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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.