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Posts Tagged ‘Slavery’

Taxation and Forced Labor | Mises Wire

Posted by M. C. on November 28, 2020

The way the example applies to income taxes is obvious. When the government taxes your income, it is taking away the product of hours of your labor. Just as I would be appropriating your labor if I forced you to work several hours for me without paying you anything, the government by taxing your income is seizing hours of your labor.

Moore considers an interesting objection to his argument. If you don’t want to pay income tax, couldn’t you avoid this by working less or for lower pay, so that your income fell below the minimum income for taxation? But why does the government have the right to put you in this unenviable position? Moore considers, in elaborate detail, a number of variations of the case, in each instance concluding that the government acts improperly. These I’ll leave to interested readers to examine for themselves.

https://mises.org/wire/taxation-and-forced-labor

David Gordon

When the government taxes you, it is taking away your money without your consent, and this is theft. This argument is well known, but there is another, though related, problem with taxes on income that you earn. By taking away part of the money you earn, the government is forcing you to work for it. Robert Nozick advanced this argument in Anarchy, State, and Utopia, and what I’d like to discuss in this week’s column is a defense of Nozick’s argument by Adam D. Moore that was published this year in the Southern Journal of Philosophy. It’s especially timely to discuss Moore’s article now, because Moore uses a famous argument by the philosopher Judith Jarvis Thomson, who passed away last Saturday.

Thomson asks us to consider this case: “Violinist: You wake up in the morning and find yourself back to back in bed with an unconscious violinist. A famous unconscious violinist. He has been found to have a fatal kidney ailment, and the Society of Music Lovers has canvassed all the available medical records and found that you alone have the right blood type to help. They have therefore kidnapped you, and last night the violinist’s circulatory system was plugged into yours, so that your kidneys can be used to extract poisons from his blood as well as your own.” The violinist will die unless you remain hooked up to him for nine months. Do you have the right to detach yourself? Thomson thinks it is obvious that you do. You didn’t consent to the arrangement, and your body isn’t at the disposal of others, even if they need it in order to survive. (Thomson uses her example to defend the permissibility of certain cases of abortion, but that isn’t relevant here.)

Moore varies the example in order to make it more relevant to his own argument. “Where in the original case Thomson has you hooked up for nine months, I will suppose that you are hooked up each day for several hours. Each day, the Society of Music Lovers kidnaps you and attaches the violinist. In five years, the violinist’s kidneys will be healed, and no further kidnappings will need to occur.” Moore says you would still be justified in detaching yourself, because the Society is using your body without your consent. He goes on to present a case of his own in which someone on an island has to work extra hours to support someone else unable to work. Here again Moore says you aren’t morally required to do so. It might be a nice thing to aid the person unable to work, but someone can’t be compelled to do this.

The way the example applies to income taxes is obvious. When the government taxes your income, it is taking away the product of hours of your labor. Just as I would be appropriating your labor if I forced you to work several hours for me without paying you anything, the government by taxing your income is seizing hours of your labor.

Moore considers an interesting objection to his argument. If you don’t want to pay income tax, couldn’t you avoid this by working less or for lower pay, so that your income fell below the minimum income for taxation? But why does the government have the right to put you in this unenviable position? Moore considers, in elaborate detail, a number of variations of the case, in each instance concluding that the government acts improperly. These I’ll leave to interested readers to examine for themselves.

But isn’t Moore’s argument open to another objection? The government isn’t just taking away your hours of labor. It also provides you with benefits. Of course, most government programs are detrimental or at best useless, but never mind that. Moore responds by using another point that Nozick raised. People can’t confer benefits on you without your consent and then demand that you pay for them. “Nozick writes, ‘One cannot, whatever one’s purposes, just act so as to give people benefits and then demand (or seize) payment. Nor can a group of persons do this. If you may not charge and collect for benefits you bestow without prior agreement, you certainly may not do so for benefits whose bestowal costs you nothing, and most certainly people need not repay you for costless-to-provide benefits which yet others provided them.’”

Most readers will already know how to answer the objection that the taxes aren’t imposed by a dictator but are the outcome of a democratic election. You can’t be forced to labor for others, even if your partial slavery is the result of a majority vote.

The rejoinder that I am drawn to at this point is one word: democracy! In democratic societies we vote about how to share the benefits and burdens of social interaction. Everyone gets a vote, and the will of the majority decides the appropriate share of benefits and burdens. The idea is to join together two factors, accruing benefits and democracy, that will justify taxation and redistribution. But, imagine our original Violinist case and add in a small village where the principles of democracy and majority rule have been in place for centuries. After a brief campaign to get out the vote and save the violinist, the village votes unanimously–1 (your vote) to hook you up and begin your daily sessions with the violinist. I warrant that this would be immoral independent of the vote and the benefits.

Moore with great ingenuity responds to a number of other objections, and I’ll mention just one more:

Taxes are justified because citizens agree to them as part of a social bargain. In return for the benefits that society bestows on the fortunate—and by using the goods and services offered by society—these individuals are indebted and agree to this contract…[but] no one has actually signed this social contract. Minimally, for a contract to generate moral and legal norms it must take place in conditions that are fair and where the parties to the contract have enough information. For example, withholding crucial information (the “car” you are about to buy is a shell with no internal parts) or threatening someone (pointing a gun at someone to ensure they sign the contract) would invalidate whatever moral norms that might typically arise in a proposed contract. How would any of this work related to a social contract? Moreover, there may be individuals who simply “don’t use the facilities” so-to-speak. Not only have they not agreed to pay any taxes, but they also do not consume any societal benefits.

We are greatly indebted to Moore for his fine analysis. But we don’t owe him any money for the benefit he has conferred on us, because we have signed no agreement to pay him. Author:

Contact David Gordon

David Gordon is Senior Fellow at the Mises Institute and editor of the Mises Review.

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No, the American Republic Was Not Founded on Slavery | Mises Wire

Posted by M. C. on October 31, 2020

Thomas Sowell in his highly recommended text Black Rednecks and White Liberals described the intense political environment the founding fathers endured in their quest to outlaw slavery:

William G. Clarence Smith in his intriguing publication Islam and the Abolition of Slavery details the venom leveled at emancipation in Islamic territories: “Asked to give up his slaves in 1861, the sultan of Magindanao replied ‘that he would rather give up his wife and children than his slaves, for lacking the latter he would cease to be a sultan.’”

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Lipton Matthews

Journalistic propaganda is a powerful instrument of indoctrination. Without evidence, foul ideas can easily penetrate mainstream discourse. For instance, recently it has become fashionable to posit that slavery is America’s original sin. To sensible people, this is a risible claim, because there is nothing particularly American about slavery. But revisiting the history of slavery in non-Western societies in Asia and Africa would do little to change the minds of America’s critics. A more appropriate strategy would be to contrast the opinions of the Founding Fathers on slavery with those of leaders in other countries. Only after undertaking this task will we be able to judge America.

In a larger historical context, asserting that some of the American founders owned slaves does not make them appear remarkable, because for most of history slavery was a normal institution. Therefore, in retrospect, they are to be seen as the products of a peculiar time. What matters is not that they possessed slaves, but their revolutionary views on slavery during an era when it was universally embraced and their attempts at dismantling the system. 

Thomas Jefferson in the original draft of the Declaration of Independence was exceptionally caustic in his critique of George III for imposing the slave trade on the colonies:

He [George III] has waged cruel war against human nature itself, violating its most sacred rights of life and liberty in the persons of a distant people who never offended him, captivating & carrying them into slavery in another hemisphere or to incur miserable death in their transportation thither. This piratical warfare, the opprobrium of infidel powers, is the warfare of the Christian king of Great Britain. Determined to keep open a market where Men should be bought and sold, he has prostituted his negative for suppressing every legislative attempt to prohibit or restrain this execrable commerce. And that this assemblage of horrors might want no fact of distinguished dye, he is now exciting those very people to rise in arms among us, and to purchase that liberty of which he has deprived them, by murdering the people on whom he has obtruded them: thus paying off former crimes committed against the liberties of one people, with crimes which he urges them to commit against the lives of another.

Of profound importance in this statement is that Jefferson capitalized the word men. To historian M. Andrew Holowchak this indicates that “philosophically and unequivocally Jefferson considered Blacks as men, not chattel.” However, such a remonstration of slavery was deleted by the Continental Congress to achieve a compromise with Southern states. Like now, tradeoffs formed a crucial aspect of the political process. Those seeking to berate the Founding Fathers lack a proper understanding of history and politics. Thomas Sowell in his highly recommended text Black Rednecks and White Liberals described the intense political environment the founding fathers endured in their quest to outlaw slavery:

Many who have dismissed the anti-slavery words of the founders of the American republic as just rhetoric have not bothered to check the facts of history. Washington, Jefferson, and others did not just talk. They acted. Even when they acted within the political and legal constraints of their times, they acted repeatedly[,] sometimes winning and sometimes losing….When Jefferson drafted a state constitution for Virginia in 1776, his draft included a clause prohibiting any more importation of slaves and, in 1783, Jefferson included in a new draft of a Virginia constitution a proposal for the gradual emancipation of slaves. He was defeated in both these efforts. On the national scene, Jefferson returned to the battle once again in 1784, declaring slavery illegal in all western territories of the country. The bill lost by one vote, that of a legislator too sick to come and vote. Afterwards, Jefferson said that the fate of millions unborn was hanging on the tongue of one man and heaven was silent in that awful moment.

Contemporary observers fail to acknowledge that the hostile political climate at the time limited what the Founding Fathers could achieve. Moreover, they had to contemplate the most feasible route to abolition. Emancipating slaves, if all legislators agreed, was easy, yet one had to confront the political difficulties one encounters in abolition without a clear plan. In a letter to Robert Morris, George Washington displays his penchant for the destruction of slavery provided that it was guided by a sound plan: “I can only say that there is not a man living who wishes more sincerely than I do, to see a plan adopted for the abolition of it; but there is only one proper and effectual mode by which it can be accomplished, and that is by Legislative authority; and this, as far as my suffrage will go, shall never be wanting.”

But not everyone was a pragmatist. Due to their personal convictions, some patriots were incensed by slavery, and they took personal steps to emancipate slaves. Men like Oliver Ellsworth and Roger Sherman fall into this category. Whereas the will of George Washington stipulated the emancipation of enslaved laborers, Benjamin Franklin liberated his slaves during his lifetime. So far, we have discussed the views of the Founding Fathers on slavery. Now let us contrast them with those of leaders of different societies to determine which positions were more enlightened.

William G. Clarence Smith in his intriguing publication Islam and the Abolition of Slavery details the venom leveled at emancipation in Islamic territories: “Asked to give up his slaves in 1861, the sultan of Magindanao replied ‘that he would rather give up his wife and children than his slaves, for lacking the latter he would cease to be a sultan.’” He continues: “The Sultan of Sulu wrote to the American authorities in 1902, insisting that slaves were held ‘according to Moro law, custom and the Mohammedan religion,’ in that order. Moreover, ‘slaves are part of our property. To have this property taken away from us would mean a great loss to us.’”

Similarly, historian Robin Law reminds us of the militant reaction of the Dahomean elite when the British began pressuring the government to disband the slave trade: “King Glele told British missionary Peter Bernasko in 1860 that ‘war, bloodshed (i.e. human sacrifice) and slave selling had been left to him by his father, he could not avoid them.” Law also notes that the assault on the slave trade “implied the demilitarization of the Dahomian state and this in turn implied an attack on human sacrifice, which in Dahomey was bound up with the culture of militarism.”

The examples provided suggest that slavery underpinned the cultural fabric of several non-Western societies. Furthermore, it is evident that following the abolition of slavery in America its leaders placed pressure on other countries to terminate the practice. So, in a strange sense, we may say that American imperialism helped to topple slavery. Likewise, based on our survey an objective analysis of historical positions on slavery should illustrate that America’s founding fathers were not only more progressive, but exhibited a moral disposition absent in most places. Therefore, in contrast to the utterances of critics, what is distinct about America is not slavery, but rather its strident antislavery ideology despite slavery’s universal acceptance. Author:

Contact Lipton Matthews

Lipton Matthews is a researcher, business analyst, and contributor to mises.org, The Federalist, and the Jamaica Gleaner. He may be contacted at lo_matthews@yahoo.com or on Twitter (@matthewslipton).

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bionic mosquito: Slavery

Posted by M. C. on September 29, 2020

The Saracen slave trade was in full swing, operating on a “near-industrial scale.” Great flotillas of ships, tens-of-thousands of captives loaded for transports to the markets of Africa. The word Saracen had become synonymous with Muslim during these centuries, more specifically describing Muslim Arabs.

Something about Pope John VIII: much of his papacy was devoted to halting and reversing Muslim gains in southern Italy. Unable to gain assistance from the Franks or Byzantines, he strengthened the defenses of Rome.

He was also unable to generate meaningful support from Christians in southern Italy, these Christians having formed alliances with the Muslim invaders and slave traders. Things didn’t end well for John:

http://bionicmosquito.blogspot.com/2020/09/slavery.html

Slavery

Here, in the pile of rubble left where such a haughty villa once stood, was dramatic illustration of how profoundly Italy had slumped from her one-time greatness into impotence and poverty.

This was ninth-century Italy, a few centuries removed from the greatness of Empire. But it wasn’t just impotence and poverty – if only it was merely these. Across vast swaths of Italian countryside, nothing of value remained – the bones picked almost clean, as Holland puts it.  But Pope John VIII put it more directly at the time:

“Behold, the towns, castles, and estates perish – stripped of inhabitants.”

The Saracen slave trade was in full swing, operating on a “near-industrial scale.” Great flotillas of ships, tens-of-thousands of captives loaded for transports to the markets of Africa. The word Saracen had become synonymous with Muslim during these centuries, more specifically describing Muslim Arabs.

Something about Pope John VIII: much of his papacy was devoted to halting and reversing Muslim gains in southern Italy. Unable to gain assistance from the Franks or Byzantines, he strengthened the defenses of Rome.

He was also unable to generate meaningful support from Christians in southern Italy, these Christians having formed alliances with the Muslim invaders and slave traders. Things didn’t end well for John:

John VIII was assassinated in 882 by his own clerics; he was first poisoned, and then clubbed to death. The motives may have been his exhaustion of the papal treasury, his lack of support among the Carolingians, his gestures towards the Byzantines, and his failure to stop the Saracen raids.

Returning to Holland: this slave trading was a real business, the division of labor being quite well developed; savagery, yes, but also a system:

Some would guard the ships, others prepare the irons, others bringing in the captives. Some even specialised in the rounding up of children. The natives too – those with the determination to profit from the slavers rather than to end up as their victims – had their roles to play.

Italian Christians were hunting down their fellow Christians. The city of Amalfi was particularly noted for its role in such actions, exchanging slaves for gold dinars. Naples is also noted. Through this trade, these regions slowly pulled themselves out of the general poverty of the broader region – only at the cost of their souls.

Already in the ninth century, the markets of Naples had grown so bustling that visitors commented on how they appeared almost African in their prosperity.

Amalfi, perched on a cliff, would turn the city into a hub of international trade; merchants from this city could be found throughout the Mediterranean, flush with Saracen gold. As the trade developed, the slavers would eventually receive official backing from the rulers of Sicily. Some Christian leaders would come to believe that these depredations were driven by something more sinister than greed (and I have noted a similar possibility in our time):

Christendom, it appeared to them, was being systematically drained of her lifeblood: her reservoir of human souls.

And as their numbers diminished, the numbers of the enemy would increase. Erchempert, a Benedictine monk of the Abbey of Monte Cassino in Italy, would comment:

“For it is the fate of prisoners of our own race, both male and female, to end up adding to the resources of the lands beyond the sea.”

Profit was certainly the immediate motive; but with official sanction from the rulers, the entire endeavor took on the air of religiosity. The Christian captives were being spiritually disciplined, a jihad – the eternal struggle to spread the faith.

The backwardness of the Christians in southern Italy only proved the idea that God had abandoned these “infidels.” It was the natural order of things that God would send the Muslims to correct the situation.

Many Christian slaves would convert – bringing the prospect of freedom and some measure of dignity; of course, many would not. In addition, free Christians under Muslim rule were forced to pay a tax, a dhimmi. And here lies a real paradox: it was the Muslim states with the largest number of Christians that could most readily afford jihad.

By this time, Muslims would rule over North Africa, southern Europe in both Italy and Spain, and to the borders of Constantinople – all regions that were recently Christian. With the Muslims to the south and southeast, Vikings to the north and west, and Hungarians to the East, this time, perhaps, was the darkest time for Christendom since the earliest Apostolic age.

Posted by bionic mosquito at 12:07 AM

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The Welfare State Did What Slavery Couldn’t Do | Mises Wire

Posted by M. C. on September 11, 2020

Lawmakers do black people no favor when they advance a narrative that dismisses the importance of the family structure and offers instead dependence on government rather than independence as human beings. As Williams stated, “The undeniable truth is that neither slavery nor Jim Crow nor the harshest racism has decimated the black family the way the welfare state has….

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The welfare state has done to black Americans what slavery couldn’t do….And that is to destroy the black family. –Walter E. Williams, the Wall Street Journal

On August 14, the Commission on Social Status of Black Men and Boys Act was signed into law. It establishes a nineteen-member panel within the Commission on Civil Rights to examine social problems that disproportionately affect black males.

The act is a conscious response to the death of George Floyd, with the opening section of the bill being subtitled the “George Floyd and Walter Scott Notification Act.” Floyd died on May 25 after a white police officer knelt on his neck for several minutes. Walter Scott died on April 4, 2015, after being shot by a white police officer who had stopped him for a broken brake light. Both have become symbols of police brutality against black males. Invoking them indicates that the new commission will focus on the disparity with which law enforcement and the court system treat black males.

Any spotlight shone on the neglected problem of discrimination against males deserves applause. Higher education is often used to illustrate how far the pendulum has swung from several decades ago, when discrimination against women was rife. A February 1 article in Forbes, “The Collegiate War against Males,” commented on the recent decline in college enrollment. “Most of that fall…is concentrated among men. Between 2015 and 2019…the number of men on campuses declined by 691,643, almost double the smaller fall among women, 348,955. In percentage terms, the male decline of 8.34% was far more than double that among women, 3.18%….In 2015, there were 32% more women than men, but now the differential is nearly 40%.” From family courts to the handling of sexual violence, from protective laws for women to harsh prison sentencing for men, the government unjustly advantages one gender over the other instead of treating all individuals equally under the same law.

The Commission on Social Status of Black Men and Boys is not likely to increase justice, however; it may well damage the cause it seems to champion.

There is reason for skepticism. A DC Commission on Black Men and Boys was established in 2001 by Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC), who also cochairs the Congressional Caucus on Black Men and Boys. Predictably, Norton applauds the new act, because it “mandates government action to help improve the condition of African-American men and boys.” There are two takeaways from her comment: government will become more deeply involved in directing the lives of black males, and two decades of activity by the first commission has accomplished little.

The government mandate is unfortunate, for several reasons.

Improving the status and safety of anyone is laudable, but a number of problems exist with the bill’s approach. For one thing, social status refers to a person’s standing in a community. It refers to how highly others in society value a person. As long as people are nonviolent, the government has no business dictating what or whom they value. It is akin to mandating what people must think and feel, which is a matter of social control—not justice.

Moreover, the government can elevate the social status of a group only by changing their legal status and treatment. If the change makes all people equal under just law, then it is an improvement. If it elevates one class by harming the status of another class, then it is discriminatory and unjust on its face.

There are two basic ways that government can use the law to influence social status. It can remove any legal entitlements or disadvantages for categories of people and allow the status of each individual to rise or fall on its own. Or it can redistribute status—in a manner similar to redistributing wealth—by extending privileges and opportunities to one group while denying them to another; affirmative action in university admission is an example. The new commission will almost certainly take the latter path. And the disadvantaged category will almost certainly be white males. (Women are unlikely to be disadvantaged, because they are still viewed as “oppressed.”) If the new Commission follows the lead of Norton’s original one, it will make frequent comparisons between the status of black males and white ones as a way to “prove” racial inequity. If this happens, males will be divided into warring groups—black and white—with one category of males benefiting at the expense of the other, with the interests of both in conflict.

Another objection: the new commission tacitly accepts the idea that there is institutionalized racism in America. Although racist individuals and organizations certainly exist, America has overwhelmingly purged its institutions of antiblack bias. Racism is not systemic. In an article entitled Why Social Justice Warriors Battle ‘Institutional Racism,’” the noted black economist Walter Williams, who teaches at George Mason University, speculated on the ill-defined terms institutional racism and systemic racism. He wrote, “I suspect it means that they cannot identify the actual person or entities engaged in the practice….And it is seen by many, particularly the intellectual elite, as a desirable form of determining who gets what.”

On the other hand, a clear-cut misandry or antimale bias does exist in American institutions and culture. This is especially true of white heterosexual males, who politically lack the intersectional “advantage” of being a racial or sexual minority. But the antimale bias also applies to blacks who are disadvantaged simply because of their gender. In fighting this bias, they should find common cause with white males instead of being politically juxtaposed.

Yet another objection to the commission is that its members almost certainly accept “the legacy of slavery” as the cause of any racism in America. This means it will not address the single most powerful cause of black impoverishment: the decline of the black family, for which government bears much responsibility. The black social theorist Thomas Sowell, who teaches at Stanford University, has written extensively on the decline of the black family. In his article A Legacy of Liberalism,” Sowell rejects the argument that current black impoverishment is the residue of slavery or due to inherent racism. He refers to “the legacy of slavery” argument as a reason not to think about the subject or rely on evidence, because it replaces research with an emotional reaction. “If we wanted to be serious about evidence,” Sowell observed, “we might compare where blacks stood a hundred years after the end of slavery with where they stood after 30 years of the liberal welfare state….Despite the grand myth that black economic progress began or accelerated with the passage of the civil rights laws and ‘war on poverty’ programs of the 1960s, the cold fact is that the poverty rate among blacks fell from 87 percent in 1940 to 47 percent by 1960. This was before any of those programs began.”

In his article “The Legacy of the Welfare State,” Williams agreed. “The No. 1 problem among blacks is the effects stemming from a very weak family structure. Children from fatherless homes are likelier to drop out of high school, die by suicide, have behavioral disorders, join gangs, commit crimes and end up in prison. They are also likelier to live in poverty-stricken households. But is the weak black family a legacy of slavery?…Here’s my question: Was the increase in single-parent black families after 1960 a legacy of slavery, or might it be a legacy of the welfare state ushered in by the War on Poverty?”

In another article Sowell answered, “A vastly expanded welfare state in the 1960s destroyed the black family, which had survived centuries of slavery and generations of racial oppression. In 1960, before this expansion of the welfare state, 22 percent of black children were raised with only one parent. By 1985, 67 percent of black children were raised with either one parent or no parent.” The percentage has held fairly steady since then. And, statistically, the parent figure is usually a mother or a grandmother.

Being effectively fatherless can be devastating. The paper “What Can the Federal Government Do to Decrease Crime and Revitalize Communities?,” issued by the US Department of Justice, offered statistics on children from fatherless homes. The children account for:

  • Suicide: 63 percent of youth suicides
  • Runaways: 90 percent of all homeless and runaway youths
  • Behavioral disorders: 85 percent of all children that exhibit behavioral disorders
  • High school dropouts: 71 percent of all high school dropouts
  • Juvenile detention rates: 70 percent of juveniles in state-operated institutions
  • Substance abuse: 75 percent of adolescent patients in substance abuse centers

Lawmakers do black people no favor when they advance a narrative that dismisses the importance of the family structure and offers instead dependence on government rather than independence as human beings. As Williams stated, “The undeniable truth is that neither slavery nor Jim Crow nor the harshest racism has decimated the black family the way the welfare state has….The most damage done to black Americans is inflicted by those politicians, civil rights leaders and academics who assert that every problem confronting blacks is a result of a legacy of slavery and discrimination. That’s a vision that guarantees perpetuity for the problems.”

Author:

Contact Wendy McElroy

Wendy McElroy is a Canadian individualist anarchist and individualist feminist. She was a co-founder along with Carl Watner and George H. Smith of The Voluntaryist magazine in 1982.

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Today and Yesterday – LewRockwell

Posted by M. C. on September 10, 2020

The poverty we have today is spiritual poverty. Spiritual poverty is an absence of what traditionally has been known as various human virtues. Much of that spiritual poverty is a result of public and private policy that rewards inferiority and irresponsibility. Chief among the policies that reward inferiority and irresponsibility is the welfare state.

https://www.lewrockwell.com/2020/09/walter-e-williams/today-and-yesterday/

By

In matters of race and other social phenomena, there is a tendency to believe that what is seen today has always been. For black people, the socioeconomic progress achieved during my lifetime, which started in 1936, exceeded anyone’s wildest dreams. In 1936, most black people lived in gross material poverty and racial discrimination. Such poverty and discrimination is all but nonexistent today. Government data, assembled by Robert Rector of the Heritage Foundation, shows that “the average American family … identified as poor by the Census Bureau, lives in an air-conditioned, centrally heated house or apartment … They have a car or truck. (Indeed, 43% of poor families own two or more cars.)” The household “has at least one widescreen TV connected to cable, satellite, or a streaming service, a computer or tablet with internet connection, and a smartphone. (Some 82% of poor families have one or more smartphones.” On top of this, blacks today have the same constitutional guarantees as everyone else, which is not to say that every vestige of racial discrimination has been eliminated.

The poverty we have today is spiritual poverty. Spiritual poverty is an absence of what traditionally has been known as various human virtues. Much of that spiritual poverty is a result of public and private policy that rewards inferiority and irresponsibility. Chief among the policies that reward inferiority and irresponsibility is the welfare state. When some people know they can have children out of wedlock, drop out of school and refuse employment and suffer little consequence and social sanction, one should not be surprised to see the growth of such behavior. Today’s out-of-wedlock births among blacks is over 70%, but in the 1930s, it was 11%. During the same period, out-of-wedlock births among whites was 3%; today, it is over 30%. It is fashionable and politically correct to blame today’s 21% black poverty on racial discrimination. That is nonsense. Why? The poverty rate among black husband-and-wife families has been in the single digits for more than two decades. Can anyone produce evidence that racists discriminate against black female-headed families but not black husband-and-wife families?

For most people, education is one of the steppingstones out of poverty, and it has been a steppingstone for many black people. Today, decent education is just about impossible at many big-city public schools where violence, disorder, disrespect and assaults on teachers are routine. The kind of disrespectful and violent behavior observed in many predominantly black schools is entirely new. Some have suggested that such disorder is part of black culture, but that is an insulting lie. Black people can be thankful that double standards, and public and private policies rewarding inferiority and irresponsibility, were not broadly accepted during the 1920s, ’30s, ’40s and ’50s. There would not have been the kind of intellectual excellence and spiritual courage that created the world’s most successful civil rights movement.

Many whites are ashamed, saddened and guilt-ridden by our history of slavery, Jim Crow and gross racial discrimination. They see that justice and compensation for that ugly history is to hold their fellow black Americans accountable to the kind of standards and conduct they would never accept from whites. That behavior and conduct is relatively new. Meet with black people in their 70s or older, even liberal politicians such as Charles Rangel (age 90), and Reps. Eddie Bernice Johnson (85), Alcee Hastings (83) and Maxine Waters (82). Ask them whether their parents would have tolerated their assaulting and cursing of teachers or any other adult. I bet you the rent money their parents and other parents of that era would not have accepted the grossly disrespectful behavior seen today among many black youngsters who use foul language and racial epithets at one another. These older blacks will tell you that, had they behaved that way, they would have felt serious pain in their hind parts. If blacks of yesteryear would not accept such self-destructive behavior, why should today’s blacks accept it?

Black people have made tremendous gains over the years that came as a result of hard work, sacrifice and a no-nonsense approach to life. Recovering those virtues can provide solutions to many of today’s problems.

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WHY TAXATION IS SLAVERY

Posted by M. C. on September 2, 2020

Now I put it to you that the above description is exactly the reality that you face in relation to government as we know it today. The “I” in the example above is the IRS. It takes away your money by means of coercion, intimidation, and force and gives it to others who claim to legitimize the theft on the basis of majority rule, public benefit, wealth distribution, homeland security, etc., etc., etc. To the extent that the above description is correct, the government is a thieving parasite and you are its host. To the extent that you don’t get to keep the fruit of your labor the government owns it, not you; and to that extent you are a slave.

https://www.titanians.org/why-taxation-is-slavery/
By Robert E. Podolsky

Government is a Criminal Enterprise

I have maintained for some time that taxation is government’s most criminal enterprise and that it is, in fact, a form of slavery. Yet it continues to baffle me that so many people cannot or will not see the obvious truth in these statements and insist on arguing that taxation is necessary to humanity’s well being and that it is not slavery at all. “The greatest good for the greatest number” goes the usual utilitarian refrain…which I maintain is one of the greater falsehoods…for the usual reasons. But since these reasons are so elusive to the greatest number I have decided to explain my reasoning in language that (hopefully) anyone can understand, thus settling this dispute once and for all in the eyes of any reasonable person.

While a whole book might easily be devoted to this subject, it is my intention to present here only a brief treatise on the subject in order to make the information as accessible as possible. I present herein three separate, but not entirely independent, arguments to make my case. I call them respectively:

1. The Property Rights Argument,

2. The Robin Hood Argument, and

3. The Smart Business Argument.
The Property Rights Argument

Property Rights is the one usually presented by libertarians in the manner of the late Murray Rothbard. Unfortunately, Rothbard presupposed that most people would accept intuitively that people own their own bodies. From this assumption he then reasoned that this implied the existence of property rights and hence absolute ownership of whatever the individual might create or produce. While the reasoning behind this argument is correct, few people accept it because it is counter-intuitive. It is counter-intuitive because as children it is obvious to us that our parents own our bodies, rather than we ourselves. When we go to school our teachers appear to own us. And when we grow up and become employees it often seems that our employers own us. We also observe as adults that if we refuse to pay taxes we can involuntarily lose possession of all our assets, thus demonstrating that government has a higher claim than we do to whatever we would like to believe we own. In the midst of such a society it is hardly surprising that most of us are unconvinced that we have any property rights not mitigated by government decree.

So it follows that if indeed we have any property rights worth discussing we will need some other way to discover this fact than simply agreeing with the Rothbard assertion that we own our own bodies. Fortunately there is another avenue of reasoning that we can call upon for this purpose. It begins with the definition of an ethical act:

An act is ethical if it increases the creativity of anyone, including the person acting, without limiting or diminishing the creativity of anyone.

As I have shown elsewhere, this definition is logically equivalent to similar definitions in which the word “creativity” is replaced by “love”, “awareness”, “personal evolution”, or any of a potentially large set of resources that are logical equivalents of creativity. I have also conclusively shown elsewhere that the utilitarian definition defining an ethical act as one that does more good than harm is invalid, and that because of this that it follows by simple logic that ethical ends cannot ever be attained by unethical means no matter who (or how many) benefits from such an act[1].

Now let’s ask the question, “Might it be ethical to steal someone’s possessions, either by force or by deceit?” And the answer is a resounding, “NO!” The scientist depends on her computer. The poet depends on his word processor. The artist needs her brushes and paints. Steal these things from someone and they are rendered less creative. By definition such an act is unethical…bad…evil. It follows logically from this that if we have the “right” to be treated ethically then we must have the “right” to own whatever we are able to acquire without stealing from someone else…and that therefore no one has the right, for any reason, to deprive us of the fruit of our bodies’ labor. By similar reasoning it follows that we do indeed own our own bodies and that any act which abrogates that right of ownership is an act of slavery because it diminishes our self-ownership. If our physical and financial possessions indeed contribute to our creativity, then it follows that the systematic removal of any such resources from our possession is evil and is a form of enslavement. Taxation is just such an act.
The Robin Hood Argument

The Robin Hood Argument is even easier to understand. We begin the discussion with my asking you the question, “Would it be all right with you if I stole your assets?”

And of course your answer is, “No.”

Next I ask, “Would it matter to you whether the theft was by force or by fraud?”

Again you answer, “No.” Then I ask, “Would you care what I did with the money?”

Again, “No.” Then I ask, “What if I gave the money away…would that make it okay?”

Again, “No.” “Suppose I gave half the money to a lot of poor people and they liked it and wanted more. Would that make the theft okay with you?”

Still, “No.” “Suppose all those poor folks elected a bunch of congressmen and I gave the other half of your money to them to spend as they wished. Would that make the theft okay with you?”

Still, “No.” “Finally, suppose those congressmen got together and wrote a piece of paper saying it was all right for me to steal from you and give away the proceeds; and they called that piece of paper a ‘tax law’. Would that make the theft okay with you?”

At this point I hope you have the good sense to continue saying, “No. NO. NO!”

Now I put it to you that the above description is exactly the reality that you face in relation to government as we know it today. The “I” in the example above is the IRS. It takes away your money by means of coercion, intimidation, and force and gives it to others who claim to legitimize the theft on the basis of majority rule, public benefit, wealth distribution, homeland security, etc., etc., etc. To the extent that the above description is correct, the government is a thieving parasite and you are its host. To the extent that you don’t get to keep the fruit of your labor the government owns it, not you; and to that extent you are a slave.

I should say a few words here about how the government steals from you. It does so in three ways. First it taxes you directly by means of income taxes, property taxes, sales taxes, parking and traffic tickets, court imposed fines, school and utility district assessments, licensing and registration fees, gasoline, alcohol, and tobacco taxes, etc. Then there are taxes passed on to you indirectly. Most of these are taxes paid by the businesses which make or import the things you buy. Every time the government requires a tariff for the importation of foreign goods or raw materials it requires you to pay more and get less. If your Toyota dealer pays a tariff, then you are paying more for a car than the free market would charge. If you save yourself the added expense by buying a Ford, then in effect your government insists you settle for an inferior product so that Ford can make a bigger profit. This amounts to an indirect tax. Either way value is taken away from you and given to someone else who didn’t earn it.
Hidden Taxes

And finally there are hidden taxes. The most blatant example of a hidden tax is inflation…the illusion of rising prices. Every time the Federal Reserve prints money for the government to spend, the government gets the full value of each Federal Reserve “dollar” printed. But shortly after the money is spent by the government it is absorbed by the economy and the value of every dollar in your bank account is diminished. In effect the government thereby steals the buying power of all of your money without your even knowing that you are being taxed[2].

All in all, if one includes direct, indirect, and hidden taxes, the average American gives up about 50% of their gross income to local, state, and federal authorities by way of taxes. That means that fully half the fruit of your labor is forfeit whether you like it or not. Is it any less odious to be a half time slave than it would be to live as a full time slave? I think not? Slavery is slavery.
Smart Business Argument

The Smart Business Argument starts with a fantasy. Imagine I am a slave owner and you are one of my hard-working slaves whom I use as labor in my agricultural business. They (and you) plant my fields and harvest my crops, which I sell at a substantial profit. My business depends on them. While you may think that slave labor is free to me, the fact is that it is not. Besides the initial purchase of my slaves, I have to maintain them. I feed, clothe, and house them…albeit cheaply, but it’s not free. I pay for whatever medical expenses I decide to invest in their health and I pay for their management, which includes the services of bounty hunters who round them up for me when they escape. I also have to pay for the tools and implements that my slaves use and the seeds that they plant. All in all it’s an expensive operation. What is more, I am limited in the geographical scope over which I can deploy my slaves, so my business is pretty much limited to the acreage contiguous to my home. This limits my profits still further.

Not wishing to remain so limited I consult a savvy business adviser and soon create a labor cartel together with a number of my colleagues. The cartel in turn goes into partnership with the government. Soon thereafter I round up all my slaves to attend a meeting at which I make the following announcements: “As of today your life will be different. Subject to certain rules and conditions, you and all other slaves will hereby be set free. The purpose of the rules is to reimburse me and my colleagues for the investment that we have made in you. When that debt has been paid, you will be completely free for all time. These are the rules:

1. You can live anywhere in the world you wish. As of today you can live in any housing you can afford. You pay for your own.

2. You can do any kind of work you want to do. You will work whatever hours you and your employer agree upon.

3. You will attend school through at least the age of 18 in preparation for your work. You will pay for your schools through taxes.

4. You may own a business if you so desire and are able to acquire the capital needed to start it.

5. You will carry an identification token all your life and through it your income will be tracked. I will know where you are working and for whom. I will know how much you earn and where you bank.

6. Directly and indirectly you will pay me and my colleagues 50¢ out of every dollar that you earn. This will apply toward payment of your debt to me.

7. If you need to borrow additional money and can convince a bank that you are a good ‘credit risk’, money will be created for you with the stroke of a computer key. This money costs the bank nothing to create and represents no risk to the bank, but if you fail to repay it with interest the bank will take away your house, your car, or any other assets you have that the bank required as collateral for the loan.

8. When the government needs to spend more money than it has collected in taxes, it will ‘borrow’ it from the Federal Reserve System which is a cartel of the world’s biggest banks. It will not need your permission to do this, but you and your descendants will be responsible for repayment of the loan. It will simply be added to whatever you already owe [3]. Naturally the value (buying power) of all the money (Federal Reserve Notes) in your possession will steadily diminish as the Fed continues this practice, so of course your debt to me and my colleagues will never be repaid in full.

9. In order to maintain your sense of freedom you will participate in general elections at regular intervals. The majority vote will determine who occupy the positions of elected officialdom. But the rules above will never be changed to your advantage…only to the advantage of the banking and labor cartels that are actually the owners of the whole system (including you). Accordingly, discussion of these rules will never be part of the general debate at election time.

10. The local, state, and federal governments of the United States will be responsible for enforcement of the rules above in keeping with its partnership in the banking and labor cartels. The courts will adjudicate any conflicts that arise; but discussion of these rules will be forbidden in court and any reference to them will be deemed ‘frivolous’ by the courts. In this way the rules become in themselves a form of law more potent and inviolable than the state and federal constitutions and local charters that might otherwise interfere with the working of the rules.”

The rules above are just “smart business” from the viewpoint of the modern slave owner. Costs are held to a minimum. Productivity is maximized. The slaves manage themselves. There are no rebellions to be concerned with. And yet the slaves are easy to manipulate and control using modern methods of scholastic indoctrination and media communication. What a blessing that most of the slaves have no inkling whatever that they are in fact slaves. This fact alone makes the whole system worth whatever sacrifices the slave owners have made to create it, because there are no organized modes of resistance to the system. Even the organized religions don’t protest the half-time slavery imposed on the public. What a deal for the owners of the system!

In Conclusion, I ask you not to feel too badly if you didn’t get it before now…if you didn’t realize that you are a slave. Most of us don’t get it and billions of dollars are spent each year to keep us in the dark about it. By maintaining the illusion that we are not slaves the system’s owners remain free to continue their perpetuation of the system, with the eventual (though not too distant) goal of taking over the whole world. If we don’t act promptly and with vigor that goal will be attained…very probably within your lifetime. As the goal is neared the deceit will become less and less subtle and the limitations on our freedom more and more pronounced. With the exceptions of 1865 and 1920 (emancipation and suffrage) we have had less freedom every year than the year before. This series of books [4] points the way to the only viable solution that I can see to the, otherwise inevitable, outcome of global slavery and the concomitant degradation of the social and physical environments of the world…to the detriment of all…including those who will be world’s rulers. It is a universal characteristic of parasites that, in the end, they destroy their host and with it themselves. Now let’s look at another atrocity – the attacks of 9/11/2011.

[1] See Appendix B of “BORG WARS” by Robert E. Podolsky

[2] See The Creature from Jekyll Island, a Second Look at the Federal Reserve System by G. Edward Griffin,

[3] Fully one half of your direct federal taxes today go to pay the interest on such loans.

[4] Titania™, the Bloodless Revolution by Robert E. Podolsky

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How the haunting words of an escaped slave apply today

Posted by M. C. on August 27, 2020

To Douglass this arrangement was the worst of both worlds.

I was to be allowed all my time, make all contracts with those for whom I worked, and find my own employment; and, in return for this liberty, I was to pay him three dollars at the end of each week; find myself in calking tools, and in board and clothing. My board was two dollars and a half per week. This, with the wear and tear of clothing and calking tools, made my regular expenses about six dollars per week. This amount I was compelled to make up, or relinquish the privilege of hiring my time. Rain or shine, work or no work, at the end of each week the money must be forthcoming, or I must give up my privilege.

This arrangement, it will be perceived, was decidedly in my master’s favor. It relieved him of all need of looking after me. His money was sure. He received all the benefits of slaveholding without its evils; while I endured all the evils of a slave, and suffered all the care and anxiety of a freeman. 

According to how much of his wages and labor were taken by his master, Douglass was 100% a slave at times, at other times 99% a slave, and even at one point 50% a slave.

His master stole his wages. Sound familiar?

How the haunting words of an escaped slave apply today

By Joe Jarvis

Everyone knows that slavery is when someone else owns you.

Freedom is when you own yourself.

All individual rights stem from the concept of self-ownership.

For example, the reason why consent is required for sex, is that no one gets to decide what you do with your body.

Unfortunately, we do not live in a society that respects self-ownership.

And I don’t just mean random criminal acts.

Slavery is embedded in the structure of our society, right down to the relationship between government and citizens.

Born into slavery, Frederick Douglass was in a unique position to see the parallels between outright chattel slavery, which is owning another human being outright, and other “milder” forms of slavery, where only a portion of your time, labor, and money is stolen from you by force, without your consent.

At some points, Frederick Douglass was essentially rented out by his master to work a regular job, and then forced to pay all his income to his owner.

In his 1855 book My Bondage and My Freedom, Douglass explained:

Besides, I was now getting—as I have said—a dollar and fifty cents per day. I contracted for it, worked for it, earned it, collected it; it was paid to me, and it was rightfully my own; and yet, upon every returning Saturday night, this money—my own hard earnings, every cent of it—was demanded of me, and taken from me by Master Hugh.

He did not earn it; he had no hand in earning it; why, then, should he have it? I owed him nothing. He had given me no schooling, and I had received from him only my food and raiment; and for these, my services were supposed to pay, from the first.

The right to take my earnings, was the right of the robber. He had the power to compel me to give him the fruits of my labor, and this power was his only right in the case.

Douglass draws a distinction: his master had the power to make him a slave, but certainly not the right.

And certainly the fact that his master provided food and shelter did not justify his slavery. Whatever the master provided the slave with his own stolen money does not change the fact that Douglass did not consent to the arrangement.

Douglass then explains what allows masters to keep men enslaved.

To make a contented slave, you must make a thoughtless one. It is necessary to darken his moral and mental vision, and, as far as possible, to annihilate his power of reason. He must be able to detect no inconsistencies in slavery. The man that takes his earnings, must be able to convince him that he has a perfect right to do so.

It must not depend upon mere force; the slave must know no Higher Law than his master’s will. The whole relationship must not only demonstrate, to his mind, its necessity, but its absolute rightfulness. If there be one crevice through which a single drop can fall, it will certainly rust off the slave’s chain.

Douglass also recounted the advice he received from his master, on how to live happily as a slave.

He exhorted me to content myself, and be obedient. He told me, if I would be happy, I must lay out no plans for the future. He said, if I behaved myself properly, he would take care of me. Indeed, he advised me to complete thoughtlessness of the future, and taught me to depend solely upon him for happiness.

He seemed to see fully the pressing necessity of setting aside my intellectual nature, in order to contentment in slavery. But in spite of him, and even in spite of myself, I continued to think, and to think about the injustice of my enslavement, and the means of escape.

One arrangement in slavery was that a slave would be allowed to essentially go out and live his own life. But he would be forced to give a percentage of his income to his master. A slave was essentially renting ownership of himself.

Frederick Douglass found himself in this situation, and felt no better for it.

I could see no reason why I should, at the end of each week, pour the reward of my toil into the purse of my master…

He would, however, when I made him six dollars, sometimes give me six cents, to encourage me.

It had the opposite effect. I regarded it as a sort of admission of my right to the whole. The fact that he gave me any part of my wages was proof, to my mind, that he believed me entitled to the whole of them.

I always felt worse for having received any thing; for I feared that the giving me a few cents would ease his conscience, and make him feel himself to be a pretty honorable sort of robber.

To Douglass this arrangement was the worst of both worlds.

I was to be allowed all my time, make all contracts with those for whom I worked, and find my own employment; and, in return for this liberty, I was to pay him three dollars at the end of each week; find myself in calking tools, and in board and clothing. My board was two dollars and a half per week. This, with the wear and tear of clothing and calking tools, made my regular expenses about six dollars per week. This amount I was compelled to make up, or relinquish the privilege of hiring my time. Rain or shine, work or no work, at the end of each week the money must be forthcoming, or I must give up my privilege.

This arrangement, it will be perceived, was decidedly in my master’s favor. It relieved him of all need of looking after me. His money was sure. He received all the benefits of slaveholding without its evils; while I endured all the evils of a slave, and suffered all the care and anxiety of a freeman. 

According to how much of his wages and labor were taken by his master, Douglass was 100% a slave at times, at other times 99% a slave, and even at one point 50% a slave.

He was still a slave, because he did not own himself.

But in 1838, Douglass embarked on his second attempt to escape slavery.

Frederick Douglass disguised himself a free black sailor. He boarded a train in Maryland with a sailor’s protection pass, borrowed from a free black man he knew. After a few close calls, Douglass arrived in New York. With the help of abolitionists, he found safety in New Bedford, Massachusetts, and began his life as a free man.

Don’t let the masters keep you a thoughtless slave.

Never let a good crisis go to waste is the mantra of the elites.

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EconomicPolicyJournal.com: When Reparations for Slavery Become Just Another Welfare Program

Posted by M. C. on August 22, 2020

This has now become the standard policy formula for reparations. It’s not about payments to specific victims. It’s about increasing funding for the usual package of social programs around housing, cash transfers, and healthcare. In other words, in its form and administration, the “reparations state” is now indistinguishable from the “welfare state.”
But this doesn’t mean the idea of cash payments to specific descendants of slaves has been completely abandoned.

https://www.economicpolicyjournal.com/2020/08/when-reparations-for-slavery-become.html

By Ryan McMaken
The idea that former slaves and their descendants ought to receive reparations for the wrongs committed against them is not new. Having grasped the fact that slavery is nothing less than kidnapping and theft committed against the enslaved, abolitionists long advocated for some form of redress for freed slaves.
The most famous early attempt to create a reparation program of sorts is likely General Sherman’s Field Order #15. Issued as a wartime measure, Sherman’s order—which never became widespread policy—divided plantations along the Atlantic Coast into forty-acre parcels to be distributed to forty thousand emancipated workers. Sherman’s motivation was likely military expediency rather than an attempt to compensate victims. Nonetheless, the idea that former slaves would receive “forty acres and a mule” became a symbol of an unfulfilled promise to provide compensation for lives of forced servitude. This variety of reparations, of course—as noted by Murray Rothbard—is morally and legally desirable:
On the libertarian homesteading principle, the plantations should have reverted to the ownership of the slaves, those who were forced to work them, and not have remained in the hands of their criminal masters. That is the fourth alternative. But there is a fifth alternative that is even more just: the punishment of the criminal masters for the benefit of their former slaves—in short, the imposition of reparations or damages upon the former criminal class, for the benefit of their victims. All this recalls the excellent statement of the Manchester Liberal, Benjamin Pearson, who, when he heard the argument that the masters should be compensated replied that “he had thought it was the slaves who should have been compensated.”
Demands for this this style of reparations—to be paid to specific victims by specific perpetrators—continued for a time. During Reconstruction, efforts to distribute former plantations lands to victims were proposed by the Freedmen’s Bureau but quashed by President Andrew Johnson.  The first organization devoted specifically to reparations was formed in 1896, when Callie House and Isaiah Dickerson founded the National Ex-Slave Mutual Relief, Bounty and Pension Association. Other early efforts include a plan from Henry McNeal Turner, a prominent African Methodist Episcopal (AME) bishop, calling for $40 billion in reparations.
As time went on, however, it became increasingly clear that this was not going to happen soon enough for the former slaves themselves to enjoy any sort of compensation for labor and freedoms previously stolen.
Attempts to recover reparations became more geared toward general taxpayer-funded efforts and less reliant on one-time payments as a form of restitution.
For example, beginning during the 1940s, the Nation of Islam urged reparations for slavery and “called on the federal government to cede several southern states to become the territory of an African American nation” (Biondi, p. 7).
More elaborate plans followed. In 1969, James Forman presented his Black Manifesto to the National Black Economic Development Conference, in which he demanded $500 million in reparations, which would be used to finance the institutional and infrastructural elaboration of a “Black Socialist State”:
Foremost among the proposals of the Manifesto was the use of $200,000,000 to fund the creation of a “Southern land bank” to protect tenant farmers evicted from their homes in retaliation for political activism and to support the efforts of those wishing to establish cooperative farms. There were proposals for the establishment of publishing houses, television stations, and “a Black University in the South.”
By 1969, more than a century since emancipation, the idea of compensating specific former slaves (or their heirs) had clearly given way to what was to resemble what the National Urban League would call a domestic “Marshall plan for Negro Citizens” as early as 1963. In 1990, for instance, the Urban League again called for this “Marshall Plan” at the end of the Cold War, arguing that the end of the Soviet threat had freed the US up to engage in “rebuilding” its urban centers. In 2018, the the Congressional Black Caucus introduced new legislation deemed a “Marshall Plan for Black America.”
Today, the idea of reparations is geared toward the sorts of policy options that are now quite familiar: more spending on programs that resemble traditional welfare programs of recent decades. Kamala Harris, for example, supports more spending on health programs “as a form of reparations for slavery.”
This April 2020 report from the Brookings Institution suggests that reparations take the form of student loan forgiveness, free college tuition, and down payment grants for potential homeowners.
This has now become the standard policy formula for reparations. It’s not about payments to specific victims. It’s about increasing funding for the usual package of social programs around housing, cash transfers, and healthcare. In other words, in its form and administration, the “reparations state” is now indistinguishable from the “welfare state.”
But this doesn’t mean the idea of cash payments to specific descendants of slaves has been completely abandoned.
The idea has been revived in recent decades by new legal and legislative developments. This includes 1988 legislation adopted by Congress in which victims of Japanese internment during World War II received $20,000 each. And in 1994, the State of Florida agreed to pay reparations to the survivors of the 1923 Rosewood massacre.
These events revived interest in the old idea of direct reparation, but naturally complications were immediately apparent. The payments to victims of internment and the Rosewood massacre were to specific individuals. Moreover, their numbers were far smaller than the millions of descendants of formers slaves currently residing in the US today.
Nonetheless, the Brookings report implies that a grant of more than $100,000 to each household would be necessary to close the “wealth gap” between whites and blacks. Economist William Darity suggests that closing this wealth gap requires transfers of up to $12 trillion. Other proposals claim totals in excess of $16 trillion, a sum approaching the size of the entire US gross domestic product.
Needless to say, a reparations program of this magnitude is exceedingly unlikely to happen. Even in our current era of trillion-dollar bailouts, handing over $10 trillion dollars to satisfy a single interest group is unlikely. Not even New York bankers have managed that feat.
However, the reparations issue is unlikely to disappear any time soon, because it will remain useful to the debate over taxpayer funding of the welfare state. As such, calls for reparations remain part of a toolbox for demanding that ever greater sums be poured into social programs. That’s an important tool that no savvy fundraiser, politician, or lobbyist is likely to give up.
 
Ryan McMaken is a senior editor at the Mises Institute. 
 
The above originally appeared at mises.org.

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Authorities Are Still Looking for Any Clear Motives for the Attack – LewRockwell

Posted by M. C. on July 18, 2020

Each year adults all over the “developed” world spend the first half of the year working without pay, in a form of slavery creatively called the income tax.

It’s slavery.

Clear motives for the attack? Is that really a serious question?

https://www.lewrockwell.com/2020/07/allan-stevo/authorities-are-still-looking-for-any-clear-motives-for-the-attack/

By

What do you call a system in which a person is forced to work for someone else without pay?

Slavery.

Each year adults all over the “developed” world spend the first half of the year working without pay, in a form of slavery creatively called the income tax.

It’s slavery.

Doesn’t matter what foolish name they give it.

Each year, tens of thousands of people around the globe learn who really owns their home when they neglect to pay taxes on it and are forced out.

Property tax they call it. No matter whose name is on the deed, skip your property tax payments and be reminded that you’re just a tenant with no actual property rights.

It’s tenancy.

Doesn’t matter what foolish name they give it.

I make something. You like it. You offer to buy it from me. I say yes. We agree to a price, and you pull out the money. Some guy sticks his hand through the window and takes 13% of the money just as it’s passing between your hands and mine.

That’s stealing.

Doesn’t matter what foolish name they give it.

It doesn’t matter if it’s 1%, 13%, or 21%. It’s still stealing. There’s no nominal amount of stealing that’s appropriate. There’s no justifiable quantity. There’s no moral amount that can be stolen. It’s all bad.

I don’t care if the guy calls it sales tax, VAT, or protection money, the money is still stolen.

In Kozani, Greece on Thursday, July 16, 2020, a 45-year-old man walked into the government tax office on Aristotle Street with an ax and started swinging away at people working there.

The dramatic retelling of the story ends with the reporter saying “Authorities are still looking for any clear motives for the attack…”

Really?

Clear motives to want to do harm to thieves?

Clear motives to want to do harm to thieves who not only enslave you, threaten your home and steal from you, but also now use their ill gotten gains to lock you into your home, pump the airwaves with fear, refuse to let you visit the sick, divide families, close playgrounds, close beaches, make beloved childhood activities illegal, foment societal division, put the elderly in group homes to die neglected and alone, close stadiums, bring the recovered alcoholic back to the bottle, cancel lifesaving surgeries for those on the brink of death, push the depressive over the edge, stop therapy for those with cancer creeping through their body, make life so unnecessarily challenging for the marginalized who were just starting to get things together, deny families a funeral, close down the churches, and destroy the economizing human cooperation that we call our civilization?

And then if you don’t go along with their destructionism they say you are so dishonorable that you hate people and are anti-science.

Clear motives for the attack? Is that really a serious question?

The Greek man with the ax might be more sane than anyone I know. He’s one in a billion. The real question isn’t “What’s wrong with him?” The real question is “What’s wrong with the rest of us?”

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Why the Civil War Wasn’t About Slavery – LewRockwell

Posted by M. C. on July 15, 2020

https://www.lewrockwell.com/2020/07/no_author/why-the-civil-war-wasnt-about-slavery/

By Samuel W. Mitcham, Jr.,

From the 1870s to the late 1950s, there was an unofficial truce between the North and South. Each side recognized and saluted the courage of the other; it was conceded that the North fought to preserve the Union and because Old Glory had been fired on, and the Southerner fought for liberty and to defend his home; the two great heroes of the war were Abraham Lincoln and Robert E. Lee; and the South admitted that slavery was wrong but never conceded that it was cruel.

Around 1960, the Democratic Party—led by Lyndon B. Johnson—advanced the modern incarnation of identity politics. It worked very well for them. In the election of 1956, 75% of African-Americans voted Republican. By 1964, more than 90% of them voted Democrat, and they have been doing so until 2020. As part of their effort to control and manipulate the black vote, the Leftists and their myrmidons advanced the myth that the Civil War was all about slavery. It wasn’t. It was, in my opinion, about money, more than anything else. Now, at this point, I know some of my liberal friends will bristle up and say: “It was too all about slavery!” Well, you are entitled to your opinion, but let me ask you this: What was slavery about?

ANSWER: It was about money.

The “it was all about slavery” argument is an oversimplified and infantile claim that has duped many people. Those who subscribe to this flawed theory ignore one undeniable fact: history is messy. It is almost never as simple as the modern Left would have you believe. Oh, sure, slavery was an issue, but it was certainly not the only issue and not even the dominant one. Listed below are eleven others:

1. The Question of What Kind of Government Would We Have? Would we follow the Alexander Hamilton’s big government/commercial state model, featuring a strong, centralized government, a chief executive with almost royal powers, a Senate elected for life, high tariffs to encourage manufacturing at the expense of agriculture, a strong National Bank to control the currency, and high public land prices to generate income for Washington, D.C., to finance internal improvements (especially canals and roads in the North), selling public lands at high prices would also have the advantage of keeping the new waves of immigrants from Europe in the cities. Because they could not afford to buy land and therefore could not farm, they would have to remain in the cities, providing a ready pool of cheap labor for big business.

The alternative was the small government, “governs best which governs least” philosophy of Thomas Jefferson. This viewpoint was adopted by his intellectual heirs, John C. Calhoun and Jefferson Davis, among others. The Hamiltonian model was adopted by Henry Clay and Abraham Lincoln, who embraced Clay’s “America System” ideas as his political North Star.

One never hears about this nowadays because it is largely a dead issue. It was settled at Appomattox. Big government won. And it is still winning. This is why one can say that, when it comes to the Civil War, in a sense, both sides lost.

2. Northern corporate greed. Northern corporations liked high tariffs (taxes) on goods the South imported, because it reduced competition with European manufacturers and allowed them to charge higher prices for often substandard goods. The tax revenue went to Washington, which used it to subsidize Northern industries (both directly and indirectly) at the expense of Southern agriculture. Cotton was especially lucrative. In 1859, the value of exported cotton totaled $161,000,000. The value of all Northern exports combined was just over $70,000,000. By 1860, the Federal budget was $80,000,000. Seventy million of that was paid by the South. One section, which amounted to 29% of the population, was paying more than 82% of the taxes. Of that, four out of five dollars was being used for internal improvements in the North. This was not good enough for Abraham Lincoln. He backed an increase in the tariff from 24% to 47% (and 51% on items containing iron). He got his way. This tariff rate was in effect until 1913.

3. Northern hypocrisy. The North also had slaves. It is an actual fact that Massachusetts had slavery 78 years longer than Mississippi. They freed their slaves by a process called manumission, which was designed so that the Northern master didn’t lose any money. Wall Street continued to finance Southern plantations, and thus slavery, until the Civil War. The Northern bankers wanted slaves as collateral and preferred them to land. Very often, “Massa” used the money he borrowed from Northern banks to purchase more slaves. The Northern bankers thus financed slavery.

Also, it did not escape the attention of the Southern editors that the slave fleets did not headquarter in Southern ports. They operated out of Boston, Massachusetts, and Providence, Rhode Island, joined later by New York City. The Lincoln regime did nothing to restrict these Northern shipping interests. Nor did this stop with the war. It continued until 1885, 20 years after Lee surrendered, when Brazil became the last nation in the New World to outlaw the international slave trade. Southern editorial writers hammered home all these points in the 1840s and 1850s, when charges of Northern hypocrisy were quite common in Southern newspapers.

4. Abolitionist terrorism. The greatest fear most Southerners had before 1861 was the slave revolt along the lines of that experienced by Haiti in 1791. Many abolitionists called for them, and some of them financially supported John Brown’s terrorist attack on Harpers Ferry in 1859. Frederick Douglass and W. E. B. DuBois called the shots fired here and the first shots of the Civil War. They were probably right.

5. Republican willingness to protect terrorists. The John Brown terrorists who escaped to the North were incarcerated. The states with Republican governors refused to extradite them and let them go. The South looked upon this as a preview of what they could expect from a Republic president. When John Brown seized Harpers Ferry, Democratic President Buchanan sent in the Marines. The Southern leaders asked if they could expect the same from a Republican president? The answer was no.

6. The Federal budget grossly favored the North (see Number 2 above).

7. Cultural differences. These are too complex to innumerate here, but they still exist. Because of television, they are less pronounced than they were in 1860, but they are still there.

8. Political power. Because of immigration, the demographics caused a power shift in favor of the North. By 1860, the South felt (with considerable justification) that it was doomed to become an economic colony of the North if it remained in the Union, so it did not.

9. Constitutional Issues. After large sections of New England threatened to secede five times between 1803 and 1860, Lincoln and his cronies suddenly decided that the 10th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution (somehow) did not apply to the South in 1861, and that the powers not delegated to the states or the people somehow did not count when it came to secession. But after the war, the Federal government refused to bring Jefferson Davis (or any other Southern leader) to trial, even though he demanded it, because as Senator Sumner (a radical Republican) wrote to Chief Justice Chase: “because by the Constitution, secession is not treason.”

10. Nineteenth-Century Fake News. In 1832, a motion to abolish slavery failed in the Virginia legislature by a vote of 58 to 65. Four years later, the legislature made it a crime even to advocate abolition. The difference? Northern abolitionist propaganda, which was often hateful, salacious, and untruth. It made the slavery issue sectional. In the 1830s, anti-slavery societies in the South outnumbered those in the North 106 to 24. By 1850, there were no anti-slavery societies in the South—zip, zero, nada.

11.Economic Issues After Secession. The Confederacy set its tariff rates at 10%. (If it was good enough for God, it was good enough for them.) There was no way Lincoln’s 47% tariff could compete with that for foreign trade. Lincoln legitimately feared the Northern economy would crash into a recession, if not a depression, and the Federal Government would lose 82% of its tax base, so Washington would be in desperate straits. Because Northern public opinion did not support a war (many Northerners said “Good riddance!” to the South), Lincoln had to walk a political tightrope. He had to instigate a war and make it appear that the South started it by maneuvering Jefferson Davis into firing the first shot. The slick corporate lawyer was up to this as well, but that is a story for another time.

When one has written an entire book about a subject like the causes of the Civil War, it is difficult to condense it into 1,500 words or so. Suffice it to say that the onset of the Civil War was much more complex than the average American today thinks it was. For those astonished by the facts I have mentioned above, I hope you are inspired to do further reading on the subject. To paraphrase Harry Truman: the only thing new is the history you don’t know.

 

Be seeing you

 

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