themselves. This is just another state trick to get people believing that war is in their interest, when in fact, it just tightens the chains of tyranny at home. Now, the real rulers and their pawns in government are at war against the people, and they still cower in fear of nothing.

And yes, Americans were much less dumbed down and much more intelligent in the past, but allowed this government to steal all the schools so that nearly every citizen could be trained to be stupid and obedient. They did this in plain sight. I understood this when I was a young teenager, so why did not millions more also see it? I can tell you, they do not want to know the truth, they simply want to be taken care of at the expense of their neighbors. Soon they will get their wish, as all will be slaves to this heinous and evil system allowed by the very people now complaining.

Only individual resolve and a willingness to take great risk in order to restore true freedom can change this course we are on, and absolutely no one can force these citizens to do it; they have to come to that as individuals. Nothing I say or do will change millions of minds and drive them to action, and in fact, if I had to force people to act as I wanted, I would be no better than the low-life scum that is running this country today.”

It is incredible how as soon as a people become subject, it promptly falls into such complete forgetfulness of its freedom that it can hardly be roused to the point of regaining it, obeying so easily and willingly that one is led to say that this people has not so much lost its liberty as won its enslavement.”

~ Etienne de La Boetie (1552-53) “The Politics of Obedience, The Discourse of Voluntary Servitude”

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