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Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Making Martial Law Easier

A disturbing recent phenomenon in Washington is that laws that strike to the heart of American democracy have been passed in the dead of night. So it was with a provision quietly tucked into the enormous defense budget bill at the Bush administration’s behest that makes it easier for a president to override local control of law enforcement and declare martial law.
The provision, signed into law in October, weakens two obscure but important bulwarks of liberty. One is the doctrine that bars military forces, including a federalized National Guard, from engaging in law enforcement. Called posse comitatus, it was enshrined in law after the Civil War to preserve the line between civil government and the military. The other is the Insurrection Act of 1807, which provides the major exemptions to posse comitatus. It essentially limits a president’s use of the military in law enforcement to putting down lawlessness, insurrection and rebellion, where a state is violating federal law or depriving people of constitutional rights.
The newly enacted provisions upset this careful balance. They shift the focus from making sure that federal laws are enforced to restoring public order. Beyond cases of actual insurrection, the president may now use military troops as a domestic police force in response to a natural disaster, a disease outbreak, terrorist attack or to any “other condition.”
Changes of this magnitude should be made only after a thorough public airing. But these new presidential powers were slipped into the law without hearings or public debate. The president made no mention of the changes when he signed the measure, and neither the White House nor Congress consulted in advance with the nation’s governors.

New York Times Editorial February 19, 2007

Sunday, February 4, 2007

LibertyViews on Government by Chuck McGlawn

Based of all past experience are there any conclusions we can draw regarding the government we are faced with today? It seems to me that there certainly are. Government is necessary, some degree of government is necessary in any civilized society. There are advocates of the possibility and even the desirability of a government-less anarchy as a form of human association. However, their number is comparatively very small, and evidence and experience in support of their thesis is nonexistent.

While government is necessary, it is basically an overhead cost supported by the productive economy. Therefore, as all overhead costs it tends to expands faster than the productive base by which it is supported.

Government is frequently evil. We do not mean just dishonest, for almost all governments are thoroughly dishonest. Professor Sorokin of Harvard surveyed the criminality of rulers. His survey of the monarchs and the heads of various republics and democracies was a selection large enough to constitute a very fair sample, revealed that there was an average of one murderer to every four of these rulers.

Additionally, Professor Sorokin relayed that, "the rulers of the states are the most criminal group in a respective population. With a limitation of their power their criminality tends to decrease.” The tendency toward criminality is augmented, especially with our current administration by the fact that so many apologists can always be found, for criminal acts of governments, on the grounds that such acts ultimately contribute to the public good and that therefore the criminal means are justified by the stated ends.

Machiavelli wrote, in about 1500 A.D. that it is a virtue in a ruler to be unscrupulous for the good of his state.

probably the most important is that government is always and everywhere the enemy of individual liberty. Strangely enough, it was Woodrow Wilson, who started this nation on its present road towards totalitarianism that said, “The history of human liberty is a history of the limitations of governmental power, not the increase of it.” It is self-evident that government, by its very nature, must be an enemy of liberty. Edging ever forward into new realms of power, always converting individual liberty into governmental power.

Anything done by governments will always cost more than if it could be done by individuals or smaller groups. In addition, the larger the government, the more disproportionate will be the cost. Send a tax dollar on a round trip to DC returning thirty-five to forty cents earmarked to finance a program we didn’t want in the first place. Letting a government do anything which individuals or smaller groups could properly do, is serious economic wastefulness.

The National government by its size and its authority and the one-size-fits-all legislation has a 50 to 1 multiplier effect on the same error that may be made by a state. What is the multiplier effect when compared to County law or City law? Robert Welch said, “The errors of tens of thousands [nay millions] of individuals, all thinking and probing in different directions and moved by different impulses, tend to cancel themselves out or to be softened by the attrition of doubt and disagreement. But let any one error become sanctified by government, and thus crystallized as truth, and little short of a revolution can discredit it or cause it to be discarded.”

There is a geometric growth of government resulting from increases in taxes, as taxes take a bigger bite out of incomes, individuals must spend more of their time working to earn their requirements, and less time on watch dogging government. This creates a vacuum that government eagerly fills. Government is then increasingly allowed, invited, and even urged to do planning for, and exercise control over, the total economy of the nation. This takes more taxes, increasing the vacuum. And on and on and on.

As a government increases in power, and as a means of increasing its power, it always has a tendency to squeeze out the middle class; to destroy or weaken the middle for the benefit of the top and the bottom. The middle class is the canary-in-the-mine barometer for government growth. The very wealthy are insulated and the poor benefit. The middle class feels and is harmed by every costly increase of government. Through wealth transfers, and vote buying government drives inexorably onward, and onward and onward toward more and more planning and control of society, with the corresponding loss of liberty, until we will have an all-powerful government and a population enslaved.

The Liberty Movement has just three choices.

First, we could embark on a gigantic, gargantuan, humongous educational program to educate enough voters to vote men of principle into office. However, with most all government schools and many of our private schools turning out just the opposite, the chance of this happening is impossible.

Second, if by some miracle, we could reduce the size of the Federal Government; this would shift the major taxing and regulating powers to the States. Then with the fifty States, competing with each other for populations some of our States would hit upon just the right degree of taxation and regulation. This would greatly shorten and the learning curve of the population would be shortened rapidly. I do not see that miracle forthcoming.

Therefore, really our third choice is the only possible course. We must direct all our efforts to recruiting and educating ourselves, and recruits to assume the role of leadership when the current systems fail, as they surely will.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

What Color Libertarian are you?

By Chuck McGlawn
There are “Big Tent” libertarians, there are the “Taxes are theft” libertarians. There are “Anti-Gun Control” libertarians. There are libertarians that refer to themselves as “Mini-Archest”, those who believe in having the smallest government possible. There are those that call themselves, “Anarcho-Capatilist”. Assuming they gave some thought to picking a name, this group would be believers that the government should have NO SAY in the Capitalist or free market system. (The French word for that is “laissez-fair” loosely translated means let the people do it.) Then there are those libertarians who believe in “Anarchy” their goal is no government at all.

In a recent article by Anthony Gregory of the Independent Institute, “Left, Right, Moderate and Radical” he listed eight or more kinds of Libertarians. His article left me so confused I considered applying for admission to the nearest concentration camp.
Posted at, http://www.lewrockwell.com/gregory/gregory127.html.
While I like “Mini-Archest”, “Anarcho-Capatilist” and “Anarchy”, I am not so sure enough have a clear definition of the terms. Another problem is that they do not fit on a “Left Right Political spectrum. I have divided libertarians into three groups similar to the three listed, but easier to understand and they fit nicely on the left right spectrum.

Let me start with Blue Libertarians, they are the middle of the road libertarians. Libertarians that believe in a Constitutional limited Federal Government with an enphisis on the lessons found in the Declaration of Independence.

Blue Libertarians believe humankind have natural rights, and that “governments are instituted among men to secure” those natural rights. In the process of protecting those natural rights The Federal Government is limited to utilize only those powers that individuals have and can convey to government.

This is where Blue Libertarians object to the War in Iraq. It is not because we love the Iraqi people, or feel sorry for them because big bad Bush is killing all those innocents. It is because individual man only has the power to defend himself. It would follow that if government gets its power to defend man from man, then man cannot give to government a power that man does not have. Blue Libertarians do not oppose welfare because "those slackers are just sitting on their butts spending my money" Blue Libertarians oppose welfare because they know that they do not have the right to take money out of another’s pocket and give it to someone else, no matter how badly they may need that help. Since I do not have that right, I cannot create a government and give to that government the power to take money from you to support others. Blue Libertarians are the thinking Libertarians. When a legislative bill is introduced to do a certain thing, Blue Libertarians ask themselves; do I, as an individual have the right to do that? If my answer is no, then he would oppose the passage of that bill. When a candidate throws his hat into the ring, Blue Libertarians ask themselves; does his campaign promise to do things that individuals do not have the power to do, then he may contact the candidate and ask him to drop that item from his campaign. There are only two Blue Libertarians, and I do not know who the other one is. That is not true, there are many Blue Libertarians, and I am hoping their numbers will grow.

Then there are the White Libertarians. Those PURE (white) Libertarians believe that everyone would be better off with no government at all. Another word for those who think this way is anarchist. The problem with White Libertarians, if given their way they would dismantle government now. Now, is way before the population is ready for complete self-government. White Libertarians oppose the war with Iraq, because only governments drag populations into war, and without governments, there would be no wars.

Some of the most learned libertarians fall into this category. It takes a huge amount of learning, to even consider that anarchy has even the slightest chance of being a practicable form of humane association. A transition does take place. Murray Rothbard said, in Confessions of a Right-Wing Liberal (1968)

Simplistically, we adopted the standard view of the political spectrum: "left," meant socialism, or total power of the state; the further "right" one went the less government one favored… (Emphasis added) [continuing] Originally, our historical heroes were such men as Jefferson, Paine, Cobden, Bright and Spencer; but as our views became purer (more white) and more consistent, we eagerly embraced such near-anarchists as the voluntarist, Auberon Herbert, and the American individualist-anarchists, Lysander Spooner and Benjamin R. Tucker.

The White Libertarians provide the whole libertarian movement with much information and documentation and hope that there is an upward reach. That in time, in the distant future when humankind is more highly evolved and can be truly self-governing. That as a goal, if it is in fact achievable would be great.

Then there are the Red Libertarians. If the Libertarian Movement were a corporation, the Red Libertarians would be the Marketing and Sales Department. Believing a small sale is better than no sale at all. Red Libertarians are less ideological and more practical. It is where you hear the word incremental. They want to put a positive spin on everything we do. If we are just smart enough and clever enough and drive the correct automobile and always wear a tie, we will impress enough of those already libertarian leaning Rs and Ds and they will join us and everyone will be free.

The Libertarian Reform Caucus is a good example of Red Libertarianism, holding that government is not the real enemy, only bad government. War can be ok as long as it is ridding the world of undesirables, or that public funding of education is ok if they would offer vouchers and just teach more libertarian principles. Welfare would not have to be dismantled if the aid were used to teach marketable skills.
I have not been nearly descriptive enough on any of the various colored Libertarians, but I hope you and other readers get the message. Reds should be more Blue teaching the proper function of government, and Whites would come closer to whiteness if they joined the Blues, and we taught the proper function of government at the level of humane evolution we have achieved to date.

My big tent includes all who feel government is too big and too extensive. If everyone that agreed with that would join in a concerted effort to overcome big extensive government that is taught in nearly all the government schools and many of the private ones as well. We could begin all begin evolving to White Libertarians.