"It is the highest impertinence and presumption, therefore, in kings and ministers, to pretend to watch over the economy of private people, and to restrain their expence, either by sumptuary laws, or by prohibiting the importation of foreign luxuries. They are themselves always, and without any exception, the greatest spendthrifts in the society. Let them look well after their own expence, and they may safely trust private people with theirs. If their own extravagance does not ruin the state, that of their subjects never will." ~ Adam Smith
Time for a Trim?
Exclusive to STR
There's no shortage of complaints about government, nor will there ever be for as long as they may be expressed without penalty; though that may not be too long a period, Amendment #1 notwithstanding. Here's the twist: I'm going to name a few of the more common, current ones, and show simply what might be a possible resolution of each. Then I'm going to ask whether the sum of those resolutions would suffice, to trim the government tree.
Complaint: property taxes are too high. The figure is not easy to find in its 213-page Report, but my town government takes $10 million a year from fewer than 2,000 residents, as a condition of "owning" real estate. That's over $12,000 per household.
Possible Resolution: lower the rates.
Complaint: income taxes are too high. So much so that even that aspiring financial wizard Barack Obama agrees, with respect to all but those wicked fat cats earning millions; so it must be much too high.
Possible Resolution: lower them.
Complaint: income tax is enforced without law. Indeed it is; the dirty (and hardly little) secret is that Congress has written no law to make anyone liable for an income tax, nor therefore to be obliged to file a return or pay such a tax. In fact, there is not even a clear legal definition of what "income" means!
Possible Resolution: stop enforcing it (with collusion between utterly corrupt courts and the IRS ) or rush through a constitutional amendment to define "income," or switch to a sales tax.
Complaint: the Feds wage needless foreign wars. It's true! The countryside abounds with small buildings to house social gatherings of "Veterans of Foreign Wars" or VFW, but I've never yet seen one labeled for "Veterans of Domestic Wars."
Possible Resolution: unless attacked without provocation by a foreign force, have the Feds fight only domestic wars, as in 1861-65. That one killed more than all the others combined, but at least it made no new foreign enemies.
Complaint: government caused 9/11. Not, I think, by micromanaging a "false flag" job--nobody in D.C. is that smart--but by provoking it with six decades of unwavering support for the Israeli state.
Possible Resolution: terminate all foreign policy, for such always favors A over B, and eventually B will retaliate.
Complaint: government schools fail to educate. Again, this is so well known that even Obama agrees, though I didn't hear him explain how he'd fire incompetent teachers without losing the support of their unions.
Possible Resolution: cause government to teach better.
Complaint: government people violate the Constitution. Oh yes, all over the map. What's a piece of paper, they say, between friends?
Possible Resolution: charge the perps with treason, as traitors to their oaths.
Complaint: elections aren't fair. True; the R/D duopoly uses its might to exclude and marginalize new parties.
Possible Resolution: re-wire politicians' brains so that they welcome competition, and maybe switch to Proportional Representation.
Complaint: bankers are too influential. Probably less so than some allege, but it's true; government creditors wield an awesome amount of power.
Possible Resolution: abolish the Federal Reserve.
Complaint: lobbyists are too influential. Even if a company or industry doesn't lend government money, it can and does pour so much of it into legislators' re-election kitties as to buy their cooperation in the coming session--so that in effect they represent not the interests of the voters, but those of a small segment of special interests.
Possible Resolution: outlaw contributions (direct or indirect) from anyone not registered to vote.
Complaint: prisons are barbaric. Yes; conditions are horrible, over half of all inmates harmed nobody, and 1% of all adults are incarcerated--far too many and the highest percentage in the world.
Possible Resolution: slash sentences, repeal victimless-crime laws, appoint prison-condition overseers with wide powers.
Complaint: government uses torture. This cannot be true because Condi said America doesn't; but then there's rendition and other tricks to bypass limitations--including a handy re-definition of what "torture" means.
Possible Resolution: charge the perps with treason, beginning with cabinet members.
Complaint: government spies. It does; deliberately and systematically, it combs through private phone calls, emails, medical data and all its spies and informers can reach so as to accumulate more and more data for the purpose of control.
Possible Resolution: start by repealing the Patriot Act and abolishing driver licenses.
Complaint: politicians lie. Right, usually when they move their lips.
Possible Resolution: before anyone runs for office, bring him to the young boy in "Liar, Liar" for a magic spell to be cast that compels him to tell only the truth, like Jim Carrey's character.
Complaint: government distorts families. Yes; by licensing marriages, prohibiting abortions (historically), by stealing children from one or both parents, and over-ruling divorce agreements to conform to political rectitude.
Possible Resolution: exclude government and its courts from marriage agreements and reproduction choices, and abolish Departments of Youth "Services."
Complaint: anti-smoking, seat belt and helmet laws are intrusive. Indeed they are; they destroy our right to choose.
Possible Resolution: repeal them.
Complaint: government is racist. Right; affirmative action laws favor one racial group over others.
Possible Resolution: repeal them.
Complaint: government grabs guns! Without a shadow of a doubt, 20,000 anti-gun laws "infringe" Amendment 2.
Possible Resolution: charge the authors with treason.
Complaint: there are far, far, far, far, far too many laws altogether. Indeed; so many they can hardly be counted, and certainly not all read, even in a lifetime; they are strung across society like trip wires so that anybody can be accused at any time of breaking at least one of them, whenever government finds it desirable to take him out.
Possible Resolution: sunset every law after one year, unless read aloud verbatim in full session of the legislature voting to renew--including any associated regulations that carry the force of law.
Sum of the Resolutions
Each problem could be fixed as shown, and then we'd have a lean, mean government machine. Is that good enough?
But wait: "could" is an overstatement. There are serious obstacles to implementing most of the resolutions above. For example, the Feds would be reluctant to sponsor the "income" defining amendment because that would be to admit that the tax had been enforced without law for the past 95 years, so embarrassing as to be possibly fatal. Again: simply to "lower" major sources of tax revenue would mean to slash the size of government, and that would absolutely conflict with Parkinson's Law about unlimited bureaucratic expansion. To "cause government to teach better" would be like tutoring pigs in the art of flight, while to make politicians tell the truth would distort their faces beyond recognition. Further, to have the originators of outrageous betrayals executed for treason would merely multiply violence and change no minds.
Possibly in an extreme situation, one or two of these resolutions might actually happen, given a lifetime of effort greater than that expended by the NRA and GOA --but for them all together, there is no chance at all. All of them are totally incompatible with the nature of the government organism (to grow, and exercise ever more power), and some of them are literally in the world of make-believe.
Nonetheless, for our purpose, imagine that somehow, enough fairies wave enough magic wands that in a few short years, all such complaints could really be resolved as shown so that sweetness and light prevail. Would it be good enough?
Absolutely not, in a million years; and here's why.
The residual government would still be a government, over-ruling some of the choices you and I might make as sovereign owners of our own lives; in some degree large or small, it would be absolutely violating that basic human right.
Lower property taxes--even of one penny a year--would still deny everyone's right to own property free and clear. A lower tax on work would still punish labor and steal its product, violating everyone's right to exchange our labor for whatever we please. Properly legalizing the income tax would only sprinkle perfume on the theft. Waging only domestic wars would still kill for political purposes, depriving of life itself those whose "right to life" is purportedly being "secured" by the governments arranging the war. Improved government schooling would still leave schools run by government, instead of parents with 100% control over what their own children are taught--so continuing absolutely to violate the right of families to arrange their own affairs; as would repeal of marriage, reproduction and divorce laws. Abolishing the Federal Reserve would still leave government in control of money, the lifeblood of commerce and prosperity. Enabling more political parties to contest elections would still put majorities governing minorities, contrary to their absolute, individual human right to govern themselves. Making prisons civilized would still confine human beings--bringing no benefit to them, their victims or the those who pay the rent. Ensuring that voters influence the governors while rich companies do not would do nothing to change the ugly fact that A is governing B, contrary to the self-ownership rights of B. And sunsetting all laws after one year would still leave them in place for 365 days too many.
There is no compromise possible, between A and Non-A. Either a person rules himself exclusively, or someone else rules him completely or in part, and the latter is called "slavery."
The beauty of the self-ownership premise is that it is undeniable, hence axiomatic. How might one set out to deny it? By expressing a contrary opinion--for example, that no, every person owes allegiance to others in some way, form or degree. But the very act of expressing that or any other opinion implies that the expressor has the right to express it; that it is his own opinion. Trouble is: by the terms of his denial of the premise, he does not own himself, and therefore does not own his opinion or anything else pertaining to his person; he is subject to the rule of some other party, and should he wish to express any opinion, he will need a permit. Absent that permission, he has no business opening his mouth or pressing a key, eating a meal or going to the bathroom. (Illuminating anecdote: a while back I was invited to address a class of sixth-formers about libertarian theory. I arrived a few minutes early and one young lady aged 17 or 18 mistook me for a substitute teacher and asked my permission to do just that. So is the slave mentality pummeled into inmates of government schools.)
The premise can also be tested by considering who else might be one's owner, if not oneself. Leaving aside theories of the supernatural, it has to be some other human being or group of humans. But then, how did they acquire the right to own a human being? Under the terms of the proposed denial, nobody owns himself; how, then, can anyone possibly own not just himself but someone else as well? There being no possible answer to that contradiction, the premise is confirmed and becomes an axiom.
From there it's a short and obvious step of logic to the conclusion that government in any form or degree absolutely violates the basic human right of self-ownership, is totally irreconcilable with human nature and so wholly irrational.
In our masthead, Strike The Root likens the endless list of government anomalies like those above to branches of a tree which might, with enormously dedicated labor, be lopped off one by one--so giving it a trim. How very much simpler and more permanent, to cut off the tree at its roots.