Opinion from a Libertarian ViewPoint

Posts Tagged ‘theft’

Slightly Up From Slavery – Doug Casey’s International Man

Posted by M. C. on November 26, 2021

The US government will prove no more able to deal with a rapidly evolving economy than was the Soviet government. More and more Americans will see the government as meaningless and irrelevant, as serving no useful purpose.

by Doug Casey


To eliminate misunderstanding as to what taxes are, it is helpful to define the word “theft.” One good definition is “the wrongful taking and carrying away of the personal goods of another.” The definition does not go on to say, “unless you’re the government.”

There is no difference, in principle, between the State taking property and a street gang doing so, except that the State’s theft is “legal” and its agents are immune from prosecution. Many people do not accept that analogy, because the government is widely viewed as being of, for, and by the people, even though it’s also acknowledged as acting badly from time to time.

Suppose a mugger demanded your wallet, perhaps because he needed money to buy a new car and threatened you with violence if you weren’t forthcoming. Everyone would call that a criminal act. Suppose, however, the mugger said he wanted the money to buy himself food. Would it still be theft? Suppose now that he said he wanted your wallet to feed another hungry person, not himself. Would it still be theft?

Now let’s suppose that this mugger convinces most of his friends that it’s okay for him to relieve you of your wallet. Would it still be theft? What if he convinces a majority of citizens? Principles stand on their own. Even if a criminal act is committed for a good purpose, or with the complicity of bystanders, (even if those people call themselves the government), it is still an act of criminal aggression.

It is important to establish an ethical viewpoint on the matter, even if it doesn’t change your reaction to the mugger’s (or the State’s) demands. Just as it’s usually unwise to resist a mugger, it’s usually unwise to resist the government, which has a lot of force on its side.

That’s not to say it’s easy to swim against the tide. Every year at tax time promoters of big government haul out an assortment of nostrums to sedate the lambs as they are shorn. One of the worst is “Taxes are the price we pay for civilization,” a statement of Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes. It is a splendid example of how, if a lie is big enough and is repeated often enough, it can come to be accepted.

Actually, the truth is almost exactly the opposite. As Mark Skousen, economist and author, has pointed out: “Taxation is the price we pay for failing to build a civilized society. The higher the tax level, the greater the failure. A centrally planned totalitarian state is a complete failure of civilization, while a totally voluntary society is its ultimate success.”

Taxes are destroyers of civilization and society. They impoverish the average man. They support welfare programs that anchor the lower classes at the bottom of society. They underwrite a gigantic bureaucracy that serves only to raise costs and quash incentive. They pay for public works programs (once called “pork barrel projects,” but now rechristened “infrastructure investment”) that are usually ten times more costly than their privately financed counterparts, whether needed or not. They maintain programs that cause huge distortions in the economy (such as deposit insurance for banks). And they foster a climate of fear and dishonesty. The list of evils goes on. But the simple truth is that anything needed or wanted by society would be provided by profit-seeking entrepreneurs, if only the tax collector would retire.

Protesting against taxes because they’re a costly or inefficient way of providing services, however, is in good measure futile. It’s like saying that the mugger shouldn’t rob you because there might be a better way for him to get what he wants.

How serious is the tax problem in the long run? I believe it will become less, not more serious, despite the government’s increasingly high tax rates and draconian enforcement measures. The major long-term trend of society is toward decentralization and smaller-scale organizations. The US government will prove no more able to deal with a rapidly evolving economy than was the Soviet government. More and more Americans will see the government as meaningless and irrelevant, as serving no useful purpose.

Editor’s Note: Unfortunately, most people have no idea what really happens when a government goes out of control, let alone how to prepare…

How will you protect yourself in the event of an economic crisis?

New York Times best-selling author Doug Casey and his team just released a guide that will show you exactly how. Click here to download the PDF now.

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The United States of Fantasy Island – by The Exit Network – The Exit Network

Posted by M. C. on October 12, 2021

We could exit the horror of Fantasy Island if enough other Americans evolved to recognize reality. A natural principle reveals the fundamental problem with political daydreaming and the ideologies that justify it. It’s called the Principle of Human Respect, and it works like this…

  • Cause: Coercion, theft, initiated violence.
  • Effect: Diminished happiness, harmony, prosperity.

The Exit Network

The nightmare of American politics is that we’re all trapped on an island with people who consistently imagine how much better the world would be if they were in charge.

The fantasizers can be heard on talk radio, read on editorial pages, and seen on Facebook and Twitter. They play a giant game of “If only…” If only their preferred politicians ruled, or better yet, the fantasizer himself or herself was the one making all the rules, Utopia would surely follow.

The fantasizers assume that the benefits of their proposed policies are obvious. People who stubbornly reject their programs are simply bad people who should move to Afghanistan or Russia or some other horrible place.

Head shape cut out of a wall, letting light in.

The Dictator Fallacy

Best-selling author and two-time Libertarian presidential nominee, Harry Browne, had his own version of the Fantasy Island problem. He called it the Dictator Fallacy.

The Dictator Fallacy is the belief that any law or program will work exactly as you, the designer, intend — as though you are an all-powerful dictator able to control every aspect of implementation.

Why is this a fallacy?

The most powerful politician in the nation is the president, right? But that isn’t saying much.

A significant portion of his schedule is spent standing on a spot he’s told to stand, saying things someone else wrote for him.

In between, he takes a ton of meetings where he’s “briefed” — meaning he doesn’t get the entire picture. He gets information only from a narrow group of politicians, such as an agency head or cabinet secretary. They each have their own agendas. These officials, in turn, got their information from top-level deputies. Each top-level deputy may have gotten the information directly from the person who observed it, but more commonly, there’s still at least one more staffer in between those two bureaucrats and the field observer.

By constitutional design, the president typically needs the cooperation of Congress. Consider that each member of Congress has their own constituency. They normally have strong incentives to contradict and fight the president’s wishes. Yet, more and more, each occupant of the Oval Office has turned to bureaucrats, going around Congress to carry out his agenda.

Still, the president won’t get his policy the way he designed it.

Bureaucrats have both incentive and ability to shade information to serve their long-term career interests or biases. Indeed, they have likely forgotten more about their area of expertise than the president will ever know; they can run circles around him. If they don’t get their way, they will outlast the president’s four-year term anyway. The president is just a glorified temp.

Then, after the policy has been crafted and implemented, the president must trust that his scheme will be executed as he intended, all the way down to the guys and gals with guns.

Even if the president could dot every i and cross every t, designing one perfect policy, there would still be a thousand cases left where he didn’t have that kind of time.

To be blunt, the notion that the president is in control is a delusion.

Heck, why do you blame the president for failed policies? How do you know what his advisors told him and what he knew that you, magically, would’ve known better had you been in this role? It’s a hallucination to think any person — even you — is suited to the role.

In truth, anyone who thinks they’re qualified is self-deceived. This self-deception should immediately disqualify any office seeker or fantasizer.

Unfortunately, elected officials have tons of followers, who themselves are living in fairyland.


There’s a psychological theory that creativity or vision is the opposite of groundedness and evidence. An “intuitive” personality type is more likely to act on an idea and even act alone, while the “sensory” personality waits for confirmation.

Indeed, we need both types of people. Intuition is the intellectual stuff of the inventor, while citizens of Missouri and the Apostle Thomas require proof.


If the theory is true, only intuitives can conceive of Utopias. Sensory personality types would have no interest in such schemes until proof arrived — except when it comes to politics. In political mode, sensory types can become intuitive Utopia builders. This likely happens when they substitute their normal demand for evidence in favor of…


In a typical civics or political science class, an ideology is defined simply as a political philosophy. That’s an incomplete description.

Ideologies are built around a political tribe’s collection of intuitions and aesthetic inclinations. In plain language, each person in that tribe has some personal preferences and particular tastes that they then assume everyone should share.

The ideology is a ploy to make mere intuitions and inclinations sound high-minded. Intellectuals and spin doctors invent a series of justifications for why your preferences are morally superior or more effective than all other competitors for the crown.

In the giant game of “If only I were in charge,” many people would prefer to believe that they can make plans for others — that is, they believe that they can improve the lives of others by taking some measure of control over them. But the truth is harsh!

Woe to the people when an elected ideologue gets their way because we all take the trip to Fantasy Island. There a pernicious apparition awaits; this specter is called “unintended consequences.”

Ideologies are fantasies, but the unintended consequences are quite real. The people outside the ideology can often see negative side effects or outright failure coming, but the fantasizer is caught by surprise. That’s why these consequences are called “unintended.”

The unintended consequences inevitably follow, just as night follows day. This leaves the people who live in reality wondering why ideologies aren’t considered delusions. It’s because the fantasizers never really reflect and learn. They just move on to their next phantasmagoria.

Human Respect

We could exit the horror of Fantasy Island if enough other Americans evolved to recognize reality. A natural principle reveals the fundamental problem with political daydreaming and the ideologies that justify it. It’s called the Principle of Human Respect, and it works like this…

  • Cause: Coercion, theft, initiated violence.
  • Effect: Diminished happiness, harmony, prosperity.

While an ideology is built to justify personal inclinations, here we have a principle. It’s a principle because it works in a cause-and-effect fashion, like a law of science. It cannot be suspended by fantasies.

When people are free of these causes, they pursue their own happiness. Most of the time, the pursuit of happiness leads to innovations and opportunities instead of frustrations, wars, and taxes.

We can go further. We can put our human longing to solve social problems to good use. Each of us could be a bit like a king, but only if we act according to this Principle. Here’s how to do that…

We can use persuasion to invite others to join us in solving problems. We don’t need to lobby politicians to get our way, then bully everyone into funding and following our fantasy prescriptions. If we want to help, we can roll up our sleeves and try — or maybe just write a check.

At present, ideologues trap us in their fantasies. Whenever any one of us believes we can make the world better by forcing our plans on others, we’re fantasizing about our dictatorship. Our schemes, once executed, will carry with them pernicious side effects, if not failure — and we’re responsible for these things. Human Respect is our path to escape the nightmare of Fantasy Island.

Jim Babka is the Host of the Exit Network. He’s also editor-at-large for The Advocates for Self-Government and the co-creator the Zero Aggression Project which will be sharing this piece, as well.

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Barbarous Relic: War is a racket — and so is the state

Posted by M. C. on January 5, 2020

Some people can’t deal with the notion that they elect criminals to rule them

War Is a Racket


In past writings I’ve attempted to show that the majority of the social problems experienced throughout the world — poverty, war, economic collapse, famine, hyperinflation, genocide, unilaterally broken agreements — can be traced to the dominant form of social organization under which we live: the State.

Simply put, states are bullies that collect their revenue through theft and manage their populations through threats of punishment. They use other incentives, such as tax breaks, but their existence depends on keeping their populations fearful of reprisals. Of course they don’t want to be seen as thieves or bullies — they want our allegiance. So, to win our favor they manufacture crises through lawmaking and other interventions, shift blame elsewhere, then use the crises to justify further interventions, calling on us for support as they continue meddling in our lives. Meanwhile our natural liberty gradually erodes as state power expands…

War is a racket — and so is the state.  In Butler’s words, “A racket is best described, I believe, as something that is not what it seems to the majority of the people. Only a small ‘inside’ group knows what it is about. It is conducted for the benefit of the very few, at the expense of the very many.”  He goes on to detail how and why World War I was a conspiracy instigated by the ruling elite.

Government, however, is a different matter from the state.  As Albert Jay Nock wrote in Our Enemy, the State (Kindle edition):

Based on the idea of natural rights, government secures those rights to the individual by strictly negative intervention, making justice costless and easy of access; and beyond that it does not go. The State, on the other hand, both in its genesis and by its primary intention, is purely anti-social. It is not based on the idea of natural rights, but on the idea that the individual has no rights except those that the State may provisionally grant him. It has always made justice costly and difficult of access, and has invariably held itself above justice and common morality whenever it could advantage itself by so doing.

So far from encouraging a wholesome development of social power, it has invariably, as Madison said, turned every contingency into a resource for depleting social power and enhancing State power.  As Dr. Sigmund Freud has observed, it can not even be said that the State has ever shown any disposition to suppress crime, but only to safeguard its own monopoly of crime.

Some people can’t deal with the notion that they elect criminals to rule them. They use government and state interchangeably, and they’ll tell you there are good people in government working hard for our welfare. Elect more of them and the state will serve our needs. But it can’t, not without abandoning its monopoly control over our lives, at which point it will cease being a state…

If the emperor’s new clothes strike you as ennobling when in fact he’s buck-naked, you can thank government schools and our pro-state culture for ceding reality to authority.

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Taxation=Theft – International Man

Posted by M. C. on June 19, 2018

Well, first off, it’s important to understand that governments do not exist for the purpose of serving the people, as they so often claim. Their real business is to scalp the populace to as great a degree as possible, short of creating an uprising.

by Jeff Thomas

Theft is defined as “the taking of another person’s property or services without that person’s permission or consent.”

Almost invariably, governments pass tax laws and set tax rates without any consultation with the citizenry. Further, no final approval is sought by the citizenry that they consent to the tax or the rates. It is simply imposed.

Most of us tend not to regard taxation as theft, yet, by definition, that’s exactly what it is.

But some countries, notably the US, go further in disguising the theft, by stating that the payment of tax is “voluntary.” I personally am not aware of a single instance in which an individual or corporation decided not to pay a tax and, if discovered, was allowed to go unpunished. A typical penalty is a fine equal to the tax amount, plus compounded interest on both the tax and the fine. Such a condition is anything but voluntary. Read the rest of this entry »

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Three Kinds of Theft | The Daily Bell

Posted by M. C. on November 12, 2017

Remember when Joe Biden said we all enjoy paying taxes?

1. The Con

The con artist cheats you out of your money. He makes you think you are getting something of value, or he tricks you into being robbed without your knowledge. Most people are conned into supporting taxation, assuming taxes are the price of civilization. They assume that is the way it has to be, and that taxes are justified because people get government services in return.

tax crime Read the rest of this entry »

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Banks Are Evil | Peak Prosperity

Posted by M. C. on March 20, 2017

How much ‘thin air’ money are we talking about? The Fed and the rest of the world’s central banking cartel has printed over $12 Trillion since the Great Recession. Between the ECB and the DOJ, nearly $200 Billion of additional liquidity has been — and continues to be — injected into world markets each month(!) since the beginning of 2016:

As further proof, let’s look at this data recently obtained by Zero Hedge. In the past 4 years, JP Morgan’s in-house trading group has had exactly 2 days of losses:

Because for every trade there is a buyer and a seller. If JP Morgan is the winner every day, who is losing? Turns out, it’s the big pools of “dumb money” that don’t have the cheat codes for the system the way the banks do. These are the pension funds, the index funds, the retirement accounts — the aggregated money of all the ‘little people’ out there. Little people who don’t have visibility into how they’re being constantly fleeced; nor do they have agency to do anything about it even if they did.
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