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The Terrible Economic Ignorance behind Covid Tradeoffs: My Speech to the Ron Paul Institute | Mises Wire

Posted by M. C. on September 8, 2021

Dr. Hans-Hermann Hoppe has a famous dictum: markets produce goods, which are the things we want and willingly buy or consume. Government produces bads, which is to say things we don’t want at all. Things like wars and inflation. They do this with our own money, reducing what we have to spend on actual goods and thus reducing production of those goods.

https://mises.org/wire/terrible-economic-ignorance-behind-covid-tradeoffs-my-speech-ron-paul-institute

Jeff Deist

Some of you may know the name Alex Berenson, the former New York Times journalist who comes from a left-liberal background. He has been absolutely fearless and tireless on Twitter over the past eighteen months, documenting the overreach and folly of covid policy—and the mixed reality behind official assurances on everything from social distancing to masks to vaccine efficacy. He became a one-man army against the prevailing covid narratives. 

Mr. Berenson is famous for creating a viral (no pun intended) phrase which swept across Twitter last year: virus gonna virus.

Which means: whether one is in Sweden or Australia, whether in New York or Florida, whether you have mask mandates or lockdowns or close schools or require vaccine passports—or do NONE of these things—virus gonna virus. Covid hospitalizations and deaths will be concentrated among the obese and elderly. In almost any community, two-thirds or more of deaths are over age seventy, but even among the elderly more than 90 percent of those infected survive covid. And among all covid deaths, only about 7 percent are “covid only” without other serious contributing factors. 

What we won’t ever know, unfortunately—because we don’t have a control group, at least in the West—is what would have happened in a society which simply did nothing in response to the virus. What if a country simply had encouraged citizens to build up their natural immunity through a healthy diet, exercise, vitamins, and natural sunlight? What if it had taken precautions for elderly and immune-compromised populations, while allowing younger and healthier people to live normally? Would such a country have reached a degree of natural immunity faster, with overall better outcomes for the physical and mental health of its citizens? And with far less economic damage?

All of this is the unseen. And no, it wasn’t “worth it” to shut down the world.

Back to Mr. Berenson. Last week Twitter decided it had enough, and permanently suspended his account. This is no small thing for independent journalists—and God knows we need them—who reach a lot of people via Twitter and rely on it to make a living.

Search for his Twitter profile and you’ll find something spooky. His name is still there, but with a quietly menacing “Account Suspended” warning. All other traces of his existence are erased: his header photo is gone, his profile photo is blank, and the descriptive bio is missing. Just blank. It’s eerie, and reminds me of that famous old photo of Stalin by the Moscow Canal. He’s standing next to Nikolai Yezhov (I had to look him up), who fell out of favor with Stalin and was executed—then erased from the photo by Soviet censors.

Alex Berenson has been similarly unpersoned, removed, erased. But even if he ends up a casualty of this war1—and whether you agree with him or not—people like him have managed to challenge the official narrative in ways unimaginable even twenty years ago. The financial journalist John Tamny made an interesting point last week: complain about social media all you want, but Facebook and Twitter have been great sources of information during this covid mess. And after thinking about it I had to agree. Most of the alternative information about covid I’ve consumed via social media. But of course Mr. Berenson no longer has this luxury.

The Covid Economy and Tradeoffs

Speaking of narratives, we have especially lacked clear and sober thinking about the injuries to the US economy created by covid policies. We profoundly fail to understand the economics behind covid, because we so desperately want to kid ourselves that the economy will be “normal” soon.

Governments are good at two things, namely bossing us around and spending money. They do both in spades whenever a supposed crisis arises, and both Congress and the Fed went into hyperdrive beginning in March 2020. The Fed pumped more than $9 trillion to its primary dealers, estimates are that more than 20 percent of all US dollars ever issued were issued in 2020 alone. On the fiscal side, more than forty federal agencies have spent $3.2 trillion in covid stimulus spending. So that is $12 trillion of inflationary pressure introduced to our economy.

What the economy wants and needs during crises is of course deflation. When uncertainty rises, and it certainly did for millions of Americans worried about their jobs in 2020, people naturally and inevitably hold larger cash balances. They spend less. Meanwhile they were staying home, driving less, dining out less, traveling less, working less. All of this is naturally deflationary, so of course Congress and the Fed embarked on an effort to fight this tooth and nail with intentional inflation. So now we’re in a wrestling match between two opposing forces, one natural and one artificial.

Dr. Hans-Hermann Hoppe has a famous dictum: markets produce goods, which are the things we want and willingly buy or consume. Government produces bads, which is to say things we don’t want at all. Things like wars and inflation. They do this with our own money, reducing what we have to spend on actual goods and thus reducing production of those goods.

The past sixteen months we’ve had lots of government bads, to the point where we might call them “worsts,” which are even worse than bads. The covid and Afghanistan debacles come to mind. 

It may be facile and self-serving to compare the federal state’s inability to manage Afghanistan with its inability to manage a virus, but the comparison is just too perfect to resist. So I won’t resist.

Among the bads government produces is misinformation. One analogy between covid and Afghanistan is the phenomenon known as the fog of war: the uncertainty in situational awareness experienced by participants in military operations.

Paraphrasing Carl von Clausewitz: war is the realm of uncertainty; the factors on which action in war is based are wrapped in a fog of uncertainty. Fog and friction cloud the commander’s judgment—even where the commander wholly shares our interests, which is hardly a given with covid. When we declared war on a virus, clarity went out the window. And so we’ve lived with sixteen months of fog, of covid misinformation. This happens in tandem with the media, which parrot official pronouncements from sources like the deeply compromised Fauci and stir up alarmism at every turn.

And we’re still living with it. Consider we still don’t have definitive answers to these simple questions:

Do masks really work?
Do kids really need masks? As an aside, our great friend Richard Rider reports that San Diego County—population 3.3 million—shut down its public schools for a year with one student death!
Is there asymptomatic spread?
Does the virus live on surfaces?
How long does immunity last after having covid?
How many vaccines will someone need to be “fully” vaccinated? How many boosters? Annual?
Aren’t delta and other variants simply the predictable evolution of any virus?
How do we define a “case” or infection if someone shows no symptoms and feels fine?
Can covid really be eradicated like polio? If so, why haven’t we eradicated flu by now?

And so on. We never get clear answers, but only fog.

But perhaps the most shocking thing about sixteen months is our childlike inability to consider tradeoffs! I’m not only talking about the tremendous economic consequence of shutting down businesses, and the horrific financial damage it has done and will do to millions of Americans. I’m not only talking about the depression, isolation from friends and loved ones, alcoholism, untreated illness, suicide, weight gain and obesity, stunted child development, and all the rest.

I’m talking about understanding the basic economic tradeoffs of covid policy: supply chain, food, energy, housing, unemployment. This is bread and butter economics.

I can’t stress this enough: millions of Americans have no conception of economics, and simply don’t believe tradeoffs exist. They think, are encouraged by the political class to think, that government can simply print money in the form of stimulus bills and pay people enhanced unemployment benefits to stay home. That the CDC [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention], of all cockamamie federal agencies, can simply impose a rent moratorium and effectively vitiate millions of local contracts—it will just work itself out somehow. That Congress can simply issue forgivable PPP [Paycheck Protection Program] loans to closed or hobbled businesses so they can magically make payroll. That the Federal Reserve can simply buy up assets from commercial banks, lend them limitless funds, and command lower interest rates to stimulate housing and consumerism.

Millions of Americans, through sheer ignorance of economics, literally think these actions are costless and wholly beneficial—without downside.

And now we wonder why the economy can’t just flip a switch and get back to normal. But that’s not how an incredibly complex global supply chain, with just-in-time delivery, works. And that’s why thousands of Ford F-150s are sitting unsold, and unsellable, in huge parking lots—there is a global semiconductor chips shortage. Many of them come from a single company in Taiwan. By the way, semiconductor chips are used in everything from iPhones to Xbox consoles to Surface laptops to refrigerators.

There was a remarkable op-ed at CNBC recently about the supply chain interruptions. It gets the cause of inflation wrong, blaming it on the pandemic rather than central banks, but it paints a vivid picture of the serious problems facing a radically overstressed global manufacturing sector. Delays in delivery are said to be the longest in decades. And inflation plus delays is bad news, because it’s so hard for buyers and sellers at all stages of production to know what to charge and what to pay for either capital goods or consumption goods. How many construction projects, for example were blindsided by the five-time rise in lumber prices last year? Ports are clogged awaiting trucks—not enough drivers—so containers sit for weeks rather than days. Empty containers have become scarce. Rail schedules are affected by the ports like dominos, and freight prices are spiking. Will West Coast longshoremen strike in 2022 when their contract is up? Will new emissions regulations which slow ships kill more capacity? Will key Chinese factories shut down again due to delta?

None of it is pretty and may last into 2023. So buy your Christmas presents now!

We are starting to see the unseen, but economists, whose job it is to show us the tradeoffs, have been largely AWOL over the past year and a half. Consider this recent post by a famous libertarian free market economist:

US GDP is now higher, in fact a fair bit higher, than when the pandemic began.
US labor force participation is about 1.5% lower than when the pandemic began.
Was there really slack to the tune of a few million people in Jan of 2020?
Has inflation really changed enough to make the GDP numbers misleading?
Has total factor productivity improved that much in that time, under those stresses? (i.e. more output from less input, labor & capital).

Or is this all a sign that the structure of the economy is more stratified than we think—that there are millions of people in more-or-less filler jobs who can be cast out and the economy just keeps on running along? Yes, there are all sorts of reports of labor shortages, and all manner of supply chain hiccups which seem to often be associated with off shoring, but general activity is still high. (Or is it? Are the numbers reporting “vapor GDP?”—or are the inflation adjustments really out of whack so real GDP is not what we think it is?)

This is clever masquerading as smart, and it’s the sort of thing which makes people dislike economists. It’s homo economicus nonsense. This kind of navel-gazing—wondering aloud, as though we could shut down the world for a year, send everybody home, suspend rent payments, and not suffer tradeoffs—makes me think economics as a profession is not doing the world any good. People desperately need productive activity for their basic health and happiness, even if that activity doesn’t much add to the national economy.

A friend who runs a large chain of retail stores across several states sent me this in response.

It’s amazing how [BLANKED]-up this person is. An economy is a way to get stuff. Is there much stuff, or less stuff, than when this all began? More cars or less? More computers and personal digital devices or less? More food or less? More oil or less? Greater business to business supply chain or less?

But because this [BLANK] thinks the economy is a symbolic architecture, not a real thing for getting real stuff, he’s absolutely flummoxed by a simple question. Go outside, moron. Step away from the keyboard and the spreadsheet.

I thought he was spot on. Economics is the study of choice in the face of scarcity, of how we get the goods and services we want in an environment of tradeoffs and uncertainty. Nothing could be more disastrous to that environment than vague, open-ended government lockdown measures. We don’t need to move numbers around until they please us as some kind of substitute gnostic knowledge. We shut down the world over a virus, restarting it will be difficult, and the economic damage will be enormous and long lasting. Economists should be showing us the unseen damage, not cheering the juiced-up data.

My point here is to suggest the economics of our present situation are worse than advertised, and that economics is about that holds us together. What we think of as America is mostly an economic arrangement, not a social or cultural one—and certainly not a political arrangement. America is hardly a country anymore, and I take no pleasure in saying that. What happens when the economics unravel?

The Great Unraveling

But there is a happy upside to all of this. A silver lining, perhaps.

Over eighteen months we’ve learned that all crises are local. For eighteen months it has mattered very much whether you live in Florida or New York, whether you live in Sweden or Australia. And the physical analog world reasserted itself with a vengeance: no matter where you are, no matter how rich you may be, you must exist in corporeal reality. You need housing, food, clean water, energy, and medical care in the most physical sense. You need last-mile delivery, no matter what is happening in the broader world. Your local situation suddenly mattered quite a bit in 2020. It was the year localism reasserted itself.

Whether your local reality was dysfunctional or did not matter quite a bit in the terrible covid year. And people are waking up to the simple reality of this dysfunction. We know the federal government can’t manage covid. It can’t manage Afghanistan. It can’t manage debt, or the dollar or spending, or entitlements. It can’t even run federal elections, for God’s sake much, less provide security, or justice, or social cohesion.

So how can it manage a country of 330 million people? How can it manage fifty states?

Whether we want to call it the Great Awakening or the Great Realignment, something profound is happening. Imagine if the twenty-first century reverses the dominant trend of the nineteenth and twentieth, namely the centralization of political power in national and even supranational governments? What if we are about to embark on an experiment in localism and regionalism, simply due to the sheer inability of modern national governments to manage day-to-day reality?

A kind of centrifugal force is at work. Here in the US, people are self-segregating—both ideologically and geographically—in what we should think of as a kind of soft secession. A recent survey by United Van Lines confirms what we already knew: people are fleeing California, New York, New Jersey, and Illinois for Texas, Idaho, Florida, and Tennessee. This is simple flight from the dysfunction of big cities and unworkable progressive policies, laid bare by the analog lessons of covid.

We should cheer this. If just 10 percent of Americans hold reasonable views on politics, economics, and culture they would constitute 33 million people—we could coalesce as a significant political force! And this nation within a nation would be larger and more economically powerful than many European countries.

Furthermore, we are witnessing a tremendous shift in political power away from cities toward exurbs and rural areas. There really is nothing like it in US history. America started in colonies and villages, before moving westward to farms and ranches. When factories began to replace farms as major employers, Americans moved to the old Rust Belt cities like Chicago and Pittsburgh and Detroit. When tech and finance began to overshadow manufacturing, Americans moved to Manhattan and Seattle and Silicon Valley for the best jobs. But that revolution in finance and tech means capital is more mobile than ever, and covid accelerated our ability to work from home. All of this could have huge beneficial effects for smaller cities and rural areas, which in turn could have profound effects for the congressional map and electoral college. If the angry school board meetings over masks are any indication, politics already has become more localized.

Covid policies ruined cities, at least for awhile, and the Great Unraveling will reduce the political and economic power of those cities. 

So a once-in-a-generation opportunity is before us. The federal government is far and away the biggest, most powerful institution in America, but as previous speakers mentioned, faith in institutions is crumbling. And it should crumble. Washington, DC, has been the centerpiece around which we organize society for a hundred years now, and that’s a profoundly evil reality. So we should cheer when Americans lose faith in it due to Trump or covid or Afghanistan or public opinion polls which show a deeply divided and skeptical country. There is a growing sense that DC is over, it’s done, and it’s time to turn our backs on it. We are losing our state religion.

Contra our political elites, covid and the disastrous reaction by governments may end up reducing their power and standing in society.

This article is excerpted from a talk delivered at the Ron Paul Institute conference on September 4, 2021

  • 1. Don’t let this happen! Read Mr. Berenson here

Author:

Contact Jeff Deist

Jeff Deist is president of the Mises Institute. He previously worked as chief of staff to Congressman Ron Paul, and as an attorney for private equity clients. Contact: email; Twitter.

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Confidence in Institutions Falls. Support for Secession Rises.

Posted by M. C. on August 6, 2021

In this video, I analyze a recent Gallup poll about the low confidence Americans of all stripes have in the major institutions which underpin our society. I make the case that this is a good thing, as it provides a market opportunity to replace these crumbling rotted institutions with something better.

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Canada’s Left Is Pushing Some Albertans To See the Benefits of Secession | Mises Wire

Posted by M. C. on July 27, 2021

For the trendy leftists in Laurentian Canada, Alberta is a backwater that has not been sufficiently assimilated into the PC hive mind. To reach such a universalist goal, the Canadian state will likely have to conduct ever more therapeutic interventions to “correct” recalcitrant Albertans’ perceived deficiencies.

https://mises.org/wire/canadas-left-pushing-some-albertans-see-benefits-secession

José Niño

Talks of separatism are not just limited to the United States.

When Canada is brought up in political discourse, it’s usually done to juxtapose its relative stability to the US. Often portrayed as the tamer, more socially stable version of the US, Canada has become a darling of American progressives. Even some American celebrities, caught up in the hysteria of former president Donald Trump’s successful 2016 run, hinted at moving to Canada. Conventional views of foreign countries can be quite misleading, however.

The last few weeks have been rather dicey in Canada. The controversy kicked off after the discovery of the supposed mass graves of First Nations near the former sites of four Canadian Indian residential schools in the provinces of Manitoba, British Columbia, and Saskatchewan. Although there is growing evidence that these discoveries do not point to a genocidal act inflicted on Canada’s indigenous population, the radical Left went about its usual routine by instantly pouncing on the discoveries and using them as a pretext to burn down churches and topple monuments of famous historical figures across Canada.

The Canadian government’s tepid response to this spate of violence has reminded many Canadians of how out of touch Ottawa leaders are with right-wing constituencies in Canada’s western provinces. The latest surge in leftist iconoclasm will likely add further fuel to the separatist fire that has been gestating in the Canadian prairies for some time.

The Canadian Prairies’ Growing Dissatisfaction with the Federal Government

Traditionally, separatism in Canada has been associated with movements within the Francophone province of Quebec to separate from English-speaking Canada and form its own nation. However, parts of Anglophone Canada aren’t seeing eye to eye with Ottawa and its culturally leftist vision, most notably the province of Alberta.

See the rest here

Author:

Contact José Niño

José Niño is a freelance writer based in Austin, Texas. Sign up for his mailing list here. Contact him via Facebook or Twitter. Get his premium newsletter here.

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Getting to Galt’s Gulch: Everyday Secession | Mises Wire

Posted by M. C. on July 23, 2021

The political pendulum brings hope or disappointment for those loyal to a particular party. Instead, journal the grievances against Uncle Sam and hypothetically block him from dominating your life. 

Secession is needed daily, especially in education and healthcare. The immense suffering of individuals in 2020 caused by government bureaucracy and politics illustrates the importance of personal independence. 

https://mises.org/wire/getting-galts-gulch-everyday-secession

Felicia A. Jones

This month, the United States once again celebrated her independence on the Fourth of July. After a year of lockdowns, masks, and now even mandatory vaccinations in workplaces and universities, the idea that the USA is a beacon of freedom to the rest of the globe seems far-fetched. This attitude was reiterated in the new Toby Keith song “Happy Birthday America.” Keith’s downtrodden lyrics reflect on his observed disappearance of the American patriotism which had been present not long ago. 

The problem with the version of national pride of the singer of “Courtesy of the Red, White, and Blue” is that it equates love for his country with approval of imperialist tendencies. When invading foreign countries and toppling their governments is the source of pride in one’s country, then diminishing military power and a disrespected flag at the Olympics feels crushing.

For the libertarian with a foundation in property rights, personal responsibility, and financial literacy, the way forward is not joining in left-right political boxing matches, but secession. When the rule of law fails Derek Chauvin and common sense regarding gender-based separation in sensitive spaces disappears, libertarians need not wallow in their pillows and chocolate like after a devastating breakup. The political pendulum brings hope or disappointment for those loyal to a particular party. Instead, journal the grievances against Uncle Sam and hypothetically block him from dominating your life. 

Secession is needed daily, especially in education and healthcare. The immense suffering of individuals in 2020 caused by government bureaucracy and politics illustrates the importance of personal independence. 

Education

The character of the public education system revealed its true colors. Many teachers protested over returning to in-person teaching in the classroom despite the unsubstantiated fears that children are superspreaders. Where schools resumed formally, administrations and states masked children without evaluating secondary consequences such as extended exposure to bacterial growth on masks. 

The outcomes of virtual schooling were worse. Accusations of virtual truancy prompted Child Protective Services visits, especially where internet access was problematic. The “learning loss” disparity was largest in low-income communities, hurting academic outcomes for black and Hispanic students.

Unfortunately, the priority is not the health outcomes of children even now, a year later. With covid vaccination being required for school attendance, there is concern that for children, the vaccines are statistically more deadly than the illness. In Washington, DC, minors may be coerced by school administrators into vaccination without a parent’s consent or knowledge.

The public education system is failing children and, thankfully, school secession provides a silver lining. Homeschooling rates approximately tripled during the pandemic, when public education options were unsatisfactory. In 2021, a plethora of options for home education are present, ranging from self-paced curriculums to more community-based plans. Support for this lifestyle can be obtained through formal online communities, co-ops, and homeschool groups. 

“Unschooling” for the elementary grades supports flexible education styles where children are free to discover and obtain skill proficiency based upon their interests. This early learning supports specialization and entrepreneurial tendencies from youth, benefitting children far into adulthood.

If the purpose of education is to enrich the whole child, public schooling clearly falls miserably short of this goal. Secession enables primary caregivers to raise their children with their values, over those of government overlords, and keep them safe physically from bullying, emotionally, and socially from teachers and students with misplaced priorities alike.

Healthcare

Similar to public education, American healthcare already had preexisting conditions of inadequacy. The pandemic clearly demonstrated the problems that plague the US medical care system, directly covid related or otherwise. Mothers suffered poor birth outcomes resulting from the policies of hospitals and government bureaucrats. Inexpensive, unpatented drugs such as hydroxychloroquine and ivermectin were either made unavailable altogether or certainly more difficult to obtain despite having positive success at treating the manifested illness. 

In the current healthcare system, doctors, even those with good intentions, are restricted by hospital procedures and follow the recommendations given by larger authorities, both public and private. The reality is that the American medical system is not free market in any sense of the word, no matter how often the claim is countered.

Doctors in mainstream medical care do not have the autonomy to make specialized decisions for their patients. For example, insurance companies require that a certain percentage of children be fully vaccinated according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) recommended vaccine schedule, otherwise the pediatrician may not meet the threshold for quality of care bonuses. Unyielding support for these one-size-fits-all recommendations comes not only from the governing agency and the health insurance company, but also from the major professional organization for pediatricians, the American Academy of Pediatrics. Swimming counter to the stream is neither financially nor reputationally wise for physicians, even if specific patients have a higher risk of adverse reactions.

In the specific treatment of covid, procedure dictated that hospitalized patients be placed on ventilators (with a death rate for covid patients on ventilators being approximately 58.8 percent). Oxygen supplementation, a noninvasive treatment, should have been provided initially for low oxygen levels but there were financial incentives to diagnose for covid-19 and ventilate. Thanks to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) bureaucracy, doctors were limited in their ability to prescribe drugs with high success rates to patients earlier in the pandemic. How many lives were needlessly lost due to red tape?

With the release of Dr. Tony Fauci’s emails, the public may now observe that the CDC pandemic recommendations were not based on “science” or concern for the public’s health. Fauci understood masking was inefficacious at halting viral spread, kept successful treatments from becoming widely practiced, and knew that the covid death rate was similar to that of a severe influenza season. Shutting down the economy was never warranted.

Under a system bogged down with the conflicting interests of regulating agencies, medical practice procedures, and health insurance companies, patients may have a simple solution: fire the doctor. Demand more midwives and home births because of better health and birth outcomes. Visit alternative care providers who prescribe highly successful vitamin C and zinc treatments. Take business to noninvasive practitioners like chiropractors and naturopaths, who desire to treat the underlying conditions rather than purely symptoms.

Fear is sadly associated with taking this leap. But the overlooked reality is that preventable medical error persists as the third leading cause of death in the US. Secession from health insurance networks may not only provide better overall health outcomes but may be more affordable as practitioners resort to refusing health insurance payments to gain greater autonomy.

Getting to Galt’s Gulch

The success of libertarianism is independence from the state’s influence. Increasing one’s reliance on free markets, where personal responsibility and decision-making prevail over complacency, makes for an effective patriotism. Stopping the Randian motor of the world so that libertarians may thrive in the hypothetical Galt’s Gulch beyond government’s grasp (i.e., in external markets) requires exit. Leave a school or healthcare system which does not deliver desired ends.

Finally, be brave. Courage is not restricted to standing in the public square at Tiananmen. The defense of liberty is often more mundane: removing your children from the influence of tyrants in schools or exiting a job where an employer requires injections, which violate your moral principles. While these actions seem daunting, and they indeed are, those who love liberty are the ones who will be the impenetrable bulwark against evil. In the words of Mises’s favorite motto by Virgil, “Tu ne cede malis, sed contra audentior ito.” (Do not give in to evil, but proceed ever more boldly against it.) Author:

Contact Felicia A. Jones

Felicia Aileen Jones works as the registrar and student services coordinator at the Mises Institute. She is a former summer fellow and a Troy University graduate, earning her MA in economics in 2020 and her BBA in economics in 2017.

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Atlanta May Be Headed for a Final Divorce as Communities Nationwide Seek to Redraw the Lines – PJ Media

Posted by M. C. on June 17, 2021

Secession

https://pjmedia.com/news-and-politics/stacey-lennox/2021/06/15/atlanta-may-be-headed-for-a-final-divorce-as-communities-nationwide-seek-to-redraw-the-lines-n1454817

By Stacey Lennox

Buckhead, a portion of Atlanta, Georgia, is looking to break free from the rest of a city in rapid decline. After decades of increased safety that started ahead of the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta, it took one woman and a single summer to ruin it. Not even New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio can beat Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms’ time for running a city into the ground. It took de Blasio two terms. Bottoms has been so spectacular she’s announced she won’t even run for a second one.

As a result of her rank incompetence, Buckhead, a wealthier section of Atlanta with about 100,000 residents, has decided to control its own destiny. There are two bills in the state legislature to affect the split, and the group has raised the required amount of money to move forward.  Buckhead is petitioning to become wholly independent and establish and enlarge their own police force under different leadership.

Tucker Carlson interviewed Bill White, the leader of the movement to create an independent Buckhead. White told Tucker that residents feel as if they are living in a war zone. They are filing for divorce, according to White, and it will be final. He expects there will be an initiative on the ballot in 2022. If it is successful, Atlanta will lose at least 20% of its tax base.

Carlson described the rise in crime during his monologue. Two recent assaults include a man shot while jogging by an unknown assailant in a residential neighborhood and the stabbing of a pregnant woman on a walking trail in broad daylight. Her baby had to be delivered three months early. Neither victim was robbed, just violently assaulted:

In Buckhead, murders year-to-date are up almost 50 percent—that’s a lot of new dead people. Robberies and aggravated assaults are up by nearly 40 percent. Car thefts are up 65 percent. Lenox Square mall in Buckhead, one of the first indoor shopping malls in the United States, is now too dangerous to visit. Beginning last year, someone was getting shot at the mall virtually every month.

Carlson noted that the mall is now highly secured with metal detectors and armed officers, but violent crimes are still happening. White explained at least part of the reason why. He showed a video of a drive-by shooting where one resident was hit. There were blue police lights visible in the video, but Bottoms has prohibited officers from vehicle pursuits to prevent auto accidents. So the shooters just drove away and the officers called an ambulance and rendered aid.

This video shows a shooting at Lenox Mall on June 13, motive unknown:

The shooting from Lenox Mall yesterday. This guard suffered serious injuries. These kids are 15y/o & we’re asking for the older people that follow..if you have family members moving in the streets like this, please tell them to stop. Easier said than done but it’s worth a try.. pic.twitter.com/FdUMKJjsyQ

— Everything Georgia (@GAFollowers) June 14, 2021

Buckhead is not alone in seeking to redraw lines, though the reasons differ. An area of Cobb County referred to as West Cobb will be conducting a feasibility study to determine whether to become their own city. Unlike Buckhead, they do not plan a complete divorce. The residents would remain in Cobb County schools and rely on Cobb County emergency services. Instead, the residents want what many other towns in north Georgia have: control over zoning, code enforcement, and waste management. They hope to incorporate the city of Lost Mountain in 2023.

Related: Could Lawsuits Stem the Tide of Violence Sweeping the Big Cities That Defund the Police?

Residents there wish to maintain the semi-rural nature of the area. They like the current infrastructure with lots of two-lane roads, small shopping centers, and open spaces for families to enjoy. Unfortunately, the newly elected leaders in Cobb County are targeting the area for industrial parks and high-density, low-income housing, right in line with President Biden’s drive to destroy the suburbs. Residents do not want the congestion or the massive projects required to accommodate the county’s plans.

Eastern Oregon is petitioning to join Idaho. There has been noise for years that southern Illinois would like to become part of Indiana. And I have to say, if Georgians are stupid enough to elect Stacey Abrams as governor in 2022, there may be a petition for North Georgia to join Tennessee. Abrams would do a fine job of destroying the state with the same progressive policies that Bottoms has employed to run Atlanta into the ground.

The two initiatives in Georgia are not partisan or racially motivated. Neither is the Oregon petition. Instead, there is a broad coalition of people in America who do not want to be governed to death or live under a government that can’t keep them safe. The sooner this coalition of Americans understands that a progressive government searching for equity will not keep you safe and wants to govern every area of your life, the sooner we can kill that project once again. It seems to be something we need to do every 70 years or so.

Until then, citizens redrawing the lines sounds like a fabulous idea. The founding fathers built our institutions on the consent of the governed, and residents of Buckhead, West Cobb, and Eastern Oregon no longer consent to be governed by incompetent people who put their lives, property, and prosperity at risk. Hopefully, more communities will use these tools when they are let down by leaders who fail at their most basic responsibilities.

WATCH Tucker Carlson eviscerate Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms and rip CNN for their take on Buckhead

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The Case of Colonialism: Secession for Thee, But Not for Me | The Libertarian Institute

Posted by M. C. on June 12, 2021

Although Western regimes like the United States like to talk a lot about self-determination for others outside the U.S. itself, the regime and its supporters steadfastly deny that the nation contains any minority groups—ideological, religious, or otherwise—that ought to be granted autonomy in the fashion of colonized populations in Africa or Asia. Even when the Left emphasizes the existence of “oppressed minorities” the answer always lies in a larger, more active regime, and in promises of more “democracy.”

https://libertarianinstitute.org/articles/the-case-of-colonialism-secession-for-thee-but-not-for-me/

by Ryan McMaken

18277179 101

The twentieth century was a century of secession. Since the end of the Second World War, the number of independent states in the world has nearly tripled as new states, through acts of secession, came into existence. This was driven largely by the wave of decolonization that occurred following the Second World War.1

From the late 1940s through the 1970s, across Africa and Asia—and even in Europe, as in the case of Malta—dozens of colonial territories declared independence through referenda and other strategies.

Throughout these processes of decolonization, much of the international community—including the United States—was supportive. Following the Second World War, the United States explicitly supported decolonization efforts, and was often quick to recognize the new countries’ sovereignty and establish diplomatic relations.

The U.S. frequently supported these acts of secession because, it was said, it was morally imperative so as to respect the rights of “self-determination” denied to the world’s colonized territories. Moreover, many of the world’s sovereign states supported this global spree of secessionist movements, from the US, to the Soviet Union and China, and within many international organizations like the United Nations.

Yet, when secession is suggested in other contexts, today’s regimes are far less enthusiastic and generally condemn the very idea of secession.

For example, the Spanish regime today opposes independence for Catalonia and for the Basque Country. The Russians fought a long and bloody war to prevent independence for Chechnya. The U.S. regime would clearly take a very dim view of any member state or region that attempted to declare independence.

Doesn’t this illustrate a glaring inconsistency in thinking? If self-determination is desirable for African or Asian colonies, why is secession verboten in other situations?

The answer is it’s easy to support secession in far-off territories of little strategic value. When secession hits “close to home,” on the other hand, regimes that have long pretended to be in favor of self-determination will quickly turn on a dime and begin to manufacture a multitude of reasons as to why secession and self-determination are not, in fact, tolerable after all.

Defining down the Meaning of “Colony”

The idea of national self-determination as an explicit political movement originates with the American Revolution. As Jefferson and his colleagues stated in the Declaration of Independence, “it is the right of the people to alter or abolish” a government deemed to be abusive by the governed. Obviously—given that the Declaration of Independence was a declaration of secession—these strategies rightfully employed by “the people” included secession.

It is easy to apply the Jefferson’s notion of self-determination to any colony, whether in North America in the eighteenth century, or in Africa in the twentieth. Thus, governments looking to show off their humanitarian chops—what we might today call “virtue signaling”—will embrace secession. But only for purposes of decolonization—and regimes are very careful to limit what they mean by “colonies” and “decolonization.”

In this way of thinking, there’s a bright shiny line between a population oppressed by colonizers, and one that isn’t. Cases like Nigeria or India, for example, offer easy cases. Nigeria and India were both controlled by Britain and subject to British political domination. But, both these places are far away from Britain itself, and their populations—at least in the mid twentieth century—were easy to distinguish visually from the British population. In other words, the people in these colonies “looked like” what one expects to see in foreigners exploited by colonizers. Moreover, these populations did not have direct representation in Parliament.

Yet none of these factors are really the key issues in determining if a population is denied self-determination. Yes, the Indians and the Nigerians did not have votes in Parliament. Yes, the Indians and the Nigerians often had interests very different from those of their rulers who governed from thousands of miles away.

But colonization and the denial of self-determination is not just something that occurs in faraway lands where people look different and speak different languages.

In his 1927 book Liberalism, Mises contends that the denial of self-determination is most certainly not just for people who live in colonial territories. Indeed, self-determination is routinely denied even within polities that are democratic. Mises writes:

The situation of having to belong to a state to which one does not wish to belong is no less onerous if it is the result of an election than if one must endure it as the consequence of a military conquest…. To be a member of a national minority always means that one is a second-class citizen.

In other words, if a person, for whatever reason, is forced to be part of a nation-state or empire in which he does not wish to be a part—even if he can vote in elections—his situation is not fundamentally different from one who has been “colonized” via military conquest.

After all, any group or any “people”—to use Jefferson’s term—which is in a permanent voting minority will indeed find itself at an immense disadvantage. Mises illustrates this in the case of a person who is part of a linguistic minority:

See the rest here

This article was originally featured at the Ludwig von Mises Institute

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We Are Witnessing A Last Minute Mass Exodus Before The Final Collapse Of Our Major Cities

Posted by M. C. on March 2, 2021

Deplorables separating themselves from Millennials and snowflakes.

Is this the precursor to secession?

http://theeconomiccollapseblog.com/we-are-witnessing-a-last-minute-mass-exodus-before-the-final-collapse-of-our-major-cities/

by Michael Snyder

Americans fled the big cities “in droves” in 2020, and one recent survey discovered that even more Americans are planning to move in 2021.  The corporate media is attempting to frame this mass exodus as a temporary phenomenon, but there is nothing temporary about it.  Millions upon millions of people can see that our society is literally melting down all around us, and they want to get somewhere safe while they still can.  In recent weeks, I have written articles about the specific problems that we are witnessing in Chicago and San Francisco, but the truth is that virtually all of our major cities are coming apart at the seams, and this is motivating more people than ever to seek greener pastures.

With so many Americans looking to move, this has pushed up home prices in desirable suburban and rural areas to insane heights.

In fact, in some parts of the country it is difficult to find a decent home for sale at all.  In Bozeman, Montana one man has actually resorted to walking around with a cardboard sign asking for someone to sell him a house…

“I’m just asking for someone to sell us a home. My sign says please sell me a home,” said Sean Hawksford, a Bozeman resident.

You may have seen Hawksford strolling down Main Street with a cardboard sign, asking for leads on a house for sale.

This is not a homeless man that we are talking about.

Sean Hawksford is a family man that owns a successful business, and he has been approved for a mortgage.

He just can’t find a house to buy.

According to Hawksford, he has made 18 offers over the past 6 months, but none of them have been accepted

“It’s been about 6 months, we’ve made I think 18 offers now on different properties and haven’t had one accepted yet,” said Hawksford.

“It’s been a little bit tough with them, and all of my first-time homebuyers to be honest with you,” said Jeff Bent, the Hawksfords’ realtor in Bozeman.

I warned that this would happen.

I warned that when things started to get crazy many Americans wouldn’t be able to move because there would be a crushing amount of demand for available housing as hordes of Americans suddenly sought to relocate.  NBC News has used the term “droves” to describe the mass exodus that we witnessed last year…

Americans fled big cities in droves to escape the coronavirus pandemic — and many of them are staying, permanently or indefinitely. But escape means something different depending on whom you ask.

We have never seen anything like this before in U.S. history.  According to the Pew Research Center, about one-fifth of all Americans either moved or know someone who moved in 2020…

A survey conducted by the Pew Research Center while the pandemic was in full swing in June 2020 found that approximately a fifth of Americans moved or know someone who moved as a result of COVID-19. The reasons they gave for people moving were extremely varied — ranging from being called into active military duty to college housing being closed down to, of course, sudden financial constraints.

The corporate media keeps trying to blame COVID for the mass migration, but now the COVID pandemic is fading and Americans are still moving in large numbers.

In fact, one recent survey actually found that “20% more people are planning to move in 2021 than moved in 2020”.

If I was currently living in a major city on the east or west coast, I would be highly motivated to move too.

For example, just check out what is happening in Los Angeles

Los Angeles, the state’s largest city and arguably the most populous now in the United States, has become a byword for violent crime and especially the stronghold of the enormous, ultraviolent and rapidly growing MS 13 organization, routinely mislabeled as a mere “gang” in media reports. MS 13 has up to 50,000 members worldwide of whom at least 10,000, officially, and probably twice as many according to the private assessments of many police officers are in LA.

Jeremiah Babe recently went into the wealthy areas of downtown Los Angeles, and the footage that he captured was mind blowing.

L.A. has never looked like this, and it is getting worse with each passing day.

Of course many would argue that San Francisco is in even worse shape

San Francisco – America’s “anything goes” city – is in even worse shape. Its most famous, historically popular and beautiful stylish locations are now swamped with aggressive, unsanitary street people who openly urinate and defecate in the streets. Public services, long superb, are now appalling.

For much more on the tragedy that is playing out in that once beautiful city, please see my previous article entitled “The Reason Why A Lot Of People Are Leaving San Francisco Might Surprise You”.

Of course it isn’t just individuals that are moving.  In recent months we have seen large numbers of businesses choose to relocate.  At one point, Tesla CEO Elon Musk made headlines all over the globe when even he decided that it was time to leave California for good

Tesla CEO Elon Musk has left California and is now a resident of Texas.

In an interview with The Wall Street Journal on Tuesday, Musk said that the move made sense, amid plans underway for a new Tesla factory in the Austin area.

I certainly can’t blame him.

What rational person would choose California over Texas at this point?

On the east coast, hordes of businesses have left New York as well.  If you can believe it, even the New York Stock Exchange is thinking of leaving…

The head of the world’s largest financial market, Stacey Cunningham, floated the idea of leaving New York in an opinion piece in the Wall Street Journal to avoid taxes.

When people think of Florida, they often picture restaurants and shopping, the kind of business you do on vacation. But more and more, people are choosing to move down to the sunshine state because there’s no income tax, and the cost of living is low.

Perhaps they will need to rename it “the Florida Stock Exchange” if they actually pull the trigger on such a move.

Sadly, when things get really bad in this nation, no part of the country will be fully immune.

We will all feel the pain, and the suffering will be off the charts.

But if you do feel motivated to relocate, I would do it as soon as possible, because later this year global events will start accelerating at a very rapid pace.

About the Author: My name is Michael Snyder and my brand new book entitled “Lost Prophecies Of The Future Of America” is now available on Amazon.com.  In addition to my new book, I have written four others that are available on Amazon.com including The Beginning Of The EndGet Prepared Now, and Living A Life That Really Matters. (#CommissionsEarned)  By purchasing the books you help to support the work that my wife and I are doing, and by giving it to others you help to multiply the impact that we are having on people all over the globe.  I have published thousands of articles on The Economic Collapse BlogEnd Of The American Dream and The Most Important News, and the articles that I publish on those sites are republished on dozens of other prominent websites all over the globe.  I always freely and happily allow others to republish my articles on their own websites, but I also ask that they include this “About the Author” section with each article.  The material contained in this article is for general information purposes only, and readers should consult licensed professionals before making any legal, business, financial or health decisions.  I encourage you to follow me on social media on FacebookTwitter and Parler, and any way that you can share these articles with others is a great help.  During these very challenging times, people will need hope more than ever before, and it is our goal to share the gospel of Jesus Christ with as many people as we possibly can.

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Some Coloradoans Want to Break Off and Join Wyoming. They Should at Least Get to Vote On It. | Mises Wire

Posted by M. C. on February 24, 2021

https://mises.org/wire/some-coloradoans-want-break-and-join-wyoming-they-should-least-get-vote-it

Ryan McMaken

Last month, a group of activists in Weld County, Colorado, began floating the idea that the county should leave Colorado and be annexed by the State of Wyoming.

Weld County borders Wyoming on the north and runs southward to the northern part of the Denver metro area. It is the ninth-largest county in Colorado by population, containing more than 252,000 residents. Were it to join Wyoming, it would become the largest Wyoming county—by far—in terms of population. With a population of only 580,000, Wyoming’s overall population would increase by 43 percent were the state to annex Weld County.

The Weld County secessionists are now pushing a ballot measure that would instruct Weld County commissioners to explore the annexation with Wyoming. Even with the success of a very weak ballot measure like this, the county would still be a long, long way from an effective secession and annexation. Nonetheless, the governor of Wyoming, Mark Gordon, has already expressed jumped on the bandwagon, telling a Denver-based radio station that he supports the idea.

The response from opponents has been a predictable mixture of mockery and hostility. The Colorado governor, Jared Polis, told Gordon to keep his “hands off Weld County.” One local resident called the effort “ridiculous.” But hostilities between county residents and the state government are sure to remain. One prosecession activist contended the state government “is at war with three major economic drivers for Weld County: small businesses, agriculture, and oil and gas.”

These comments stem from fights between county residents and the state government over stay-at-home orders, water use, and resource extraction.

During the stay-at-home order imposed by the governor last spring, Weld County was among the few counties that refused to enforce state mandates on business closures. Governor Polis responded by threatening to withhold emergency funds from the county. The county quickly brushed off his threat and noted that it had already received its emergency funds and wasn’t planning to request any more. The county has also declared that it will not enforce state orders regarding the wearing of masks indoors.

On top of this, the administration has clashed with county officials and residents over matters of water use and environmental regulation related to oil and gas extraction, which comprises a major part of the county’s economy and employment.

What Is the Moral Argument against Secession?

Legally, a region of a state must jump through many hoops to leave one state and join another. Indeed, the US government and state governments have built up quite a legal edifice to ensure this sort of thing doesn’t happen. The consensus appears to be that such a move requires approval from all states directly affected, plus, approval from Congress. Clearly, unless the US is thrown into political disarray by a major destabilizing event—like a serious depression, a precipitous decline in the regime’s perceived legitimacy, or a sovereign debt crisis—efforts at redrawing state lines are unlikely to succeed.

Nonetheless, until at least one of these major crises occur—which is, of course, virtually guaranteed with a long enough time horizon—it is helpful to ask: What is the moral case, if any, against secession?

Opponents tend to scoff at the idea because they know that in the short term the political and legal obstacles are many.

But because of this, they tend to ignore the problems that come with their position.

Denying Self-Determination

One problem arises from the fact that opposing secession on principle requires the negation of the idea of self-determination. Naturally, counties, regions, and districts do not in themselves have rights to “self-determination.” These rights are only enjoyed by individuals. However, in order for self-determination to exist on a practical level, individuals must be free to assert self-governance through local institutions in opposition to the powers of a central government. Mises was careful to make this distinction in his 1927 book Liberalism:

To call this right of self-determination the “right of self-determination of nations” is to misunderstand it. It is not the right of self-determination of a delimited national unit, but the right of the inhabitants of every territory to decide on the state to which they wish to belong…. [T]he right of self-determination of which we speak is not the right of self-determination of nations, but rather the right of self-determination of the inhabitants of every territory large enough to form an independent administrative unit. 

Mises imagined this could be accomplished through plebiscites at the level of a “single village, a whole district, or a series of adjacent districts.”

In other words, in order to provide opportunities for persons to exercise their rights to political self-determination, it is necessary to allow them to join political jurisdictions that reflect their own needs and personal views.

Those who oppose secession, however, in effect insist that it is necessary that a person move himself and his property—possibly hundreds of miles—to another jurisdiction if he is not pleased with the status quo

But how does this make sense in a region where the overwhelming majority of residents seek to exit a particular state? Should not these people be allowed to live under a state and local government that reflects their values?

What about the Minority That Prefers the Status Quo?

This brings us to a common objection among antisecessionists: What about those people who are against secession and support the status quo?

This is a common strategy employed to disparage secession, such as with the Catalonian secession in Spain or the notion of Californian secession. The Loyalists of American history, of course, opposed the American secession from the British Empire. The argument goes like this: the secessionist regions must never be allowed to leave. This is because the antisecessionist minority populations will be deprived of their right to self-determination. 

Note the inherent contradiction in the antisecessionist position, however. Antisecessionists are apparently only concerned with minority rights when it helps their political position. In our example, if 70 percent of the county seeks secession, that means 30 percent of the Weld County population wishes to remain part of Colorado. Antisecessionists naturally tell us we’re supposed to be deeply concerned about that. But at the same time, the antisecessionists look the other way when it’s a minority group that seeks secession. In other words, if a minority of Coloradoans concentrated in a particular area wish to break off from Colorado, we’ll that’s just tough luck. In this way of thinking, the antisecessionist regional minority always trumps the secessionist statewide minority. 

Secessionists, on the other hand—if they are ideologically consistent—do not have this problem. A consistent secessionist will not object if one portion of the proposed secessionist district votes to remain part of the old jurisdiction. In our Weld County scenario, a secessionist would not object if the county were partitioned to make it easier for antisecessionists to remain part of Colorado.

This doesn’t give everyone exactly what they want, of course. But it goes a long way toward expanding self-determination without forcing residents to relocate to a distant community. That is, under the status quo, a secessionist denied self-determination would be forced to completely relocate outside the community. But if the secessionist district is partitioned, then those who wish to retain the status quo are likely to find themselves needing to relocate only a few miles, or even just down the street.

Democracy Doesn’t Solve These Problems

A third big mistake made by the secessionists is their thinking that “democracy” somehow solves all these problems. The claim goes something like this: “If people in Weld County are unhappy with policies in Colorado, they should contact their elected representatives and run legislation to change things!” This is the old “vote harder” claim—the idea that a group that’s hopelessly outnumbered by another group could possibly prevail in a democratic setting by voting. 

It requires a high degree of naïveté to think that just running legislation, voting, or calling one’s political representatives is enough to get a fair shake through a statewide political process where minority groups are generally powerless. After all, people in Weld County are likely to have very different ideological views, different economic needs, and different cultural backgrounds than people in other parts of the state. Often, differing views and needs will be mutually exclusive or even in direct conflict with each other. If most residents of Weld County favor widespread gun ownership—but a majority in the rest of the state is against it—Weld County residents can’t hope for any political victories in this regard no matter how many bills they run or how many calls they make to the governor’s office. 

Unfortunately, these problems are likely to persist in the short and medium term, because Americans have grown accustomed to regarding state and national boundaries as immovable and very nearly sacrosanct. In practice, however, a state’s borders should change over time to reflect demographic and ideological realities. By denying this, political leaders are effectively saying that the rights of minority populations don’t matter.  Author:

Contact Ryan McMaken

Ryan McMaken (@ryanmcmaken) is a senior editor at the Mises Institute. Send him your article submissions for the Mises Wire and The Austrian, but read article guidelines first. Ryan has degrees in economics and political science from the University of Colorado and was a housing economist for the State of Colorado. He is the author of Commie Cowboys: The Bourgeoisie and the Nation-State in the Western Genre.

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If America Splits Up, What Happens to the Nukes? | Mises Wire

Posted by M. C. on February 19, 2021

The Israeli state is an important and illustrative case. This is a country with a GDP smaller than Colorado’s and a population smaller than that of the US state of Georgia, yet Israel is thought to maintain a nuclear triad of sea, air, and land-based warheads. In other words, this is a small state which has taken full advantage of the relatively economical nature of a small nuclear arsenal (estimated to include approximately eighty assembled warheads).

https://mises.org/wire/if-america-splits-what-happens-nukes

Ryan McMaken

Opposition to American secession movements often hinges on the idea that foreign policy concerns trump any notions that the United States ought to be broken up into smaller pieces.

It almost goes without saying that those who subscribe to neoconservative ideology or other highly interventionist foreign policy views treat the idea of political division with alarm or contempt. Or both.

They have a point. It’s likely that were the US to be broken up into smaller pieces, it would be weakened in its ability to act as a global hegemon, invading foreign nations at will, imposing “regime change,” and threatening war with any regime that opposes the whims of the American regime.

For some of us, however, this would be a feature of secession rather than a bug.

Moreover, the ability of the American regime to carry out offensive military operations such as regime change is separate and distinct from the regime’s ability to maintain an effective and credible defensive military force.

Last month, we looked at how even a dismembered United States would be more than capable of fielding a large and effective defensive military force. A politically divided America nonetheless remains a very wealthy America, and wealth remains a key component in effective military defense. In other words, bigness is not as important as the extent to which a regime can call upon high levels of wealth and capital accumulation.

[Read More: “When It Comes to National Defense, Bigger Isn’t Always Better” by Ryan McMaken]

That analysis, however, concentrated on conventional forces, and this leaves us with the question of how the successor states to a postsecession United States would fare in terms of nuclear deterrence.

In this case, there is even less need for bigness than in the case of conventional military forces. As the state of Israel has demonstrated, a small state can obtain the benefits of nuclear deterrence without a large population or a large economy.

In other words, an effective military defense through nuclear deterrence is even more economical than conventional military forces.

After Secession, Who Gets the Nukes?

But how would secession actually play out when nuclear weapons are involved?

One example we might consider is Ukraine’s secession from the Soviet Union the early 1990s.

In 1991, as the Soviet Union was collapsing, Ukrainians voted overwhelmingly to secede and set up an independent republic. At the time, the new state of Ukraine contained around one-third of the Soviet nuclear arsenal. This means there were literally thousands of nuclear warheads within Ukraine’s borders, making Ukraine’s arsenal the third largest in the world. In 1994, Ukraine began a program of denuclearization and today is no longer a nuclear power.

The relations between Ukraine and the new Russian Federation were acrimonious in the early nineties—as now—so this means that the lessons of the Ukraine situation are limited if applied to American secessionist movements. American pundits may like to play up the red-blue division in America as an intractable conflict of civilizations, but these differences are small potatoes compared to the sort of ethnic and nationalist conflicts that have long existed in Eurasia. 

Nevertheless, we can glean some insights from that separation.

For example, the Ukrainian secession demonstrates that it is possible for nuclear weapons to pass into the control of a seceding state without a general conflict breaking out. Indeed, Ukraine was not alone in this. Kazakhstan and Belarus “inherited” nuclear arms from the Soviet Union as well. If Russia, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, and Belarus can all peacefully negotiate a resolution on how to deal with a suddenly decentralized nuclear arsenal, the Americans can pull it off, too.

Nonetheless, the Ukraine situation highlights some of the technical and logistical problems involved in working out who exactly controls nuclear weapons in a postsecession situation.

For example, it was never a simple matter for the Ukrainian regime to assert technical control over land-based nuclear missiles. It is unlikely that Ukraine ever obtained all the tools necessary to actually launch the nuclear missiles within its territory.1

It is likely, however, that Ukraine could have eventually gained this power, as it was already developing its own control system for the arsenal in 1993. Not surprisingly, the Soviet Russian regime was unenthusiastic about helping the Ukrainians in this respect.

When it came to using nuclear-capable bombers, on the other hand, it appears Ukraine’s regime had total control.2

It is likely the successor states of the US would face similar issues. The use of land-based missiles would be heavily reliant on authorization from whichever faction most recently controlled access and launching authority, even if those missiles are physically located within the borders of a separatist state. It must be noted, however, that the state within which land-based nuclear missiles exist has the ability to prevent usage in most cases. This is because even if the missiles themselves cannot be directly controlled, the personnel that maintains and controls the sites can far more easily be traded out for personnel loyal to the new regime.3

When it comes to submarines and bombers, a secessionist US region might find itself better able to assert control in the short term. Where those bombers and subs end up would have a lot to do with the likely chaotic situation in the wake of the independence movement and shifting borders.

Separatist Regions May Be Unwilling to Give Up Nukes

Ukraine had denuclearized in part due to bribes and pressure from both the United States and Russia. Russia wanted Ukraine’s arsenal for obvious reasons. The United States was obsessed with deproliferation, although it naturally insisted on keeping its own massive stockpile. 

Neither the US nor Russia had the ability to force Ukraine to denuclearize—short of a full-scale invasion of Ukraine, of course. However, Ukraine capitulated to pressure when the Russian Federation, the US, and the UK (and to a lesser extent China and France) pledged in the Budapest Memorandum to protect Ukraine’s territorial integrity. 

In 2014, many interpreted this move as a grand folly when Russia annexed the Crimea from Ukraine and none of the other parties to the memorandum intervened. Ukraine had given up its best guarantee against Russian intervention—its nuclear arsenal—in exchange for weak “assurances” from foreign states.

Some foreign policy scholars—most notably John Mearsheimer—had predicted this and advised against denuclearization in Ukraine. Indeed, in 1993, Mearsheimer doubted that Ukraine would cave to denuclearization pressure precisely because reliable assurances from outsiders were unlikely. Even after the Budapest Memorandum became a reality a year later, it was nonetheless a rather weak reed on which to hang denuclearization. As Mearsheimer pointed out, should the Americans fail to provide an effective defense for Ukraine—as ended up being the case with the Crimea crisis—the Americans “would not have to live with the consequences of a Russian attack.”4 Nonetheless, some Ukrainians insist the Crimea crisis is not evidence of a need for a nuclear deterrent

Many, Americans, however, may be much less sanguine—even to the point of unwarranted paranoia—about the prospects of foreign intervention on American soil. This is why it is best to proceed assuming that at least some successor states to the current US would insist on retaining a nuclear arsenal. After all, while the Ukraine might have been betting on the US as the enforcer of the international order, such guarantees would be even more unlikely in the wake of an American secession crisis. Postsecession American states, in other words, would need to rely on a self-help system of deterrence.

On the other hand, we should not assume that all successor states to the United States would seek permanent nuclear arsenals. Some would likely give up nuclear programs, just as Sweden and South Africa have abandoned nuclear programs that were well advanced toward assembling arms (Sweden) or had already completed the construction of functioning warheads (South Africa). While the Ukrainian example of voluntary denuclearization may appear to be a blunder to many now, the situation in North America is different. North America is not eastern Europe with its long history of interstate conflict. In North America, Canada and the United States have been at peace for more than two centuries, and Canada has never made much effort to move toward assembling a nuclear arsenal. Rather, Canada’s proximity to the United States shields it from nuclear threats from outside North America. Any conventional or nuclear arrack on Canada from, say, China or Russia is likely to be interpreted as an attack on the United States, with disastrous consequences for the initial aggressor.

In other words, Canada benefits from what Baldur Thorhallsson calls “shelter” in the international arena. Canada requires no nuclear arsenal of its own, because it can use its close alliance with the United States as a substitute.

So long as some successor states of the United States maintain a functioning arsenal, other nonnuclear states in North America will be able to function similarly. It stands to reason that just as the United States in its current form has been at peace with all other former British colonies, it is likely that new North American republics will share a similar fate.

Big States Are Not Necessary: A Deterrent Nuclear Force Is Entirely Feasible for Small States

A new American republic need not be especially large to maintain a working arsenal.

While a sizable economy and population are extremely helpful in terms of building a large conventional military, these factors are not nearly as important when it comes to a nuclear force capable of deterring foreign powers.

As Kenneth Waltz has explained, “Nuclear parity is reached when countries have second-strike forces. It does not require quantitative or qualitative equality of forces.”5 That is, if a regime can plausibly hide or move around enough nuclear warheads to so as to survive a nuclear first strike, it is able to deter nuclear aggression from other states altogether. Moreover, the number of warheads necessary to achieve this number “not in the hundreds, but in the tens.”6

This is why Waltz has concluded that “deterrence is easier to contrive than most strategists have believed”7 and that “some countries may find nuclear weapons a cheaper and safer alternative to running economically ruinous and militarily dangerous conventional arms races. Nuclear weapons may promise increased security and independence at an affordable price.”8 In other words, deterrence “can be implemented cheaply.”9

[Read More: “Why No State Needs Thousands of Nuclear Warheads” by Ryan McMaken]

The Israeli state is an important and illustrative case. This is a country with a GDP smaller than Colorado’s and a population smaller than that of the US state of Georgia, yet Israel is thought to maintain a nuclear triad of sea, air, and land-based warheads. In other words, this is a small state which has taken full advantage of the relatively economical nature of a small nuclear arsenal (estimated to include approximately eighty assembled warheads).

Clearly, claims that even medium-sized American states—such as Ohio with 11 million people and a GDP nearly as large as that of Switzerland—are too small to possibly contemplate functioning as independent states are quite detached from reality. Moreover, there is no reason to assume any postsecession American state would seek to act alone in the realm of international relations. Kirkpatrick Sale has pointed out what should be regarded as obvious: “Historically, the response of small states to the threat of … aggression has been temporary confederation and mutual defense, and indeed the simple threat of such unity, in the form of defense treaties and leagues and alliances, has sometimes been a sufficient deterrent” (emphasis added).10

On the other hand, a continuation of the current trend toward political centralization in Washington—and the growing political domination of every corner of the nation by central authorities—is likely to only harm future prospects for amicable separation and peaceful cooperation on the international stage. 

  • 1. John J. Mearsheimer, “The Case for a Ukrainian Nuclear Deterrent,” Foreign Affairs 72, no. 3 (Summer 1993): 50–66, esp. 52.
  • 2. Ibid., p. 52.
  • 3. Graham Allison notes the importance of personnel in the post-Soviet Ukraine situation in the National Interest: “Officially, the chain-of-command continued to run from the new President of Russia through communications and control systems to missile officers in Ukraine. Physically, however, the missiles, warheads, officers, and mechanisms for launching weapons resided on the territory of Ukraine. Moreover, the individuals who operated these systems now lived in houses owned by the government of Ukraine, received paychecks from the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine, and were subject to promotion or firing not by Moscow, but by Kiev.” See “Good News From Ukraine: It Doesn’t Have Nukes,” National Interest, Mar. 21, 2014.
  • 4. Mearsheimer, “The Case for a Ukrainian Nuclear Deterrent,” p. 58.
  • 5. Kenneth Waltz, “Structural Realism after the Cold War.” International Security 25, no. 1 (Summer 2000): 5–41, esp. 32n75.
  • 6. Kenneth Waltz, “Nuclear Myths and Political Realities,” American Political Science Review 84, no. 3 (September 1990): 731–45.
  • 7. Ibid.
  • 8. Kenneth Waltz, “The Spread of Nuclear Weapons: More May Be Better,” Adelphi Papers 21, no. 171 (1981).
  • 9. Waltz, “Nuclear Myths and Political Realities.”
  • 10. Kirkpatrick Sale, Human Scale Revisited (White River Junction, VT: Chelsea Green, 2017), p. 312.

Author:

Contact Ryan McMaken

Ryan McMaken (@ryanmcmaken) is a senior editor at the Mises Institute. Send him your article submissions for the Mises Wire and The Austrian, but read article guidelines first. Ryan has degrees in economics and political science from the University of Colorado and was a housing economist for the State of Colorado. He is the author of Commie Cowboys: The Bourgeoisie and the Nation-State in the Western Genre.

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A Mass Distancing From Government Is Necessary To Escape the Tyranny We Face – LewRockwell

Posted by M. C. on January 25, 2021

Secession is the natural right of all people, and can only be successfully achieved by individual dissolution from the state. It cannot be successful through any political process or voting that aims to amend the governing system into another form of government. Past history has certainly shown this to be the case. For if eliminating all government power leads to individual freedom, then rebuilding another governing structure that allows for certain powers over the people by the political class will only end in more tyranny.

The elimination of the dollar by the people is of vital importance, because the plan of the global power heads is to replace the dollar with digital currencies that can be completely controlled by the technocrats. Once in place, everyone will be able to be controlled, and all assets can be turned on or off based on behavior.

https://www.lewrockwell.com/2021/01/gary-d-barnett/a-mass-distancing-from-government-is-necessary-in-order-to-escape-the-tyranny-we-face/

By Gary D. Barnett

“Despite the popular idea of anarchists as violent men, Anarchism is the one non-violent social philosophy.… The function of the Anarchist is two-fold. By daily courage in non-cooperation with the tyrannical forces of the State and the Church, he helps to tear down present society; the Anarchist by daily cooperation with his fellows in overcoming evil with good-will and solidarity builds toward the anarchistic commonwealth which is formed by voluntary action with the right of secession.”

~ Ammon Hennacy. “The Book of Ammon,” (First published 1954 by Fortkamp)

Speaking of secession to the general population brings out first the idea of civil war, slavery, killing, and failure. This is the exact opposite of how secession should be viewed, but in the common American psyche, this is what has been purposely taught and mostly accepted by the masses. The attitude toward breaking away from tyrannical rule is therefore tainted; not by accident, but by design. The ruling class will always and forever defend aggressively against any separation from their rule, because they fully understand that secession is meant as a way for the people to protect their liberty from those in power that would strive to destroy it. While it is a simple concept, it is vastly misunderstood, and is certainly the only way to achieve true freedom. Perception in most cases leads to reality, so a change in perception about the moral right to be free is necessary in order to understand that the state is the enemy of the people.

Secession is the natural right of all people, and can only be successfully achieved by individual dissolution from the state. It cannot be successful through any political process or voting that aims to amend the governing system into another form of government. Past history has certainly shown this to be the case. For if eliminating all government power leads to individual freedom, then rebuilding another governing structure that allows for certain powers over the people by the political class will only end in more tyranny. That is why states seceding through the political process, but retaining political power at the state level will naturally fail. When people decide to separate from what is referred to as the “Union,” a further separation is mandatory if true liberty is to be won and sustained. This is why I have always advocated for total secession, even if incremental in its initial advancement, so that the final result would be that the people themselves actually control their own destiny.

The secession that occurred during the American Revolution did not go nearly far enough, for soon following the breaking away from the British Crown, the states formed a union that set up a centralized governing system, a system that was granted massive powers, and that proceeded to reduce freedom over the course of our history. The Southern fight for independence was bold and a great start, but the central government that had been built was able to defeat the idea of freedom by murdering American citizens in order to retain total power. This is why secession or removing government power can only be accomplished with individual unity, so that the resulting system does not allow for any central government, or any government that can claim authority over any individual.

To achieve today actual freedom from rule would be difficult in that the people have over time given total and complete power to this evil monster called the U.S. government. It controls at every level, including the very important matter of controlling all money and monetary policy. This allows the government to control the economy, and thereby control all people. In order to start the process of breaking away from government, the most important aspect of gaining freedom will be to take away the government’s power over money and money printing. In order to accomplish this, the masses must begin to use and print their own money, and refuse to use the state controlled and worthless fiat currency. Once again, this has to be done at the individual level by acting in concert with one another. Therefore, the division amongst this terribly confused population must be remedied so that we work together instead of against each other. This does not have to be universal, as smaller bands of people all around the country can make great advances in order to separate from the current system.

The requirements to gain freedom through distancing ourselves from government will necessarily mean that going back to a more fundamental lifestyle, at least temporarily, will have to take place. Our use and production of money will need to change, and our production and distribution of untainted and natural food will have to take precedent over this current system. Food quantity and quality are being manipulated and controlled by the very government and its corporate partners interested in population control (eugenics) through starvation, and the replacement of natural products with GMO alternatives controlled by the same claimed governing ‘elites’ that wish to control humanity. Personal farming, good seed stocks, local farmer’s markets, and less dependence on big agriculture will go a long way in protecting the health and minds of Americans.

The elimination of the dollar by the people is of vital importance, because the plan of the global power heads is to replace the dollar with digital currencies that can be completely controlled by the technocrats. Once in place, everyone will be able to be controlled, and all assets can be turned on or off based on behavior. Social scores will take on a whole new meaning, and a robot-like society, think transhumanism, will be created and can be sustained due simply to the state’s control of all assets of value, including money. Setting up many different private money systems of exchange, barter, and secure digital as well, all through voluntary participation, will allow for the people to gain control for themselves instead of relying on the corrupt and manipulated central banking federal system of money printing. By moving away en masse from this criminal government monetary system, the possibility of gaining independence escalates dramatically, and with more individual power concerning money, other aspects of freedom will naturally fall into place.

The end of currencies will take place when the direct control of money by central banking digitized systems is achieved. These plans are already being created, and are also being telegraphed in order to desensitize the public so that mass acceptance is more likely. If this critical stage is reached, there will be little if any ability to forestall the complete takeover of humanity.

So many other factors to consider in any quest for freedom are of great importance so that people can retain control of their body, minds, and of their very lives. It is vital to remember that everything that happens in government is planned in advance, is intentional, and is meant to achieve very nefarious agendas. This completely fraudulent Covid-19 scam was plotted for at least twenty years, and false virus pandemics as a way to control the general populace have been in play for decades. Therefore, ‘vaccines,’ biosecurity measures, surveillance, injectable operating systems that alter RNA and DNA, immunity passports, and restrictions at every level must be avoided at all costs. People must deny government mandates, must not comply with state orders, must not wear dehumanizing masks, and must attempt aggressively to do whatever is necessary to protect individual sovereignty.

In order to save us from certain slavery, secession is the answer to eliminating the massive power that has been attained by this horrendous government. Instead of considering secession as an impossibility due to the complicated nature of going about gaining independence through the state political process, consider simply the idea of removing all support for government and its edicts individually. All should be based on individual unity, as our numbers are incredibly large, and their numbers are incredibly small. Say no to every government order; get away from their money and monetary system at every opportunity. Refuse to obey mandates, protect your health and immune systems, refuse any injection of poison, open up every business in this country, and defend your freedom by whatever means necessary. That is the way to regain American integrity, and to stop this planned oppression and takeover of humanity.

“An anarchist is someone who doesn’t need a cop to make him behave. Anarchism is voluntary cooperation with the right of secession. The individual or the family or the small group as a unit instead of the State.”

~ Ammon Hennacy. “The Book of Ammon,” (First published 1954 by Fortkamp)

Source links:

https://mises.org/library/secession-specifically-american-principle

The Best of Gary D. Barnett Gary D. Barnett [send him mail] is a retired investment professional that has been writing about freedom and liberty matters, politics, and history for two decades. He is against all war and aggression, and against the state. He recently finished a collaboration with former U.S. Congresswoman, Cynthia McKinney, and was a contributor to her new book, “When China Sneezes” From the Coronavirus Lockdown to the Global Political-Economic Crisis.” Currently, he lives in Montana with his wife and son. Visit his website.

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