"The champions of socialism call themselves progressives, but they recommend a system which is characterized by rigid observance of routine and by a resistance to every kind of improvement. They call themselves liberals, but they are intent upon abolishing liberty. They call themselves democrats, but they yearn for dictatorship. They call themselves revolutionaries, but they want to make the government omnipotent. They promise the blessings of the Garden of Eden, but they plan to transform the world into a gigantic post office. Every man but one a subordinate clerk in a bureau. What an alluring utopia! What a noble cause to fight!" ~ Ludwig von Mises
Yes, Or No?
Column by Paul Hein.
Exclusive to STR
There can be good reasons for not answering questions. If you are being questioned by the police, for example, prudence would dictate that you remain silent. Or perhaps you do not know the correct answer to a question, and would prefer not to guess and subsequently be proven wrong.
But you might also decline to answer if your answer could put you in an uncomfortable position. In that case, you might resort to evasion. I have found this to be a position frequently taken by politicians and bureaucrats. Therefore, I have devised a simple questionnaire for my public servants, asking only for Yes or No responses. Of course, they can ignore the questionnaire entirely, but in itself that is informative, since the questions are certainly reasonable. Silence, as a federal court has maintained, is itself a form of speech. The final form of the document will resemble this draft.
Dear Public Servant:
In order to better understand my relationship, if any, with the state, and therefore, with you, I would appreciate your answers to the following few questions. I enclose a self-addressed envelope for your convenience. (It is not stamped, but you have franking privileges and I do not.) Simply circle Yes or No. Thank you.
No. 1 Black’s Law Dictionary defines a statute as “the written will of the legislature.” Do you agree with that definition? Yes No
No. 2 The dictionary defines laws as “rules written by the government.” Do you agree with that definition? Yes No
No. 3 Are the “rules written by the government,” or “the written will of the legislature” binding upon me? Yes No
No. 4 The federal Constitution tells us that the powers of Congress are delegated to them by the people. Is this true? Yes No
No.5 My state’s constitution (Missouri) declares that all political power is possessed by the people, and delegated by them to the government. Is this true? Yes No
No. 6 A person cannot, nor can many persons, delegate a power which they lack. Is that true? Yes No
No. 7 Government officials cannot derive from the people a power which the people do not possess. Is this true? Yes No
No. 8 The people cannot express their will as “laws,” or make binding rules obligating the general public. Is this statement true? Yes No
No. 9 Government officials routinely exercise powers which could not have been delegated by the people, or derived from them. Is this true? Yes No
No. 10 Thomas Jefferson wrote that government derives its just powers from the consent of the governed. Was he correct? Yes No
No. 11 Have you sought or acquired the consent of your constituents, even if they did not vote for you? Yes No
Thank you for your cooperation.
Will this tactic result in a re-growth of freedom? No. Its purpose is to make members of the ruling class simply think about what they habitually do automatically. It can accomplish this even if it’s discarded after a glance. A thought, once introduced, cannot easily be suppressed. Sooner or later, it must be faced. Our Rulers have the great advantage of having been around for so long, that the validity of their existence is taken for granted by their victims and certainly by themselves. My idea is to introduce a therapeutic germ into this malign organism or, as Thoreau put it, to strike at the root.