MCViewPoint

Opinion from a Libertarian ViewPoint

Posts Tagged ‘Liberty’

TGIF: Mask Mandate – Liberty Can Hang on One Word

Posted by M. C. on May 6, 2022

by Sheldon Richman

Rather, my point is that freedom can hang by a very thin thread. Judge Mizelle made a good case that in this statutory context, mask-wearing is not a method of sanitation. But what about the next judge who hears a CDC or other power-grabbing case?

https://libertarianinstitute.org/articles/tgif-liberty-can-hang-on-one-word/

As I mentioned recently, whether the courts protect or violate liberty in any given case is something of a coin toss. The matter could hinge on a single word. We just had a good example of that fact.

On April 18 U.S. District Judge Kathryn Kimball Mizelle, a Trump appointee in Tampa, Fla., ruled that the Centers for Disease Control exceeded its statutory authority when it mandated that most people wear masks when using public transportation in order to stem the spread of COVID-19. (Health Freedom Defense Fund et al. v. Biden.)

The judge’s ruling hinged on a single word in §264(a) of the Public Health Services Act of 1944, on which the CDC claimed its authority: sanitation.

§264(a) states:

The Surgeon General [or CDC apparently], with the approval of the [HHS] Secretary, is authorized to make and enforce such regulations as in his judgment are necessary to prevent the introduction, transmission, or spread of communicable diseases from foreign countries into the States or possessions, or from one State or possession into any other State or possession. For purposes of carrying out and enforcing such regulations, the Surgeon General [or CDC] may provide for such inspection, fumigation, disinfection, sanitation, pest extermination, destruction of animals or articles found to be so infected or contaminated as to be sources of dangerous infection to human beings, and other measures, as in his judgment may be necessary.

For Judge Mizelle the question came down to exactly what sanitation means and whether mask-wearing is a method of sanitation. The answer depends, she said, on the sense, that is, the context, in which the statute uses that word.

She wrote: “A requirement that travelers wear a mask is not inspection, fumigation, disinfection, sanitation, or pest extermination, and the government does not contend otherwise.” But, she added, the CDC does contend that the mask mandate is “akin to sanitation.”

The judge rejected that contention. The statute does not define sanitation, so she relied on dictionaries for guidance, finding that the word refers to both cleaning something and keeping it clean:

The context of §264(a) indicates that “sanitation” and “other measures” refer to measures that clean something, not ones that keep something clean. Wearing a mask cleans nothing. At most, it traps virus droplets. But it neither “sanitizes” the person wearing the mask nor “sanitizes” the conveyance. Because the CDC required mask wearing as a measure to keep something clean — explaining that it limits the spread of COVID-19 through prevention, but never contending that it actively destroys or removes it — the Mask Mandate falls outside of §264(a).

Mizelle had much more to say on why the second sense of the word doesn’t apply, and she rejected other CDC claims.

My point is not to take issue with the result. I am delighted the CDC — one of those “expert” regulatory agencies that have effectively become unelected legislatures unto themselves — was reined in. Throughout the pandemic the CDC has tried to seize one unprecedented power after another. Fortunately it has not gone unchecked. When it imposed a moratorium on apartment evictions and forbade the cruise industry from operating, the courts said no. Now a court has said no to the mask mandate.

Rather, my point is that freedom can hang by a very thin thread. Judge Mizelle made a good case that in this statutory context, mask-wearing is not a method of sanitation. But what about the next judge who hears a CDC or other power-grabbing case? (As we’ve seen repeatedly, the party of the nominating president gives no assurance.) As former President Clinton aide Elaine Kamarck shows, it wouldn’t have been a stretch for a judge to have upheld the mandate, and most Americans wouldn’t have thought the reasoning off the wall. The difference between Mizelle and Kamarck looks like hair-splitting. But liberty is too precious to be left to hair-splitting.

As I wrote in 2009, after soon-to-be Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor assured the Senate Judiciary Committee that a “judge applies the law [and not her feelings] to the facts” of the case:

Nothing in human affairs is that simple. Judgment and interpretation are required every step of the way. This is why, contrary to popular fable, the line between the rule of law and the rule of men and women is so fine as to be nonexistent. (See John Hasnas’s important papers “The Myth of the Rule of Law” and the “The Depoliticization of Law” [pdf]). Laws, which are intended to be applied to an unlimited number of unforeseeable future circumstances, do not speak for themselves. Human beings must interpret them. This does not mean language is inherently impenetrable. (I could hardly write if I believed that.) However, there is a broad middle ground between impenetrability and perfect clarity. As libertarian legal scholar Randy Barnett noted,  “While I do not share [the] view of law as radically indeterminate, I sure think it is a whole lot more underdeterminate than Judge Sotomayor made it out to be in her testimony today.”

Where does that leave us then? It leaves us with the question asked by the classical liberal legal philosopher Bruno Leoni, author of Freedom and the Law (1961): “It is a question of deciding whether individual freedom is compatible in principle with the present system centered on and almost completely identified with legislation.” What’s the alternative to legislature-based law? Leoni wrote: “Both the Romans and the English shared the idea that the law is something to be discovered more than to be enacted and that nobody is so powerful in his society as to be in a position to identify his own will with the will of the land.”

It was law that judges discerned when resolving specific disputes brought before them by specific individuals; it was law based on custom and the reasonable expectations it gave rise to. The system stood in contrast to legislature-made rules that are later interpreted by judges. It wasn’t a perfect system, but the comparison is not to Utopia but to what legislatures and judges routinely do. Leoni likened judge-discovered law to the spontaneous order of the free market and legislature-made rules to central economic planning:

No solemn titles, no pompous ceremonies, no enthusiasm on the part of applauding masses can conceal the crude fact that both the legislators and the directors of a centralized economy are only particular individuals like you and me, ignorant of 99 percent of what is going on around them as far as the real transactions, agreements, attitudes, feelings, and convictions of people are concerned.

Under the best of circumstances, conventional political systems are dodgy places to seek the protection of liberty, even in matters of public health, where property rights, contract, and voluntary community should reign supreme. (On the efficacy of masks, see this.) If the mask-mandate case isn’t convincing enough, have a look at the leaked draft of Justice Samuel Alito’s draft opinion in the Supreme Court’s latest abortion case.

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TGIF: What Really Protects Liberty?

Posted by M. C. on May 2, 2022

by Sheldon Richman

The upshot is that if people’s values are not consistently pro-liberty, it won’t matter in the long run much what the Constitution “says,” and if they are pro-liberty, then it won’t matter whether there is a written constitution — or a state for that matter.

But whether the Constitution really be one thing, or another, this much is certain—that it has either authorized such a government as we have had, or has been powerless to prevent it. In either case, it is unfit to exist” – Lysander Spooner

https://libertarianinstitute.org/articles/tgif-what-really-protects-liberty/

The COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated, as if we needed another demonstration, that little stands between the government and our liberty. Champions of individual freedom have been properly disturbed by how much power governments at all levels have seized since the pandemic hit in 2020.

To make matters worse, officeholders and public-health officials object when the judicial branch occasionally overturns their power grabs because judges are said to be unqualified to rule on “medical” matters. So, if judges furnish constitutional and other legal grounds against power grabs, we’re supposed to ignore them because they in fact are issuing medical opinions for which they are not qualified. That’s pretty inventive reasoning, but unfortunately it is in the service of tyranny and serfdom.

Some judges have made good, that is, power-limiting, decisions during the pandemic, though they might well have gone the other way. (See John Hasnas’s “The Myth of the Rule of Law.”) It’s only a slight exaggeration to say the judicial process is a coin toss.

When judges get it right, the devout constitutionalists among us cheer: “The system works!” But what about all the times the rulings went the other way? Where does that leave the constitutionalists? They will say that the problem isn’t with the Constitution; it’s with the judges. But considering that the Constitution doesn’t interpret itself, who were they expecting to interpret it? Robots that have been correctly programmed? Who would do the programming? Even people within the competing schools of constitutional interpretation don’t agree on everything.

Since it’s people all the way down and the process is internal, not external to society, don’t the constitutionalists have a wee problem?

James Madison called the Bill of Rights, which he wrote, a “parchment barrier.” But he couldn’t have really meant that because parchment is a poor material for making the heavy-duty, barrier liberty requires due to the predatory nature of politicians. The only real barriers in this regard are the people themselves — people, that is, who refuse to give, carry out, or obey unjust orders. Paraxodically, orders require consent, and that can be withheld. (Think of the scene in Monty Python’s Life of Brian in which Brian tells a prison guard that he doesn’t have to follow orders and the guard replies, “I like orders.”)

Strictly speaking, constitutions and statutes cannot compel unjust conduct or compliance. They are merely words. When governors ordered “non-essential” businesses and schools to shut down and people to stay home in 2020, those politicians didn’t point guns at anyone. People obeyed, but I suspect that only a few did so lest they be punished. If someone had disobeyed, armed agents of the state might have been dispatched, but why did they obey orders? No gun was held to their heads. They might have been fired and others put in their place places, but no one would have been subjected to force.

See the rest here

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Watch “Hayek’s Contribution to Liberty” on YouTube

Posted by M. C. on March 6, 2022

What were Friedrich Hayek’s major contributions to the principles of the free market and the free society? Join FFF president Jacob G. Hornberger and Citadel professor Richard M. Ebeling as they address that question in this week’s episode of The Libertarian Angle.

https://youtu.be/halE8LVgKNU

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Philosophical Musings of this Writer in this Time of Traumatic Sophistry – garydbarnett.com

Posted by M. C. on January 27, 2022

With collectivism, the individual necessarily becomes irrelevant, and can only feel whole when a part of the herd. Considering the tyrannical agendas of the State, this collective phenomenon is much desired, as the political becomes reality; therefore, steering all policy without any regard or consideration for the individual. This of course leads to chaos and total moral decay.

https://www.garydbarnett.com/philosophical-musings-of-this-writer-in-this-time-of-traumatic-sophistry/

By: Gary D. Barnett

“A philosopher operates with deductions. A sophist operates with paradoxes. A “public intellectual” operates with buzzwords.”
 

Jakub Bozydar Wisniewski, Mises Institute

~ Man is the ultimate threat to man, and the true danger to the future. Nature guarantees this concept, and disassociation through collective destruction of the individual allows for an end to individual purpose. The answer to altering this reality then, seems uncomplicated, as in order for humanity to live and prosper, to love and understand beauty, to strive for a peaceful and fulfilling existence, and to be free, depends on each to know himself, and to demand his life and unique and singular presence as his own.

~ Embrace inner thought, embrace truth, and then embrace the fact that no external rules can change the psyche of the individual man.

~ Suicide is thought to be a way to escape a life that has little meaning. Given that man can only perceive as certain and prove that life leads to death, he has a choice to make. That choice is to fully accept life and all it brings, or commit physical or philosophic suicide. If all life is predicated on an unknown afterlife, it becomes an untenable effort to just survive instead of living fully, in hopes of finding some future finality of nirvana. With acceptance of self, and an effort to find the true spirit inside, life becomes much more than just constant suffering and disappointment, and turns into a joyous experience that conceivably could last forever.

~ The larger the crowd, the less important the individual, which can only lead to the extinction of love and beauty, and the infinite nature of the individual intellect. Uniformity as normal brings a feeling of insignificance for the individual, stifles thought, and brings darkness instead of light. An awakening can only truly occur and exist when balance between the conscious and subconscious is apparent, and an escape from perception takes place, leaving reality more exposed, and the unknown more sought.

~ With collectivism, the individual necessarily becomes irrelevant, and can only feel whole when a part of the herd. Considering the tyrannical agendas of the State, this collective phenomenon is much desired, as the political becomes reality; therefore, steering all policy without any regard or consideration for the individual. This of course leads to chaos and total moral decay.

~ Once a societal mass is formed, all valid intellectual function disappears in favor of a total loss of consciousness, leading to despair, lack of self-awareness, and confidence, which in turn leads to domination by default. Because of this dynamic, all who seek the group become the group, and in the process are completely susceptible to oppression. The building of this tower of sameness breeds weakness and uncertainty, and a desire to seek the safety of a monopolized control which could be referred to as the comfort of mediocrity.

~ Sometimes the obvious is so apparent as to become nearly invisible. A great false threat is created and then used to confuse and frighten the masses, causing the herd to flee, just as is the case of all flight animals in the wild. But the human animal has the ability, whether exercised or not, to think and reason, so why is this gift tossed aside during times of strife; times when it is most needed? Maybe it is due to a lack of understanding of self, and a dependence on others, especially on those dishonestly claiming to be ‘leaders.’ When each takes his own way instead of relying on false prophets, the tables are turned in favor of a more enlightened and valuable outcome, and a return to right.

~ “Man’s inhumanity to man” has caused mass pain, suffering, and death, and for what reason no one knows. It is at once incomprehensible and at the same time expected, and this should not be so. Contradiction at this level is beyond confusing, but then man has always been the epitome of imperfection; a conundrum to be sure considering what are said to be the inherent and basic beliefs held by much of the human species. A species supposedly seeking harmony while consumed by conflict cannot survive, and as Robert Burns so skillfully described:

“Many and sharp the num’rous ills
Inwoven with our frame!
More pointed still we make ourselves
Regret, remorse, and shame!
And Man, whose heav’n-erected face
The smiles of love adorn, –
Man’s inhumanity to man
Makes countless thousands mourn!”

~ What is the answer; I do not know? Why is man so terribly bent on his own destruction; I do not know? Why does man’s inhumanity to man forever subsist; I do not know? I do know that for inner peace and tranquility to exist, and therefore for humanity to peacefully exist together, that one must act alone, meaning all should act alone as individuals in favor of harmony, love, and non-aggression. This means that the ‘State’ should end, and the individual should reign.

“TO the States or any one of them, or any city of the States, Resist

much, obey little,

Once unquestioning obedience, once fully enslaved,

Once fully enslaved, no nation, state, city of this earth, ever after-ward

resumes its liberty.“

Walt Whitman — “Leaves of Grass”

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Weekly Update — Taking Back Our Liberty in 2022

Posted by M. C. on January 7, 2022

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‘Taking Back Our Liberty in 2022’ – Ron Paul’s 3 Jan Column

Posted by M. C. on January 4, 2022

As Charles Mackay wrote in the 19th century about the madness of crowds, humans go insane in groups but recover one at a time.

https://mailchi.mp/ronpaulinstitute/liberty2022?e=ff526b933a

Jan 3 – For those of us who value liberty, these past two years have been a bad dream. It seems like we fell asleep in early 2020 and woke up in 1984! They said that if we just put on a mask and stayed home for two weeks, we’d be able to return to normal. The two weeks came and went and instead of going back to normal they added more restrictions. These past two years have been a story of moving goalposts and “experts” like Anthony Fauci constantly contradicting themselves.

Early on, in April 2020, I warned in an article titled “Next in Coronavirus Tyranny: Forced Vaccinations and ‘Digital Certificates,’” that the ultimate goal of the “two weeks” crowd was to force vaccines and a “vaccine passport” on Americans.

My concerns were at the time written off as just another conspiracy theory. But less than a year later that “conspiracy theory” became conspiracy fact. I am not happy about being right on this. The introduction of vaccine passports was from the beginning my worst nightmare. The idea that you must “show your papers” to participate in society is a concept that is totally opposed to a free society. It is inhuman.

The history of these past two years is that the worst ideas have been adopted by force and anyone questioning those ideas has been suppressed by force. We learned recently that Dr. Fauci and the director of the National Institutes of Health conspired to deliver a “quick and devastating take-down” of the esteemed scientists behind the Great Barrington Declaration. Were the Great Barrington scientists horribly wrong? Fauci and his boss could not have cared less. They were not interested in a debate. Their only goal was to shut down any opposing views. That’s not science. It’s ideology, politics, and probably self-interest.

As my son Rand said on a recent Liberty Report, thousands of people died because Fauci refused to consider the proven effectiveness of natural immunity against Covid. He and his colleagues were determined to deny any outpatient treatments and insisted on vaccines as the only way out. Now, as we see the vaccines performing so poorly versus natural immunity, their whole strategy lies in tatters. Will anyone apologize to the relatives of all those who died?

When we look back at these two years, hopefully one thing that will be remembered is how the institutions of state power have all lost their credibility. They have been exposed as frauds and worse.

In a recent massively popular Joe Rogan interview with Dr. Robert Malone – inventor of the mRNA technology that is the backbone of the “vaccines” – Malone discusses the disturbing concept of mass formation psychosis, where fear and manipulation are used to drive a society mad in the service of a group of elites with an agenda. We saw it in Germany in the 1930s.

As Charles Mackay wrote in the 19th century about the madness of crowds, humans go insane in groups but recover one at a time.

What is to be done to defeat tyranny in 2022? We must continue to tell the truth. The truth is winning and the liars are losing. One by one their lies are being exposed. But it is not an easy task. Each of us in 2022 can do a little something to promote truth. Do what you can. The rewards are great!



Read more great articles on the Ron Paul Institute website.
Subscribe to free updates from the Ron Paul Institute.
Copyright © 2021 by Ron Paul Institute. Permission to reprint in whole or in part is gladly granted, provided full credit and a live link are given.

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Fauci Lied and Thousands Died… RPI Year-End Update

Posted by M. C. on December 30, 2021

https://mailchi.mp/ronpaulinstitute/yearend?e=ff526b933a

Everybody is talking about this Ron Paul Liberty Report!
Liberty Report In the News: Fighting for You! Dear Friends:

As 2021 winds down to its last couple of days, I am writing to toot our horn a bit. You see, the Ron Paul Liberty Report has spent this year – and the previous year – in the trenches fighting what can only be described as the greatest assault on Americans’ civil liberties since slavery.

All of a sudden we saw that our house of liberty was built on sand – that the elites made billions with their boots on our necks while the rest of us suffered. Never again!

You have probably received many solicitations for end-of-year support from organizations that put their finger to the wind to see when it’s safe to come out in favor of liberty and freedom. As you know, Ron Paul has never played that game. Please make your year-end, tax-deductible donation
to the Ron Paul Institute!
From the very first moment they started ramping up an authoritarian response to a virus, Ron Paul was calling their bluff. He published “The Coronavirus Hoax” on the Ron Paul Institute website in March, 2020, just as President Trump was following his malevolent covid advisors toward lockdowns and tyranny.

It certainly was not the “cautious” thing to say – and we received some nasty notes from a few supporters – but Ron Paul always speaks the truth regardless of whether it is popular at the time.

In this prescient March 2020 article he wrote: Governments love crises because when the people are fearful they are more willing to give up freedoms for promises that the government will take care of them. Did he call this whole thing or what? Governments use “crises” to frighten the people into submitting their liberties to the “authorities” in exchange for protections that governments never deliver. And how well did the government protect us from illness and death from this coronavirus? About as well as it protected us against a terror attack on 9/11. Help RPI Continue to Grow! Senator Rand Paul said it best as a guest on a recent episode of the Ron Paul Institute’s Ron Paul Liberty Report: I would venture to say that thousands of people die in our country every month now because [Fauci] has deemphasized the idea that there are therapeutics. The mainstream media is doing a great job amplifying Sen. Paul’s Liberty Report statements – of course with the intention of ridiculing the Senator.

But we’re past that. Their game is up.

We’ve travelled down this road together these past two years. Dr. Paul and I scouring the media every morning to try and bring the latest bit of truth to our growing viewership. As the mainstream media loses viewers by the millions, the Ron Paul Liberty Report GAINS viewers by the millions!

Our influence is growing thanks to your generous support. But we cannot continue to produce a top-quality news and analysis program every day without you. Behind the camera there are so many expenses that we must meet if we are to continue.

And we are not just the Ron Paul Liberty Report! This year the Ron Paul Institute held two sold-out conferences, in Houston and Washington, DC, including speakers like Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. and Rep. Thomas Massie! We also held our second Ron Paul Scholars Seminar – a foreign policy boot camp for a terrific group of upper division undergrads and grad students! And don’t forget the thousand-plus articles we publish each year!

Without the Ron Paul Institute and the Liberty Report who would be left to tell the unvarnished truth? 

Time is running out to get all the tax credit for your donation to the Ron Paul Institute –  501(c)3 Charity – for 2021! Please act NOW before midnight on December 31st to keep the Ron Paul Institute and Liberty Report alive and growing in 2022.

The bad guys are not giving in. They are not giving up. We can stop them in 2022…but we need your help!

Please take a moment and make a stand for peace and liberty NOW!

Hope to see all of you at a future Ron Paul Institute event in 2022!
Sincerely yours,

Daniel McAdams
Executive Director
Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity

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So What? – LewRockwell LewRockwell.com

Posted by M. C. on December 16, 2021

Until a cure for the true ‘pandemic’ of Aggressive Ignorance and its ‘variants’: Contagious Apathy, Instant Gratification, and Technologically Induced Narcissism, the continued erosion of the remainder of Freedom and Liberty will continue, leaving “So What?” unanswered.

https://www.lewrockwell.com/2021/12/brian-wilson/so-what/

By Brian Wilson

According to the Biological Weapons Anti-Terrorism Act of 1989:7

“Whoever knowingly develops, produces, stockpiles, transfers, acquires, retains, or possesses any biological agent, toxin, or delivery system for use as a weapon, or knowingly assists a foreign state or any organization to do so, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned for life or any term of years, or both. There is extraterritorial Federal jurisdiction over an offense under this section committed by or against a national of the United States.”

So what?

“Acts”, Laws, regulations, restrictions all come with penalties. But without enforcement mechanisms and the will/power/authority to use them, any “Act” is just an arrangement of words on paper to make politicians look righteous.

Consider: If the Government – and the Public – knew for undeniable, irrefutable Fact the dreaded ‘COVID virus’ was developed and released in Wu Han with the explicit intention of devastating the United States and the rest of the ‘Free World’, what precisely would any entity effectively *do* about it? Bomb Bejing? Impose Severe Financial Sanctions? Condemn China On The World Stage With A Sternly Worded State Dept. Press Release? Demand Reparations? Express “Outrage!”? The political status of America indicates the answer is None of the Above.

Consider: According to the Act “Whoever knowingly develops…or knowingly assists…shall be fined or imprisoned for life…”.

So what?

Does any sentient being capable of walking upright believe China’s Chairman Xi Jinping would willingly surrender to such an indictment? That China would pay a fine of any amount? Or be forced to admit its guilt on the World stage for violating the Biological Weapons Anti-Terrorism Act of 1989, being responsible for the death of millions’? Only the recently lobotomized would check the “Yes” box.

In my last LRC scribbling, I posed two challenges:

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

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

 Answers: None and All

With such an unambiguous universal indictment of Government, how are we to understand – and accept – its continued existence? What “Government Service” could not be more economically, more effectively performed by Private Citizens working in voluntary cooperation to their mutual benefit and, subsequently, the benefit of others? Aside from ‘National Defense”, what human endeavors would be hobbled by the elimination of Government taxation, confiscation, regulation, economic restrictions, personal as well as commercial prohibitions, and the agencies that enforce them?

The 535 ‘elected officials” – and thousands of unelected bureaucrats – in Washington, in addition to the several thousand who comprise the elected, appointed, and assumed State ‘leaders’ total a tiny fraction of the 330 million people whose lives they presume to run without authority or mutual agreement; the ‘social contract’ is a dirty joke. Which begs the question: Why? With such an overwhelming number of acts, laws, orders, regulations negatively impacting the lives of literally every person, why is Government even permitted to exist? Anyone can write a Declaration, a Constitution, an Act or Law, and with enough guns, command compliance. That’s not Freedom; that’s not Liberty. By any logic, reason, or objective analysis, Government is a criminal operation of intimidation, the immoral imposition of Force yielding Tyranny camouflaged by the fiction of Tradition, the designed ineptitude of ‘public education’ and the principled failure of the Press acting as the citizen’s “Watchdog at the Gate”, guarding against the overreach of Government intrusion. 

Consider: what was the last act of Government that advanced Freedom, protected Liberty; that ‘secured’ your unalienable rights? When did you give your ‘consent’ to be governed by sociopaths, psychopaths, narcissists, pedophiles, liars, thieves, and incompetents? Where is your signed copy of the “social contract”?

So what?

Until a cure for the true ‘pandemic’ of Aggressive Ignorance and its ‘variants’: Contagious Apathy, Instant Gratification, and Technologically Induced Narcissism, the continued erosion of the remainder of Freedom and Liberty will continue, leaving “So What?” unanswered.

Brian Wilson [send him mail], nationally ignored talk show host and occasional LRC un-indicted co-contributor having recently released his fourth book, is now busily scribbling an unlikely screenplay for #3. With his spare hour, he is focused on splitting the atom and pursuing the elusive Whirled Peas, all from his technically challenged studios on the formerly pristine shores of the Great Unnamed Lake, allegedly in the Southeast

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Liberty Is Our Natural Condition – LewRockwell LewRockwell.com

Posted by M. C. on December 13, 2021

Mencken wrote, “The most dangerous man to any government is the man who is able to think things out… without regard to the prevailing superstitions and taboos. Almost inevitably he comes to the conclusion that the government he lives under is dishonest, insane, intolerable.”

https://www.lewrockwell.com/2021/12/karen-kwiatkowski/liberty-is-our-natural-condition/

By Karen Kwiatkowski

Freedom’s Phoenix

The challenge facing us now, and in coming year, is about power – who will have it, how it will be wielded, and to what end.  The US government has spent literally trillions of dollars to concentrate its power, and to design systems with which to manage and control all materials, resources, human lives and activities. 

The COVID “response” is an excellent barometer of the real aim of government, and its proficiency at driving the human herd. H.L. Mencken’s observation from a century ago has certainly aged well.

Civilization, in fact, grows more and more maudlin and hysterical; especially under democracy it tends to degenerate into a mere combat of crazes; the whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, most of them imaginary.

Power is being extracted from individuals, families, and communities by a voracious federal government.  Many Americans, as Mencken would have predicted and did observe, are voluntarily ceding power to politicians and bureaucrats today, in a vain hope that “things” will get “better.”  A small minority have not and will not, and a growing number of people who were not paying close attention before are starting to reject and call out the ongoing power grab.

If our government is the enemy, it would pay not to underestimate its strengths, its greed, and its overwhelming desire to survive and grow.  The US Government has already labeled those of us who actually plan to survive in our little corner.  We are not just citizens busy planning next year’s garden, and looking to expand our independence in areas of food, shelter, energy, transportation, health and communication – we are terrorists and enemies of the state.

A strength of the USG is its ability to message, and to control the “message.”  It shares Stalin’s idea that a big lie repeated often enough becomes truth.  Again, the COVID era has been revealing of how far a nervous government, with the help of its allied and co-dependent cronies in the mainstream media and the non-profit organizations of billionaire “philanthropists” like Bill Gates, will go to control outcomes in their favor.

Hannah Arendt, in her The Origins of Totalitarianism wrote, “Before mass leaders seize the power to fit reality to their lies, their propaganda is marked by its extreme contempt for facts as such, for in their opinion fact depends entirely on the power of man who can fabricate it.”

Government propaganda has evolved rapidly since Arendt fled Germany in 1933.  The goals remain the same, but the means and methods now include all of social media (Meta), global database and logistics companies (Amazon and Google), and communications and government subsidized electricity and energy industries integrated with a progressively intrusive and sophisticated surveillance state.  The target of government propaganda is mapped, studied, measured, and monitored.  That target is us.

How is such a situation resolved, contained, or eliminated?  Allowing centralization of power to the extent envisioned by our political leaders and their well-funded bureaucracies and agencies, is terminal for not just the antique idea of a Republic, but for life and the environment.  The rule of eventual disorder prevails, and when powerful totalitarian systems collapse, whether they are kingdoms, democracies or fascist states, millions of people are spiritually, economically and physically crushed, resources are squandered and destroyed, environments trashed and productive capacity abandoned to decay and destruction.  It’s in the history books, over and over again, but we somehow believe it can’t happen here.

So what can be done? So much is possible! Etienne De La Boetie as a young man in the 1500s came to the clear conclusion that we as individuals are not forced to submit to bad political leaders, and bad government, or any government. Instead we choose to submit, and we voluntarily give away our power because of what we believe about both the state, and our own capabilities.

I’m sure Etienne would cheer “Let’s Go Brandon” – millions of people speaking to power in an era of fear with this veiled repudiation of the current US President, and his coterie of fascists, communists and socialists.

De La Boetie, Arendt, and Mencken – and thousands more thinkers and historians around the world who have studied government practices and society with an eye to liberty as our natural condition – would probably recognize and support the growing minority in the country who are becoming, at various rates of speed, intellectual and material refuseniks.

I propose a five point plan. Many of us are already on it, and some of us are all over it.

1) Personal economic independence, and interdependence.

2) Prioritization of what is important.

3) Proclaiming our sincerely held beliefs, and keeping them simple.

4) Preparing for life in a collapsing state.

5) Pray without ceasing.

See the rest here

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TGIF: Safety in Freedom | The Libertarian Institute

Posted by M. C. on December 3, 2021

Few people understand that there’s safety in liberty, specifically, the freedom to think, improvise, and innovate. This is true for individuals, but when the potential danger is social or global, the case for liberty is equally clear.

https://libertarianinstitute.org/articles/tgif-safety-in-freedom/

by Sheldon Richman

With the emergence of the Omicron COVID-19 variant, renewed restrictions on liberty or calls for their reinstatement have broken out around the world. The new wave is probably only beginning, and with it will surely come sermons on how we must face trade-offs between liberty and safety. This seems to be the new normal.

The usual justifications for this purported necessity always feel inadequate, with gaping holes in the case for expanding government power to extraordinary lengths. Since we all now have a good deal of experience with COVID under our belts, let’s hope that the public’s doubts about any new power grab will be strong and loudly expressed.

What brought this subject to mind was a recent Oxford Union debate, which I ran across on YouTube. While I’ve watched only a little, it quickly occurred to me that the case for a necessary trade-off between liberty and safety runs aground with the realization that liberty is a necessary condition for safety. After all, it’s not always clear how one can best stay safe in a situation: that requires thought, discourse, action, and therefore liberty.

Moreover, that matter is separate from the question of how safe any particular person may wish to be. Indeed, people have different preferences with respect to risk and safety in part because life is complicated and trade-offs are ubiquitous. Increasing one’s safety in some measure by abstaining from some desirable activity will likely require too big a sacrifice for some people, although for others the benefit will be well worth the cost. (A person cannot violate his own freedom.) So who’s to decide? Why should a faceless bureaucrat or a charismatic politician make the call?

Few people understand that there’s safety in liberty, specifically, the freedom to think, improvise, and innovate. This is true for individuals, but when the potential danger is social or global, the case for liberty is equally clear. That’s precisely when we all need many minds searching for solutions without central direction. Knowledge is dispersed, and no one can say who will have a key insight. Competition is the universal solvent. And to be effective, thinking requires freedom of action.

Matt Ridley and Julian Simon before him elaborated how we all benefit from the often unintentional combination of ideas generated in different and unlikely places. By now, the serendipity that freedom produces ought to be expected. The results often are imaginative approaches to vexing problems that few would have dreamed possible.

The case for giving up freedom to acquire a measure of safety is actually an appeal to trust in an anointed central authority. And that means a threat of force is at least implied.

But where is the actual safety in that arrangement? Why should anyone believe that the anointed know what they are doing? They operate in a centralized, bureaucratic environment. The rulers expect the ruled to behave like children who have been told that all will be fine if they obey. Unfortunately, the ruled often think of themselves as children when it comes to the latest risk proclaimed by their rulers.

So are people really safer than they would have been in a free, decentralized, and competitive environment? We find no evidence for this in places that imposed harsh restrictions on liberty in response to COVID-19. Lockdowns, vaccine and mask mandates, and travel bans show no signs of delivering on the politicians’ promises. There just is no good substitute for freedom at every level because no central authority is knowledgeable enough.

Finally, what about the risks that individuals might present to others and not just to themselves? There are big differences between 1) the potential risks to others that anyone may pose in simply going about the normal business of life and 2) the dangers produced by aggression, gross negligence, and inadvertent toxic pollution, where identifiable individuals entitled to due process can be shown to present demonstrable peril to others. For one thing, in the first case, people are not passive victims-in-waiting but generally informed agents capable of taking precautions against infection. Imagine the nightmare that would come from the principle that everyone in society may be viewed as a threat to everyone else merely by breathing. We don’t have to imagine it, do we? That’s how most governments throughout the world — blunt instruments that they are — responded to the pandemic. As a result, our livelihoods — our lives– are now subject to cancellation without notice.

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