To protect the people and secure their rights

Liberty and Democracy are not opposing ideas. The political center is where all change is made. Let's embrace reason and civility.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Arguing with Anarchists

You took my jacket!  Give it back!


My jacket.  You stole it.  Give it back.
   I didn't take your jacket.

Yes you did.  Now give it back, or I'll come to your house and start taking stuff.

  I have two friends, Smith and Wesson, say you won't.

Well, my gang is bigger than your gang.  Give me back my jacket now, or else!

Herein lies the absurdity of the NIF Principle, the "non-initiation of force" argument that claims to be at the pinnacle of neo-libertarian thought.

Obviously, this is where the "minarchists" come in, claiming that government should have a limited role in resolving just this situation.  There is no principle of minarchism though that would prevent such a government from being unjust in resolving the dispute listed above.

Some point to the DRO idea (I have no idea what that stands for, but it's basically a mercenary insurance company) and say that common people would "join" their protection company.  So, how's that different from every other petty monarchy or street gang throughout human history?

I had the opportunity in 1985 to ask Murray Rothbard a question.  I asked that, since he believed that everything should be privatized, including courts and military, shouldn't we, as the Libertarian Party, start resolving other issues on how we would address things like habeus corpus, bans on torture, etc.?

And at that point, aren't we discussing a Social Contract?  i.e. Government?

Most people read the NIF principle and think, at first, that it means we don't advocate political violence.  Of course, anarchists strongly believe in the ability to retaliate, to use force after it has been initiated.  So, any excuse for violence is justified if you can argue that the other person started it.

Taking their argument to the next level, anarcho-folks argue that the State is, by it's nature, the initiation of force.  By that logic, it's no-holds barred on what to do about it, and violent revolution becomes some fantasy.

Sorry kids, I'm not in your club.  Government should protect people without violating their rights.  It can be done, too, without this touchstone of ideological BS.

And don't think I didn't forget:  I want my jacket back!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Liberty or Pie? An Esoteric Rant Against the Austrians

Veterans support Ron Paul.  There is no question.  End the Wars.

But Ron Paul is certainly no Phil Ochs.  He has a deep ideological position on economic theory.  At the core of that theory is Austrian Economics as taught by the Mises Institute.

Do we care?  Ron Paul has no more ability to win the Republican primary than Eugene McCarthy could have won at the Democratic convention of 1968 in Chicago.  What will his followers do?

We run into RP fans every day; well, at least I do.  Facebook, Youtube and elsewhere is packed with standardized ideology rooted to the Mises Institute and the Lew Rockwell blog.

There has been a web of conservative "think tanks" that have resonated on the frequencies of national discourse:  Cato, AFP, FreedomWorks, Heritage Foundation, you name it.  It goes even deeper into the fringe "recruiting" areas of right-wing radio.

This is why I try to be tolerant of Ron Paul fans.  They want to go outside and change the world.  That's a good thing.

However, I am concerned.  I'm concerned that the economic policies he reflects are the dangerous, right-wing policies of "anarcho-capitalism", the very definition of Plutocracy.

That's right:  Plutocracy.  Not "Liberty" as they claim to own the term.

Any cursory review of corruption in government today points to a near absolute control of our legislatures by, let's say, "corporations".  Money rules.  America has the best government money can buy, and we are being led to Serfdom by it.

While conservatives believe that reducing regulation and taxation is good, the Austrians believe that ending them would be better.  They see the State as the tool of serfdom, and argue that true freedom can only mean "every man a king".

Owners of the Republican Party are currently using this logic.  And they have so thoroughly corrupted our nation's governments, top to bottom, that public support for government itself is waning.  So too throughout the world, and for that matter, Obama.

The street soldiers of the Ron Paul campaign are rightfully concerned.  They know things are coming down to something big.  And they all march and celebrate.  They go outside and speak the message:  a Libertarian message.

The message?  End the Wars and End the War on Drugs.  That's what people are hearing, and that's enough for many to say "Ron Paul 2012".

Sounds good.  Count me in!

Then there is the second, deeper layer of activism that calls for an End to Welfare, an End to Taxes and an End to the State itself.  "R-LOVE-UTION!!!"

What?  On second thought, count me out.

At the very top of this ideological pyramid, that's where the "web of conservative think tanks" resides, like some Greek Gods of Reason.  They really, really piss me off.

The Austrian School is simply wrong on many important issues.  I say "wrong" because I believe that plutocracy is wrong, and that government should protect the people.  I'm a libertarian because I believe government can protect the people without violating their rights.

In fact, I think that government should be concerned with more than just civil protection and infrastructure, but also with social welfare.  There is nothing evil in this position.  It isn't socialism.  It isn't statism.  It isn't heresy.

On the contrary, the root "moral" argument of the Mises Institute is invalid.  The Non-Initiation of Force (NIF) principle is at the core of the Rothbardian, Lew Rockwell theory of Libertopia (which I see more as either Somalia or Bahrain).

The nullifcation of the NIF principle is in the rights of land ownership.   Land claims are held by force, so the anarcho-capitalist claim of "allodial title" to land is absurd.  Your claim is just your claim, and it's backed by a gun.  Some Indian walks by and what, you shoot him?  That's your big plan?  Fail.

Oh yes, in defense of Property you would allow for a "minimal state", a limited government to secure pesky issues like land title (and those damned Indians).  Bottom line "anarcho-dude", you're owned on this issue.

And who wants to hear that chatter on the FB feed anyway?  I certainly don't.

I try to hold back.  But to those annoying types who keep posting "liberty stuff" about ending Social Security and Medicare and mimic virtually every radical Republican talking point on economic issues, they need to be confronted.

I need to make it clear that (1) I'm a libertarian, and (2) that government should protect the people.  Sure, let's end the Fed, but let's do it right.  Gold standard and unregulated banking isn't Liberty, it's the foundation of plutocracy-- for some, serfdom for the rest.

Democracy isn't granted; it is demanded.  It is the corruption of government that must end,  not the government itself.  We need a functioning social contract endorsed by the general population.  We need to reclaim our sovereignty.  Anarchy IS NOT AN OPTION. 

The people need to win back their control of government, to BE the government.  We need to organize to do that, and not follow some cult leader into the abyss of right-wing ideology.

We need issues settled:  currency, taxation, civil protection, infrastructure and social welfare.  Let's settle them before we move down that merry road of civil breakdown.

Government should protect the people; and if we cannot protect the people, then serfdom is our lot.

My motto is LIBERTY.
or PIE... haven't decided yet.