Rutherford Institute: Founders Would Be Anti-Government Extremists Today

Constitutional law attorney John Rutherford of the Rutherford Institute writes about America’s founding fathers and how they would be branded by our modern imperial government in America’s Revolutionary Founders Would Be Anti-Government Extremists Today

“It is the duty of the patriot to protect his country from its government.”—Thomas Paine

“When the government violates the people’s rights, insurrection is, for the people and for each portion of the people, the most sacred of the rights and the most indispensable of duties.”—Marquis De Lafayette

Had the Declaration of Independence been written today, it would have rendered its signers extremists or terrorists, resulting in them being placed on a government watch list, targeted for surveillance of their activities and correspondence, and potentially arrested, held indefinitely, stripped of their rights and labeled enemy combatants.

This is no longer the stuff of speculation and warning.

In fact, Attorney General William Barr recently announced plans to target, track and surveil “anti-government extremists” and preemptively nip in the bud any “threats” to  public safety and the rule of law.

It doesn’t matter that the stated purpose of Barr’s anti-government extremist task force is to investigate dissidents on the far right (the “boogaloo” movement) and far left (antifa, a loosely organized anti-fascist group) who have been accused of instigating violence and disrupting peaceful protests.

Boogaloo and Antifa have given the government the perfect excuse for declaring war (with all that entails: surveillance, threat assessments, pre-crime, etc.) against so-called anti-government extremists.

Without a doubt, America’s revolutionary founders would have been at the top of Barr’s list.

After all, the people who fomented the American Revolution spoke out at rallies, distributed critical pamphlets, wrote scathing editorials and took to the streets in protest. They were rebelling against a government they saw as being excessive in its taxation and spending. For their efforts, they were demonized and painted as an angry mob, extremists akin to terrorists, by the ruler of the day, King George III.

Of course, it doesn’t take much to be considered an anti-government extremist (a.k.a. domestic terrorist) today.

If you believe in and exercise your rights under the Constitution (namely, your right to speak freely, worship freely, associate with like-minded individuals who share your political views, criticize the government, own a weapon, demand a warrant before being questioned or searched by the police, or any other activity viewed as potentially anti-government, racist, bigoted, anarchic or sovereign), you’re at the top of the government’s terrorism watch list.

Indeed, under Barr’s new task force, I and every other individual today who dares to speak truth to power could also be targeted for surveillance, because what we’re really dealing with is a government that wants to suppress dangerous words—words about its warring empire, words about its land grabs, words about its militarized police, words about its killing, its poisoning and its corruption—in order to keep its lies going.

This is how the government plans to snuff out any attempts by “we the people” to stand up to its tyranny: under the pretext of rooting out violent extremists, the government’s anti-extremism program will, in many cases, be utilized to render otherwise lawful, nonviolent activities as potentially extremist.

The danger is real.

Keep in mind that the government agencies involved in ferreting out American “extremists” will carry out their objectives—to identify and deter potential extremists—in concert with fusion centers, data collection agencies, behavioral scientists, corporations, social media, and community organizers and by relying on cutting-edge technology for surveillance, facial recognition, predictive policing, biometrics, and behavioral epigenetics (in which life experiences alter one’s genetic makeup).

This is pre-crime on an ideological scale and it’s been a long time coming.

For example, in 2009, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) released two reports, one on “Rightwing Extremism,” which broadly defines rightwing extremists as individuals and groups “that are mainly antigovernment, rejecting federal authority in favor of state or local authority, or rejecting government authority entirely,” and one on “Leftwing Extremism,” which labeled environmental and animal rights activist groups as extremists

Incredibly, both reports use the words terrorist and extremist interchangeably

That same year, the DHS launched Operation Vigilant Eagle, which calls for surveillance of military veterans returning from Iraq, Afghanistan and other far-flung places, characterizing them as extremists and potential domestic terrorist threats because they may be “disgruntled, disillusioned or suffering from the psychological effects of war.

These reports indicate that for the government, anyone seen as opposing the government—whether they’re Left, Right or somewhere in between—can be labeled an extremist.

Fast forward a few years, and you have the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which Congress has continually re-upped, that allows the military to take you out of your home, lock you up with no access to friends, family or the courts if you’re seen as an extremist.

Now connect the dots, from the 2009 Extremism reports to the NDAA, the National Security Agency’s far-reaching surveillance networks, and fusion centers that collect and share surveillance data between local, state and federal police agencies

Add in tens of thousands of armed, surveillance drones that are beginning to blanket American skies, facial recognition technology that will identify and track you wherever you go and whatever you do. And then to complete the circle, toss in the real-time crime centers being deployed in cities across the country, which will be attempting to “predict” crimes and identify criminals before they happen based on widespread surveillance, complex mathematical algorithms and prognostication programs.

Hopefully you’re getting the picture, which is how easy it is for the government to identify, label and target individuals as “extremist.”

And just like that, we’ve come full circle.

Imagine living in a country where armed soldiers crash through doors to arrest and imprison citizens merely for criticizing government officials. Imagine that in this very same country, you’re watched all the time, and if you look even a little bit suspicious, the police stop and frisk you or pull you over to search you on the off chance you’re doing something illegal.

Keep in mind that if you have a firearm of any kind (or anything that resembled a firearm) while in this country, it may get you arrested and, in some circumstances, shot by police.

If you’re thinking this sounds like America today, you wouldn’t be far wrong.

However, the scenario described above took place more than 200 years ago, when American colonists suffered under Great Britain’s version of an early police state. It was only when the colonists finally got fed up with being silenced, censored, searched, frisked, threatened, and arrested that they finally revolted against the tyrant’s fetters

No document better states their grievances than the Declaration of Independence, drafted by Thomas Jefferson.

A document seething with outrage over a government which had betrayed its citizens, the Declaration of Independence was signed on July 4, 1776, by 56 men who laid everything on the line, pledged it all—“our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor”—because they believed in a radical idea: that all people are created to be free.

Labeled traitors, these men were charged with treason, a crime punishable by death. For some, their acts of rebellion would cost them their homes and their fortunes. For others, it would be the ultimate price—their lives.

Yet even knowing the heavy price they might have to pay, these men dared to speak up when silence could not be tolerated.

Read the Declaration of Independence again, and ask yourself if the list of complaints tallied by Jefferson don’t bear a startling resemblance to the abuses “we the people” are suffering at the hands of the American police state…(continues)

American Thinker: The Coming Collapse of the Republic

From writer Selwyn Duke at American Thinker is The Coming Collapse of the Republic

 “We’re just one election away from full-blown socialism,” a man recently said to me during a short conversation. This sentiment has become increasingly common lately, even, notably, among the previously apolitical. Yet something is overlooked:

In keeping with President Reagan’s observation, “Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction,” being one election away from tyranny means that not enough people noticed and took action when we were one generation away — or two or three.

Also perhaps overlooked is that being one election away from tyranny now means we’ll be one election away after the next election — whatever happens November 3. The point is that politics being downstream from culture (and, really, from morality, faith and philosophy), this isn’t merely a “moment.” It’s not a fashion. It won’t just pass. And we need be prepared for things to come.

I’ve often cited late Soviet defector Yuri Bezmenov, who in 1980s interviews warned of “demoralization” — an undermining of a nation’s morality that makes it ripe for leftist revolution — in America. As a young man in my late teens or early twenties at the time, I didn’t know about Bezmenov (no Internet back then). But I’d recently become more intensely “politically” aware and quickly realized, and began telling people, that the West and the U.S. were in decline and gravitating toward tyranny. Oh, I did realize the republic’s demise was decades away.

Now I suspect it’s years away.

General Michael Flynn, whom, it’s clear, was targeted by the Creep State for being a good man, just warned that if we don’t act, two percent of the people are about to control the other 98 percent. But I’m here to tell you: Long term, voting won’t save us.

Oh, for sure, get out and vote in November as if your life depends on it (because in a way, it does). But as was the case in 2016, a Trump victory and partial GOP control of Congress only amount to a “stay of execution.” The clock is ticking.

Moreover, President Trump’s re-election, like his election, would have to defy the odds. Along with traditional media bias — which a college professor determined aids Democrat candidates by 8 to 10 points every election (an underestimation, I believe) — there’s now social media/Big Tech bias. According to liberal psychologist Dr. Robert Epstein’s research, this factor can shift up to 15 million votes toward one party or the other (not an overestimation, I believe). This is enough to turn any modern election.

Add to this vote fraud and vote harvesting — the latter of which flipped conservative Orange County, Calif., from GOP to Democrat control in 2018 — and left-wing mail-in voting scams, and the picture is clear: Even if Trump wins, the chances of him having two simpatico Houses are slim. And if Trump triumphs but the Democrats hold the House and seize the Senate, there’s a good chance he’ll be deposed.

Really, though, focusing on this, the micro, is to not see the forest for the trees. An excellent high-profile commentator said a while back that this all (the current unrest, intensifying cancel culture, etc.) seemed to happen so suddenly. But only the spark, the George Floyd situation, and the fire were sudden, and something else could have triggered the blaze as well. The kindling, however, and the many-layered sea of morally dead and intellectually dry wood had long been burgeoning.

And the spark only catalyzed the firestorm because we’d reached a point of critical mass.

This is why what we began talking about in the ‘80s, political correctness, has metastasized into “cancel culture.” It’s why two people in two recent days — one a cop, the other an acquaintance — told me what’s plain: They, and everyone else, are afraid to speak their minds, fearing career and reputational destruction. It’s why social media censorship is intensifying by the month. An iron muzzle has descended upon America, and what can’t be spoken against can’t be effectively combated.

As I warned in 2012, there no longer is a culture war. “What is occurring now is a pacification effort.” Its progress is why corporate America, including the now-absorbed Chick-fil-A and NASCAR, has turned decidedly to the dark side (shifted “left”). It’s why prominent people, including Republicans such as Indiana senator Mike Braun, are bowing before terrorist group Black Lives Matter. It’s why mobs are enabled and good people hobbled for defending themselves from the mobs. It’s why we’re seeing a complete cultural collapse — portending a political collapse.

This is partially due to a new “woke” generation having entered the corporate sphere and others of influence. But what did you expect? The apocryphal saying (no, it’s not Lincoln’s) informs, “The philosophy of the school room in one generation will be the philosophy of government in the next.” Did you really think the Left could completely control academia for generations and that, somehow, it all would “stay in college”?

Leftists have also controlled entertainment, which could even be more significant. A (perhaps loose) paraphrase of ancient Greek philosopher Plato warns, “When modes of music change, the fundamental laws of the state change with them.”

Now, though, we have television and the Internet, whose effects I’ve examined, which dwarf music’s influence. Then there’s the aforementioned media (conventional and social). This culture-shaping media/academia/entertainment triad has long been leftist-controlled, the result of the long Gramscian “march through the institutions,” the rotten fruits of all our squandered yesterdays.

Being a culture-shaper also ultimately means, again, being a politics-shaper (and civilization-shaper), and this brings us to conservative rationalization. Even if we could somehow seize control of the media/academia/entertainment axis, sorry, it takes generations to thus reshape society, and the time for that was 60 years ago. That ship has sailed (and sunk).

Then there’s our 1965-born immigration policy, which, I’ve estimated, gives Democrats 300,000 new voters yearly, three million a decade. And when the Democrats assume full control, they’ll legalize the illegal aliens among us and open the floodgates further (goodbye, wall), giving themselves perhaps tens of millions of new voters in short order.

So Democrat presidential sock puppet Joe Biden, echoing the man whose name he couldn’t recall a while back (because echoes are all he has left), not long ago said we had to “fundamentally” change America. But that fundamental change has already occurred. Does the 2020 U.S. even remotely resemble its few-generations-back former self?

So the question isn’t what’s coming, but this: Will you be ready? When leftists take full political control federally, they’ll mercilessly impose their agenda as they always do. If you have no idea what that agenda is, you’re likely not reading this. But do know that it will be effected no-holds-barred.

For not only is there the critical-mass factor, but Machiavellian leftists have convinced their useful idiots, projecting all the way, that conservatives constitute a hateful, “racist,” fascistic, White Supremacist™ threat to civilization. They thus have an ideal pretext for iron-fistedly crushing opponents. When “Nazis” threaten your civilization, after all, you’re faced with desperate times requiring desperate measures, right, comrade?

So how do we proceed? This isn’t a defeatist screed. I’m not saying keep a cyanide capsule handy. But knowing tomorrow’s strategy requires knowing tomorrow’s battlefield. So what can be done when, after this election or the next, the federal government becomes a complete leftist Leviathan wholly unmoored from constitutional constraints?

I’ve long advocated nullification — meaning, in this case, the ignoring of unconstitutional federal and judicial dictates — something Thomas Jefferson called the “rightful remedy” for all federal overreach. This should have been embraced long ago (e.g., in response to the Obergefell opinion), but will become more conservative states’ only recourse in the not-too-distant future. Note, too, that we’d just be doing what leftists do with their “sanctuary” cities and their defiance of federal drug laws.

In this vein, you can’t win a contest being a “connedservative” who insists on fighting by Queensberry rules while your adversary operates no-holds-barred. Remember that, more and more, we’re living in post-constitutional and post-rule-of-law America. We’re now increasingly subject to the rule of men and, in the coming conflict, it’s only a matter of which men will win.

America is irremediably divided — if a marriage, she would’ve dissolved long ago — and the above resistance would, of course, make that division more official. This brings me to what I believe will be our fate…

Continue reading at American Thinker by clicking here.

 

Mises Institute: The State – The Deadliest Virus

Professor Jesús Huerta de Soto, a Spanish economist, writes this piece for the Mises Institute about government tyrannies in Spain, but most of them could just as easily be applied to the US government — The State: The Deadliest Virus.

The deadliest virus is the institutionalized coercion which lies in the very DNA of the state and may even initially permit a government to deny the outbreak of a pandemic. Evidence has been suppressed, and heroic scientists and doctors have been harassed and silenced simply because they were the first to realize and expose the gravity of the problem. As a result, weeks and months have been lost, at an enormous cost: hundreds of thousands of people have died due to the worldwide spread of an epidemic which, in the beginning, the shamefully manipulated official statistics made appear less dangerous than it actually was.

The deadliest virus is the existence of cumbersome bureaucracies and supranational organizations, which did not manage or wish to monitor in situ the reality of the situation, but instead endorsed the information received, while offering constant support and even praising—and thus becoming accessories to—all the coercive policies and measures adopted.

The deadliest virus is the notion that the state can guarantee our public health and universal welfare, when economic science has demonstrated the theoretical impossibility of the central planner’s giving a coherent and coordinating quality to the coercive commands it issues in its attempt to achieve its pompous objectives. This impossibility is due to the huge volume of information and knowledge which such a task would require and which the planning agency lacks. It is also, and primarily, due to the fact that the institutional coercion typical of the agency impacts the social body of human beings, who alone are capable of coordinating themselves (and do so spontaneously) and creating wealth. Such coercion prevents the emergence of precisely the firsthand knowledge the state needs to bring about coordination with its commands. This theorem is known as the impossibility of economic calculation under socialism. Mises and Hayek discovered the theorem in the 1920s, and the events of world history cannot be understood without it.

The deadliest virus is the dependency and complicity shown toward the state by countless scientists, experts, and intellectuals. When authorities are drunk with power, this symbiosis leaves a manipulated civil society unarmed and defenseless. For instance, the Spanish government itself urged citizens to take part in mass demonstrations of hundreds of thousands of people while the virus was already spreading exponentially. Then, just four days later, the decision was announced to declare a state of alarm and coercively confine the entire population to their homes.

The deadliest virus is the demonization of private initiative and of the agile and efficient self-regulation characteristic of it, combined with the deification of the public sector in every area: the family, education, pensions, employment, the financial sector, and the healthcare system (a particularly relevant point at present). Over 12 million Spanish people, including—quite significantly—almost 90 percent of the more than 2 million government employees (and among them a vice president of the Spanish government), have freely chosen private healthcare over public healthcare. The doctors and nurses of the public healthcare system work hard and selflessly, and their heroic efforts are never sufficiently recognized. However, the system cannot possibly do away with its internal contradictions, its waiting lists, or its proven incompetence in the matters of universal prevention and the protection of its own workers. But, by a double standard, any minor defect in the private sector is always immediately condemned, while far more serious and flagrant defects in the public sector are viewed as definitive proof of a need to spend more money and increase the size of the public sector even further.

The deadliest virus is the political propaganda channeled through state-owned media and also through private media outlets which, nonetheless, are dependent on the state as if it were a drug. As Goebbels taught, lies repeated often enough to the population can be turned into official truths. Here are a few: that the Spanish public healthcare system is the best in the world; that public spending has continued to decrease since the last crisis; that taxes are to be paid by “the rich” and they are not paying their fair share; that the minimum wage is not detrimental to employment; that maximum prices do not cause shortages; that a universal minimum income is the panacea of well-being; that the northern European countries are selfish and unsupportive, because they do not wish to mutualize the debt; that the number of deaths officially reported reflects the actual number of deaths; that only a few hundred thousand people have been infected; that we are performing more than enough tests; that face masks are unnecessary, etc. Any moderately diligent citizen can easily verify that these are all lies.

The deadliest virus is the corrupt use of political terminology involving misleading metaphors to mesmerize the population and make people even more submissive and dependent on the state. We are told that we are fighting a “war,” and that once we win, we will need to begin the “reconstruction.” But we are not at war, nor is it necessary to reconstruct anything. Fortunately, all of our capital equipment, factories, and facilities are intact. They are there, waiting for us to devote all of our effort and entrepreneurial spirit to getting back to work, and when that happens, we will very quickly recover from this standstill. However, for this to occur, we must have an economic policy that favors less government and more entrepreneurial freedom, reduces taxes and regulations, balances public accounts and puts them on a sound footing, liberalizes the labor market, and provides legal certainty and bolsters confidence. While such a free market policy enabled the Germany of Adenauer and Erhard to recover from a far graver situation following World War II, Spain will be impoverished and doomed to move at idling speed if we insist on taking the opposite path of socialism.

The deadliest virus consists of the deification of human reason and the systematic use of coercion, which the state embodies. It appears before us in sheep’s clothing as the quintessence of a certain “do-goodism” that tempts us with the possibility of reaching nirvana here and now and of achieving “social justice” and ending inequality. However, it conceals the fact that the Leviathan thrives on envy and thus fuels hatred and social resentment. Hence, the future of humanity depends on our ability to immunize ourselves against the most deadly virus: the socialism which infects the human soul and has spread to all of us.

Liberty Blitzkrieg: The Future Must Be Decentralized and Localized

Michael Krieger at Liberty Blitzkrieg has written The Future Must Be Decentralized and Localized in order to explain the alternative to our current, authoritative, decidedly non-democratic system of government.

…From my perspective, humanity remains stuck within antiquated paradigms that generally function via predatory and authoritarian structures. We’ve been taught — and have largely accepted — that the really important decisions must be handled in a centralized manner by small groups of technocrats and oligarchs. As a result, we basically live within feudal constructs cleverly surrounded by entrenched myths of democracy and self-government. We’d prefer to be lazy rather than take any responsibility for the state of the world.

We’re now at a point where simply recognizing current structures as predatory and authoritarian isn’t good enough. We require a distinct and superior political philosophy that can appeal to others likewise extremely dissatisfied with the status quo. My belief is humanity’s next paradigm should swing heavily in the direction of decentralization and localism.

Decentralization and localism aren’t exactly the same, but can play well together and offer a new path forward. The simplest way to describe decentralization to Americans is to look at the political framework laid out in the U.S. Constitution.

As discussed in the 2018 piece, The Road to 2025 (Part 4) – A Very Bright Future If We Demand It:

At the federal level, a separation of powers between the three branches of government: the legislative, the executive and the judicial was a key component of the Constitution. The specific purpose here was to prevent an accumulation of excessive centralized power within a specific area of government…

Beyond a separation of powers at the federal level, the founding founders made sure that the various states had tremendous independent governance authority in their own right in order to further their objective of decentralized political power.

Localism takes these Constitutional ideas of political decentralization and pushes them further, by viewing the municipality or county as the most ethical and logical seat of self-governance. The basic idea, which I tend to agree with, is that genuine self-government does not scale well. A one-size fits all approach to governance not only ends up making everyone unhappy, it also entrenches a self-serving political and oligarchical class at the top of a superstate which makes big decisions for tens, if not hundreds of millions, with little accountability or oversight. This is pretty much how the world functions today.

While localism implies relative political decentralization, decentralization is not always localism. One of the best examples of this can be found in bitcoin. Unlike traditional monetary policy, which is handled in a topdown manner by a tiny group of unelected technocrats working on behalf of Wall Street, there’s no bitcoin politburo. There’s no CEO, there’s no individual or organization to call or pressure to dramatically change things out of desire or political expediency. The protocol is specifically designed to prevent that. It’s designed to operate in a way that makes all sorts of people uncomfortable because they’re used to someone “being in control.” We’ve been taught that centralization works well, but the reality is political and economic centralization concentrates power, makes the public lazy and ultimately winds up in a state of authoritarian feudalism.

Bitcoin also demonstrates how decentralization and localism, though not quite the same, can complement one another well in an interconnected planet. Imagine a world where governance is largely occurring at a local level, but global trade remains desirable. You’d want a politically neutral, decentralized and permissionless money to conduct such transactions. Similarly, a free and decentralized internet allows the same sort of thing in the realm of communications. Regions that can’t grow coffee will still want coffee, and people in New York will still want to chat with people in Barcelona. Decentralized systems allow for the best of both worlds — localism combined with continued global interconnectedness… (continues)

Click here to read the entire article at Liberty Blitzkrieg.

Liberty Blitzkrieg: What Are You Gonna Do About It?

Michael Krieger of Liberty Blitzkrieg has posted an article government not letting a good crisis go to waste, the failure of mass movements to take hold for change, and asking What Are You Gonna Do About It?

Tucked into the recent recovery bill was a provision granting the Federal Reserve the right to set up a $450 billion bailout plan without following key provisions of the federal open meetings law, including announcing its meetings or keeping most records about them, according to a POLITICO review of the legislation.

The provision further calls into question the transparency and oversight for the biggest bailout law ever passed by Congress. President Donald Trump has indicated he does not plan to comply with another part of the new law intended to boost Congress’ oversight powers of the bailout funds. And earlier this week, Trump dismissed the government official chosen as the chief watchdog for the stimulus package.

The changes at the central bank – which appear to have been inserted into the 880-page bill by sympathetic senators during the scramble to get it approved — would address a complaint that the Fed faced during the 2008 financial crisis, when board members couldn’t easily hold group conversations to address the fast-moving economic turmoil.

The provision dispenses with a longstanding accountability rule that the board has to give at least one day’s notice before holding a meeting. Experts say the change could lead to key information about the $450 billion bailout fund, such as which firms might benefit from the program, remaining inaccessible long after the bailout is over.

The new law would absolve the board of the requirement to keep minutes to closed-door meetings as it deliberates on how to set up the $450 billion loan program. That would severely limit the amount of information potentially available to the public on what influenced the board’s decision-making. The board would only have to keep a record of its votes, though they wouldn’t have to be made public during the coronavirus crisis.

A Fed spokesperson did not comment on the changes in the law or whether the Fed would continue keeping records of its meetings.

– Politico: Recovery Law Allows Fed to Rope off Public as It Spends Billions

An era can be said to end when its basic illusions are exhausted.

– Arthur Miller

Before going any further, I want to share a graphic that accurately summarizes my position on the current pandemic affecting the world.

Unfortunately, it’s quite common for many to latch on to one of these conclusions and singularly obsess about it to the detriment of the others, when we need to be thinking about all three simultaneously.

It’s absolutely critical we understand governments throughout the world are rapidly mobilizing to use the crisis as an excuse to extract more wealth from society and condition the public to relinquish more precious civil liberties. The response in my own imperial oligarchy masquerading as a country has been particularly grotesque. A government that told us masks don’t work and couldn’t roll out testing for weeks, is now responding with the worst of both post-9/11 and post-financial crisis responses. The idea of representative government or democracy in America is a complete myth. The interests and desires of the people are irrelevant, and our economic system can be best described as financial feudalism.

We’ve seen this movie before. The U.S. government and Federal Reserve used major crises to consolidate wealth and power twice before this century, and it’s happening again. They got away with it before — and they’re getting away with it now — because the public accepts it. I hate to write that, but it’s true. People will tell me the public has no way to fight back, but that’s not accurate. The public hasn’t even tried historical methods like mass strikes and boycotts, instead they’ve been successfully neutered by phony red/blue team mainstream politics, through bickering about marginal issues like pronouns and bathrooms, and by endless entertainment and debt-based consumption. This is why the oligarchy keeps winning. Americans aren’t a serious people yet.

Witnessing the massive theft and power consolidation during the financial crisis a decade ago shook me to my core. I learned so much about how the world really works I simply couldn’t go on in the same way, so I quit my finance job and moved out of NYC. I was convinced such in your face theft would lead to effective popular movements and that the people would discover their power and take direct action, but I was wrong. Rather than economic populism transcending other differences to become ascendant and potent, most Americans were successfully shoved back into convenient political boxes easily managed by oligarchy. The rest is history…(continues)

Click here to read the entire article at Liberty Blitzkrieg.

Mint Press: The Attack on Civil Liberties in the Age of COVID-19

Rhode Island National Guard Military Police direct a motorist with New York license plates to a checkpoint, March 28, 2020, David Goldman | AP

Constitutional attorney John Whitehead writes about The Attack on Civil Liberties in the Age of COVID-19 at Mint Press. It is important to reflect upon whether the government is taking actions for which it has the authorized power in perilous times like these. There have been many calls on the federal government to take actions for which it has no Constitutionally delegated authority – like national quarantines. State governments have more power, but still limited by their own constitutions – a reason why Washington State, for example, recently passed a constitutional amendment to provide for broader emergency powers. That being said, during this pandemic, some people have taken the absurd approach that if the government is requiring you to do something, and you believe that requirement is unconstitutional, then you it is your duty to do the opposite. For example, because you believe that a statewide stay at home order is an unconstitutional exercise of power, you may deliberately gather with others to protest. This is akin to shooting yourself in the head because the government makes suicide illegal. Just because a particular exercise of power is not constitutionally sound, the underlying requirement may still be the wise course for people to take, and indeed may be your duty as a responsible citizen to take. Protest the illegality, but not by getting people killed.

You can always count on the government to take advantage of a crisis, legitimate or manufactured.

This coronavirus pandemic is no exception.

Not only are the federal and state governments unraveling the constitutional fabric of the nation with lockdown mandates that are sending the economy into a tailspin and wreaking havoc with our liberties, but they are also rendering the citizenry fully dependent on the government for financial handouts, medical intervention, protection and sustenance.

Unless we find some way to rein in the government’s power grabs, the fall-out will be epic.

Everything I have warned about for years—government overreach, invasive surveillance, martial law, abuse of powers, militarized police, weaponized technology used to track and control the citizenry, and so on—has coalesced into this present moment.

The government’s shameless exploitation of past national emergencies for its own nefarious purposes pales in comparison to what is presently unfolding.

Deploying the same strategy it used with 9/11 to acquire greater powers under the USA Patriot Act, the police state—a.k.a. the shadow government, a.k.a. the Deep State—has been anticipating this moment for years, quietly assembling a wish list of lockdown powers that could be trotted out and approved at a moment’s notice.

It should surprise no one, then, that the Trump Administration has asked Congress to allow it to suspend parts of the Constitution whenever it deems it necessary during this coronavirus pandemic and “other” emergencies.

It’s that “other” emergencies part that should particularly give you pause, if not spur you to immediate action (by action, I mean a loud and vocal, apolitical, nonpartisan outcry and sustained, apolitical, nonpartisan resistance).

In fact, the Department of Justice (DOJ) has been quietly trotting out and testing a long laundry list of terrifying powers that override the Constitution.

We’re talking about lockdown powers (at both the federal and state level): the ability to suspend the Constitution, indefinitely detain American citizens, bypass the courts, quarantine whole communities or segments of the population, override the First Amendment by outlawing religious gatherings and assemblies of more than a few people, shut down entire industries and manipulate the economy, muzzle dissidents, “stop and seize any plane, train or automobile to stymie the spread of contagious disease,” reshape financial markets, create a digital currency (and thus further restrict the use of cash), determine who should live or die…

Click here to read the entire article at Mint Press.

See also Aesop of Raconteur Report’s response to claims of never ending government tyranny related to Covid.

…”Objection: Assumes facts not in evidence, i.e. that a temporary quarantine will become a decades-long boondoggle.

Reductio ad absurdum Fallacy, 20 yard penalty and loss of possession.

And I observe FTR that people crying about something that’s not yet three weeks old as though it will go on endlessly are children who were never spanked, sent to bed without their supper, or told to wait for any form of gratification…(continues)

Mises: Government Is No Match for the Coronavirus

Robert Luddy at The Mises Institute writes about why government is failing so badly in pandemic response – Government Is No Match for the Coronavirus

The coronavirus is reminding everyone that you cannot rely on government and that ultimately it is the private sector that will provide the solutions. Many nonmedical government officials and members of the media are predicting massive cases of COVID-19 and death, when in fact no one can predict the outcome. What we do know is that government has created a full-blown national panic, when at this point the normal flu season is far more deadly.

Decentralization is critical to a functioning society but often precluded by federal regulations.

The Washington Post reported the following about the Centers for Disease Control:

The problems started in early February, at a CDC laboratory in Atlanta.

A technical manufacturing problem, along with an initial decision to test only a narrow set of people and delays in expanding testing to other labs, gave the virus a head start to spread undetected—and helped perpetuate a false sense of security that leaves the United States dangerously behind.

Tests begin with the CDC to insure quality, which is exactly the wrong approach. It assumes that the government can outperform the best medical industry in the world. Even at this hour the CDC has failed, shipping test kits that are defective.

The CDC does not have a solution, but it also becomes the classic blocker to progress. Labs cannot act without a lengthy approval process from CDC and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). These government controls violate the principle of subsidiarity (that problems should be solved at the lowest level possible). Ultimately care is provided by local hospitals, care facilities, and labs.

South Korea’s rapid testing allowed for early treatment and containment of the virus. These test kits were created in three weeks. Many labs in the US could have solved the test kit problem but were restrained by the FDA and CDC. The South Koreans offered to help us, but was the CDC listening? Evidently not.

At the president’s request on Friday, America’s robust private sector, including Walmart, Walgreens, CVS, Roche Laboratories, and LabCorp, came up with a solution for mass testing. Roche has received fast-track FDA approval for its COVID-19 diagnostic test. This testing will be done via drive-thru in parking lots. This minimizes contact and allows for mass testing of thousands across the country. The more Americans are tested, resulting in a lower percentage of deaths, the more the testing will have a calming effect on our citizens.

Americans consider regulators and government to be sacrosanct, but in fact government agencies are slow and often fail us. Think of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), which allowed Boeing engineers to bypass basic engineering standards, resulting in the crash of two Boeing 737 MAX airliners and the grounding of nine hundred planes around the world.

We all know that any time we expect service from the government, it will be slow and painful vs. the private sector, which is mostly fast and courteous. In spite of some minor shortages, due to hoarding, the private sector is supplying us with gas, food, prepared meals, medical supplies, and healthcare.

The coronavirus crisis must cause us to rethink government. The Trump administration has restricted new regulation and reduced arcane strictures, which has resulted in a booming economy. It is absolutely true that most private industry can be trusted, because the alternative for poor or unscrupulous providers is failure. Private industry can be sued and suffer financial decline, unlike government, which simply demands more money for poor performance. Business or individuals that commit fraud are subject to civil and criminal penalties…(continues)

Click here to read the entire story at Mises Wire.

Alt-Market: From Quarantine To Tyranny To Rebellion: Where Is The Line In The Sand?

Brandon Smith at Alt-Market talks about whether the government is competently managing the coronavirus or is manipulating the citizenry so as to better control them when the system breaks in From Quarantine To Tyranny To Rebellion: Where Is The Line In The Sand? 

…As I have noted in previous articles, there is a reason why the establishment refused to inform the citizenry of the instabilities inherent in the pandemic scenario; the more unknowns there are for the public the more panic will set it, chaos ensues, and it is chaos that can be exploited to push forward numerous agendas. These agendas include global centralization as well as the erasure of constitutional liberties.

Now that a national collapse event is slowly being accepted by many as a legitimate possibility, there is a debate rising as to what measures the government should take, or should be allowed to take. Those of us in the prepper and liberty movements always knew this day was coming; a day when the public would start considering trading away an array of freedoms in exchange for promises of security.

Even now, government officials are still trying to tell people that this event will be “short lived”.

“Don’t worry”, they say, “It will only last a couple of weeks.” Oh, and “Don’t concern yourselves with food shortages, that’s not going to happen…” You can look at these lies in two different ways:

1) The government is trying to stave off a “panic” by slowly easing people into the reality that the system is breaking.

2) The government is trying to keep people passive to the danger so that when the system breaks completely they will be unprepared, desperate and easier to manipulate.

I believe the second option is the most likely given the evidence at hand, but in either case the government is crippling the public response time to the disaster. They did this for months and they are still trying to do it now. So, my argument is, why should we suddenly take their advice or take orders from them when the manure hits the fan? They have FAILED in their responsibilities to inform and protect the citizenry, and they are about to violate their prime mandate, which is to protect the personal liberties that make our society worth living in. Without these freedoms, there is no point to keeping our system intact anyway.

The establishment and its defenders will claim that we all “have to make sacrifices” today in order to have freedoms tomorrow, but that’s not how the constitution was designed to work. Our rights are MORE important during times of distress and crisis, for it is in these times that we need to know what we are fighting for, and what we are struggling for. Survival is meaningless if we have to accept tyranny to achieve it.

Once governments see a chance to usurp freedoms from the people, they DO NOT tend to give those freedoms back later unless the people become a viable opponent that could bring the establishment down.

There are some who will say that a forced quarantine is necessary to protect the “greater good” of the greater number. It is true that the Covid-19 virus is a danger, and I think the people who claim it’s “no worse than the flu” are fighting a losing battle as the death rate is clearly much higher than the average flu virus. They will look extremely foolish a few months from now as the virus continues to cycle through the population and the dead continue to increase. That said, I think I understand why they cling to this crumbling argument.

They think that by arguing that the pandemic is “all hype” they can morally justify resistance to the inevitable totalitarian response from governments. They think it has to be one or the other:  Either the virus is hyped and resistance is acceptable, or the virus is real and resistance is unacceptable. I ask – Why can’t it be both? The virus is dangerous to many, but a totalitarian response is still unacceptable.

The virus is in fact more destructive than any flu in recent memory – It’s not a plague on the level of the Black Death, but if it continues to kill at a rate of 3% to 5% at it has been then this puts a large number of human beings at risk. It is not something to be taken lightly, and those people that are actively trying to discourage others from preparing for it are truly narcissistic in their ideology. If you don’t think it’s a threat, then don’t prepare, but don’t scream at others for taking precautions just because you desperately want to be right, and don’t come around demanding food and supplies from those same people when the ceiling comes crashing down on your head.

Also, understand that Covid-19 is only part of the problem. The bigger crisis is in the economy itself; a collapse has been baked into this cake for years now, and the virus has little to do with it.  Leftist kids are going around calling this pandemic the “boomer remover”, almost cheering the assumption that mostly older and conservative Americans will die from this.  I have to break it to them that during the economic collapse that is inevitably coming they will have to wipe the snot from their noses and put on their big-boy diapers otherwise they aren’t going to survive either; most of them have no discernible skills and no preparations to speak of.  They are essentially useless.

If Covid-19 is a “boomer remover”, then the economic crisis is a “snowflake bake”, and they are about to get roasted…

Click here to read the entire article at Alt-Market

Eric Peters on Non-consent of the Governed

The Nonconsent of the Governed, written by Eric Peters, uses simple terms to describe the state of the country today.

The urban-rural problem waxes; it is like a bad marriage and the only solution is a divorce. But while the rural “man” would happily leave the marriage on reasonable terms and peaceably, the urban “woman” will never allow the “man” to leave.

It begs the question about consent of the governed – the supposed basis for legitimate government (assuming for the sake of discussion such a thing exists).

The answer to this question pretty much establishes the illegitimacy of the government.

In my home state of Virginia, for example, the rural (and geographic) majority of the state does not consent to being disarmed and criminalized by the government in Richmond – which represents Richmond and Northern Virginia.

90-plus percent of the state’s counties oppose the slew of gun confiscation/criminalization measures proposed and likely to be imposed upon them. The people of these rural counties did not consent to any of this. And they have no say in any of this – because the state government is controlled by the urban population centers, whose concentrated numbers give them a virtual lock on the state’s governing apparatus. The 90-plus percent geographic majority outside the urban hives of Richmond and Northern Virginia can vote but it’s becoming as meaningless a gesture as voting in the old Soviet Union, where there was one candidate on the ballot – and no option to say no.

But Saul Alinsky’s “rules for radicals” can work the other way, too. Use their (stated) principles against them by insisting they abide by them.

We do not consent. Yet you impose. This illegitimizes what you impose. We demand to be represented . . . by people who represent us. We will no longer accept being told what we must accept by you and the people who represent only you.

This applies just as logically – and morally – at the federal as well as the state level.

It is a mockery of the concept of representation to assert that the 15,000 residents of a rural county such as mine are “represented” by two senators elected by the millions who reside in Richmond and Northern Virginia and even more risibly by a president elected by millions of people who reside in other states and thousands of miles away.

Like sausage making, it does not bear examination.

And it all rests on the doublethinkian fiction of consent of the governed.

Have any of you reading this ever been specifically asked whether you consent to anything the government proposes to do to you? That question – if it were ever posed – would have to be based on the possibility of not consenting (without repercussion) else it is a parody of the concept of consent.

Of course, that question is never asked – and our answer is irrelevant. We are told we’ve “consented” – by dint of the fact that other persons claim to represent us – and that we have consented to what is done to us by dint of the having the opportunity to vote for or against these so-called representatives.

But – if words have meaning – representation must be specific, as in proxy power formally and freely given to do a particular agreed-upon thing. To be told you will do the opposite of what you wish to do – or wish not to do – by your “representative” is the oxymoronization of the very concept of representation. The defining essence of the thing is the reverse; the representative does as you command; he does not command you.

At least, not if you have consented to be represented by him.

Which, of course, none of us has consented to. It is implied, assumed – and imposed without our consent.

The fiction of representative government – and of consent – would be more believable if it were more local. If people in rural areas were in fact represented by the people who lived in those areas – and no one else. This goes just the same for those who live in urban areas.

They, too, have every right to be represented by those who represent their interests – freely consented to. If the people of Richmond and Northern Virginia consent to being disarmed, it is their right to disarm themselves.

But they have no right to bully people whom they manifestly do not represent solely by dint of their concentrated numbers. And their effrontery in asserting that the bullied have “consented” to this is a species of lunacy once found only in asylums for the criminally insane.

Who now “govern” us without consent and with contempt for the very idea of representation.

Why do we tolerate it?

That’s another question well worth answering.

FFF: America Is and Has Been a Socialist Country

In Socialism in America, author Jacob Hornberger of The Future of Freedom Foundation discusses the idea that America is a preeminent socialist country and has been for some time, but Americans live in denial of this truth. There are no pure socialist countries, though North Korea comes closest, because they are doomed to failure and always require some private enterprise to be allowed in order to be taxed to fund the rest of the socialist enterprise.

Lost in the ongoing debate in America as to whether the United States should embrace socialism is a discomforting fact: America embraced socialism a long time ago. The problem is that many Americans have simply not wanted to accept that fact and instead have preferred living a life of denial.

A complete socialist system would be one in which the state owns everything in society, including businesses and real estate. In a pure socialist society, the government is the sole employer, and everyone is a government employee. No private grocery stores, computer companies, restaurants, movie theaters, or anything else. The government owns and operates everything, and everyone works for the government.

Moreover, in a pure socialist society, all the homes are owned by the state. There are no private houses or apartments for sale or rent because nothing is privately owned. Everyone lives in public housing because the state owns all the dwellings. How do people determine where they are to live? The state assigns everyone his own particular housing unit.

How does the socialist state fund all this? It owns and operates all the businesses and enterprises in the hope of generating revenues to finance its socialist system. One problem, however, is that state-owned enterprises are notorious for inefficiencies and corruption, which means that they inevitably end up losing money rather than making money. Think of Amtrak and the Postal Service. Or state-owned petroleum companies in Latin America. They produce losses, not gains, for the state.

Thus, to fund its socialist enterprises, the socialist state inevitably permits a small number of citizens to engage in private enterprise. Once those people begin making money, the state taxes them and uses the money to fund its operations. The state does its best to
extract as much money as it can from these private-sector enterprises without pushing them out of business.

There are few purely socialist countries. North Korea comes closest to the socialist ideal.

There are countries, however, that adopt programs and policies that are socialist in nature. The United States is a premier example of such countries, even though many Americans are loathe to acknowledge it. They have convinced themselves that America is a “free enterprise” country and that they themselves are “capitalists.” The last thing they want to confront is that they are living a life that embraces socialism.

Let’s examine socialism in America.

Social Security

Contrary to popular opinion, especially as held by seniors, Social Security is not a retirement program. There is no investment fund into which people place their savings for retirement. There are no lock boxes at Fort Knox labeled with each person’s name and containing his “contributions.”

Social Security is a straight socialist program, one that uses the government to take money from people to whom it belongs and gives it to people to whom it does not belong. This process of coercive redistribution of wealth is based on a principle enunciated by Karl Marx: from each according to his ability, to each according to his need. The state takes money from those who have produced it and gives it to people who are said to need it more.

For more than a century after the United States was founded, Americans lived without Social Security. The idea for this particular socialist program originated among German socialists in the late 1800s. The so-called Iron Chancellor of Germany, Otto von Bismarck, adopted it into law in Germany. The program was later imported into the United States and became a legally established program in the 1930s. Today, the U.S. Social Security Administration displays a portrait of Bismarck on its website.

From its inception, Social Security has been a straight socialist, welfare-state program, one that uses the state to forcibly take money from some and give it to others. It
is no different in principle from food stamps, education grants, farm subsidies, or other socialist programs.

Seniors have a valid point when they say that the state plundered and looted them throughout their work lives, which has left them without savings for their retirement years. They say that they are just getting their money back under this program.

But that is simply not the case. Their money is long gone. It was spent in the same year that it was collected, on Social Security payments to people who are now long dead, to fund other welfare-state programs, or to fund the national-security establishment and its vast and ever-growing array of warfare-state programs. The money that is being given to seniors today is coming out of the pockets of their children and grandchildren and their friends in those generations, many of whom are struggling to make ends meet. The problem is only getting worse because seniors are demanding more, which means even more taxes must be imposed on young and middle-aged people who are still working.

Proponents of Social Security say that this socialist program reflects how good, caring, and compassionate Americans are. That’s ridiculous. Social Security is founded on force. Young people are forced to pay Social Security taxes. There is nothing voluntary about paying such taxes. If a young person refuses to pay his Social Security taxes, the authorities will come after him, arrest him, fine him, and send him to jail. If he resists with force, he might well find himself dead at the hands of some trigger-happy cop.

Goodness, care, and compassion can come only through the voluntary choices of people. When a young person chooses to help his parents in their old age with financial assistance or personal care, that’s goodness, care, and compassion. When the IRS takes a young person’s money and gives it to seniors, that’s just political stealing.

There is no way to reconcile Social Security with the principles of a free society. Freedom necessarily entails the right to keep everything you earn and decide for yourself what to do with it…

Click here to continue reading at The Future of Freedom Foundation.

AIER: The Stakes of Politics are Far Too High

This piece by economics professor Alexander Salter at the American Institute for Economic Research dwells on the idea that growth in federal government and expansion of federal power are at odds with maintaining liberty, thus The Stakes of Politics are Far Too High.

Despite the comedy of errors that was the Iowa Democratic Caucus, not to mention the ambiguity of New Hampshire, the national fervor grows. Bernie Sanders’ strong performance makes him the Democratic frontrunner: his odds of winning the nomination stand at 33%, with Michael Bloomberg at a surprising 27%.

Sanders’ campaign is notable because he is explicit about his radical vision for the U.S. economy. An advocate of the Green New Deal, Sanders has promised to reengineer the American economy from the top-down, at a cost of more than $10 trillion over the next decade.

On the Republican side, President Trump never leaves campaign mode. His proposed budget, released on Monday, will not balance for at least 15 years, suggesting he is more than happy to bestow gifts on the electorate without paying for them. Overall, the national debt has grown by $3 trillion since Trump took office. Now it seems trillion-dollar deficits are the new normal.  This suggests Republicans have made their peace with a government empowered to direct more and more of our lives.

In short, Democrats are close to going “all-in” on democratic socialism, or at least a hardcore form of social democracy that entails a large degree of federal dirigisme. And Republican policy (which differs greatly from Republican rhetoric) is heading towards the same.  Using new programs and new spending to secure electoral support is nothing new. But given the dire fiscal situation of the United States, as well as the ominous growth federal power, we have a very good reason to worry that the political clash that will culminate in November will end poorly for everyone, regardless of who wins the White House.

Plenty of op-eds have been written on the economics of deficits and the growth of the national debt. We know our fiscal trajectory is unsustainable. Less well known are the political consequences.  Those consequences can only be understood by first refamiliarizing ourselves with the purpose of our Constitutional system.

Why do we have a Constitution that fragments political power and divides it among many organizations? The typical answer is to prevent tyranny, which is true. But it is incomplete. Our Constitution has so many procedural safeguards in place because the Founders understood the first need of a durable government at the federal level was to lower the stakes of politics. Because it is difficult to enact sweeping changes at the national level, control over the national government is not perceived by any political faction to be an existential threat.

That is how it is supposed to work. In fact, we have deviated significantly from the politics of prudence and restraint envisioned by the Founders. Congress increasingly authorizes greater and greater spending, upon which the well-being of millions has come to depend.

The Executive increasingly governs by fiat, selectively enforcing laws and allocating significant fiscal resources of its own. In this world, the game of politics has necessarily become high-stakes: the benefits of controlling the government are enormous, and as a result, efforts to secure this control have become a matter of life or death. Bloated budgets and perpetual deficits are a sure sign we are moving towards winner-takes-all politics.

The political philosopher Thomas Hobbes, in justifying the state, wrote that rational individuals willingly cede political power to a central arbiter and enforcer so that they may escape the “war of all against all.” Unfortunately, our fiscal scenario has reignited this war.

The first axiom of sound governance is to lessen the dangers caused by differences in principles and worldviews among citizens. But when the state becomes an all-encompassing institution—when everything and anything is political—disagreements become existential threats.

“When you play the game of thrones, you win or you die.” This quote by a fictional Machiavellian monarch aptly describes our situation. Unless we commit to lowering the stakes of politics, once again embracing moderation and humility, we doom ourselves to a never-ending cycle of reciprocal political domination. This is the death of liberty under law, and of democratic self-governance itself.

Tenth Amendment Center: Oppose a Disease at its Beginning

On restraining government, from the Tenth Amendment center:

If you give politicians an inch, they’ll take a mile.

The Founders warned us about this over and over.

Take John Dickinson, for example. Known as “the Penman of the Revolution,” he was one of the leading writers in the early days of the conflict. He insisted that the colonists needed to “oppose a disease at its beginning,” before the sickness could spread.

Dickinson published a series of essays now known as Letters from a Farmer in Pennsylvania in a local newspaper. He used his pen to vigorously oppose the Declaratory and Townshend Acts.

The American colonists had effectively nullified the hated Stamp Act by refusing to enforce it and actively resisting its implementation. They defeated the mighty British empire utilizing virtually every strategy and direction available – from resolutions and declarations, to protest, resistance and even non-compliance by government officials. But the British weren’t about to concede their authority over the colonies. When Parliament repealed the Stamp Act, it passed the Declaratory Act declaring its absolute political superiority over the colonies. This Declaratory Act asserted that Parliament could make any laws binding the colonies “in all cases whatsoever.”

A year later, Parliament put its words into action with the passage of the Townshend Acts. These laws imposed new taxes on the importation of paper, paint, lead, glass, and tea, and expanded the British government’s power to fight smuggling. The Townshend Acts included the New York Restraining Act. suspending the Assembly of New York’s legislative powers as punishment for failing to fully comply with orders from the crown.

Dickinson warned that failure to confront this assertion of British power then and there would lead to dire consequences and loss of liberty down the road. In the sixth Letter from a Farmer, he argued that letting the government take on even a little bit of new power would eventually lead to bigger and bigger usurpations in the future.

“All artful rulers, who strive to extend their power beyond its just limits, endeavor to give to their attempts as much semblance of legality as possible. Those who succeed them may venture to go a little further; for each new encroachment will be strengthened by a former. ‘That which is now supported by examples, growing old, will become an example itself,’ and thus support fresh usurpations.”

He continued with this theme in the ninth essay, chronicling the ways that the British Parliament, the Crown, and English judges were expanding their authority over the colonies. He concluded the essay with a warning in the form of a Spanish history lesson.

Spain, Dickinson said, was once free. Its governance was similar to that of the colonies. No money could be raised without the people’s’ consent. But an ongoing war against the Moores required funding. The king received a grant of money to fund the fight, but he was concerned it might not be a sufficient amount to pay for the war effort long-term. So, the king asked that “he might be allowed, for that emergency only, to raise more money without assembling the Cortes.” The Cortes was the Spanish representative body — similar to the Parliament.

Dickinson noted that the proposal was “violently opposed by the best and wisest men in the assembly.” But the majority approved the measure. And thus began a slide down a slippery slope. As Dickinson described it “this single concession was a PRECEDENT for other concessions of the like kind, until at last the crown obtained a general power of raising money, in cases of necessity.”

The legislature gave an inch and the king took a mile.

Dickinson wrote:

“From that period the Cortes ceased to be useful—the people ceased to be free.”

He closed the letter with these Latin words of instruction:

Venienti occurrite morbo.

Oppose a disease at its beginning.

John Adams made a similar argument also using a Latin phrase: “Obsta principiis.” which means withstand beginnings, or resist the first approaches or encroachments. Colloquially, we would say, “nip it in the bud,” which is exactly the phraseology Adams used.

“Nip the shoots of arbitrary power in the bud, is the only maxim which can ever preserve the liberties of any people.”

Adams and Dickinson both recognized an important truth. When you allow a government to chip away at the limits on its power, eventually the dam will burst. You will end up with a government exercising virtually unlimited authority – arbitrary power. At that point, it becomes difficult, if not impossible, to rein it back in. Adams wrote:

“When the people give way, their deceivers, betrayers, and destroyers press upon them so fast, that there is no resisting afterwards.”

You can’t tear down a fence and then expect the animals to stay in the field. Once the fence is gone, the animals will wander. The same thing happens when we tear down fences around government power. The government will wander further and further away from its restraints and accumulate more and more power for itself. As Dickinson wrote, “Each new encroachment will be strengthened by a former.”

Politicians love to use emergencies as an excuse to expand their own power. But once the new policy is in place, it never goes away – even after the emergency has long passed. In fact, the new policy almost always becomes a springboard to expand government power even more. The Patriot Act is a perfect example. Nearly two decades after 9/11 the federal government is still using that act to justify spying on all of us all the time.

This is why we must hold the line on the Constitution: Every issue, every time. No exceptions, no excuses.

FFF: Nullify Government Tyranny

Constitutional attorney and author John Whitehead has written an article on the need to practice the historic doctrine of nullification against government tyranny. The nullification doctrine says that states, local governments, and individuals have an inherent right to void laws they deem unconstitutional. Many readers may have heard of the specific case of jury nullification but may not remember from their history the nullification crisis of the early 1800s. In recent years, nullification has been surfacing again in the cases of immigration sanctuaries and second amendment sanctuaries.

…Everything the founders of this country feared has come to dominate in modern America. “We the people” have been saddled with a government that is no longer friendly to freedom and is working overtime to trample the Constitution underfoot and render the citizenry powerless in the face of the government’s power grabs, corruption and abusive tactics.

So how do you balance the scales of justice at a time when Americans are being tasered, tear-gassed, pepper-sprayed, hit with batons, shot with rubber bullets and real bullets, blasted with sound cannons, detained in cages and kennels, sicced by police dogs, arrested and jailed for challenging the government’s excesses, abuses and power-grabs?

No matter who sits in the White House, politics won’t fix a system that is broken beyond repair.

For that matter, protests and populist movements also haven’t done much to push back against an authoritarian regime that is deaf to our cries, dumb to our troubles, blind to our needs, and accountable to no one.

So how do you not only push back against the police state’s bureaucracy, corruption and cruelty but also launch a counterrevolution aimed at reclaiming control over the government using nonviolent means?

You start by changing the rules and engaging in some (nonviolent) guerilla tactics.

Take part in grassroots activism, which takes a trickle-up approach to governmental reform by implementing change at the local level (in other words, think nationally, but act locally).

And then, nullify everything the government does that flies in the face of the principles on which this nation was founded.

If there is any means left to us for thwarting the government in its relentless march towards outright dictatorship, it may rest with the power of juries and local governments to invalidate governmental laws, tactics and policies that are illegitimate, egregious or blatantly unconstitutional.

In an age in which government officials accused of wrongdoing—police officers, elected officials, etc.—are treated with general leniency, while the average citizen is prosecuted to the full extent of the law, nullification is a powerful reminder that, as the Constitution tells us, “we the people” are the government.

For too long we’ve allowed our so-called “representatives” to call the shots. Now it’s time to restore the citizenry to their rightful place in the republic: as the masters, not the servants.

Nullification is one way of doing so…

Click here to read the entire article at the Future of Freedom Foundation.

James Howard Kunstler: No Consequences for Crimes

James Howard Kunstler has written a good article about how the last twelve years of consequence-less national crimes and the failure of the federal government to prosecute them (or its complicity with the crimes) is eroding/has destroyed the people’s faith in institutions. This is an invitation to civil violence, he says. We can’t call ourselves a “government of laws, and not of men” when people of high enough stature are not subject to the law.

Evidence of Absence

What is most perilous for our country now, would be to journey through a second epic crisis of authority in recent times without anybody facing the consequences of crimes they might have committed. The result will be a people turned utterly cynical, with no faith in their institutions or the rule of law, and no way to imagine a restoration of their lost faith within the bounds of law. It will be a deadly divorce between truth and reality. It will be an invitation to civil violence, a broken social contract, and the end of the framework for American life that was set up in 1788.

The first crisis of the era was the Great Financial Crash of 2008 based on widespread malfeasance in the banking world, an unprecedented suspension of rules, norms, and laws. GFC poster-boy Angelo Mozilo, CEO and chairman of Countrywide Financial, a sub-prime mortgage racketeering outfit, sucked at least half a billion dollars out of his operation before it blew up, and finally was nicked for $67 million in fines by the SEC — partly paid by Countrywide’s indemnity insurer — with criminal charges of securities fraud eventually dropped in the janky “settlement.” In other words, the cost of doing business. Scores of other fraudsters and swindlers in that orgy of banking malfeasance were never marched into a courtroom, never had to answer for their depredations, and remained at their desks in the C-suites collecting extravagant bonuses. The problems they caused were papered over with trillions of dollars that all of us are still on-the-hook for. And, contrary to appearances, the banking system never actually recovered. It is permanently demoralized.

How it was that Barack Obama came on-duty in January of 2009 and got away with doing absolutely nothing about all that for eight years remains one of the abiding mysteries of life on earth. Perhaps getting the first black president into the White House was such an intoxicating triumph of righteousness that nothing else seemed to matter anymore. Perhaps Mr. Obama was just a cat’s paw for banksterdom. (Sure kinda seems like it, when your first two hires are Robert Rubin and Larry Summers.) The failure to assign penalties for massive bad behavior has set up the nation for another financial fiasco, surely of greater magnitude than the blow-up of 2008, considering the current debt landscape. Not a few astute observers say they feel the hot breath of that monster on the back of their necks lately, with all the strange action in the RePo market — $500 billion “liquidity” injections in six weeks.

But now we are a year into Attorney General Bill Barr coming on the scene  — the crime scene of RussiaGate and all its deceitful spin-offs. The Mueller investigation revealed itself as not just a thumping failure, but part of a broader exercise in bad faith and sedition to first prevent Mr. Trump from winning the 2016 election and then to harass, obstruct, disable, and eject him from office. And six months after Mr. Mueller’s face-plant, out comes the Horowitz Report tracing in spectacular detail further and deeper criminal irregularities in the US Justice agencies. What’s more, tremendous amounts of evidence for all this already sits on-the-record in public documents. The timelines are well understood.

And so, an anxious nausea creeps over the land that Mr. Barr and Mr. Durham are dawdling toward a goal of deflecting justice from the sick institutions behind the three-year coup — that our polity is so saturated in corruption nothing will be allowed to clean it up. Personally, I don’t subscribe to that hopelessness, and I will say why. But I must also say that if Barr & Durham fail to deliver a bale of indictments, they will be putting a bullet in the head of this republic. There will be no hope of restoring trust in the system and the hopelessness will inspire serious civil violence…

Click here to read the entire article at Kunstler.com

FFF: The Perils and Pitfalls of Political Paternalism

The Perils and Pitfalls of Political Paternalism was written by Professor Richard Ebeling at the Future of Freedom Foundation about the dangers and costs of nanny statism.

Across the spectrum of differing political views, whether “progressive,” “nationalist,” “populist,” or “conservative,” there is a common presumption in all of their policy positions and programs. That common dominator is the premise that government is to be the guiding hand in directing and remaking society in some chosen form, to which and within which all in that society are to be confined and made to conform.

The “progressives” herald a new dawn of democratic egalitarianism based on the identity politics of race, gender, and “social class.” The nationalists hark back to a restoration of national identity in which the state defines and determines a nation’s historic qualities and characteristics, for the protection and preservation of which government regulations and restrictions are to be employed.

“Populists” demand a redistribution of governmental power and favoritism more into the hands of those who they say have been taken advantage of in the existing “establishment” system of things. And American conservatives, who once declared at least a rhetorical allegiance to the country’s founding limited government principles, seem to want nothing more than retaining or regaining political power, and are willing to be as regulatory and redistributive in their practical policy decisions as the progressives they rail against.

Lost in this ideological and political policy warfare among them for the governmental reins of plunder and privilege is the idea and ideal of classical, or limited government, liberalism, with its defense of individual liberty, free market economics, civil liberties under an impartial rule of law, and an ethics of non-interventionism at home and abroad.

In the face of these competing, yet philosophically complementary, demands for retention and expansion of “Big Brother” over even more of our lives in a growing number of directions, it is worthwhile to remind ourselves of the premises behind and the realities of the political paternalism that they jointly represent.

First and foremost, the guiding idea behind political paternalism is that the individual cannot be trusted to be a free and responsible human being. Those who wish to socially engineer our lives consider us too ignorant, too irresponsible, and too narrow in our own personal planning horizons to intelligently and reasonably take care of our own health care, our own retirement, our own family’s education, or our own spending and consumption choices…

All of these factors, and others that could be listed, show the perils of political paternalism and power-lusting. The interventionist-welfare state has been and will continue to lead us down a dangerous new “road to serfdom” in which our lives are more and more controlled, managed, and manipulated by those in political power who claim the right to dictate how we are to live and work.

It encapsulates an evil immorality in which political force continues to claim the authority to deny us our individual rights to life, liberty, and honestly acquired property. The interventionist-welfare state has been creating a new feudalism with political and special interest elites who serve as the “lords” who rule over and ruin the rest of us, the modern serfs who are expected to toil for their benefit under strangling regulations, burdensome taxes, and intrusive social controls in the name of political correctness and identity politics now and in the future.

All of us who prefer to be free men in a free society with a free market need to do all in our intellectual power to stop and reverse this reactionary counterrevolution against the ideal of human liberty. Otherwise, our civilization may be heading for a terrible collapse that will leave nothing but tyranny and poverty for too many for generations to come.

Click here to read the entire article at FFF.org.