MCViewPoint

Opinion from a Libertarian ViewPoint

Posts Tagged ‘Liberty’

Thomas Massie vs. the Other 434 – LewRockwell

Posted by M. C. on August 3, 2020

https://www.lewrockwell.com/2020/08/laurence-m-vance/thomas-massie-vs-the-other-434/

By

There are 435 members of the U.S. House of Representatives. Only one would get my vote (if I voted).

Thomas Massie is a Republican who has represented Kentucky’s 4th Congressional District, which stretches across Northern Kentucky and 280 miles of the Ohio River, since 2012. With a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering and a master’s degree in mechanical engineering, both from MIT, Massie is a smart guy. But more importantly, he is a friend of the Constitution, liberty, property, and peace; that is, he doesn’t just recite the conservative mantra: his votes in Congress speak for themselves.

The New American magazine publishes four times each term of Congress “The Freedom Index: A Congressional Scorecard Based on the U.S. Constitution.” The Freedom Index “rates congressmen based on their adherence to constitutional principles of limited government, fiscal responsibility, national sovereignty, and a traditional foreign policy of avoiding foreign entanglements.”

The new edition of the Freedom Index (in the issue dated July 20) is the second for the 116th Congress, and looks at ten key measures. Scores are derived by dividing a congressman’s constitutional votes by the total number of votes cast and multiplying by 100. So, the higher the score the better.

This edition of the Freedom Index tracks congressional votes in the House on appropriations, impeachment, the United States-Mexico-Canada Trade Agreement (USMCA), the Equal Rights Amendment, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, the Iran War Powers Resolution, and coronavirus aid packages.

For the second time in a row for the 116th Congress, Rep. Massie scored a perfect 100 percent. Most of the Democrats received a failing score. But the other Republicans in the House didn’t do so well either. Seven of them earned a score from 30-39 percent. Sixty-four of them earned a score from 40-49 percent. Forty-five of them earned a score from 50-59 percent. Forty-three of them earned a score from 60-69 percent. Twenty-four of them earned a score from 70-79 percent. Six of them earned a score from 80-89 percent. And only one of them earned a score from 90-99 percent.

This means that over half of the Republicans in the House received a failing grade when it comes to their “conservatism.” With Republicans like these, who needs Democrats? Indeed, outspoken Democratic socialist Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez earned a score of 60 percent. This means that she scored higher than the majority of the Republicans in the House. Let that sink in for a minute:

AOC is more conservative than the majority of Republican House members.

Any yet we are told ad nauseam by conservative talk show hosts and pastors of evangelical churches that we should vote Republican to keep those evil Democrats out of office.

What makes things even worse is that the Republican Party is the opposition party in the House right now. Republicans always score lower when they are the party in power.

How many times must I say it: The only limited government that Republicans seek is a government limited to control by Republicans. Thomas Massie is apparently the only exception in the House. Like former House member Ron Paul, Massie often casts the lone “no” vote on legislation. God bless him.

Laurence M. Vance [send him mail] writes from central Florida. He is the author of The War on Drugs Is a War on Freedom; War, Christianity, and the State: Essays on the Follies of Christian Militarism; War, Empire, and the Military: Essays on the Follies of War and U.S. Foreign Policy; King James, His Bible, and Its Translators, and many other books. His newest books are Free Trade or Protectionism? and The Free Society.

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Pennsylvania’s Contribution to the Wars On Cash and Your Liberty

Posted by M. C. on July 30, 2020

OMG! There is a coin shortage in the PA Liquor Control Board system!
Yes, PA still has “state stores”.
The sign in my local state Wine and Spirits shop tells us due to the coin shortage the cashier will accept only exact change, credit or debit cards. Exact change is not likely, so we are limited to plastic.
Do you ever wonder what happens when you buy with plastic?
There is a digital record of that purchase that is potentially available to anyone. The credit card company certainly maintains a record. Probably the PA LCB also.
Who else might have access to your (liquor) purchasing history? The state insurance commissioner, police agencies, IRS (you betcha!)?
Who could possibly request or purchase this information? Your medical and auto insurance company, your local police, a prospective employer, your employer, the lawyer you are facing in a court case?
A credit card is like having On Star in your pocket. It tells everyone where you have been, whether you were with someone and how you spent your money.
You have no cash on hand and…ATM goes down. Bank had a run and went cafluey. A faceless bureaucrat doesn’t like what you are doing. You crossed a state line with a packet of Sudafed. Your digital money can be shut off with a flick of a switch.
It is all about control.
Think about that when you are putting that Pink Catawba or ammo purchase on a card.
Be seeing you…from Pennsylvania

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The Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity : Independence Day Under Dictatorship

Posted by M. C. on July 4, 2020

Declare YOUR Liberty

A great episode!

http://ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/peace-and-prosperity/2020/july/03/independence-day-under-dictatorship/

 

Be seeing you

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When in the Course of Human Events – LewRockwell

Posted by M. C. on July 2, 2020

https://www.lewrockwell.com/2020/07/andrew-p-napolitano/when-in-the-course-of-human-events-2/

By

“Government requires make-believe. Make believe that the king is divine, make believe that he can do no wrong or make believe that the voice of the people is the voice of God. Make believe that the people have a voice or make believe that the representatives of the people are the people. Make believe that governors are the servants of the people. Make believe that all men are created equal or make believe that they are not.”
 — Edmund S. Morgan (1916-2013)

…How is it that men and women take oaths to uphold the liberties that the founders risked all to achieve and then enter office and ignore them? If I can legally refuse health care, why can’t I legally take the chance of exercising my rights to travel and assemble whether that exposes me to contagion or not? Is not among the freedoms Jefferson wrote about the freedom to take chances?

Are laws written to preserve liberty or to enforce order? Is the concept of the consent of the governed real or is it make-believe? Does liberty expand in each generation or does it shrink?…

When Jefferson and his buddies revolted from the king, they, too, engaged in a little myth. They coined a popular phrase that they didn’t really mean but caught fire with the colonists: “Taxation without representation is tyranny.”

They didn’t mean it, because they didn’t really want to send representatives to Parliament. They wanted their own small government, and they wanted it here. But the colonists were sick of taxes imposed by London aristocrats.

Are all men created equal or are they not? Does the government have our consent or does it not? Are our liberties natural to our existence or are they not?

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Preventing Liberty from Becoming a Coronavirus Fatality – The Future of Freedom Foundation

Posted by M. C. on April 1, 2020

Given the historical record of how previous emergencies spawned corrosive policies that continue to menace basic freedoms years or decades later, it is urgent to seek effective curbs on the growing abuses of power in the current crisis.

https://www.fff.org/explore-freedom/article/preventing-liberty-from-becoming-a-coronavirus-fatality/

by

Public attitudes about the coronavirus outbreak increasingly exhibit features of a collective panic. That development creates the danger that government measures designed to deal with a very real public health problem may lead to enormous collateral damage both to the economy and the freedoms that Americans take for granted.

Given the historical record of how previous emergencies spawned corrosive policies that continue to menace basic freedoms years or decades later, it is urgent to seek effective curbs on the growing abuses of power in the current crisis. We must resist being stampeded into endorsing whatever policies self-interested officials insist are necessary.
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Governments at all levels have taken ever more extreme (even outrageous) actions in an effort to stem the outbreak. The governors of New York, California, and other states have issued orders closing most private businesses and requiring residents not engaged in “essential” activities to remain in their homes.  Nevada’s governor greatly restricted doctors from prescribing an anti-malaria drug that Trump administration experts suggested held promise for treating coronavirus, because in the governor’s opinion, such prescriptions might lead to hoarding.  U.S. Justice Department officials secretly asked Congress to give the executive branch the authority to seek orders from federal judges to detain indefinitely any individual during the current emergency or any future one.

Although appalling, such attempted eviscerations of constitutional liberties should not be surprising.  Governments invariably exploit crises to expand their powers—often to a dangerous degree. That certainly has been the track record in the United States throughout our history.  Worse, a significant residue of expanded powers always persists after the crisis recedes and life supposedly returns to normal.

Most, but not all, of the abuses and unhealthy expansions of power have occurred during wartime. World War I led to statutes and executive orders that still haunt us more than a century later.  For example, various administrations have used the Espionage Act of 1917 to punish whistleblowers and intimidate investigative journalists. Barack Obama’s administration even waged a campaign to harass and intimidate journalists who published leaked material. Officials conducted electronic surveillance of both New York Times reporter James Risen and Fox News correspondent James Rosen in an effort to identify their sources.  The government named Rosen as an “unindicted co-conspirator” in an espionage case brought against his source.  The administration asserted that it had the right to prosecute Risen, even though it chose not to take that step.

Later presidents used other laws passed during World War I in ways the legislators who enacted them never contemplated.  For example, in August 1971 Richard Nixon declared a national emergency under the Trading with the Enemy Act of 1917 to impose import tariffs, close the gold window for international payments, and establish domestic wage and price controls.

World War II produced additional abuses and dangerous precedents. The most alarming example was President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s executive order putting Japanese Americans in “relocation centers” (concentration camps).  In an especially shameful ruling, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the legality of his action.  That decision is not just a matter of academic or historical interest.  Later administrations developed contingency plans along the lines of FDR’s infamous executive order.  In the aftermath of the 9-11 terrorist attacks, suggestions surfaced that Muslim aliens (and even Muslim-American citizens) should be subjected to internment measures as part of the war on terror.

During the Korean War, President Harry Truman expanded the number and scope of executive orders, further enlarging the power of the presidency—a power surge that already had reached troubling levels under Woodrow Wilson and FDR.  Truman’s most flagrant initiative was his attempt to seize control of the nation’s steel mills as a wartime measure.  Fortunately, on that occasion the Supreme Court fulfilled its constitutional duty and struck down his dangerous executive power grab.

More recently, the policy responses to the 9-11 terrorist attacks included that 2001 Authorization for the Use of Military Force (AUMF), ostensibly to wage war against Al Qaida and its allies.  However, the AUMF became a veritable blank check for presidents to wage wars anytime, anywhere, for any reasons those presidents deemed appropriate.  Domestically, the response to 9-11 included the so-called Patriot Act and its legendary erosions of the 4th Amendment’s protections against unreasonable searches and seizures, as well as the weakening of other substantive and due process rights guaranteed in the Constitution.  That measure was a crucial building block in the growth of the current pervasive surveillance state.

Wars and other “national emergencies” produced an array of lesser, but still undesirable, expansions of governmental power and the narrowing of individual rights.  For example, the federal government’s response to the economic and financial dislocations of the Great Depression included Roosevelt’s executive order banning the private ownership of gold.  That annoying limitation continued until the mid-1970s.

The historical record also demonstrates that “temporary” measures enacted to deal with a specific crisis frequently prove to be anything but temporary.  One insidiously corrosive “temporary” change was the establishment of the withholding provision to the federal income tax during World War II.  That temporary measure is still with us, and the effect has been revolutionary.  Paying the tax in installments that show up as nothing more than an entry on an employee’s paycheck stub disguises the extent of the actual tax burden on that individual and reduces the emotional impact.

The fundamental lesson from these historical episodes is that Americans need to resist the casual expansion of arbitrary governmental power in response to the current coronavirus crisis.  New local and state governmental assaults on civil liberties came early and already are disturbingly plentiful. In early March, authorities around the United States ordered schools to close and ether prohibited large-scale public events or pressured the sponsors to take such action.  A growing number of jurisdictions soon went further. San Francisco ordered residents to “shelter in place,” barring them from engaging in any “nonessential” activity outside their own homes.  All of this occurred before California Governor Gavin Newsom and New York Governor Andrew Cuomo set a new, even more intrusive pattern by ordering statewide lockdowns.

Beyond the trampling of property rights and other crucial liberties, the coronavirus episode has led to worrisome erosions of the democratic political process.  Louisiana and Georgia were the first states to cancel primary elections, citing the danger of contagion among polling place crowds. Other states, including Ohio and Maryland, soon followed

Both the nature and scope of the expanding restrictions should alarm all defenders of liberty.  In mid-March, North Carolina went beyond shutting down individual enterprises or even types of businesses; authorities there placed most of the Outer Banks off limits to tourists and other outsiders.  Police established checkpoints to examine identifications and required special permits for access.  There is more than a small echo in that measure of the ubiquitous police or military checkpoints and “show your papers” demands that countries in the old Soviet bloc implemented, and various dictatorships around the world require today. It’s an ominous policy and image.

Sentiments in favor of comprehensive lockdowns to halt the spread of the virus reflect understandable emotions, but panic is always a poor basis for policy decisions.  The economic costs of such radical responses to the coronavirus outbreak are enormous, and the damage to basic liberties ultimately may prove even worse. Ugly, potentially dangerous precedents are being set left and right.  In virtually every case, officials imposed restrictions without any provisions for appeal—or even public comment. Worse, they did not seem to recognize any limits to their power with respect to a health crisis. The steps taken to date go far beyond the longstanding authority of local governments to impose quarantines on individuals or families diagnosed with certain highly contagious diseases.  Entire cities and states are now being put on similar lockdowns, even though the overwhelming majority of residents show no signs of coronavirus

Worries about expansive government diktats and precedents are especially warranted if the coronavirus outbreak is neither unique nor a crisis of short duration.  Originally, there was a pervasive assumption that the emergency would last only a few weeks, and then life in America (as well as other countries) would return to normal.  But in Trump’s March 16 press conference, both the president and his health policy advisers indicated that the outbreak might last until July or August.  Some experts in Britain fear that it could last until spring 2021.

That possibility creates some very serious concerns. There is no realistic way that a complex, inter-connected market economy can operate effectively for an extended period of time with a country—or even major portions of it–on lockdown.  A similar problem arises if the coronavirus does not prove to be a one-time visitor, but resembles influenza outbreaks that ebb and flow each year. In addition to the adverse economic consequences, forcibly cocooned populations will have every justification to become furious if arbitrary bureaucratic edicts repeatedly uproot their lives.

There is an imperative reason to monitor and curb some of policy precedents being set.  Future overcautious or egotistical public officials will be tempted to impose drastic measures even in response to lesser health or other emergencies.  Government orders closing private businesses fundamentally alter the relationship between individuals and the state in a dangerous fashion. Travel restrictions that confine people to their homes or bar them from specific areas are further cause for alarm.  Such restrictions always have been a hallmark of authoritarian political systems. Likewise, the postponement of elections is unsettling. Giving incumbent officials such authority creates an obvious potential for abuse—especially if the incumbents face the prospect of electoral defeat.  Perhaps worst of all is the possibility of the federal government being able to seek the indefinite detention of people based on nothing more than a Justice Department request and a compliant judge’s order.

Given the historical record of how previous emergencies spawned corrosive policies that continue to menace basic freedoms years or decades later, it is urgent to seek effective curbs on the growing abuses of power in the current crisis. We must resist being stampeded into endorsing whatever policies self-interested officials insist are necessary. Benjamin Franklin observed that “those who would give up essential liberty, to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.”  Americans must keep that wise admonition in mind during and after the coronavirus crisis.

Be seeing you

 

 

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Building the First Nation – LewRockwell

Posted by M. C. on November 24, 2019

A command-and-control economy where medical innovation and scientific reform are bugs to be blocked by bureaucracies simply has too much inertia built on the foundation of sacrificial wars and regulations to change its ways any time soon.

That’s why Joe Quirk and the Seasteading project are such a fascinating case to consider.

https://www.lewrockwell.com/2018/12/david-gornoski/building-the-first-nation-not-founded-on-bloodshed/

Why do the nations rage?

I don’t know. Maybe because they’re out of ammo culturally. As Joe Quirk, president of The Seasteading Institute calls them, “the 193 monopolies on government that control 7.6 billion people right now” could benefit from some peace-loving competition. More importantly, the existence of his planned seasteads, floating platform-based ocean communities, could benefit the ostensible customers of monopoly governments by modeling nonviolent, voluntary community making.

I interviewed Quirk because I am interested in the cause of liberty and nonviolence from an anthropological perspective. I am curious about why humans group together and assent to monopolies of violence called states. I want to know how humans came to morally condone and even consecrate the violence such entities employ against nonviolent people for disagreeing with majoritarian might-makes-right rules.

Watch the interview here:

In the news today we are hearing reports that an elderly pundit Dr. Jerome Corsi is likely facing prison time for getting tripped up in a perjury trap during psychologically abusing grillings by grand inquisitor Robert Mueller. Corsi’s actions, whatever the specifics, did not produce a victim. (Robert Mueller did when he helped mislead the nation into the Iraq War, as tens of thousands of wounded or killed soldiers prove.)

Regardless of what you think of his politics, Corsi is facing the prospect of being locked in a cage merely for the impotently cathartic game of DC blood sport. Seemingly near half the country seems to be foaming at the mouth at the sight of a political writer being caged in his last years just because he favored their rivals’ presidential pick. Who wants to live in a society where its law and liberty is decided by these violent bouts of scapegoat ping pong?

Centralized monopolies that demand the right to initiate violence against any nonviolent misfit are devolving into anarchic schisms of mad groupthink. Where do we get off this ride?

To exit the vehicle safely, we must know how we got in it and why it is breaking down and making us sick on its way out of commission.

The enigmatic Jewish prophet Habakkuk once wrote, “Woe to him who builds a city with bloodshed and establishes a town by injustice!”

He wrote it at a time in which evidence suggests the world was filled with societies founded and mediated by controlled acts of bloodshed. Today, we call it ritual human sacrifice and tribal war campaigns for glory. As sophisticated moderns, we are embarrassed to address the seeming fluke of sacrifice so ubiquitous to human history so we awkwardly shuffle it off to the corners of our museums. At best, the fashionable answer is that sacrifice was a quirk of religion or agriculture or proto-patriarchy or some other such cultural institution that soiled our primal nobility.

In reality, sacrifice was a safety valve ancient communities used to channel pent up resentment, fear, and conflict into misfit human vessels of destruction. These scapegoats were marked out from the masses by some arbitrary difference that made them unbearably peculiar to suspicious crowds looking to avert famine, disease, or other harbingers of social in-fighting and disorder. Eventually, the governing authorities streamlined the process of sacrifice to include foreign-captured slaves who first received orgies and feasts to make them tainted enough with the local spirit of the community in tension.

We think we educated ourselves out of human sacrifice but this is a convenient myth we tell ourselves to justify its continual residue in our daily lives. Every culture that sends state agents to lock up a woman selling unlicensed tamales or a political dissident or an addict or an Amish herbal salve seller is still very much enthralled by the one-for-all logic underlying our generative sacrificial origins.

Today, we hide our consent for coercion against misfits by telling ourselves it is for the protection of victims and children. As if, for example, another Amish farmer thrown into a violent prison cage would cause the nation to perish if he was left alone to sell his raw milk.

Beyond domestic sacrificial violence in the name of victims, it is difficult to find a single country in existence today that did not have its founding determined by self-justifying war. As another remnant of sacred ritual, war has been a socially binding agent for societies: a means of uniting restless neighbors in righteous self-sacrifice of life and wealth for the defeat of a less-than-human foreign foe. Yet recent years have shown that as the public is more frequently exposed to the images of constant intervention in countries like Iraq, Yemen, Libya, and Syria, whatever unifying high war has long held is rapidly dissipating.

Our increasing sensitivity to the plight of the other, be it the drug war-ravaged family or drone strike victims abroad, make the governance models built on the initiation of physical violence against nonviolent people increasingly ineffective. No wonder criminal justice reform and ending wars are now the few areas of overwhelming political unity. Yet political systems, always in a lag from cultural trajectories because of structural incentives to maintain the status quo, are dramatically slow to decisively satisfy such popular demands.

A command-and-control economy where medical innovation and scientific reform are bugs to be blocked by bureaucracies simply has too much inertia built on the foundation of sacrificial wars and regulations to change its ways any time soon.

That’s why Joe Quirk and the Seasteading project are such a fascinating case to consider. As sacrificial forms of governance continue to leave their citizens in disunity and internal resentment over who gets what spoils in a supposedly zero-sum economy, we have a real chance to see the first sovereign societies develop free from bloodshed.

An ocean-platform community voluntarily funded and organized, if successful, is a monumental event in human anthropology.

Just having a place where problem solvers and innovators can develop potential breakthroughs in science, medicine, and innovation, free from deeply captured regulatory apparatuses could be a tremendous leap forward for mankind. And if these societies can maintain a thriving, non-monopoly state-managed existence, the rest of the world’s governments will be on notice to wean off of sacrificial violence or perish through increased social unrest and decline.

Competition may be a sin to John D. Rockefeller. But when it comes to bloated bureaucracies buoyed by outdated ways of treating human beings, it looks like a big beautiful blue ocean to me.

Be seeing you

 

 

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bionic mosquito

Posted by M. C. on August 29, 2019

Can you imagine any social institution being successful if the individuals who make up such an entity are all playing by different rules? Each one defining how his role is governed, independent of the governance of the entity as a whole?

http://bionicmosquito.blogspot.com/

Mezze

Meze or mezze is a selection of small dishes served as appetizers in parts of the Middle East, the Balkans, Greece, and North Africa.

Call it the realm of the former Ottoman Empire. I have been chewing on a few topics for several days. Each of these could, perhaps, be turned into a complete meal but I am not in a position to devote the proper attention to each. So, for now, I will just serve each as a small dish. It is also equally likely, as is usually the case, that the mezze platter will be sufficient for the entire meal.

Diversity is Our Strength

If there is an overriding theme to the societal disaster that defines the current times, it is this slogan. More specifically, it is the context in which this slogan is used. Certainly, diversity can be a strength if ends are held in common; certainly, diversity is a strength if the rules of the game (the means) are respected.

Can you imagine any social institution being successful if the individuals who make up such an entity are working toward different ends? We see this in the least effective such entities; in the successful ones, we see that all individuals are working toward a similar end, purpose, objective.

Can you imagine any social institution being successful if the individuals who make up such an entity are all playing by different rules? Each one defining how his role is governed, independent of the governance of the entity as a whole?

Further, the ends and means are completely interrelated: It isn’t that the ends justify the means; it is that the ends define the means. Within such a framework, diversity is a strength: diverse skills, temperaments, capabilities, ideas – all moving toward a common end, all playing within a common framework of means.

Diversity is not a strength when the subject population does not hold to common ends and does not agree to play by common rules (the means). In such a case, diversity is hell. If the diversity of hell is where you look for your strength, feel free to welcome diversity as it is celebrated by the broader culture.

Everything is a Lie

Everything. Out of the mouths of politicians, news reporters, journalists, thought leaders in sports and entertainment. Well, not everything. On the rare occasion we hear some truth from any of these, they are shut down and ostracized.

Everything we are taught about history is a lie. Not a little lie, like George-Washington-cut-down-the-cherry-tree lie; big lies – lies that have resulted in the deaths of millions and the cost of trillions. The dead can be considered the trophies in the game rooms of the liars and the sacrifices of a worshipful population; the cost is going into the pockets of the same liars.  Whenever someone sticks his head up and says “wait, that isn’t true,” he is labeled a conspiracy theorist – before being shut down and ostracized.

Do you want to succeed by the standards of this world? Be a champion of the biggest lie. Do you want to survive? Don’t openly challenge any of the lies.

Do you want to do righteous work? Speak truthfully.

The Meaning Crisis

To really feel the joy in life

You must suffer through the pain

This idea of a meaning crisis has gained increased popular traction recently. What is the meaning crisis? A very complicated question. It is easier to describe it by what is lacking in Western society than what it actually is, I suppose. On one level, it can be captured by noting the superficiality of the material life – a life consumed with getting more stuff. There is no depth in this life, no relationships, no connections of value, no reason to cherish the joy in life – because “more stuff” doesn’t bring joy to life.

But as I think about it, at its most fundamental level, it strikes me that the things that give life meaning are those things for which one is willing to die or kill. Of course, what one is willing to die or kill for matters – a lot.

Jeff Deist raised just such points (and quite a backlash) when he spoke at Mises University two years ago:

In closing, I’ll mention an email exchange I had recently with the blogger Bionic Mosquito. If you’re not reading Bionic Mosquito, you should be!

Well, yeah. That’s true. But you are already here…so….

I asked him the same hypothetical question I have for you: what would you fight for? The answer to this question tells us a lot about what libertarians ought to care about.

By this I mean what would you physically fight for, where doing so could mean serious injury or death. Or arrest and imprisonment, or the loss of your home, your money, and your possessions.

His answer?

In other words, blood and soil and God and nation still matter to people. Libertarians ignore this at the risk of irrelevance.

What in the West is worth fighting for? Who in the West is willing to do the fighting?

They shoot without shame

In the name of a piece of dirt

For a change of accent

Or the colour of your shirt

There are some answers. There are those in the West willing to go overseas and kill people who have never been a danger to anyone in the West; there are those in the West who are willing to kill others because they wear the wrong color in the wrong neighborhood.

Beyond these? Virtually nothing (other than family for some of us). And given that these are the two best examples I can think of, it suggests something about the cultural degradation of the West. Western society is willing to kill and die for evil purposes.

And this is, for the moment, the best description I can give of why there is a meaning crisis. Well, this and having “diversity is our strength” shoved down our throats. Oh, and knowing that everything told to us is a lie.

The Mess of Romans 13

Other than the end times interpretation by followers of the Scofield Bible, there is probably no misinterpretation of the Bible that has caused more harm than the “obey-the-government-at-all-times” interpretation of Romans 13 (and these two are certainly quite related today). I have offered that Gerard Casey has provided one of the many good evaluations of this fallacy.

Just reading and listening to the Gospels, in how many cases is it offered that the governmental authorities were defied? Not deified as in the standard interpretation of Romans 13; defied! Jesus would not have survived his first years had this not been the case.

I know, I am the one pushing Christianity as the necessary foundation for liberty. But organized Christianity – almost whatever the denomination – is so compromised morally and doctrinally. I take comfort that this situation has been seen many times before and has been overcome.

It will be overcome again. What would you expect, given He who is in charge?

Overturning Culture

I can’t remember which one of you wrote it and I cannot find it now, but we had an exchange on Jesus overturning culture some weeks ago. I keep writing about the value of common culture, not overthrowing the culture but allowing it to evolve naturally. The example was given by one of you of Jesus: He sure overthrew a lot of culture!

This has been on my mind since then. When I consider the cases where Jesus overthrew the existing culture – usually to be found in passages where He is dealing with the Pharisees or which begin “You have heard it said…” – the examples I can think of off of the top of my head are all examples of overturning culture in favor of Natural Law. In other words, Jesus makes clear that what many refer to as Judeo-Christian as the basis for Western civilization is simply Christian. The Judeo part of the equation destroyed the love inherent in Natural Law.

I write often about the old and good law. This means…not just old law – as the Pharisees would see it. “Good” law is grounded in Natural Law (and I don’t mean to imply here physical punishment for all violations of Natural Law, as I do not believe this nor is this the example Jesus gave us).

Where Jesus overturned culture – again, from my memory – He did it in the direction of Natural Law, law that recognizes the proper ends for human beings. You don’t get much better “good” law than this.

Conclusion

Of the five topics here, it is the last one – if any – that I might pursue further. In the meantime, back to the mezze:

Meze is generally accompanied by the distilled drinks rakı, arak, ouzo, Aragh Sagi, rakia, mastika, or tsipouro.

Each of these drinks is regional – specific to a place. I always choose based on the country (or restaurant) in which I am dining. When in Rome and all that. But my go to? The one in my liquor cabinet? I am a bit ashamed to admit it, but it is the state-owned Yeni raki from Turkey. More bite than ouzo or arak, but what do you expect from Turks. Add a little water and a little ice….

All I can say is…pass the bastirma.

Be seeing you

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War Is the American Way of Life – LewRockwell

Posted by M. C. on July 16, 2019

“We used to wonder where war lived, what made it so vile. And now we realize that we know where it lives… inside ourselves.” ~Albert Camus

https://www.lewrockwell.com/2019/07/gary-d-barnett/war-is-the-american-way-of-life/

By

“Kill one man, and you are a murderer. Kill millions of men, and you are a conqueror. Kill them all, and you are a god.” ~Jean Rostand– Pensées d’un biologiste

How has a nation that boasts of being a bastion of freedom and liberty become the most prolific killer of on earth? This question will immediately enrage most Americans, and not in any moral sense of remorse for the innocent victims around the world, but due to a false sense of exceptionalism and backward patriotism.

To do any legitimate study of U.S. aggression would take one back to the very beginning, but the past 120 years have seen the continued slaughter of innocents as a normality of the American way of life. I say this because the masses have for the most part supported this indiscriminate killing, and lauded those responsible for the carnage. There were of course dissenters from this norm, but in the end, they were mostly marginalized or worse. Those who do not tow the line of the military today are in many cases ridiculed. And given that every major event, especially sporting events, display 300 foot U.S. flags, military jets, and military personnel ad nauseam, including the recent presidential spectacle, a parade dubbed the “military show of a lifetime,” the devotion shown by the spectators is nothing less than unadulterated worship…

“Kill them all, and you are a god.” Is that how the term God is on our side came into vogue in this country? Is this notion the impetus for public justification for mass murder? Worship these days, at least in this country, has moved away from the devout, and been replaced as reverence to the state. Many churches in this country now pay homage to the military and its troops, the very ones committing murder in their names. Contradiction and hypocrisy at this level belies logic and sanity.

Soon after the birth of the Revolution, the U.S. began warring against its own people, including the Indian tribes, and has continued the war policy ever since that time. When one speaks of American history, the single constant over the past  243 years has been war. War against the American Indians, dissenting American citizens, its neighbors, and most of the rest of the world has been nearly continuous. This is not a country that should any longer be known for exceptionalism or freedom, but for war and aggression. The United States as a nation is the most brutal killing machine that has ever existed, and is continuing to kill around the globe…

What should be evident is that the U.S. and its military have been responsible for tens of millions of deaths due to its wars, its violent aggressions, and its sanctions. No other nation on earth has ever been responsible for such carnage, and no other nation has caused such widespread suffering. How many have really been wounded, disfigured, or harmed by war, chemical weapons, sanctions, and total destruction of infrastructures at the hands of the United States? How many have been displaced, and lost their families? How many continue to live with the horrors of war?…

While American citizens are preoccupied with their smart phones and their Facebook page, and languish over fake racism, gender identity, agenda driven “climate change,” and robotic sex, much of the rest of the world lives in fear. That fear is justified, and is due to U.S. aggression that is ever present and never ending.

A better way is to end war and seek peace. In order for this to occur, the general population must have an awakening, an awakening based on humility instead of arrogance, love instead of hate, harmony instead of divisiveness, and patience instead of indifference. This will require individual thought and individual action, and a mass separation from the political state. A revolution of sorts is vital if societal catastrophe is to be avoided.

“We used to wonder where war lived, what made it so vile. And now we realize that we know where it lives… inside ourselves.”
~Albert Camus—Source/Notes: Carnets: 1935-1942 (1963 edition)

Be seeing you

Historical Photos: WW2 American Propaganda Poster ...

America said NO.

 

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Liberty Has Lost Its Protection – PaulCraigRoberts.org

Posted by M. C. on June 29, 2019

https://www.paulcraigroberts.org/2019/06/28/liberty-has-lost-its-protection/

Paul Craig Roberts

July 4 should be a day of mourning.  The rights our ancestors fought for have been taken away.

Over the course of my lifetime there has been a fundamental shift in the attitude of the judiciary toward Constitutional rights.  I remember when guarding against any diminishing of constitutional rights was considered more important than convicting another criminal. There were cases in which the evidence needed in order to convict a person could not be collected, or used if collected, because it violated constitutional rights.  There are many instances of criminals walking free because police, prosecutors, and trials violated their rights.  Much of the unthinking public would be enraged, because judges let a criminal off.  The public were unable to understand that the judges were protecting their rights as well as the criminal’s.

This is an age old problem.  In Robert Bolt’s play, A Man for All Seasons, Sir Thomas More, Chancellor of England, is criticized for refusing to bend the law in order to better pursue criminals. Sir Thomas asks his critic, if I cut down the law in order to pursue devils, what happens to the innocent when authority turns on them?  This question formerly had a powerful presence in the courtroom.

Over the course of my lifetime, the emphasis shifted from protecting constitutional rights to seeing them as obstacles to law enforcement. In order to convict a single individual or class of individuals, precedents were established that set aside constitutional rights that protected everyone.  The judiciary began stripping away constitutional protections of the entire population in order that one more guilty person could be more easily convicted…

Hardly anyone wants a criminal to go free, but sometimes letting criminals go is the only way to protect our constitutional rights.  Formerly, it was clearly understood that protecting liberty was more important than punishing every criminal.  Almost every day John Whitehead of the Rutherford Institute provides another example of our disappearing rights. See for example: https://mailchi.mp/rutherford/us-supreme-court-rules-that-police-can-forcibly-warrantlessly-carry-out-blood-draws-on-unconscious-drivers?e=c5472441ea

Courts have used endless exceptions and special circumstances to chop down the protections provided by the Bill of Rights.  I would wager that most Americans see no problem in the Supreme Court’s 5-4 ruling upholding the conviction of drunk driving in the case Whitehead discusses.  Indeed, if they knew about the case, they would be fulminating against the 4 justices who rose to the defense of the 4th Amendment as “liberal judges who want to turn criminals lose on society.”

Sir Thomas More’s warning in A Man of All Seasons has gone unheeded. Today the principle purpose of the US criminal justice (sic) system is to cut down our rights in order to secure convictions.  The practice has been so corrupting that today the US government routinely violates law, both its own and international, in pursuit of material interests.

The America that is romanticized in 4th of July celebrations no longer exists.

Be seeing you

2 out of every 3 Americans lost Fourth Amendment ...

 

 

 

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What Would Happen If Government Didn’t Handle That? – Foundation for Economic Education

Posted by M. C. on July 26, 2018

https://fee.org/articles/what-would-happen-if-government-didn-t-handle-that/

Gary M. Galles

Those who defend liberty are often challenged to supply exhaustive descriptions of what would happen were some aspect of our increasingly government-dictated lives returned to individuals’ voluntary arrangements. What would happen if government didn’t educate our children? If Social Security didn’t provide for retirement? If Medicaid and Medicare didn’t provide health care? If the USDA, FDA, FAA, etc., didn’t ensure our safety? If the EPA didn’t deal with pollution?

Anyone put on the spot with such questions must recognize that they are rhetorical traps. They are used to put an impossible burden of proof on voluntary arrangements, to allow proponents to dodge having to defend against criticisms of coercive policies… Read the rest of this entry »

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