Don't Make Peaceful Revolution Impossible

Those who make peaceful impossible will make violent revolution inevitable.—John F. Kennedy

Ian (Bernard) Freeman is in hot water again.  The radio talk show host who is serving a suspended sentence for a furniture violation promoted a marijuana protest and thus broke a little known New Hampshire law which makes it illegal to promote civil disobedience while serving his “time.”  Or something to that effect.

In any case, Ian is a victim of political persecution.  The debate over marijuana legalization is a political subject.  Ian’s promotion of the protest then falls under political speech, a “protected” category according to the Supreme Court.  How very gracious of them to grant the proletariat that right.  So, Ian’s right to free speech protect by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution is being infringed.  But that’s not the first time the government has denied Ian his constitutionally guaranteed rights.

This whole thing started when Ian was served with a citation because his tenants had put a couch in their front yard, a city code violation.  Ian refused to pay the fine, asking that the complainant come forward as provided by the Sixth Amendment—the accused has the right “to be confronted with witnesses against him.”  Of course, municipalities skirt this issue all the time by categorizing violations such as this, as well as traffic violations, as civil and not criminal infractions.

To make a long story short, Ian spent a weekend in jail because he refused to kowtow before the State.

And therein lays his real crime.  Ian asked questions which threatened to tear away the State’s veil of legitimacy.  His case wasn’t about a couch; it was about power.

Ultimately, it will be the inability of politicians and bureaucrats to relinquish their power which will lead to the demise of big government.  The United States was founded on the principle that the sole role of government is to protect individual liberties.  In the early days of our republic, individuals had little dealings with government; a situation that continued for over a century, as Jacob Hornberger points out:

In 1880 America, there was no income taxation, Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, welfare, public (i.e., government) schools, drug laws, gun control, immigration controls, foreign wars, or foreign aid. Economic regulations were few.

Contrast that to our modern Leviathan State in which nearly every activity is taxed, subsidized, licensed, or regulation.

As government has expanded, politicians and bureaucrats have seen a concomitant increase in their own power.  They demand obedience and lash at those who refuse to be cowed.  How else explain the judge’s explosion when Ian refused to ask “how high” when the judge said “jump?”  As Henry Kissinger said, “power is the ultimate aphrodisiac.”  And too many government employees are addicted.

It is this power addiction which causes politicians and bureaucrats to see libertarians as a threat.  However, true libertarians are peaceful and abhor violence.  We simply want the government to leave us alone.  We don’t expect anything from government.  Libertarians realize that the only thing government can give to one person it must first confiscate from someone else.  Therefore, the best government can do is to simply confine itself to protecting our individual liberty.  That notion, with its implication for the contraction of political power, terrifies politicians.       

No, the government shouldn’t be worried about libertarians.  The people that the government should be keeping its eyes on are those that it has taught to be dependent.  Those it has promised to will take of.  Those who have been taught that it’s okay to take someone else’s property as long as it is under the auspices of the State.  Those who have been told that they have a “right” to a job, to health care, to a house, to an education, and to a comfortable retirement.  Of course, those things are very important and one would hope that everyone has them.  However, no one should be forced to provide these services from someone else.  But that is exactly what the government has taught folks to expect.  What are people going to do when government is unable to meet this expectation?

You see, government has made a lot of promises and now the bill is coming due.  But the checking account is overdrawn and the savings account is empty.

Barack Obama will become president this Tuesday.  He has christened his economic plan the “American Recovery and Reinvestment Plan.”  Unfortunately, reinvestment requires something to invest.  Invest requires capital—accumulated wealth.  That’s why capitalism is called capitalism; the system is built upon the accumulation, concentration, and exploitation of wealth.  What Obama is really talking about is state capitalism as opposed to free market capitalism.  But whether one agrees with him that the State is the best mechanism for efficiency (I vehemently disagree) or the free market is, the fact is that there is nothing left to invest.

The government has confiscated our wealth in the form of taxes and then wasted it on unnecessary wars, on pork barrel projects, on inefficient infrastructure and institutions, and just plain waste.  It has taken our wealth through the insidious tax of inflation, while at the same time championing monetary policy that convinced folks they were rich which caused them to trade in true wealth for big screen TVs and over-priced homes.  It has engaged in policies which have destroyed the productive capacity of our country and has crippled, and seems intent on killing, the one thing that actually creates wealth, the free market.

In short, the government has bankrupted the country and destroyed our capacity to crawl out of the hole.  But it still has those promises to keep.

As the realization that the government is unable to keep its promises beings to dawn on people, when they can’t feed their families or keep a roof over their heads, things will turn nasty.  They already are in other parts of the world.  And the target will be government.

Libertarians want a revolution, but we want a peaceful revolution with a specific goal: a more free society.  In many cases libertarians are even working within the system to try to change it.  The government, however, is making this peaceful change impossible.  Therefore, the revolution that comes will not be from libertarians but from a desperate people violent lashing out with no other motivation than anger.  That doesn’t bode well for anyone.

In many ways, people like Ian Freeman are the government’s best friend.  They’re warning the government that you’d better change your ways before you get in big trouble.  But, blinded by power lust, no one is listening and the big trouble is now fast approaching.

If and when that big trouble finally occurs, an anarcho-capitalist radio talk show host and his wayward sofa will be the last thing on the bureaucrat’s mind.


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  • 1/19/2009 5:50 PM Arys wrote:
    It's not altogether fair to blame the government alone for squandering your wealth. The public debt as a proportion of GDP of the United States is not shockingly high compared to countries of similar economic development. The real issue is that the private sector spends more than it earns. Granted, the Government isn't doing much to address the issue, but they weren't responsible for its origins.
    Reply to this
    1. 1/20/2009 12:15 AM Citizen X wrote:
      Sorry, but I disagree. 

      Much of the culpability for the massive private debt rests with the fractional reserve banking system and the Fed's artificial manipulation of interest rates.  Banks have a legal monopoly on the issuance of money and credit in the United States.  Since competition is thus restricted, to be competitive all banks must engage in fractional reserve banking and make as many loans as possible.  It is this easy money policy that the government through its backing of the fractional reserve system (which is inherently fraudulent) as well as its restriction of competition that has encourage high private debt.  In addition, low interest rates discourage savings.  Why put your money in the bank where it earns 3-4% interest or in investments where you can lose money when you can use your house as an ATM (another result of government policies)?

      In addition, with trillion dollar plus deficits expect in the upcoming years, the public debt is going to quickly increase.  These numbers are cooked anyway as they don't include unfunded liabilities, making the real debt is much higher than the "on the books" debt.

      Finally, the government sector produces nothing.  It only confiscates wealth produced by the private sector.  In many case 50 to 70 percent of that wealth.  The private sector does not spend more than it produces.  Much of its production is taken away at the point of a gun.  Also, in a free market, those who have unsound judgment are punished as their assets are bought by more capable players, resulting a more productive allocation of resources.  That isn't going to happen with all the government bailouts.

      Granted many Americans have shown extremely poor financial judgment and have "wasted" their money, but it is their money to waste; not the government's. 

      Reply to this
      1. 2/1/2009 4:26 PM kimes 7489 wrote:
        I agree with citizen x. The government has no right to waste OUR MONEY! Its one thing if we are dumb enough to waste our own money, but its totally different if the government does it for us.
        Reply to this
  • 1/19/2009 9:49 PM John Davis wrote:
    LOL, we need to do something tahts for sure, and do it SOON!

    Reply to this
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