Played: 274 | Download | Duration: 00:11:00
**To hear the audio, please press the play button directly under the title of the post.
Glenn Beck has been a rising force in the conservative movement over the last 4 or 5 years, culminating with his epic events “Restoring Honor,” “Restoring Love,” and others. Over the last year and a half or so, Mr. Beck has claimed he is “more Libertarian every day,” and is now pleading with libertarians to 'let him in' and join forces for the purposes of spreading the message of liberty to an even broader audience. Many people see issues with this, and are hesitant to take Mr. Beck at his word with regards to his conversion to libertarianism. In fairness, it appears to me that Mr. Beck is beginning to put down roots in the philosophy of Constitutional minarchism, which is highly preferable to neoconservatism, standard conservatism and certainly progressivism, but I, like so many others who have already commented on this topic, am still skeptical.
For full disclosure, I used to listen to Mr. Beck quite frequently. I thoroughly enjoyed his book 'Arguing With Idiots,' and appreciated the message behind his fictional novel 'The Overton Window.' What turned me off to Beck was his staunch support of our interventionist foreign policy, and how he seemed to be in agreement with Ron Paul on about 85% of issues, but dismissed him as a kook for his stance on Israel. I hated that he would discuss the evils of the Federal Reserve, find out Rick Santorum's position on the Fed, and then come out in support of Rick Santorum. These factors, and others like it are why I am still skeptical.
During my transition from libertarian minarchist to voluntaryist, I began to get rather upset with Mr. Beck for his insistence that we sacrifice our "lives, fortune and sacred honor," for Israel. You might think I'm speaking in hyperbole, but if you go back and listen to his pleas for us to stand behind Israel and support them for this reason or that, I believe you'll see what I'm talking about. I understand that this staunch support is largely due to his worldview regarding Israelis as the children of God, and that he sees Israel as our only real ally in an area of the world pretty hostile toward western ideas, including Christianity, and all sects of it.
He made some statements questioning our foreign policy from the financial perspective of ever-increasing debt, and now has finally said that having bases all over the world “just doesn't work,” but he hasn't, that I am aware of questioned American foreign policy from a moral perspective. He also made a rather infamous remark about why he could not be president: he wouldn't hesitate to use nuclear weapons, and would complain, "What do you mean we're out of missiles?"
He is coming around, somewhat. I am encouraged by his chats with Penn Jillette, and some of his recent admissions about foreign policy, the failure of the drug war. and his desire to essentially “live and let live,” in America. Sadly, it's some hypocritical irony that this man is now essentially parroting everything Ron Paul said during the 2008 and 2012 Presidential campaigns, but still says he disagrees with Ron Paul... perhaps it's now only on Israel, which still indicates to me that he wants America to continue being the world policeman to protect Israel- uh, I mean... preserve our national defense. That I am aware of, he has not embraced the non-aggression principle, and hasn't even acknowledged it. I was disappointed that only Jacob Hornberger brought it up with him in their interview as “the moral argument that people have the right to be free,” but Glenn deflected by remarking about society from a pragmatic standpoint, and as an immediate limiting factor: “Society is not ready for that.” Sadly, I agree with him. My foundation for that argument comes from recognition of people's fear of personal responsibility that comes with freedom, and of what other free people may choose to do that these others may disagree with on personal, moral or religious grounds. People are too used to having the government gun to use to prevent others from making such choices about how they live their lives.
Perhaps Glenn Beck is simply more pragmatic than I am, or perhaps he is just in the beginning stages of a transition that will ultimately bring him to view government as evil. Perhaps he has a better perspective on why the masses will never accept the voluntarist philosophy, or perhaps he is as far as he will come with his views about freedom, and the purported need to balance that freedom through the mechanism of government. Perhaps he doesn't believe in the strength or efficacy of arguing for liberty from first principles. I believe you can't really begin to make the argument from anywhere BUT first principles. I mean, why not cut directly to the chase and use the most powerful and simplest argument to help people reconsider their perspective on life, and not just politics or government?
Still, at least at present, it indicates to me that he indeed wants less government, but wants to make sure that our foundational system remains intact... a system based entirely on theft, manipulation, coercion, force and the monopoly on the initiation of violence. Without acknowledgement or acceptance of the non-aggression principle, I'm inclined to believe that, despite his claimed desire for freedom, he wants the government gun in the room to remain right where it is... he just wants different people to have their hands on it more frequently. I find it extremely hard to team up with someone who I know would not hesitate to point that gun at me for simply disagreeing with them, if my moral stance isn't supported by some arbitrary law. I mean, really... laws are simply words with guns. So, can't we put down the weapons already!
Progressivism did not happen overnight in America. 'Luminaries' from America were studying in Europe after the publication of Marx's Communist Manifesto, and it was all the rage in the literati and intellectual circles in Europe for decades after, and perhaps even until today. Those Americans returned to us sharing and spreading these ideas, and they took hold here, too. I would estimate that the progressive mentality was flourishing in our society and educational institutions for a couple of decades before it found its way into public policy, which we began to see with the presidencies of Teddy Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson. And, arguably it's been downhill for us ever since. So I understand gradualism, and I understand pragmatism. I understand the notion of working together with others to get the ball rolling toward achieving a particular end or agenda. We should indeed be thinking "long ball" with regards to rooting out this destructive philosophy in society and our government. Rothbard would likely agree with Beck, and see Beck as an ally, despite disagreements on certain big issues. But, like Rothbard, I don't want a "little less slavery," or "a little less cancer." Beck seems ready to cut out some tumors and try to make things better, but ultimately stands in the way of us being cured.
I can stand with people trying to starve the beast of government, or trying to shrink it down to something more... manageable, but I would primarily join that crowd simply to expand the potential audience of people who will LISTEN to arguments for freedom from first principles... about government being the source of the cancer, and that trying to obtain political solutions to what ails us is like trying to put a bandaid on the wound of a severed limb. I will continue to call out the immorality of the initiation of violence, the immorality of theft, of murder, of imprisonment for non-violent action in line with people's morals and values... I will point out the hypocrisy of considering theft, lying, murder and manipulation immoral and abhorrent in society, but supporting, and even demanding that the government do these things to us under the 'law', or for the greater good. I will point out that all government seems to be is people voting for a small group of people to have the legal and moral right to do things to us that we all consider to be immoral, unjust and illegal. I will remind people that, by supporting politicians, policies, spending and everything else that government does, they are adding weights to the noose of debt already hung around the necks of the unborn, and that this generational theft is utterly repugnant.
I do not recognize anyone's right to point a gun at me if I am not aggressing against them, or to cage me for disagreeing with them. I do not believe that any group of people can vote to give power and authority they do not have themselves as individuals to any entity of people just because they call themselves government, or because "that's the law." I am tired of living in a society almost wholly constructed upon force, violence, coercion, manipulation, cages and theft. A decrease in these aspects of our society would undoubtedly be a good thing, but if you want to strike at the real root of the problem, you have to get people to see, acknowledge and even hate even the idea of government having a monopoly on the initiation of violence, and then get those people to stand against the immorality of the whole damned thing. Political action may be a means to that end, sure. But in my opinion, real success will only come when we argue from first principles about the immorality of the initiation of force. I believe this is the best chance we have of getting our fellow human beings to see through the fog and lies of statism, and to see how belief in the state, or political solutions... is just another cage.
Played: 202 | Download | Duration: 00:09:49
I have no right to steal from you. I have no right to take your property, to damage your property, or make any claim on your property. I have no right to tell you how you can and cannot live your life. I have no right to tell you which choices you can and cannot make. I have no right to dictate what you can and cannot consume. I have no right to force you to fund activities which you disagree with on moral grounds. I have no right to make you tell on yourself, to detain you against your will, or to throw you in a cage for making choices in line with your morals or values.
I have no right to prevent you from pursing happiness, to force you into silence, or to criminalize something you might utter. I have no right to spy on you, to read your text messages and emails, or to listen to your private conversations. I have every right to disagree with you, and to voice, write or otherwise express that disagreement, and would be foolish to refrain from doing so. But that disagreement grants me no moral justification for infringing upon your right to say what you will.
I have no right to demand you to or prevent you from providing your children with a religious upbringing. I have no right to demand you to or prevent you from praying, from paying tithes, or worshipping your God however you wish to. I have no right to prohibit or infringe your freedom to go or not go to church, or to associate with others in any way, shape or form.
I have no right to dictate what kind of vehicle you can drive, how big a house you can own, what kind of clothes you should wear, or how much you can earn. I have no right to keep you from behaving like a pompous ass, or from being timid and quiet. I also don't have any right to keep you from remaining uneducated, uninformed, and unaware of what's going on in the world.
Man... there are a ton of rights I do NOT have in our interactions with each other.
In context, it would appear that there isn't much we should be able to forbid through law. A list of generally accepted principles would pretty much suffice for maintaining order and peace in society, if given the chance. I mean, we all believe that murder is wrong. We all believe that theft is wrong. We all believe that rape is wrong, that child abuse is wrong, that poisoning the environment is wrong, and that our individual freedoms are pretty much sacrosanct. If we treat others as we wish to be treated, then any laws that came from adherence to and promotion of these generally accepted norms would be easy to comply with. On occasions where people chose to break from these norms, we wouldn't necessarily have to use cages to punish offenders. Societal revulsion to such acts would result in some pretty nasty penalties for the offender. They may be ostracized from their families and social groups. Businesses may choose to not sell goods or services to them. They may not be able to own a home, or rent an apartment until such time as they made restitution for their offenses.
But, like in so many other aspects of life on earth, we fail to consider the simplest solution. Instead of handling this peacefully with respect to each other's freedom, we ban together and vote to grant the government power and authority to do things to us that we all find morally reprehensible when done by individuals... to steal from us, to shut us up, to spy on us, to kill us, to tell us what we can consume, and force everyone to pitch into whatever the government is doing, even if we find those particular activities to be morally repugnant. This provides the framework by which I believe one of the most egregious forms of child abuse occurs: the indoctrination of children into a statist mentality.
We let the government teach our children a lot, with respect to morality and society. The government subtly exposes our children to the supposed morality of what's called the social contract. I mean, we have to give back, right? Others paved the way for you, so you have an obligation to pave that same way for others, and to continue supporting those who paved it for you in the first place.
Despite there being no law, or anything in writing to detail what the “social contract” is, it is the only contract we are obligated to without our knowledge or consent. We are born into it, receive the purported benefits of what it offers, and are then subject to perpetual theft to pay it back. No other contract is legally enforceable without a person being at least 18 years of age, and having signed the contract indicating that they both read and understand the terms of that contract. But the social contract gets around that. The idea pervades our education system, and it's certainly presumed in nearly all discourse about American society.
I didn't sign any social contract. I wasn't even aware of it until I was an adult. I did not vote for the laws that existed when I was born, nor did I vote for the legislators who codified those laws. That means that conditions of my adulthood were largely determined by people I never met, never had any association with, never voted for, and never received anything from. Now the promises of politicians made almost 4 generations ago are being seen for what they really were: buying votes by putting the debt of today onto the backs of the unborn... the easiest targets... I mean, they can't fight back, after all. Like us, they will be stolen from to pay these costs of yesteryear. And as children they will be taught about this as their responsibility to society. It won't be theft, you see... it will be giving back to all those who paved the way before them. It will be just a part of good citizenship... of being a good American.
Not one child will be taught in school that they were born into financial slavery, thanks largely to the apathy and ignorance of previous generations. No one will produce a social contract for them to read and sign. Not one child will be encouraged to consider the immorality of robbing from the unborn to pay for today. Worse, they will be taught that it is just for them to force their posterity to do the same as simply a matter of course.
Children will be taught that they cannot steal, kill, rape, damage property or infringe on other people's freedoms, but will also be taught that government not only can, but SHOULD do precisely these things to people in the interest of the public good. How convenient is that? In truth, kids will have been royally screwed and stolen from before they were even born, but will be conditioned to believe that this was just, moral and good. It's horrific, and... brilliant. How much more effective is slavery when you teach the slaves from the time their children that their enslavement is just and moral?
Welcome to the world, kid. Sorry about the noose of debt we hung around your neck.
Despite having all the faculties necessary to make itself well, society chooses to remain sick. On one hand we cry out against violence, coercion and theft when individuals remove freedom, steal and murder, but on the other hand we clamor for government to continue stealing, murdering and destroying freedom so we can 'maintain our way of life.' But, our way of life is morally inconsistent, and we are on the verge of financial collapse. When we collapse financially, not if, there will also be a type of collapse in society as well, which the obedient statists will demand the government protect us all from... at any cost. In our fear, we'll demand that our good overlords essentially destroy the last vestiges of freedom, so as to preserve social order. This, of course plays right into the government's hand. I mean... we don't want the slaves getting restless now, do we? Of course not. That's why government teaches children that slavery is freedom, that theft is charity, and that forced altruism is a virtue. It isn't. In this instance, it's child abuse. I thought we did almost everything in our society “for the children”...
The insidious and relentless indoctrination of children into Statism... is a cage.
Played: 206 | Download | Duration: 00:10:15
If you had cancer, and the doctor came in during one of your visits and he or she said you have less cancer, or that it had gone into remission, you might feel better. Even though the cancer remained, you might be grateful for some small, but measurable improvement. Truth be told, you would rather not have any cancer at all, wouldn't you?
Before I get going, I want to say that I see minarchists and Constitutionalists as allies, despite their desire to return to a Constitutionally-limited, or “small” government.
Minarchists and Constitutionalists are the type who, in my opinion, would be satisfied with removing the majority of tumors, but not eradicating cancer from the body. To a voluntaryist, its like our Constitutionalist and minarchist friends have some kind of Stockholm syndrome with the cancer of government. While I agree that the Constitution is arguably the best document ever written to frame a minimal federal government, it is inherently flawed. Everyone was supposedly equal, according to the Declaration of Independence, and to ensure the protection of our God-given or natural rights, government was instituted amongst us with it's just powers derived from the consent of the governed. Only... fellow human beings, namely women, native Americans and blacks were certainly not equals according to our government, and had no equal protection under the law. And despite the Constitution being there to limit the federal government, government has grown... and grown... and grown.
The adage goes, “If all men were angels we would need no government.” But this government obtains a monopoly on the initiation of violence and is the seat of power for our country, so it makes sense that some of the evil among us would be drawn to that power over others, and work to obtain it for themselves. Now those non-angels are in seats of power, next to people with similar ambitions... they play go-along-to-get-along, and take turns pointing the gun of the state at each other and us to promote and achieve their agendas. People are bad, so we need government to protect us from bad people, who are also present in government that we need to protect us from bad people?
“Well if we'd return to the
Constitutional limitations on government, then that type of stuff
Oh, really? And from whence, pray tell do you garner that insight? If your premise were correct, and the Constitution could prevent Congress or the President from exceeding their Constitutional limitations of power and authority, then how did government ever advance beyond the limitations originally placed upon it?
Constitutional limitations on federal power did little to halt the inevitable growth of the state. In 1798, just 9 years after the ratification of the Constitution, the government passed the Alien and Seditions act, criminalizing the criticism of the government and it's officials. The Constitution failed to protect the protection of freedom of speech under the very first amendment in the Bill of Rights. Under this law, a Congressman from New York was jailed for calling the President a fat ass.
Has the Constitution prevented the US PATRIOT Act? Warrantless wiretapping? Drone aircraft to spy and potentially attack Americans on American soil? Has it prevented Presidents from making war at their pleasure? Did it protect rights to a trial by jury? Habeas corpus? Due process? The right to not incriminate yourself? Our right to keep and bear arms?
So if the Constitution exists now, but the people in government refuse to abide by it's limitations, then what good does the Constitution do to limit the expanse of government? Could it be those bad people you're wanting the government to protect you from have so heavily infiltrated the government as to make the Constitution moot?
What do you believe would happen if the government announced that it was returning to a strict interpretation of the Constitution, rescinding all executive orders and abolishing any existing federal agencies not expressly permitted in the Constitution? I'll be the first to admit that I think things would improve, and dramatically. We might actually get a handle on this debt issue, we could clear federal prisons of non-violent drug offenders, and deal a huge blow to the corporatocracy. But... it would be like cancer going into remission. Even in this dream, we would essentially just be resetting the clock back to 1789. This time however, I think it would take less than 9 years (and probably less than 9 days) for the state to start it's inevitable growth pattern all over again. Businesses would quickly buy up the 'good' politicians we put in the house and senate, and presidential campaign donors would expect a return on their investment when their guy was elected... just like now.
Thus the cycle simply repeats, only this time it would start sooner and grow faster. The crafters of public opinion and political strategists have grown far to skilled in their ability to manufacture both a crisis and it's solution to sell to us, and successfully tell the masses what to believe. It's not like society will have learned to think for themselves as individuals.
So we have to wonder: if we remove the tumors, but leave traces of the cancer, is it reasonable to believe the cancer will not return? Of course not. Thus, the only real choice we have is to completely eradicate the cancer from the body if we expect to get healthy, and to remain that way.
Many will ask: what about national defense? Well, I am not smart or arrogant enough to possibly list all of the potential market alternatives people will develop for any and all government activities and services. Even national defense. Additionally, since my proposition is not dependent upon force, coercion or theft for funding, it kind of automatically takes the moral high ground.
Ultimately, I'm afraid that the reason many of my minarchist and Constitutionalist friends will not unchain themselves from the myth of “good” government is fear: fear of the unknown, and more insidious, fear of what will happen if other free people make choices that they do not agree with. Under government, you can petition legislators to champion social and moral causes you support. Ask yourself: do you actually favor the government gun in the room? Are you willing to have it pointed at you, and to have force initiated on you by others so long as it means that you can use that gun to your own ends on issues you support? Will you use that gun to prevent peaceful people from making choices you don't agree with for personal, moral or religious reasons? If not, then why not get rid of the gun altogether?
Perhaps minarchism is best described as disdain for, or wariness in your support of a state, while maintaining belief that it is necessary. History shows that, despite having a Constitution to severely limit the scope and power of the state, representatives readily employ broad interpretations to those limitations, and use public support to advance their agenda. Usually they tell us whatever they're doing is for the children, the elderly, our security, or even for or our own good. History also shows that the state does whatever it has to to support its growth, and demands the faith of it's believers. It cultivates that faith through it's relationship with the press and media, and provisions of public education. Let us not forget that it always ensures it has a means by which to steal from us to pay for these efforts, and uses the deprivation of liberty from behind the barrel of a gun as the punishment reserved for those who would dare resist that thievery. The government is an immoral parasite. It uses baser human instincts like tribalism to encourage and foster our willful participation in our own slavery. Believing otherwise, my friends... is a cage.
Played: 164 | Download | Duration: 00:10:27
This podcast is for me, and a friend... or friends of mine who I will not not name here. As ridiculously intelligent and insightful as they are, I'm quite certain they will realize I am talking about (or to) them if they hear this.
To my friends:
First things' first: I love you. You are a member of the family I got to choose. Your presence in my life is something I am immeasurably grateful for, whether I talk to you every day, or only every now and again. You have brought love, joy, laughter, warmth, strength, caring, insight, perspective and esteem to my life, and I only hope that when you think of me and our friendship, that you see me in a similar light.
The most chilling realization I have come to since I became a voluntaryist is that the overwhelming majority of people see the voluntaryist philosophy as either naïve, silly, or worse still, as a threat to society. When you discuss why government should be peacefully abolished, defenders of the right and left will cry out with raucous laughter, or sarcastic cynicism, “Who will build the roads?” “How will we educate the children?” “Why don't you just roll out a red carpet for the muzzlum turrsts!?!?” “End social security? Who will take care of my grandma? She paid into that system! You're a thief/chicken shit/fascist who has no respect for people, or the Constitution! You love the welfare queen, druggie, and criminal but hate cops, old people, babies, children, the poor, 'Murrka, apple pie, puppies, baby Jesus and Christmas!”
Friends with whom I disagree do not go ANYWHERE near these examples I've listed, but if you've ever debated the evils of statism with anyone, I imagine you've seen or heard similar things in responses to your arguments.
In the ether and relative anonymity of the interwebz, these kind of unfortunate exchanges can be blown off with little thought or concern, but when you find yourself discussing issues that are part of your core values with close friends, and those close friends disagree with you, it can be... unnerving. For example: one of my friends has some issues with American foreign policy, but believes that worldwide American military presence and influence actually promotes our national defense and protects American interests abroad. I respect his opinion, but I disagree with him. In fact, I go so far as to say that our foreign policy is morally repugnant, and destructive to true national defense. Now my friend may think mine is a foolish stance, but he loves me anyway and we agree to disagree. But that isn't really the end of the issue.
My friend sees the rule of law as a good, just and moral thing, and is personally committed to living under and according to that rule of law. I see laws as little more than words with guns. I believe that, were people to universalize what we all generally consider to be preferential morals and axioms for governing behavior in society, i.e. do not kill, steal, lie etc, that laws wouldn't be necessary. Other forces like the power of ostracizing from participating in society those who initiate violence against others would do at least as well in deterring crime as the institutionalized violence of prisons. So let's apply these two perspectives to some potential eventualities regarding me and my friend's disagreement on American foreign policy:
My friend is a peaceful person, and I know he loves me as his friend. If I carry our disagreement over American Foreign policy to the next... level, say and claim that I plan to reduce the tax payment I make directly proportionate to the percentage of the budget received by national defense (roughly 20%), he would caution me and say that I should expect to be audited by the IRS and fined or punished for not paying what is... owed. The fact that I made the choice to withhold my money based on moral convictions would bear little weight with him, and not because he is mean, immoral, obtuse or wished me ill. His response would simply be in-line with his worldview. This is where things get dicey. See, my friend is a man of character and integrity, but in this instance, my choice to stand against what I consider to be unjust would conflict with his worldview on the supremacy of law. I will not speak for my friend, but when I ponder these things, I'm faced with the stark realization that, it is likely, or at least plausible that my friend would support force (the law) being used against me to extract the remainder of that tax payment. If I refused to comply with orders to pay, then I likewise am inclined to believe that he would then support me being caged as punishment. What if I refused to be caged? What if I attempted to defend myself from the kidnappers in blue costumes, and they gunned me down? I am quite certain that my friend would be deeply saddened, but I am also afraid that my friend would then curse me for being stupid, and defend murder by the state as just.
This scenario boils down to this: a peaceful person takes a stand against being stolen from to fund efforts he finds morally repugnant, which I believe in most any other situation people would support. I mean, imagine not standing in support of a Christian who refused to praise Shiva or Allah... But when peaceful actions taken on that moral stance break the law, whether the particular law be moral, just or virtuous, that person can, and arguably SHOULD have more stolen from him for his disobedience, be caged for non-compliance, or even killed for trying to defend himself. People like my friend ultimately believe that the state is just in forcing you to do, or in stealing from you to fund the activities it performs that you find morally reprehensible. If you stand against that... if you follow your conscience and stand on your principles, the supposed rule of law and bullshit social contract be damned, then you should be financially raped, kidnapped and caged, or killed if you resist. This is the moral paradox of statism: as individuals we find those who steal, kidnap and kill to be criminals, but we collectivize the power, authority and morality of doing these things to each other... of such criminality in the entity known as the state.
I often ponder these things... it keeps me quiet more times than not. I struggle with the fact that I love and care for people who I believe love and care for me, too, but at the end of the day, would stand idly by or even passively support these actions being taken against me if I took such a non-violent stand against the state.
My friends, keep whatever faith you like in the state, or in politics, politicians or political solutions. Be as fervent as you wish in your support of ideologies, of parties, of the Constitution, or government in whatever form you dream. But before you renew that faith, please consider this: I would never, EVER support you being stolen from, caged or killed for what you believe, or for peacefully acting on those beliefs. If you choose to remain faithful to the God of statism in any form, then you are nodding in silent agreement with the state stealing, caging or killing us for peacefully acting in accordance with our beliefs. It's ironic, really... when the punishment for taking non-violent action on moral conviction can be punished by theft, imprisonment or death, and that punishment is so staunchly supported by people who consider themselves to be good and moral people, the world has truly turned upside down.
***I would highly encourage you to check out Stefan Molyneux's video, "Statism, Cages and the Murder of Conscience" at this link: http://youtu.be/ATR-eHXwceU
Please click that 'liked' radio button, leave a comment letting me know what you think (What did you like/dislike? How can I improve? Let me know if you disagree, and why), and of course supportive remarks are always welcome and appreciated. =)
Played: 268 | Download | Duration: 00:12:08
*My apologies for the way the print is displayed. I have a consult in with a tech to help me figure out why the prose after quotes keeps coming out black instead of white. >.< Please press the play button above to hear the audio for the podcast. Links provided in the text will highlight for you to click and peruse as you wish.
Hello again everyone, and thank you for coming to nomorecages.com.
Today's podcast is targeted at folks who are in their mid-50s or older. It's not to say that younger people can't learn something from this, or won't appreciate the content, but I'm specifically reaching out to the Boomers in this podcast. Chances are, you're not going to like what I have to say, and I apologize for that, but please listen with an open mind, and analyze my commentary objectively.
I want to preface this podcast with some acknowledgements and caveats: no malice is intended in the thoughts I express here. I do not blame you for the things I'm going to point out, I don't think you are a bad person, that you're stupid, or that you're selfish. In fact, I am only making this podcast because I believe that you love your children, your grandchildren, and already love your unborn great-grandchildren as well. I believe that you want your posterity to have a future in America that offers a chance of prosperity; a future free of the chains of debt slavery. I believe that you love your country, and that, like so many other parents, you want your kids and so on to have an even higher standard of living than you have thus far enjoyed. This is why I have some confidence that you can digest what I am about to say without developing an ulcer. It's why I believe you're more willing to ponder what I am going to talk about, and... be motivated to do something about it.
Whenever I've made comments in conversation about Social Security being a fraud and a Ponzi scheme, some people get really upset, really quickly. They will cry out in righteous indignation, “I PAID into that system! That money isn't an entitlement like some kind of welfare program!” I feel your pain... I really do. What happened with social security was abhorrent and inexcusable, but we need to examine the facts to apply some antacid of truth to soothe that righteous indignation. The truth is this: you did not pay into Social Security. Paying into it would imply that you had some kind of choice in the matter. You didn't. Your Social Security contributions were taken from you by force. There's a stark contrast between paying into coffers, and being stolen from to fill them. You were stolen from. The clever may try to deny this by noting the popular vote, and how no one successfully challenged social security, but this does nothing to whitewash the truth: Social Security was not voluntarily funded. Social Security was funded through theft and force.
This must sink in for the rest of the podcast to be of any potential value to you: the government of the United States forcibly extracted your contribution to Social Security, and if someone takes money from you by force, it is theft. Period.
So... you did not pay into Social Security. That argument needs to be laid to rest.
The aforementioned conversations about Social Security with Boomers typically spark outrage, and usually from fear: I'm perceived as someone who would take away what far too many Boomers will be dependent upon for income when they retire. This is one of the primary sources of my lament: I realize that you were stolen from, and that lying politicians convinced you that theft was necessary and good. But what is more unjust is the generational theft happening now in Washington DC to continue buying your vote. The cost for today's Medicaid, Social Security and other programs designed to care for seniors is being financed through incomprehensible and unpayable debt being stacked on the backs of the unborn. They have no choice or say in the matter, but will continue paying the costs of debts increased by decisions you encourage your representatives to make today, until well after even my young sons are gone. Yes, you were unjustly stolen from, but I hope you aren't willing to pass the cost of that theft onto future generations.
Thomas Jefferson said, “I say, the earth belongs to each of these generations during its course, fully and in its own right. The second generation receives it clear of the debts and encumbrances of the first, the third of the second, and so on. For if the first could charge it with a debt, then the earth would belong to the dead and not to the living generation. Then, no generation can contract debts greater than may be paid during the course of its own existence.”
The so-called Social Security trust fund is a fraud. The government uses the Social Security theft income to buy US securities, or to finance spending. From a report by the Congressional Research Service in August of 2010:
“Social Security tax revenues are invested in federal government securities (special issues) held by the trust fund, and these federal government securities earn interest. The revenues exchanged for the federal government securities are deposited into the general fund of the U.S. Treasury and are indistinguishable from revenues in the general fund that come from other sources. Because the assets held by the trust fund are federal government securities, the trust fund balance represents the amount of money owed to the Social Security trust fund by the general fund of the U.S. Treasury. Funds needed to pay Social Security benefits and administrative expenses come from the redemption or sale of federal government securities held by the trust fund.”
We might have thought that the Social Security Trust fund was ilke a retirement account that would pay your monthly dividend from the returns it earned on investment, but it's really just a bunch of IOUs... and many financial advisors and investors are openly discussing a serious bubble in US securities... the drive of investors into the purported security and stability of bonds as global currencies and markets weaken. Like all other bubbles, this will eventually pop, too, but the Federal Reserve will keep creating digital dollars as long as it can to maintain the facade of a relatively stable economy. This inflation is the more egregious theft, but what that will do is further weaken the purchasing power of the dollars you have, and of the dollars that come to you each month, and to me, and to my kids when they are adults, and so on and so forth. Your social security check (which WILL still come) won't be worth much more than the paper it's printed on. Moreover, Social Security is going to have an enormous impact on our annual deficits and national debt. On page 6 of the same report I quoted earlier, projections show Social Security running annual deficits starting (again) in 2015 at $3 billion, and increasing through 2036 when the projected annual deficit for social security is a whopping $651.6 billion. A link to the report is posted below.
This compounds the issue of generational theft; it will massively contribute to an expansion of the incomprehensible debt already confronting our country. And this is the legacy we're on track to leave the unborn. Instead of recognizing the theft for what it is and demanding that it end, Boomers are clawing to get their promised returns... and are apparently willing to shackle our great grandkids with even more debt before they even draw their first breath. I can't be the only one who sees this as morally repugnant.
So what does this uppity whipper snapper think we should do? Well, that really depends on you.
If you are one who doesn't see Social Security as I do, and will continue to fight for your benefits, then I would offer an alternative: instead of using your great grandkid's federal credit card to pay for you, why don't you ask your kids to shoulder your financial burdens? I mean, hell you raised them for 18 years or more... At least you could make a claim (albeit an extremely shaky and immoral one) that they owe you. The unborn owe you nothing, but since they can't fight you, it's all too easy to write checks in their name now and let them deal with it long after you're gone.
If you agree with me about Social Security, and you are not willing to finance your living expenses on an unborn's federal credit card, then perhaps we should demand that the thievery stop. Now. This would, of course have a tremendous financial impact on our retirement, but the alternative, or current plan is, in my opinion, much more catastrophic. The $16.5 trillion national debt we currently face is only one part of this horrible story. The unfunded liabilities we face over the next 75 years make our current (though still monstrous) national debt look like a receipt for coffee from Starbucks. Estimates of our unfunded liabilities (or promises to pay for which we have no foreseeable income to cover) range from $86 to $220 trillion over the next 75 years... about the time it will take for your unborn great grandkids to reach the age you are today. That means that they will bear the brunt of both our ever-increasing national debt, AND the crushing weight of checks the government has promised to write between now and then that we will never be able to cash. All told, their outlook will be weighed down by anywhere from 6 to 13 times the financial monstrosity that we're faced with today.
See these links for more:
Can we do that to the unborn? I can't. And I'll be damned if I won't speak out about it in hopes of convincing you to feel the same way, no matter how you feel about it now. As Thomas Paine said, “If there must be trouble, let it be in my day, that my child may have peace.” Let US make the hard choices now and deal with the consequences of it so that we do not pass on the tremendous cost of our apathy, and the continued deception of politicians to future generations.
Played: 333 | Download | Duration: 00:12:32
Hello everyone, and thank you for coming to nomorecages.com
This is the 3rd in a podcast series of inconvenient facts regarding the more common arguments made in favor of the state. Thus far, I've discussed two of the more prominent liberal arguments, i.e. the social safety net, and public education. Today's podcast digs into one of the conservative, or Republican “sacred cows,” and something my minarchist friends cling to as a reason to retain a federal government: national defense.
Upfront, I want to state emphatically that this podcast is not a slam against men and women who've served in the military. If a surgeon screws up, you do not blame the scalpal.
One of the most puzzling things to me regarding national defense, it's metamorphosis into global imperialism, and the stalwart support for this by conservatives and republicans is this: we're operating under Woodrow Wilson's doctrine of foreign policy. Wilson declared that it was America's responsibility to spread and protect democracy across the globe, but through it's adoption by the neoconservative wing of the Republican party, this liberal doctrine has been wholly and blindly embraced by so-called conservatives. Name a prominent conservative talking head who doesn't support global militarism. Try it. See? You can't. Limbaugh, Hannity, O'Reilly, Levin, Beck... all war hawks. Oddly enough, Beck knows this is a Wilsonian doctrine, and claims he HATES Woodrow Wilson. But whether reluctantly, as in his criticism of Obama's warring, or fervently, as in his insistence that we sacrifice our lives, fortunes and sacred honor for Israel, he supports Wilson's foreign policy doctrine all the same.
For some perspective, we should consider what the founders intended for national defense, and we can surmise this by a simple reading of article 1 section 8 of the Constitution and the 2nd Amendment. While the framers granted the Congress the power to raise and maintain a Navy without specified limitations, raising, training and equipping an Army was limited for two-year periods. In lieu of having this standing Army, the Congress retained the power and authority under article 1 section 8 to call forth the milita to repel insurrections and invasions. In order to be able to answer that call of duty, the people needed their right to keep and bear arms protected by the law of the land. Not only does the 2nd Amendment protect the right of people to own firearms and protect themselves from criminals, it enables the people to defend their stake in the liberty gained through the American revolutionary war. It also protected our ability to defend ourselves against a potentially tyrannical American government. So the army of the United States was, arguably supposed to be the individual state militias, and if you don't know who the militia is, you should check your state laws to see who is defined as a member of the militia. You may be surprised. See this link for more:
Thomas Jefferson said, “I sincerely believe the banking institutions having the issuing power of money, are more dangerous to liberty than standing armies." Now this doesn't outright call standing armies a threat to liberty, but I believe the assertion is reasonably made. Perhaps this is why the framers forbade the creation of a permanent standing army amongst the powers and authorities of the Congress.
But we have a standing Army, and we would do well to consider what it has been used for. After securing American independence and defeating the Brits again in the war of 1812, the Army was used to complete Manifest Destiny, where the US government expanded westward, ousting and killing native Americans from their lands.
Since World War 1, our nation has used it's Army to fight wars abroad, and since World War 2, has established a defense net of bases across the globe for rapid mobility and attack most anywhere on the planet. For 45 years, this doctrine was promoted for the containment of communism, so we expanded our military presence all over the globe, and as President Eisenhower warned in his farewell address, we saw the rise of the powerful military industrial complex. We fought in Korea, and lost over 44,000 men, and killed 1.2 million to 1.58 million Korean, Chinese and Russians. Meanwhile, our national defense asset and invisible hand of foreign policy, the CIA was working to change the political climate in the middle east by ousting the democratically elected Mossadegh and re-installing the Shah, who we believed would be a puppet dictator for us in Iran. We fought in Viet Nam losing nearly 60,000 Americans, and killing over 1.4 million Viet Namese (and still lost this police action predicated on a fallacy). Since the fall of the Berlin wall, the American defense propagandists simply changed the words used to promote our global militarism from containing communism to combatting terrorism. The terms are essentially interchangeable. And with the way we were screwing with people's lives in the middle east (Iranian coup, supporting the Egyptian dictator Mubarak and bringing Saddam Hussein to power in Iraq), it's arguable that our government was starting the brushfires in that region it knew we would eventually demand they put out, as in a Hegelian dialectic scenario. Convenient, wouldn't you say?
To recap thus far:
- The United States was not supposed to have a permanent standing army. - The American people, with a protection for their right to keep and bear arms, and Congressional authority and power to call those Americans forth to repel insurrections and invasions, were supposed to be the national defense force in the form of state militias. - Our Armed Forces have been used to kill people on our soil (native Americans), to deprive them of their liberty (native American reservations, and internment camps during WW2), and to bully other nations across the globe to bend to our will. - The US has regularly exerted covert influence in regions, disregarding the rights, lives and will of the people in those areas, and created generations of people who hate our country. One could argue the CIA created dragons for us to slay. - A progressive liberal set the foreign policy doctrine adopted by 2 generations of neoconservatives who now wield great influence over the government. Side note: this ideology is pervasive in the two-party paradigm, as our democrat, Nobel Peace prize-winning president is one of the greatest war mongers in our nation's history. Even Bill Kristol said Obama is a “born-again” neocon! Our foreign policy (which should compliment, and not directly endanger our national security) has been aggressive, forceful, and dismissive of the rights and lives of people in other lands. It has angered hundreds of millions of people across the globe, and been instrumental in the creation of generations of people who wish us harm.
Does this look like the foundations of a sound national defense? It looks to me like bullying, treachery and war-posturing. Almost no one on earth would say a person has no right to defend themselves, but most on earth believe it is immoral to aggress against others, as it is plainly apparent our purported national defenders have done for 3 generations. This is immoral, any way you look at it.
So what is the cost of our foreign policy of global militarism? The link below shows a graph of federal spending on defense from 1941 to 2009, but the figures do not include spending on Veterans affairs (disability, rehabilitation programs, insurance, medical care, pensions etc).
National Defense is BIG BUSINESS, and policing the world ain't cheap! According to one article, National Defense spending in the US increased 114% between 1997 and 2010. See the link below:
And still other graphs and articles show that the US spends more, or nearly as much on so-called defense than the other industrialized nations combined. As we're accumulating over $1 trillion per year in additional debt, how can one argue that this spending is not more generational theft?
The Defense Department budget request for 2013 totaled out to $852 billion, including $88.5 billion for contingency operations overseas. Oddly enough, this represents a decrease, in real terms and accounting in part for inflation, from the 2012 DoD budget request. Nevertheless, the US continues spending hundreds of billions of dollars on defense (approximately $735 billion from the National Defense Authorization Act of 2013) that isn't really defense, and we should wonder why. “Qui bono,” or, who benefits?
Have a look at the largest defense companies in the US:
War is big business, or as writer Randolph Bourne said, “War is the health of the state.” Highly-decorated Marine Corps Major General Smedley Butler penned a book titled, “War is a Racket.” Perhaps they know something we don't.
Defense and it's bloated spending is the third rail of politics in the US. It is a sacred cow for both the war hawks on the right, and the supposedly reluctant war hawks (like Obama) on the left, but all we hear about the massive costs associated with our so-called defense spending is mere lip service. The war machine defense lobby on K Street in Washington DC is HUGE. An “a to z” list of defense lobbying firms can be found here:
In 2010 these companies spent roughly $64 million lobbying Congress, and then $60 million in 2011. With sequestration supposedly coming in 2013, the 2012 lobbying expenditures dropped to $42 million. See this link for more:
Companies are lobbying Congress to keep us at war and keep their welfare coming at our expense. More of that American corporatocracy I've discussed before. Again: is this really defense?
But maintaining the status quo allows the war hawks in both parties to steal from all of us to fund their buddies in the MIC, to perpetually create more enemies for us to have to fight, and to destroy more American lives through war-related deaths, injuries, catastrophes and suicides. Moreover, the continuation of the Wilsonian foreign policy doctrine and the spread of progressive political ideologies allows us to collectivize the provision of defense so we, the people, don't have to get our hands dirty defending our own “liberty.” We can leave that to the Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines who get shipped away from their homes, their families, their loved ones, have a gun put in their hands, and are ordered to go boss people around behind it's barrel, or kill people who resist them with force, like we would resist if soldiers from some other country invaded us.
And all one has to ponder, when considering how foreigners perceive our foreign policy is this: how would you feel if some other country did these things to us? You would be mad as hell. You would resist. You would fight. And by our American model, you would be a terrorist.
Global offense is not national defense. It is immoral, unsustainable, and terribly destructive to Americans at home and millions abroad. Believing otherwise is a cage.
Played: 340 | Download | Duration: 00:08:06
Hello everyone, and thank you for coming back to nomorecages.com. I hope you all had a wonderful, happy and healthy New Year, and Christmas, or festivus, for the rest of us.
The holidays were busy here, and I enjoyed some much-needed time with my sons, my parents, my sister, my niece, my wonderful daughters AND, last but certainly not least, my incredible and wonderful wife. But the New Year brings new challenges, and I want to start off on the right foot by resuming the podcast series on destroying misconceptions statists have about their wise, wonderful and benevolent government.
The first podcast discussed the ridiculous inefficiencies and waste in government social welfare programs, and highlighted the way charities outperform government social welfare in real dollars going directly to those in need. We also broke down the tremendous giving spirit of the American people and the reasons government is not necessary to help the poor. In fact, one could rather easily argue that government welfare hurts the poor, and I would encourage you to listen to the previous podcast to come to your own conclusions.
Today's podcast will discuss statists' misconception #2: government and public education.
“How will we educate our children without government?!?”
My question is, “Do you realize how badly our students are doing under public education, despite the bloated spending on it by the federal government?”
In 2010, just 6% of American students were performing at the advanced level in mathematics, placing American kids 31st in the world. In 2011, just 32% of 8th grade students in America were proficient in mathematics, ranking the American students 32nd in the world. This, despite an increase in education-related spending of 35% per pupil by governments at the state and federal level since 1991.
American students have made strides in math, reading and science over this time frame, increasing approximately 1.6% on average each year. The problem is that we are not keeping up with other countries, and are arguably trailing badly in the improvement zone. American student scores represent the mean of 48 countries included in this survey... we're number 24 in improvement, with just one more country behind us than ahead of us. In fact, students of 11 other countries are improving at a rate at least twice that of American student improvement over this time frame.
Perhaps the most horrifying thing is the effect that additional spending has had on the quality of education and our students' performance. Apparently, an additional $1,000 spent per year, per student produces an increase in performance by one tenth of one percent. Let's do the math... by this discovery, an additional $10,000 per year would be needed, per student, to see an increase in performance of just 1%.
See the article linked here for more info.
If you're listening and not reading along, please look at the page now to see the infographic I've included.
It was derived from information obtained on the CIA World Fact Book and two other sources, and shows the spending and performance of education by a number of countries. The US spends the most by far, yet lags in performance. According to the graphic, 11 other countries spend a cumulative total of $988.5 billion on education. The US spends $809.6 billion on it's own. Out of these 12 countries, the US placed 10th in math testing and 9th in science testing.
Follow this link to the page I obtained this information from:
Money isn't the answer. In 2009, Utah spent just over $6,300 per student while New York spent over $18,100 per student, yet Utah's graduation rate was higher.
The Heritage Foundation concluded the teacher salaries and benefits packages, including retiree health care and the stability provided by tenure and other perks for teachers were 52% greater than the 'fair market' value of these skill sets, and costs the taxpayer an additional $120 billion per year, or more than 14.8% of the entire federal spending on education. See the rather full and exhaustive analysis here:
More spending on education does not produce measurably better results. However, in this layman's opinion, there are two more pressing issues we must consider: public education still generally operates on a 200 year old Prussian system designed to produce obedient children capable of doing what they are told, respecting authority, equipping them with just enough to keep the gears of society turning, and little more. The one-size-fits-all approach to schooling hampers the scholastically gifted, and harms students who may not possess stellar scholastic acumen, but who show aptitude in mechanics, carpentry, computers or other necessary and productive skill sets.
The second more pressing issue is the two-income family. Many kids come back to empty homes after the school day, and when Mom or Dad get home, with laundry, dinner and dishes left to worry about, many are left without the energy or desire to sit and help little Johnny grasp this new or difficult math formula or theory. Public education became a “free” child care set-up for people taught to believe that raising their family was not as admirable or rewarding as venturing into the labor market.
Yet again, we see that government can't fix the problem, but can, and will, create more problems for the kids currently struggling in this failing system with even more debt for a service that did them much less good than ill. We're smarter than this, aren't we? We are. Believing that we aren't... is a cage.