Recent comments

  • Samarami's picture
    Samarami 3 years 11 weeks ago Page R. K. Blacksher
    JD: "To further the argument, the right people do exist. By right people, I mean the kind of people that have the ideas on a new way that could truly further the cause of liberty. However, they would find it morally reprehensible to participate in a system where they would have the power of life and death, let alone create rules, over fellow human beings". My siren song: Those "right people" have declared themselves sovereign and recognize "a new way" is to lead by example, not deign to "rule". These folks have withdrawn (to the extent possible) from the existing religion (state worship). They have ceased voting, "voluntarily" submitting forms and "returns" to agents of state. They have come to recognize and teach the principle of self-ownership -- I am responsible for my own well-being and my own behavior. (http://www.isil.org/resources/introduction.swf) And, as my friend, Mark (above post) wrote on STR some years ago: (http://www.strike-the-root.com/52/davis_m/davis1.html) ..."if you want to be free you should start acting free..." Sam
  • Steve's picture
    Steve 3 years 11 weeks ago Page Bill Walker
    Yesterday during the Fourth of July parade in Amherst, NH, I distributed campaign literature for Gary Johnson. I was surprised at how many people asked me his position on immigration and "the border". The only country NH shares a border with is Canada. BTW, Gardner Goldsmith pointed out that the US Constitution makes *naturalization* a federal function, but not *immigration*.
  • Mark Davis's picture
    Mark Davis 3 years 11 weeks ago Page R. K. Blacksher
    Word! You know a system of governance is self-defeating when the "right people" to lead are the ones who refuse to do so while the "wrong people" excell at obtaining leadership positions.
  • Suverans2's picture
    Suverans2 3 years 11 weeks ago Page Michael Kleen
    "Many bleat about wanting a smaller, Constitutional government, [or no government] but few of them will actually give up any government goodies to get there." ~ tzo [Bracketed information added to quote]
  • Suverans2's picture
    Suverans2 3 years 11 weeks ago Page Michael Kleen
    "What might be concrete step number one?" ~ tzo "You must be the change you wish to see in the world." ~ Mohandas Gandhi
  • Suverans2's picture
    Suverans2 3 years 11 weeks ago Page Michael Kleen
    G'day Sam, Congratulations, my friend, on your 23rd grandchild.
  • jd-in-georgia's picture
    jd-in-georgia 3 years 11 weeks ago Page R. K. Blacksher
    "The problem is that within the confines of any system of domination and exploitation, “the right people” simply do not exist." This basic statement is the glue that can make the argument for anarchy stick. I am not as intelligent as most of my fellow root strikers. It has taken me a while to take off the rose, white, and blue colored glasses provided by years of state education. To further the argument, the right people do exist. By right people, I mean the kind of people that have the ideas on a new way that could truly further the cause of liberty. However, they would find it morally reprehensible to participate in a system where they would have the power of life and death, let alone create rules, over fellow human beings. Do we not know right from wrong? Can't we all just get along? Sorry... pretty lame and cliche. Still, it does not make it wrong :-)
  • kylegriffin's picture
    kylegriffin 3 years 11 weeks ago Web link Jad Davis
    War in a serious issue we are speaking here not only destruction of properties,lives but as well as its cost of battle.In fact,A report has been unveiled by Brown University scholars tallying up the expense of American battles since 2001. The study found the battles in Iraq and Afghanistan have expense almost $4 trillion and have ended in over 250,000 deaths. The proof is here: Wars cost American taxpayers almost $4 trillion in past decade.
  • Paul's picture
    Paul 3 years 11 weeks ago Web link Jad Davis
    This was also reported on the LewRockwell.com blog: http://www.lewrockwell.com/blog/lewrw/archives/90515.html However there was an update: "UPDATE Three LRC'ers have written me convincingly to question Mr. Vey's methodology and conclusion."
  • Tony Pivetta's picture
    Tony Pivetta 3 years 11 weeks ago Page Michael Kleen
    In theory, an incremental change through legislation is possible. But it isn't likely. Freedom will come from education, by changing hearts and minds through sites like this. Changing hearts and minds will result in paradigm shifts. Nobody will see it coming. It will come.
  • Paul's picture
    Paul 3 years 11 weeks ago Page Michael Kleen
    "I'm not sure how incremental change can be implemented. Does someone have some concrete examples of political action that can be or has been launched that increases freedom?" Well, this may be going a bit overboard, to imagine that freedom can NEVER be increased legislatively, in any respect. I think that would be a very hard case to make. It's not necessary to make it. The problem is not that in one particular or another, incrementalism fails; it is that in overall freedom, it fails. That failure is WHY we have resets on occasion. People finally can't put up with the crap any more. They toss the old worldview and start acting significantly different. Usually that significant difference is something other than begging for crumbs from the legislative table.
  • Suverans2's picture
    Suverans2 3 years 11 weeks ago Web link Melinda L. Secor
    clover is a persons screen name, so the title is in reference to people who "think" like that person who calls him or her self clover.
  • Tony Pivetta's picture
    Tony Pivetta 3 years 11 weeks ago Web link Melinda L. Secor
    By jolly, I think you're right!
  • Tony Pivetta's picture
    Tony Pivetta 3 years 11 weeks ago Web link Melinda L. Secor
    I'm with you, Sam. The term is new to me. I found nothing relevant in the online urban dictionary, but Wikipedia's entry includes the following "Symbolism and Mythology" blurb: "A common idiom is 'to be (live) in clover,' meaning to live a carefree life of ease, comfort, or prosperity." So maybe it means someone with a devil-may-care attitude about the expanding police state.
  • Samarami's picture
    Samarami 3 years 11 weeks ago Web link Melinda L. Secor
    I'm curious: what is a "Clover"? I mean other than a herbaceous plant (genus Trifolium)? Do people apply it to just "progressives" (politically "liberal")? Or does it include people in both camps -- liberal and conservative? Or is it anybody who ain't a libertarian? Is the term in use anywhere besides in this essay? Thanks. Sam
  • Tony Pivetta's picture
    Tony Pivetta 3 years 11 weeks ago Web link Melinda L. Secor
    I think she's referring to the War on (Some) Drugs. If that's the case, and she's using formation of the Drug Enforcement Administration as her starting point, it's only 38 years old. Of course, the War on (Some) Drugs is much older than that. The "war against its own citizens," moreover, is at least as old as the republic itself. You can make the case the Revolutionaries of 1776 waged war on their own "citizens" by going after the Loyalists (who, after all, had as much right to maintain their ties to the British Crown as the Revolutionaries had to break them) in the campaign for Independence.
  • Suverans2's picture
    Suverans2 3 years 11 weeks ago Web link Westernerd
    G'day rita, Perhaps you didn't read this. G'day tzo, You wrote: "Here the Constitutionalist jumps in to point out that the Constitution—the basis of this government—is not the source of rights, but merely the declaration that those innate rights shall not be infringed upon by the government." It's not even that, in my opinion, because, to be more precise, their beloved Constitution states that their voluntary members innate [natural] rights cannot be infringed upon by the government without "due process of law" , and, as has been mentioned elsewhere, "due process of law" is whatever the fox guarding the hen house says it is. "No person shall...be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation*." ~ Excerpted from Amendment V of the Bill of Rights [Emphasis added] * Care to take a guess at who gets to decide what "just compensation" is? Furthermore, if that is true, then the opposite is also true, that is to say, if their voluntary members innate rights cannot be infringed upon by the government without "due process of law", then their innate rights can be infringed upon by the government with "due process of law", which, again, because it bears repeating, is whatever the fox guarding the hen house says it is. P.s. rita, your "right", i.e. your "just claim", to your justly acquired property is not a "Constitutional right", it is an innate right, i.e. a natural right.
  • Suverans2's picture
    Suverans2 3 years 11 weeks ago Web link Melinda L. Secor
    2011 minus 40 equals 1971. Why 1971, rita???
  • Suverans2's picture
    Suverans2 3 years 11 weeks ago Page Alex R. Knight III
    TAC'IT, a. [L. tacitus, from taceo, to be silent, that is, to stop, or to close. See Tack.] Silent; implied, but not expressed. Tacit consent is consent by silence, or not interposing an objection. So we say, a tacit agreement or covenant of men to live under a particular government, when no objection or opposition is made; a tacit surrender of a part of our natural rights; a tacit reproach, & Webster's 1828 American Dictionary of the English Language
  • rita's picture
    rita 3 years 11 weeks ago Web link Melinda L. Secor
    Correct me if I'm wrong, but the date for US involvement in Afghanistan is 2001. 2011 minus 2001 equals 10 years, give or take a few months. Our government's war against its own citizens has been going on for 40 years. How is it that Afghanistan is called the longest war in American history?
  • Suverans2's picture
    Suverans2 3 years 11 weeks ago Page tzo
    Like this: "It's a much easier task to convince others to let you be, than it is to convince them to drop their world-view entirely and adopt yours. It's not a good tactic to divide ourselves from others. Better to find what common ground we can, and work to enlarge it."
  • rita's picture
    rita 3 years 11 weeks ago Web link Westernerd
    The ACLU doesn't have to fight every individual case if they would get off their collective butts and uphold our Constituional rights to private property. Everything about the prohibition of drugs -- not just illegal traffic stops based on racial profiling, which this case clearly was -- EVERYTHING about it violates the Constitution.
  • rita's picture
    rita 3 years 11 weeks ago Web link Westernerd
    "Decriminalization" is NOT the same as "legalization." Decrim merely means no prison time for possession or use, and usually stipulates arbitrary "for personal use" amounts that have no relation to reality and can only be verified by the same ol' same ol' methods of spying, invading, violating and robbing currently in use by drug warriors. AND since decrim normally keeps selling illegal, and if all I can legally possess is what I can use in one day, all you've done is increase profits for my local dealer, who is still breaking the law, and the violence continues. The only people who fear legalization are the people who make their livings destroying other people's lives and the people who worship at the feet of those who would be gods.
  • Suverans2's picture
    Suverans2 3 years 11 weeks ago Page tzo
    Like this: "Always be mindful that to them [citizens], the state is their parent and family and we all know what happens when you insult someone's momma. Only they can convince themselves that momma don't love them."
  • rita's picture
    rita 3 years 11 weeks ago Web link Westernerd
    Free men shouldn't allow their children to be taught lies, either -- "liberty and justice for all" -- what a joke.
  • Samarami's picture
    Samarami 3 years 11 weeks ago Page Per Bylund
    Paul's comment sez it all for me. The only thing I want from agents of state is to be left alone (I know better than that, however -- parasites cannot resist infecting the host if s/he gives them half a chance). They can "legalize marriage" between dogs, cats and donkeys as far as I'm concerned. What members of state gangs declare "legal" or "illegal" is for the most part simply minor inconveniences for the anarchists among us. The Texas Two-Step was conjured up for the likes of us -- to learn to dance around state impediments without holding hands with the thief. Paul mentioned "homeschoolers". Yes, we have to decide every now and again whether to partake of the stolen largess the criminal gangs gleefully offer (since they've grudgingly accepted the fact they cannot and will not force us into their state indoctrination centers); or whether to bypass and pay the price for freedom. We tend to choose the latter. It's rare we can recapture any loot from the bandoleros without getting sucked into their "voluntary participation" con games. Sam
  • Tony Pivetta's picture
    Tony Pivetta 3 years 11 weeks ago Page Michael Kleen
    How did Orwell put it? "If you want a vision of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face--forever." Now take a stroll through the cop-thuggery videos pockmarking YouTube. That future is now. If that's my face on the receiving end, I don't want the boot removed in increments. I want the cop to pull back a bloody, footless stub! Happy Independence Day, everybody!
  • rita's picture
    rita 3 years 11 weeks ago Web link Michael Kleen
    More misplaced outrage -- police should not be allowed to treat ANYONE this way, mentally handicapped or not.
  • AtlasAikido's picture
    AtlasAikido 3 years 11 weeks ago Page Bob Wallace
    Re: the good-bad-and-half-asleep as it relates to Mr Wallace's posit that 'On the libertarian side, the only narcissistic ideology is Objectivism, which is a political/religious cult. It splits people into Rand’s perfect all-good heroes and projects all problems onto her sub-human “looters” and “parasites.”' This issue was already covered and refuted in the following link. Mr. Wallace was also taken to task for intellectual dishonesty on this issue and refused to correct it. http://www.strike-the-root.com/was-ayn-rand-proto-fascist. Indeed, Mr Wallace continues with his Ayn Rand and Objectivism bashing but with no support other than another article with the same assertions and self-confessional projections; and explicitly without taking into account the evidence of his own black and white weaknesses.
  • Whit86's picture
    Whit86 3 years 11 weeks ago Web link Jad Davis
    Thanks for sharing this info & please check out: http://prisonerhungerstrikesolidarity.wordpress.com for updates & ways to show support from the Prisoner Hunger Strike Solidarity coalition--these folks are in contact w/ prisoners on a weekly basis & working to build support for prisoners at Pelican Bay and Corcoran. We're also organizing international solidarity actions on July 9th--check the site for more info! In Struggle, Whit
  • John deLaubenfels's picture
    John deLaubenfels 3 years 12 weeks ago Page Per Bylund
    So ... you chose to marry your wife in order to cash in on government-given privileges, but now you're telling gays to f*** off. Those privileges are for YOU, not for THEM. Have I got it right?
  • mghertner's picture
    mghertner 3 years 12 weeks ago Page Per Bylund
    "You surrender your rights if you agree to play, so don't play." No. Your property rights will be violated by the government regardless of whether you vote or abstain. From Lysander Spooner's "No Treason No. 2: The Constitution of No Authority": "In truth, in the case of individuals, their actual voting is not to be taken as proof of consent, even for the time being. On the contrary, it is to be considered that, without his consent having ever been asked, a man finds himself environed by a government that he cannot resist; a government that forces him to pay money, render service, and forego the exercise of many of his natural rights, under peril of weighty punishments. He sees, too, that other men practise this tyranny over him by the use of the ballot. He sees further that, if he will but use the ballot himself, he has some chance of relieving himself from this tyranny of others, by subjecting them to his own. In short, he finds himself, without his consent, so situated that, if he use the ballot, he may become a master; if he does not use it, he must become a slave. And he has no other alternative than these two. In self-defence, he attempts the former. His case is analogous to that of a man who has been forced into battle, where he must either kill others, or be killed himself. Because, to save his own life in battle, a man attempts to take the lives of his opponents, it is not to be inferred that the battle is one of his own choosing. Neither in contests with the ballot -- which is a mere substitute for a bullet -- because, as his only chance of self-preservation, a man uses a ballot, is it to be inferred that the contest is one into which he voluntarily entered; that he voluntarily set up all his own natural rights, as a stake against those of others, to be lost or won by the mere power of numbers. On the contrary, it is to be considered that, in an exigency, into which he had been forced by others, and in which no other means of self-defence offered, he, as a matter of necessity, used the only one that was left to him."
  • tzo's picture
    tzo 3 years 12 weeks ago Page Per Bylund
    Not paying taxes at all is a right, but a tax cut is indeed a privilege for citizens. It is doled out by politicians. If it is not granted, you don't get it. For non-citizens, government taxation is theft, period. Whether the government steals 40% or 30% or 1% is pretty irrelevant to the fact that they are violating human rights in every case, since human beings have the right to their property. Actively fighting for less taxes is not standing up for your rights, it is seeking privilege. It is what citizens do, as they have decided to trade their rights for privileges by playing the government game. "I am going to steal from you, but you get to pool your opinion together with others and the majority will decide how much I will steal from each of you in order to give to others. Go ahead, vote for less theft, you just may win. Wanna play?" You surrender your rights if you agree to play, so don't play. "...the problem lies with the spending, not the tax cut." That's funny. That's the whole point, you see? You're not ever going to get anything, not even a privilege. You will pay for it your own self in some other form, or you will offload the cost to others, even as they are offloading some of their costs to you. It's just a 3-card monte game, and the suckers never stop lining up. Just fogettabotit.
  • mghertner's picture
    mghertner 3 years 12 weeks ago Page Per Bylund
    Per, you (or others) have posted links to your article in three different places. What I am trying to accomplish by posting this quote in all three places is to establish for readers that the authority to which you appeal disagreed with the claims you have made in his name. Murray Rothbard was wrong about a lot of things, but he deserves credit for the things he was right about, this being one of them.
  • Per Bylund's picture
    Per Bylund 3 years 12 weeks ago Page Per Bylund
    mghertner, you've posted the same quotes in (at least) three places. I'm not sure what you try to accomplish with doing so, since I have responded to it elsewhere. You seem a bit obsessed with the tax break part of my argument. Well, it is part of it - but only together with the other parts. I talk about this here: http://blog.mises.org/17493/equality-under-the-laws/comment-page-1/#comm...
  • mghertner's picture
    mghertner 3 years 12 weeks ago Page Per Bylund
    Shorter Rothbard: a tax cut is not a "privilege". A tax cut is a right, in the sense that all of us have a right not to be taxed. If a tax cut is not paired with an equal cut in spending, the problem lies with the spending, not the tax cut.
  • Guest's picture
    Temujin (not verified) 3 years 12 weeks ago Page Per Bylund
    You say you had to surrender and "marry" your wife in the statist sense because the consequences of not having this signed piece of paper are genuine inconveniences. Not to sound like I'm casting stones or questioning your principles, but I wonder if you ever regret taking that step? I'm not married but if I were, the one big concern for me would be if I were to die, I'd want anything I own to be 100% transferred to my partner rather than stolen or misappropriated. I suspect that without the signed marriage license, it is a lot harder to prove inheritance claims on anything. Was that your primary justification for getting "married"? Sadly even the true libertarians are hard-pressed to avoid running errands for the state. The State is often impossible to avoid, even in death. A really good article though. Thanks for posting it.
  • mghertner's picture
    mghertner 3 years 12 weeks ago Page Per Bylund
    ‎"If, then, the libertarian must advocate the immediate attainment of liberty and abolition of statism, and if gradualism in theory is contradictory to this overriding end, what further strategic stance may a libertarian take in today's world? Must he necessarily confine himself to advocating immediate abolition? Are "transitional demands," steps toward liberty in practice, necessarily illegitimate? No, for this would fall into the other self-defeating strategic trap of "left-wing sectarianism." For while libertarians have too often been opportunists who lose sight of or under-cut their ultimate goal, some have erred in the opposite direction: fearing and condemning any advances toward the idea as necessarily selling out the goal itself. The tragedy is that these sectarians, in condemning all advances that fall short of the goal, serve to render vain and futile the cherished goal itself. For much as all of us would be overjoyed to arrive at total liberty at a single bound, the realistic prospects for such a mighty leap are limited. If social change is not always tiny and gradual, neither does it usually occur in a single leap. In rejecting any transitional approaches to the goal, then, these sectarian libertarians make it impossible for the goal itself ever to be reached. [...] Similarly, in this age of permanent federal deficits, we are often faced with the practical problem: Should we agree to a tax cut, even though it may well result in an increased government deficit? Conservatives, who from their particular perspective prefer budget balancing to tax reduction, invariably oppose any tax cut which is not immediately and strictly accompanied by an equivalent or greater cut in government expenditures. But since taxation is an illegitimate act of aggression, any failure to welcome a tax cut—any tax cut—with alacrity undercuts and contradicts the libertarian goal. The time to oppose government expenditures is when the budget is being considered or voted upon; then the libertarian should call for drastic slashes in expenditures as well. In short, government activity must be reduced whenever it can: any opposition to a particular cut in taxes or expenditures is impermissible, for it contradicts libertarian principles and the libertarian goal." - Murray Rothbard, The Case for Radical Idealism http://mises.org/daily/1709
  • Paul's picture
    Paul 3 years 12 weeks ago Web link Mike Powers
    From the article:"Of course, for libertarians, all of this does raise another important question: What should be done about this unnatural influx of immigrants? The optimal solution would be to eliminate all public property and services, abolish the welfare state, and abolish all restrictions on how private property owners and local communities may govern themselves. This, however, is highly unlikely. " No, I'm not willing to brush off that solution so easily. Immigration of large numbers of "undesirables" (whatever that means) is a cost of socialism. I don't think it is a good idea to let socialism off the hook on this one. If people want socialism, they should have to put up with undesirables. "While there is room for debate on an imperfect solution to the issue, it would probably be best to emulate a private property system by permitting the states and localities to restrict entry to only those it feels would be of benefit to the community. " This is not emulating private property. It is emulating fascism; that is, like fascism, it retains some superficial aspects of private property while dispensing with the essence. "If something is not done, however, the nation will continue to feel the strain of mass cultural and economic degradation. " Something should be done all right, but trampling freedom is not it. One test of reasonableness is what you would be capable of doing personally. I would be capable of stopping someone speeding through my residential neighborhood, because my child is at risk. "Slow down or get out!" On the other hand, if I were down on the border and someone from Mexico wanted to come in to work somewhere, why is it my business to stop him? It's not my business, and I wouldn't. I wrote an article about immigration here: http://www.ncc-1776.org/tle2006/tle373-20060625-05.html
  • Per Bylund's picture
    Per Bylund 3 years 12 weeks ago Page Per Bylund
    Thanks to both Paul and tzo for your comments and clear thinking. Let me tell you, most people have not actually commented on the argument but made several attempts at misrepresenting what I write or go into discussing particular policies or situations. This is an argument built entirely on principle - the principle of Liberty - and has nothing to do with practical concerns. Some of the responses misunderstanding the point have been made here: http://blog.mises.org/17493/equality-under-the-laws/ But most of them were of course not made in public where they can be scrutinized.
  • tzo's picture
    tzo 3 years 12 weeks ago Page Per Bylund
    I especially like the last three paragraphs, which draws the distinction between libertarians and Libertarians, which are actually two completely different animals.
  • tzo's picture
    tzo 3 years 12 weeks ago
    Extortion/Bribery
    Page Paul Hein
    I believe the law of unintended consequences as applied to government applies to the voters who attempt to use politics to help themselves. Walmart doesn't pay enough taxes. They should pay more, not me. So I vote on Proposition 999 and make it so. Then Walmart raises prices to absorb the tax hike. So who's really paying the extra tax? I drive a lot, and I have the chance to vote on Proposition 888 to decrease the gas tax. It passes. The government responds by raising property taxes and some people end up losing their homes as a result. This includes a family who voted against the gas tax cut because dad walks to work. I win, he loses. I keep a few extra dollars in my pocket and he loses his house. Ah, nothing like slave-on-slave violence. With the government gun in your hands, you inevitably shoot yourself or your neighbor in the foot. Put the gun down.
  • tzo's picture
    tzo 3 years 12 weeks ago Page Michael Kleen
    I'm not sure how incremental change can be implemented. Does someone have some concrete examples of political action that can be or has been launched that increases freedom? Tax cuts? That just means some other tax will have to increase to cover the shortfall, or more dollars will need to be printed, or more credit will need to be extended. With fiat currency, the money will come into existence somehow. The government does not need to tax dollar number one from the population in order to remain operational. They make the stuff. Most people, according to a good number of polls, objected to the new health care legislation. Did that stop it from passing? Perhaps most people want the troops out of the Middle East. Were the bailouts supported by the masses? The citizenry has just about zero control over anything, it seems to me. But again, if anyone has some concrete examples of incrementalism toward freedom in action that actually cannot be end-arounded, I'd be interested in hearing about them. And if Ron Paul were to become president and cut back government even a fraction of what he would like, the backlash from the entitled citizenry (teachers, post office, military, etc.) who would lose their goodies would pretty much end the political libertarian movement for good. You can't get elected if you aren't popular, and no one wants to give up what they have if they can at all help it. Many bleat about wanting a smaller, Constitutional government, but few of them will actually give up any government goodies to get there. So as far as concrete actions instead of vague ideological slogans go, "...Rothbard never bothered to explain what those means would be, especially in the face of the millions of people who depend upon and support the State." Now the incrementalist has the opportunity and platform here to explain his means to the end of freedom in the face of millions of people who depend upon and support the State. What might be concrete step number one?
  • Paul's picture
    Paul 3 years 12 weeks ago Page Per Bylund
    I agree. This is lesbians and gays in the wild state, seeing the heteros living on the plantation, saying "We want to be slaves just like them!" If taxes are less for married couples, maybe the correct response is to make your living in untaxable income, or just live with the extra theft as a cost of freedom. If inheritance rights are less convenient, maybe joint ownership of items is the correct response. And so forth. It's like homeschooling. Some homeschoolers eagerly respond when the state offers programs for homeschoolers. Other, wiser ones, reject any government help and remain independent. Read about the "Wild and Free Pigs of the Okeefenokee Swamp": http://www.geoffmetcalf.com/790.html
  • Paul's picture
    Paul 3 years 12 weeks ago Page Michael Kleen
    "...there are still those who insist that they can blink their ideal society or government into existence" Who says this? Nobody I ever heard or read. I think this is known as a "straw man". :-) "Rothbard’s example of the politician who abandoned his principles is entirely anecdotal." So Lord Acton was wrong? Power does not corrupt? "The success of socialism in the United States, such as it is, is an argument for incrementalism, not against it." I don't see what the dispute is. Freedom can clearly be (and usually is) lost incrementally, but it can also be lost all at once. Freedom can clearly be gained incrementally (typically when individuals move away from tyranny), and also all at once via revolution or secession. It's not an "either-or". As to slavery, are you suggesting the South was not entitled to secede, because that was not incremental? How about the states seceding from Britain? Clearly, secession can be done well or poorly; many factors count toward its success (e.g. the South should not have attacked Ft. Sumter). "How could the State be immediately abolished without a violent backlash?" If the states started ignoring the federal government en masse. There are many ways. "Newton’s third law of motion is that for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction, and that is just as true when applied to political or social change." False analogy; physics is not politics. Here is a data point for you, Michael. I created and ran the Wyoming Liberty Index (wyominglibertyindex.info) for several years. Every year, in a state chosen because it had the best chance to be made free through incremental change, there were about 4 times as many laws passed harming liberty, as there were helping it. Free State Wyoming (freestatewyoming.org) was created to attract freedom-lovers to Wyoming; its results are extremely modest, certainly not enough to turn around the legislative attack on liberty. Wyoming is about the best chance for incrementalism to work in the country (with the possible exception of New Hampshire), yet incrementalism is not working there. Soon, all that will be left is more radical change. You'd better polish up your shooting skills. Or at least, start reading Gandhi (who was also not an incrementalist).
  • dhowlandjr's picture
    dhowlandjr 3 years 12 weeks ago
    Extortion/Bribery
    Page Paul Hein
    ALL voting under the current system is violence, though and if you vote for the politician who promises to reduce your taxes, or to not raise them, you're still implying that you accept the idea of taxation in general, and of some politician having the right to take as much as he wants of what you produce away from you to use however he or she pleases, including to kill, lock up or steal from you and your neighbors. It doesn't seem to me to be an effective method of self defense. Kind of like walking up to the biggest, meanest bully and offerring him a nickel not to beat you up today. You'd better have that nickel every day from now on. More likely than defending yourself you're setting yourself up for long-term increased enslavement, and more likely than not the price is going to continue to rise. The price you must pay so that your enslavement can continue. Don't stop paying it, for crying out loud, you've got that self-defense excuse!
  • Samarami's picture
    Samarami 3 years 12 weeks ago Page Michael Kleen
    Rothbard quoted above: “To really pursue the goal of liberty, the libertarian must desire it attained by the most effective and speediest means available,”... I came to see years ago how to do that: declare myself sovereign. Now -- immediately. And no, I did not go into any of the white man's bureaus to "file" paperwork with him or anybody else. (http://lewrockwell.com/nestmann/nestmann29.1.html) Blasphemy! The chicken farmer does not go to the fox den to ask permission to free himself from foxdom so as to protect his crop from harm. He simply begins to build the bulwark of defense, as did I. Did that change my "relationship" with the white man? No it didn't -- not from his prospective anyway. He still looks upon me as a "citizen" (read: subservient subject). I can often use his supercilious ignorance to my own advantage, however; and I began to look at him for the gangster he was -- far more infectious than the robber who tries to hold me up at gunpoint. At least he knows what he is. Not so the government gangster. All too often the thrust of arguments on "libertarian" websites and forums is, "how can we change society" or "how do we make an effective 'libertarian nation'". We don't. I have. Mine. I am a sovereign state. I'm 75. Too old to go tryin' to change you or anybody else. Of course I'm writing here and you're reading what I'm writing, so you might say I'm attempting to persuade you to do or not do a thing. But we all know I'm preachin' to the choir here -- we're pretty much all in general agreement at STR. And I'm not trying to disagree with you, Michael, sofar as "incrementalism" goes. I sort of gently sided with those asking Tso to go a little easy on the minarchists or ministatists (while in full agreement with his premise). Mainly because I did not come out of my mama's womb an anarchist, and there are quite likely not a few "tea partiers" and the like who will be solid STR folks in a year or so. For me it was a slow, painful process, fraught with a lot of what they're now calling "cognitive dissonance". Last time I voted was 1964, for Barry Goldwater. Prior to that I had been an ultra liberal (NEA, TSEA -- the Texas version of a teachers' union); a John Bircher type "conservative" -- you name it, I've landed there at one time or another. So I've been about as incremental as they come. But I am what and where I am. And I hope to grow from here and not get fallow just because I'm in my dotage. Off topic, I just had my 23rd grandchild this morning (a boy), #24 due in August. I won't announce my great grandchildren. They make me look old. Sam
  • Glen Allport's picture
    Glen Allport 3 years 12 weeks ago Page Michael Kleen
    Great column, Michael. And I think you've actually described the most effective approach while you were discussing Rothbard and socialism -- incrementalists got the changes made, one at a time, by pushing bite-size changes the public could first warm up to and then accept as policy, while the revolutionaries who advocated immediate and total change kept the ultimate goal in play and in enough of the public mind to insure that each incremental "success" led to the NEXT increment instead of being seen as an end it itself.
  • Glen Allport's picture
    Glen Allport 3 years 12 weeks ago Page tzo
    A great comment, Paul, and an idea worthy of spreading around -- if only because it shows up the "We gotcha and you can't leave" mentality of the State for the criminal behavior that it is.
  • mingo's picture
    mingo 3 years 12 weeks ago Page Michael Kleen
    Good column, but I still feel that any coherent, incrementalist movement would ultimately pose a threat to absolute liberty. For one, the means of shifting government would require—at least of those directly involved—an association with the current, unjust government. This isn't an impediment of practicality, but it would form an ethical barrier for anyone who would feel compelled to actually guide such a movement toward Statelessness. Anyone available for this would either be compelled to commit a moral infraction, or would themselves be committed to a reduction, rather than eventual elimination of, the State. Also, especially when considering the above, there's the risk of accidentally establishing a palatable, minimal State. If the idea of "good government" were to gain ground, the liberty movement would face even greater impediments to total future success.