Being Polite to Muggers

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You can’t fix something until you know what’s wrong with it.

Well, something is very wrong with our political system, to a great extent because something is wrong with our moral system.

But most of us don’t want to name it, much less discuss it openly.

If you’ve been watching the major candidates for Front Man, you may have noticed this. Take, for example, the subject of “health care” reform. The underlying assumption – and it’s not the tired old saw about government dictating our “health care” choices – is never mentioned. The talk is all about which “plan” is the better plan; which of them is the more efficient and so on. Everyone is very polite.

Never will you hear a major figure, someone who actually has a shot at being the next Front Man, ask whether it is moral to seize the property of one person in order to give the proceeds (or some of them, the government taking its cut for the processing) to another. To put a finer more uncomfortable point on it, whether it is right and proper to threaten one’s neighbors – that nice guy next door, the couple down the road, those people you see at the store every weekend –  with physical violence in order to make them do this or hand over money to help finance that.

It is the key to everything – which is why none dare mention it openly.

For sanity’s sake, we must pretend that the money we’re getting – those of us who are getting it – comes from some amorphous “somewhere” never to be thought about too much. For if each each person who received a government check had to confront the reality, had literally to send burly men armed with truncheons and guns over to his next-door neighbor’s home – better yet, had to personally troop over to his neighbor’s home armed with a truncheon or a gun – and accost those poor people himself, in order to force them to “contribute” – then his moral choice would be made crystal clear.

Instead, we have the vote – and speak in euphemisms, politely.

We do our dirty work at a distance – or rather, we have others do it for us – and blank out the knowledge of what is being done.

Counterfeit (or simply misguided) civility is perhaps the worst aspect of this process of societal evasion.

We pretend we’re not stealing – and are polite to those who do – provided they do it a certain way.

It is a very strange thing.

If a street thug accosted the typical person in an alley, the victim (if he survived) will be full of righteous anger; he will call his attacker by various choice names and regard that individual as beneath contempt, having checked out of the human race by engaging in the use of violence against an innocent person.

But notice the transformation in thinking – and acting – that occurs when the thug cleans himself up, puts on a suit and tie and becomes a politician. Or an activist. Now this same individual, doing the same work, can expect polite treatment – even deference. He will be invited to speak; his hand will be shaken. Not one in a million people will call him what he is, openly, to his face. And if that one in a million person does call him what he is, openly, and to his face – he, not the creature that is advocating violence against innocent people – will be derided and shouted down.

For being impolite.

I have an ex-friend, a guy I used to argue with about politics and morality. He would (try) to chide me for what he regarded as my “mean-spirited” attitude toward redistributionist politics. I once asked him whether he would speak in low tones and polite terms about a guy who attacked his daughter, or broke into his home to take things and perhaps kill him and his wife in the process. If he knew me to be a thief, or a guy who beat people up to make them do what I wanted – would he still be my friend? Civil toward me?

He drew back and huffed of course not. I then asked why he thought I ought to be civil to people who do the same sorts of things but on a mass scale, causing far more damage (physical as well as moral)?

I got the Blank Stare.

To people such as my ex-friend, the act of Voting or of becoming a Politician, or of passing a Law somehow transforms an act that would be regarded as vile and evil if performed by an individual into something laudatory and morally clean. Our whole system – the economy and social structure – is based on this dubious moral shuck-and-jive.

People collecting Social Security don’t want to think about the source waters of their monthly check. Previous generations could claim the illusion that SS was a sort-of annuity, that they were just getting back what they paid in, with interest. But today the fulsome scurvy truth about SS is well-known. The money paid out in benefits to you today comes out of the pockets of young workers, people you’ve never even met (who have needs of their own, one should add) taken  from them by violence. It does not bear thinking about. So also with regard to literally scores, perhaps thousands, of “programs” – plus all the “services” involved in  ladling out the products of other peoples’ labor.

When you hear someone arguing in favor of “health care” reform or “saving Social Security” they are speaking in evasions and euphemisms. What they are really arguing in favor of is sending men armed with guns to your home to threaten you with violence, to make you do this or help to pay for that. To put you in a cage. Possibly, even to kill you.

But as long as we are polite and continue to pretend that theft is not theft, that the system is not based on violence and force rather than voluntary cooperation and free exchange, we are exactly like the drug addict who refuses to come to terms with his addiction. To admit that he is an addict, openly.

We too are addicts – and far advanced.

There’s still time for a cure, but the clock is ticking…

Throw it in the Woods?

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63 COMMENTS

  1. Having managed and still managing property and businesses in the DC area and serving on boards of directors I can cite many incidents first hand where police refuse to “protect” or “serve” and courts won’t prosecute. Example: Thief steals truck that has satellite tracker. He takes it to his home where he is caught in it. He has the pawn receipts that he signed with his own name and showed his own ID for when he sold my equipment. He was on clear, color, closed circuit TV selling the tools. State refused to hear the case based on overloaded court system. Another similar case the defendent asked for a jury trial and it was never called. many other stories. Point being that when I was asked if I would sign a contract stipulating Private Arbitration in the event of a dispute as part of a business deal I readily agreed. In some parts of DC the neighborhoods have hired private security to patrol their streets because the government police they pay their taxes to don’t do their job. Private bounty hunters track down criminals. So, Eric, I don’t see why we need the police and courts you think we need. Private works much better.

    • I do Not understand Why all of my fellow Americans do not grasp the concept behind this fact: “In some parts of DC the neighborhoods have hired private security to patrol their streets because the government police they pay their taxes to don’t do their job.”

      That shit is a nationwide trend.

      I guess fluoride really does do what they say it does.
      We’re surrounded by idiots!

    • Sen. Sessions: ‘Deliberate Plan by President’ to Collapse U.S. Law Enforcement System

      April 10, 2014 – 6:30 PM
      By Craig Bannister

      Where ther is smoke there is going to be fire –

      Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) said today that Americans need to stand up to “a deliberate plan by the president of the United States” to collapse the nation’s law enforcement system regarding illegal immigration.

      In a Senate speech, Sessions said:

      “Our law enforcement system is in a state of collapse, and it’s a deliberate plan by the president of the United States, and it’s wrong. And, people need to be aware of it and need to stand up to it and I believe the American people are beginning to do so.”

      Sen. Sessions rebuked U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder and Vice President Joe Biden for their pro-amnesty efforts:

      “So, you come into the country illegally and the attorney general of the United States declares that these individuals have a civil right to amnesty. How can this possibly be: the chief law enforcement officer in America?

      “Vice President Biden recently said, quote: ‘You know, 11million people live in the shadows; I believe they’re already American citizens.’ Eleven million undocumented aliens are already Americans? Goodness. The vice president of the United States would make such a statement. It’s stunning beyond belief.”

      http://cnsnews.com/mrctv-blog/craig-bannister/sen-sessions-deliberate-plan-president-collapse-us-law-enforcement-system

  2. Thank you for another great column, Eric. What you wrote about Social Security leads me to ask for your and your readers’ advice:

    I have multiple sclerosis and became very ill and unable to work three years ago. I was an idiot and didn’t have disability insurance, so I had no income and no prospects. I didn’t see any other option, so I moved in with my parents. Everyone I know kept telling me to apply for Social Security disability, but I didn’t want to take the government’s blood money, so I wouldn’t do it.

    Finally, after a year of my health not getting any better and my hopes of ever going back to a normal life diminishing, I reluctantly applied for Social Security disability. I was glad when I was initially denied, but I appealed the decision nonetheless. After two failed appeals, the application was approved at a hearing with an administrative law judge. I think that may have been the worst day of my life.

    A couple of weeks ago, they deposited the first monthly payment into my bank account. Any day now, they will deposit all the “back payments” for three years, totaling over $50,000. I can’t bring myself to spend any of the money. I go out and see people at stores and other places, and every time I look at them all I can think about is that they go to work every day, and a portion of what they rightfully earn is stolen from them so it can be given to me. I have become a criminal.

    Intellectually, I can appreciate the argument that I’m just getting the money back that they previously stole from me. In fact, I started calculating the present value of what they have stolen from my over my life (I haven’t finished – I don’t feel well enough to do it for very long, and it is quite an endeavor). However, this doesn’t address the fact that they already spent the money they stole from me, and that to give me money now they have to steal it from somebody else. I can also appreciate, on an intellectual level, Walter Block’s argument that taking money from the state is good because it relieves them of their ill-gotten gains. But I still know that I am a criminal.

    I think the only moral thing to do with the money is something anti-state, like give it to the Ron Paul campaign or the Revolution PAC (even though I really think that is a lost cause, but that is another story). I feel horrible that my parents have had to support me, so I think that I should give the money to them. But if I do that I’m not only using their stolen money to support myself, I’m also making my parents accomplices in my crime.

    My question is, what would you do?

    • Hi Wayne,

      Let me begin by saying I admire your courage and integrity – as well as the thoughtfulness of your comments. Your situation is obviously extremely difficult and it’s probably impossible for me or anyone else who is healthy and so on to try to put themselves in your shoes. As far as SS money goes, most of us have been forced to “contribute” for many years – decades. It is understandable that we want to be made whole, that we feel a right to be made whole. The problem is that unlike, say, a common street mugging, where there’s a specific individual who took your money and so the possibility of getting it back from him (either your actual money that he stole or in the form of restitution from him) when it comes to SS the thief is the government – and there is no way to get your money back, just other people’s money. In effect, we are in the position of a person who has been mugged, who now has the opportunity to mug the next guy who comes along to make up for what was taken from us…

      We have to decide for ourselves how we feel about that. I’m glad your parents are able to help. That sort of help – freely given by family/friends – is the best help, because its source is compassion and empathy – not force and violence.

      Good to have you with us; please keep us posted!

    • I say do what you like with the money. The system is setup for people like you who need it. If you ain’t scamming the system you have no reason to feel bad!

    • FICA withholdings are partially to pay for disability insurance. Most of us pay, and hope our turn will never come. If you paid into private disability insurance, and it turned out that you were disabled, would your integrety and pride still cause you to refuse to collect? The concept is exactly the same.

      If we pay for full car insurance, and crunch into a tree on a dark night, would it make sense to collect on the policy?

      • Jvg, not really an apples-to-apples comparison. Insurance companies are private entities with REAL investments. The money you pay in goes to well-invested, heavily hedged funds and it’s actually available plus some, so when a claim comes the money’s there.

        Contrast that to Socialist Security; there’s no “trust fund”, no “lock box”–it’s money fresh from the bloody wallet of the last victim…so I can definitely see the moral conundrum in taking it.

        • That’ the way I see it, too.

          SS is perhaps the toughest moral question we’ll all have to face – because unlike welfare or other gross forms of government take-away/give back, SS is to a great extent the only federal program that “most of us” partake of and whose operation many of us don’t fully comprehend. I’ve already had several e-mails, for instance, from people who liked my column but took me to task over my criticism of SS. I had to explain to them that, much as it sucks that the government forced them to “contribute” all their working years, they are no more entitled (morally) to demand that others “contribute” now to provide their benefits today than a man who has just been mugged is entitled to mug the next guy who comes along to make up for his loss.

          If there’s a flaw in my logic, someone please point it out to me… .

          I’ve thought a lot about this and don’t see how we can espouse Libertarian ideals – or even limited government conservative deals – without rejecting the concept of SS out of hand, as well as any moral claim to benefits.

          • As one who retired on disability/SS I see this a little differently. I didn’t like it but the government made a bad bet with me, using my own money as its stake, and insisted I take the bet. It bet I wouldn’t live long enough to get my money back, and truth is I never expected to. Sort of as if I’d sat down to a table, a card game broke out, I got dealt in against my wishes, my cash was tossed into the pot, and I “won” (sort of). Now to my way of thinking if some gambler pulled this crap on me & then balked at paying up I’d feel compelled to ruin his day. If the other players around the table had been getting the same treatment I’d offer to split the pot if they’d lend a hand, and we could REALLY ruin his day.

            My reluctant “bet” is between that gambler & me, not with the people the gambler’s been robbing since I retired. I’d love to go back to work if I were able but that doesn’t appear to be in the cards, more due to government’s disability than to my own. I have empathy for those in the workforce currently facing the extortion we all endured, but take some comfort knowing I’m being paid in “legal”, though counterfeit (fiat) currency. Indeed, my greatest compassion is reserved for my younger Countrymen, when our owners deliver us to their customers and the “New World Order”.

            This whole mess has gotten downright interesting.

      • The problem with that, as Mythl rightly points out, is that SS does not operate like legitimate insurance or a legitimate annuity. Your money does not go into a pool or fund – and, legally speaking (see Supreme Court rulings) you are not entitled to any benefits at all. You have no property rights/claim to any SS benefits. It is a dole, period. Smith is robbed today to provide a payment to Jones, who retired yesterday.

        This is a tough one (see my earlier post) but if we are going to claim the moral high ground, we can’t morally defend SS. Otherwise, we’re just hypocrites and no better than anyone else accepting government blood money.

    • The government is going to take the money anyway. Where is criminal’s restitution going to come from? Assets he has from what he does, steal.

      Another point… Ron Paul will put whatever it is that people in his district want or can get into the spending bills. He then votes against the spending. It passes anyway but his district at least gets some their money back.

      The government has long sold SS as an “insurance policy”. What if a private insurance company were mismanaged and paid off people out of premiums from others? Run like a pyramid scheme like SS? Would collecting be wrong?

      Yes it’s tainted money. But the government isn’t going to stop stealing from the people because people stop collecting under the government’s rules. Nor will they reduce the rate by which they are increasing their theft.* While not collecting has it’s moral advantages, giving up what one has put in just means more those in government and close to it get to keep for themselves.

      *the rate they increase taxes, directly taking from people, is based more on how well they can con the people than it is on actual spending needs.

      • BrentP that’s pretty much the way I see it. Look, if the government involved were the democratic, Constitutional Republic it was founded to be perhaps I’d feel some remorse about accepting repayment, but it’s not so I don’t. The concept of government is inherently Evil. Ours was born of noble ideals but like any government, it was a tumor to the thinking of a Free People. It grew larger & more powerful until it metastasized into a full-blown cancer, eating away the last of its Constitutional restraints & ready to devour its host (that’d be us).

        I’d love nothing more than to see our once-great Republic restored, its Constitutional bounds renewed. I haven’t entirely given up hope but it’s a slim hope, about to be degraded to a mere wish unless things change pretty fast. I find it especially disheartening when the SCOTUS declares itself complacent in crimes of the State.

        I see where this stuff is heading & I don’t like it – or the handbasket we’re riding in either.

        • Hi Warren,

          Just a small but very important point of order. The founding documents make no mention of “democracy” – which the founders generally reviled for reasons that ought to be obvious to any thinking person by now. The intention was to set up a constitutionally limited federalize republic comprised of sovereign and independent states who delegated a very few powers to a central government.

  3. Van Bryant: “… Keynesians would support taking the two fatties, as their consumption of resources would allegedly drive you to work harder to support them as well as yourself.”

    When you put it like that, it’s hard to imagine how anybody would fall for it. Yet millions of producers have fallen for it, for a long time.

    There’s a dichotomy here. What is it? What is its nature? Is it the result of a combination of naivete and humanity’s innate good nature? Is it naive to assume that the two fatties would work alongside you, even though their efforts may not be as productive as yours? Isn’t it human to feel reluctant to leave them to starve?

    The dichotomy lies in the assumption that you would work indefinitely to save them along with yourself. That you would continue to do so even if they proved to be lazy and not contribute anything at all. That would be stupid, right? Producers are not that stupid in other areas of their lives; what did Keynes see that led him to believe that the fit guy would soldier on indefinitely to save other two?

    In Atlas Shrugged, somebody asked the industrialist Henry Reardon how he could stand to be hung about with so many moochers on his talent. He shrugged and said he didn’t notice them. But that seems a weak branch to hang an entire economic system on and have it work for so long — the assumption that the productive class “wouldn’t notice”.

    There has to be something else at work, some other factor than charitable impulse. From each according to his ability, to each according to his need … how is it that so many go along so willingly for so long?

    • Simple, Gail. I’m sure you’ve studied the “voluntary” income tax system as I have and concluded it’s wholly illegal in every way, including not having been properly ratified (the 16th amendment that is)…

      …now stop paying. There; THAT’S why we don’t shrug them off. Men with guns will kidnap you and put you in a cage or kill you.

        • Once again, it is hard to parse your gibberish, but:

          The Second Amendment articulated the natural right of free people to possess arms for self-defense. That this right is not a privilege conferred by government but rather a right that the state is morally bound to respect.

          Anyone who claims otherwise is either ignorant or deliberately trying to suppress the clear intent of the authors of the Constitution. To try to claim that the 2A was written to restrict or regulate the private possession of firearms is evil nonsense. I realize that ignorant people will stamp their feet and point to the phrase, “well-regulated” and then to the word, “militia” to try to argue the opposite. But this merely shows their ignorance – of what these terms meant in the 18th century – as evidenced by the context of those times, when virtually every private citizen did in fact possess arms, without restriction or regulation of any sort. Hence, if the authors of the 2A had intended to restrict or regulate the private possession of firearms then you have to come up with an explanation for why there was no “gun control” of any sort from 1789 (the date of the Constitution’s ratification) onward, until more than 100 years had passed…

          This fact cannot be gotten around.

          Modern advocates of “gun control” (that is, proponents of disarming innocent, non-criminal civilians) can argue many things but it is facile and fatuous for them to argue that the 2A was written for any other reason than to define and protect the right of private citizens to possess arms without qualification or restriction.

          • I was kidding in the sense that methyl complains with the “men with guns” excuse but most Libertarian romantics reckon that the 2nd Amendment has somtehing to do with overthrowing tyrannical government. In other words you supposed to shoot back at the gubmint goons with guns rather than curl up in a ball. If you own guns but haven’t got the guts to use then they may well be up on a wall only good for admiring.

          • Gil, you get it wrong again. In original concept, the USA would have no standing armies. No occupying police forces. No world wide empire. And thus no government ‘men with guns’. The guns would be entirely in the hands of the people. A condition where by no tyranny could rule and no invasion could ever be successful in the long term.

          • Wow. If he really is a plant, he’s desperate. He reminds me of all those super-obvious narcs at night clubs who spend the whole night running around asking people for ecstasy.

            Indeed, so desperate is the Heimat sicherheitdienst they’ll even recruit pot-head, washed-up used-car dealers like Arbabsian for their straight-to-DVD “terrorist” plots. My god even the New York Times smelled THAT fish.

            Incidentally funny anecdote: if you Google “Heimat”, http://www.dhs.gov is in the top ten results. Go figure.

            P.S. Gil, you’ll never here me advocate pro-active violence. Aggression is the tool of statists.

            • He’ll never get it because he’s not clever enough to change tactics. It’s always the same old same old with Gil and his fellow Clovers. They can’t grasp a non-violent approach to life because their entire lives are based on force and fraud – though at a distance – and they (the sort-of decent ones) can’t bear to confront the reality of what they are and what they advocate.

  4. People who believe as you do Eric – and I am in complete agreement – are thought criminals, considered terrorists by our government, and in need of being sent to a government reeducation center.

    If you want to have some fun with the smartest unawakened person you know (aka clovers), simply compliment him (or her) on how smart he is, and then ask him to explain the Federal Reserve to you. Then stand back and watch him hem and haw as they stammer and stutter.

  5. You got the blank stare because you moved beyond your friend’s comfort zone.
    The illusion is we have any control over what takes place in government. We certainly do not have that control.
    Social Security is a tiger by the tail. If you keep swinging the tiger by the tail hard enough he cannot reach behind him in theory and claw you to death. It does not work with the tiger. Millions of people are dependent on retirement funds like Social Security to be able to live. Now after many years of payments into the system, the young people want to dump it. Well, that is not going to happen. Those millions of people will reach any politician just like the tiger and claw him to death politically if those funds are touched.
    The problem is that the government stole those funds years ago. They are now hand to mouth trying to keep anyone from realizing that the fund is broken. The tiger in this case is all those old people dependent on the funds to survive. Unless you have a solution to that problem that includes taking care of these people, the tiger will respond. It is political suicide in an election year to even suggest the truth.
    The scheme originally worked by people dying before they could collect. It was a good con. If you make it to 64 then you have this carrot of a retirement through Social Security. Most people died within 5 years of collecting Social Security. A Minority lived all the way to 100. It was an easy payout for a few people while they collected from everyone.
    Switch to current day and medicine has made a lot of advances. People live an average of 12 years or more after starting Social Security. Suddenly they have a lot more payout than they had before. I am now 69. My wife is 68. We have been on it for 5 years. A lot of the people I worked with have died. So attrition still takes a lot of people out of the SS retirement. What has changed? Well for one, the government “borrowed” way too much out of the funds for various projects. The money went into the general fund instead of a separate accounting for Social Security. So you are right. The government is nothing more than a thief.
    They originally hoped inflation would kill it. But they had to put an inflation clause in place in the 70s or the whole scheme would have fell apart. Now they want to take the inflation clause out. THEY CANNOT PAY FOR IT WITH CURRENT INFLATION.
    If I were to criticize at all, it would be, I see no viable solution in the article to the government schemes to lift money out of our pockets.
    It would take a complete overhaul of everything to make this possible.

    • One way out would be to grandfather those currently in the system.

      For future generations, they can opt out. Eventually you can retire the system.

    • One possibly workable solution that I (and I suspect many people in my age group and younger) would accept would to to continue paying benefits as agreed to people currently collecting SS and within 10 years of being eligible but allowing younger workers who still have 20 or more years to go before being eligible to opt out of paying any additional SS taxes in exchange for formally agreeing to renounce any claim to future SS benefits. The “shortfall” resulting from the opt-outs could be made up – surely – via cutting other truly superfluous government programs, such as corporate welfare for openers. Meanwhile, younger workers would suddenly get an immediate 15 percent increase in their take-home pay and would thus be in a much better position to pay down debt, save and invest for the future – a future they’d be in control of, as opposed to being old and dependent for their gruel on SS.

      • Eric, that 15% increase would actually help stimulate economic growth and that would potentially increase revenues too. Sounds like a win-win, right? The reason the state would resist such a plan is summed up in your statement “a future they’d be in control of”. The state wants to control their future so reasonable proposals such as this are never considered.

      • That SS letter that everyone gets each year… I used to do a calculation with it. I totaled up all the value of my labor taken by the government for SS. I would then assume no raise in income until retirement. I would then use the benefit info to determine my break even point. Well… I better live to 90, because that’s about when I break even. And that’s just stuffing cash in a mattress even. No interest. No lost investment gains… just cash in a mattress numerical dollars even.

        Of course my income will increase over time, inflation will eat away at the value of the “benefits”, and the “benefits” will be cut as the program reaches critical mass right around my retirement date. That is if I get anything at all. So my calculation is really a best case.

        If I had the choice between social security benefits in the future and a 6 figure collector car today (value equal to what has already gone down the rat hole) and no more “contributions”. I think I’d take the car. The enjoyment of having it can’t be stolen from me. The car will always have some value. And a payoff from social security that comes close to what was taken from me is highly unlikely.

        • I’ve been paying in for 25-plus years now and the total amount would easily pay for a full-on restoration of my poor old Trans-Am and probably leave me enough in the kitty to finish a couple of bikes, too. I’d happily agree to say sayonara to all that (future “benefits”) in exchange for simply being allowed (can you believe we have to use such terminology, by the way?) to cease “contributing” from here on out. I know I could do better than Uncle with my next 20-plus years of “contributions” – but of course, that’s the real point and the reason why we’ll never be allowed to opt out. Uncle wants dependents – not financially secure people who have no need for government’s “help.”

          • I believe control of the dependents is a key reason why there is discussion about nationalizing our 401K plans and IRAs. One argument is that the “free market” has failed us and that’s why our returns are so dismal (I’ll admit that mine’s about a 200.5K now).

            Never mind that the Fed has completely skewed the markets with their boom-bust quantitative easing, secret lending, too big to fail bail-outs. Never mind that the U.S. government (along with practically all of their ilk) has borrowed themselves (and us by extension) into the abyss. Never mind that onerous taxation and regulation has sent our manufacturing scurrying off to every third world slave labor market. So now we’re supposed to believe that the mess we have in private retirement funds will be cleaned up by the same folks that are currently managing the Social Security program?

            I’ll bet there are some folks in government that plan on “cleaning up” alright. The same way they did with our Social Security funds. Before I turn anymore of my money over to the District of Criminals, I think I’d rather accept a dinner invitation from Hannibal Lecter….

          • Boothe–

            On nationalizing retirement accounts, bet on it. Those bastards are so desperate for money they’ll sell their own grandmas to brothels…oh, wait, they’ve done that already.

            There’s plenty of historical precedent for it elsewhere.

            I’m pulling mine. I strongly believe the market’s going to crash anyway; and besides, you’re 30% or 40% down in purchasing power in the Dow since 2000. Yup, if you were invested in a Dow index your portfolio buys less than 70% of what it did in 2000.

            Gold and silver on the other hand–you made out like a bandit!

            * a little note: watch for currency controls next. Already they’re questioning people for not just the $10K limit at airports, but asking about gold and silver too.

            Fucking nazis. We ARE the Fourth Reich, in every conceivable way.

  6. Cops like to tell people to be nice and submissive to criminals so they “won’t get hurt”, as if being victimized in any way isn’t “getting hurt”. “Give them what they want and let them go” is the mantra. That way, you won’t confuse the state-approved criminals with the independents.

    Eff that! I’m not interested in being a good little victim.

    • Me either.

      And as anyone with half a brain knows, you must stand up to bullies and thugs. They are predators – and fear/submission is an aphrodisiac to them. This is why it is important to give off the vibe that you will not be fucked with when you’re out and about – and to always maintain situational awareness, as pilots like to say. Act like you can handle yourself and probably they won’t bother you. They – the human hyenas out there – are looking for people who they think won’t even try to resist.

      • I started playing a little game when I was 16. It was taught to me by a guy named Chris Flint (my manager at the time). It’s called “The What If Game.” It was intended to be applied while sitting on the lifeguard stand. I was supposed to ask myself it throughout the day. Anyhow, I’m a bit older now and the game has advanced. I play it constantly in most every situation. I’m a full blown fanatic about being prepared. Each morning I leave the house as ready as I can be for anything. You are absolutely right about this.. “Eff that! I’m not interested in being a good little victim.”

        • The government is an artificial construct, which in this country has enumerated (i.e. limited) powers under the constitution. It is not a living person and therefore has no rights.

          • The “government” is a dream that always turns into a nightmare, much like socialism because it contains within it a contradiction. An elite cannot be given a monopoly on force, and a monopoly on judging their own performance, and a pass on morality, and then expect it to be “limited”. Who will limit it? How? No limitations are possible, as history has shown from the beginning of time. The only solution is identify our mistake and stop supporting it.

            • I agree philosophically. But, like many of our Founding Fathers, I also accept the tragic reality that a goodly portion of humanity is not like us. They cannot – do not want to – live peacefully in a voluntarist society. They will use violence and force to get what they want. It is ugly and it is unfortunate but it is reality because it is human nature. Or at least, the nature of many humans.

              Hence, like the Founders, I do (with reluctance) support the necessity for what we might call the rule of law – that is, for laws enshrining rights – and protecting them from those who don’t respect them. So, a system of courts (including civil courts) and peace officers to enforce laws against theft, assault and so on – but with powers/authority clearly delineated and strictly defined (thus far – and no farther). Not that I believe this – mere laws, etc. – will prevent violent people from committing violent acts. But it will codify the moral principle, serve as a deterrent (to an extent, if punishment is appropriate) and most important of all, provide an objective and organized means for dealing with ne’er do wells, vs. privately meted-out justice as well as provide justice (recourse) for those who cannot mete out justice themselves.

              Such a basic structure could, I imagine, be readily supported via non-specific sales/use taxes (i.e., no income or property taxes – so no coercion, no assault on the individual’s liberty) and tariffs on trade with unfree nations (such as China). That is the model originally conceived by the Articles of Confederation and while not perfect, it strikes me as being quite close!

              I see this as, as the Founders did, as essential to protecting liberty; that without the (just) rule of law, in fact, there can be no liberty.

              Do you think, given human nature, it is possible to realistically construct a stable society in which individuals are free – meaning, their right to property, self-ownership, etc. are respected and protected – absent the rule of law? How?

  7. From a Keynesian’s point of view, you aren’t ever taxed to provide other people with benefits; for someone like that, those just come from paying for them with new money (“printing money”, though I know there are technical differences), and the only reason governments tax is to head off inflation – which he counts as a general benefit everybody gets. So people like that make even less of a connection.

    • I am not completely familiar with Keynesian theory, but this does not make much sense to me.

      Creating “new money” without anything of value to support it, appears IMO to devalue the dollar. This really hurts those who save money.

      If government spends money in a non-productive manner this can make the problem worse for the people.

      People in government spend the public’s money (often in a questionable or financially unsound manner) and expect the public to provide more money. The waste of people, resources, and money can not continue forever. At some point the bill must be paid. Unfortunately the people that pay the bill are not the people that incurred the charges.

      • Yes. Inflation amounts to an inducement to profligacy (debt and spending) out of a sense of self-preservation, since anyone who saves and only buys what they can afford to pay for in full is effectively punished. It also makes it very hard to get off the treadmill, ever. Even if you have a paid-off house and “money in the bank,” the value of that money is constantly under assault, being devalued – putting pressure on you to make more money by either continuing to work or by playing the Shyster Market.

        It’s extremely malicious.

      • I didn’t say it made sense, I said this was how they thought of it. In fact, it was something the Keynesian giving the macroeconomics unit of my MBA once brought out.

        From this perspective, they know that, without backing, the money would collapse – but that backing is what they see taxes as providing if nothing else does (see also Chartalism). To put it the Keynesian way rather than the Chartalist way, taxes primarily head off inflation, and inflation is how the currency would later go on to collapse – secondarily – if they only printed money. Chartalists put their primary emphasis on the backing effect of taxes.

      • Imagine you are to be dropped in the middle of the wilderness on a pre-determined date, and you are allowed to bring two mates for the journey to civilization. Would you bring with you two hardy, bearded and tough survivalist types, or two obese guys? Keynesians would support taking the two fatties, as their consumption of resources would allegedly drive you to work harder to support them as well as yourself.

    • Thanks Gail, I hope so, too!

      I’ve come to the conclusion that the only way we’ll make headway is to challenge the basics, not dance around the periphery. I get so frustrated listening to conservatives talk about making government more “efficient”… when they should be talking about why so much of it ought to be dismantled and done away with.

      • A guy named Nelson Hultberg wrote an essay on the ‘Daily Reckoning’ website titled ‘The Tea Party Nation’s Sellout’. Here are some horribly chopped-up excerpts, with apologies to Mr. Hultberg:

        “From Eisenhower to [today], the GOP has lived by one rule: Once in Washington, waste no time in capitulating to Democratic socialism because that is where the votes are. Always put re-election above the country, above freedom and above honor. If the Democrats increase spending by $200 billion in any given year, then Republicans must increase it also. Of course… Republicans only push for increases of $180 billion and in so doing they conceive of themselves as brave defenders of the pass. Neocons…have sucked the Tea Party into the Black Hole of their Demopublican monopoly.

        Yet what do we hear from 80% of the conservatives in the Tea Party movement? “We need to concentrate,” they say, “on electing to office better, more conservative Republicans who will go to Washington with a clear commitment to reduce government spending. We need to take over control of the GOP.” What the[y] are missing, however, is that once the new conservative[s] get ensconced in the capital city, they soon get bit by the power disease and realize that it is much easier to win votes by playing the pork and subsidy game, that it is much easier to get big campaign donations by conveying special privileges to the corporations. They quickly succumb to the sordid favor-dispensing game and join the ranks of the Demopublican big spenders. [They] quickly conclude that if they are to be guaranteed re-election every two years, they must join with the Democrats to increase government spending. They end up … “treating the sewer of Washington like a hot tub.” They hop in and wallow in pork and privilege with the likes of Pelosi and Reid. Consequently, for every “new conservative” we send to Congress we lose an equally new conservative to the hot tub. The freedom movement stalls and statism continues to grow.”

        • I’ve been very disappointed by the Tea Party. My local outfit, for example, only seems interested in talking about “Muslim extremism,” defending Israel and waving the flag and singing that loathsome song, “I’m proud to be an American…”

  8. An excellent analysis. Orwell was right; we really do engage in NewSpeak now. Ignorance is strength, war is peace, the nonproductive are entitled to the fruits of productive’s labor. We are branded as “haters” or “mean spirited” for telling the truth about this. I’ve asked many dyed-in-the-wool liberals if they would pay the income tax, if they didn’t think men with guns would come to their house if they resisted. Sometimes you have to clarify it for them, but unanimously they say no, they would not pay it. The same for self described conservatives.

    It is only by the implied threat of force that this tax can be collected. And it only by the legal sophistry that the income tax is “voluntary” that it can pass constitutional muster. The same for Social Security, Medicare / Medicaid, WIC, Section 8 housing, etc. No reasonable honest person would ever impose these burdens on their fellow countrymen if they personally had to do the dirty work of robbing them at gunpoint.

    I agree that we could still correct this, but the window of opportunity closes more each day. I am afraid there are too many people with a vested interest in keeping things the way they are to ever see a peaceful resolution to this system of wealth extraction and redistribution. With suggestions that the current Front Man override congress and take matters into his own hands now floating around, the OWS “protestors” crapping on cop cars and the pope calling for a one world financial system, I’d say this experiment in a constitutional republic is pretty close to done.

    • I used to believe I could write elected office holders. Because of this I am now on Mark Kirk’s newsletter list…. The one I got today nearly got me going enough to write him again… then I realized he knows exactly what he is doing.

      First it’s ‘how much do you owe Illinois?’ I owe nothing like most everyone. We didn’t sign the debt instruments, the politicians and other government employees did. Government, as an entity, a corporation, does. Sure the government can take it from us, but we don’t owe it.

      Then he goes on about how he is going to call scientists and engineers together to learn how to fix the economy…. with public-private partnerships. That is more wealth transfer to government and those close to it. I’m an engineer, I can see through that scam. But he knows exactly what he is doing. Selling the masses on the con. Yet I am supposed to be polite to this guy?

      • You’re right; It’s nothing more than marketing Brent. You know he’s a hack and a whore, I know it and even he knows it. But he is comfortably bellied up to the trough filled from our productivity. He wants to stay at the trough. He knows that his newsletters work on a significant portion of the voting public. If they didn’t, he’d use something else or be replaced in the next election.

        He doesn’t care about guys like you and me. We’re awake so that makes our bloc a minority. He’s appealing to the masses. Nobody says you have to be polite to him. But keep in mind that if you aren’t polite to him, he may have friends over at the highway patrol….

      • Hey Brent, you’ll appreciate this….

        Yesterday afternoon, I was doing chores – including leaf raking (a huge job at our place) and hauling the trash to the green boxes, so I hadn’t bothered to shave or shower beforehand and looked pretty rough. Well, just as I was finishing up, a truck rolls down our gravel driveway. Out pops this guy who approaches me, all toothy smiles and hand out to shake mine. I expect to hear a sales pitch for frozen steaks or vinyl siding. I get a sales pitch from a local office seeker instead. I would have been polite to the steak guy. I cut off the officer-seeker with an abrupt “I don’t waste my time on this elections nonsense anymore; none of you guys are selling freedom so I’ve got no interest in buying a thing from you.” Startled stare. Turns around and leaves.

        I felt good for the rest of the day!

        • Bravo!!! We had seven census takers show up at our house. Our stock response was “There are two of us here” and we wouldn’t give them any more information than that. So they kept sending more. One girl was in tears because no one would help her (I applaud my neighbors). The last one was a woman about my age.

          When she got out of the car (I too was doing yard work and looked rough) I yelled “TWO”! She tried to cordially disarm me and I cut her off. I explained that’s all the info she’d get and there had already been six ahead of her. She said there’ll be more and I boomed “NO THERE WILL NOT. NOW LEAVE!” Visibly shaken she did just that and no more ever came after. I’m probably on another list now, but I’ve felt better ever since!

          • Hooray!
            I did the same and holy crap batman was it ever satisfying!

            He (nervous young man) knocked. I immediately came out–I don’t like them casing my house–and told him “Three people live here.”

            He tried to cajole me and I told him “I’m sick of simpering government dweebs bothering me in my house. It’s three people, now FUCK OFF!”

            And, he did.

            He was the first, and the last.

            P.S. During his cajoling he threatened a fine. Haven’t seen it yet. Don’t care if I do.

        • Thanks for not involving yourself with election nonsense anymore or some that do not want to be on census stats. That means that you have no say in what happens to your lcoal government, state or federal government. That makes it far easier to bash anyone in government since you can truly say that you are not part of it.

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