Let’s Start Here

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Before a sensible conversation is possible, everyone has to agree on definitions. The fact that millions of Americans don’t agree on definitions is arguably the main reason why political conversation in this country is so often incoherent – and we therefore get nowhere.

For example, we have the ongoing “debate” (so-called) between Republicans and Democrats, “conservatives” and”liberals.” It is like the “debate” between the National Socialists of long-ago Germany and the communists of Soviet Russia. Fascism, communism – they are both in fundamental agreement, much as they argue (often fiercely) about the particulars. It is the same with our Republicans and Democrats. They do not fundamentally disagree. Both urge that society be organized on an authoritarian collectivist basis – though they each call this by a different name. They disagree merely on the ways in which this force is to be organized – and how it is to be used.

Most Americans are either socialists or fascists, to one degree or another. On the political “left” we have those who favor economic redistribution in the name of “the poor.” On the political “right,” we have those who favor economic redistribution for the sake of “defense” and other cartelized manifestations of big business.

But both meet in the middle.

They agree that rights are really conditional privileges, granted (and limited) by “society.” Neither respects ownership of our persons, let alone our property. Both exert their power over the individual by coercive, collectivist mechanisms which the individual is required to obey in exactly the same way as William Wallace of Braveheart renown was told he had committed treason against “his” king by refusing to Submit and Obey. When Wallace tells his inquisitors that “never in my life did I swear allegiance to him,” the blase reply, “It matters not – he is your king,” is just exactly the same reply any individual American would receive today (by form letter) from, say, the IRS. And it would be affirmed by most Americans, too.

So, definitions.

To have a proper conversation in 2012 America, we should begin by dispensing with the intellectually dishonest and  conversationally incoherent terms, Republican and Democrat, liberal and conservative.

There are authoritarians of various inclinations – and people opposed to authoritarianism in all its manifestations.

Let me put it in concrete terms, using an everyday example: property taxes. Both the (so-called) left and right agree on the principle, with their differences coming down to the amount of the tax and how the monies extorted thereby are to be spent. The “Democrat” or “liberal” wants to make sure the local government schools are well-funded. The “conservative” or “Republican” agrees   – he just wants to make sure the money doesn’t go to fund the teaching of evolution or the advocacy of gay marriage. Neither of which ultimately matters, of course, to the former (more precisely, never was)  land or home owner. He pays, regardless. And if he declines to pay, both types of authoritarians – on the “left” and the “right” – will draw their knives and seek his blood. Literally, they will kill him, if it comes to that. If he declines to pay the money they demand – and attempts to defend himself against their demands.

An anti-authoritarian is repelled by the spectacle. Because he rejects, in principle, the shedding of blood to lubricate the machinery of authoritarianism. You are either a free man – the owner of your person and any property you duly pay for, without restriction of condition. Or you are not. Free men are not reduced to “company town” servitude by the making of their “ownership” of property conditional on paying rent to the government each year in perpetuity. You either own your land, your home – or you do not. Similarly, either your physical person is yours – or it is not. “Democrat” “liberals” believe that it is not – that your physical person is merely a constituent cell of the Great Collective. Hence, for example, seatbelt laws. And on the “Republic” and “conservative” side, the war on (some) drugs. Your body is not yours.  The collective claims it first.

Here again, the anti-authoritarian takes a fundamentally different view. He does not point guns at you “for your own good” – or for any other reason, except in self-defense.

It is time to choose sides. You are either an authoritarian of one description or another. Or you are opposed to authoritarianism. There is no middle ground, no having your authoritarianism and your liberty, too. So-called “moderate” authoritarians believe the latter is possible but in fact, it is only a transitory condition. When it comes to human rights, once ground has been given for any reason, you will soon find yourself without any ground at all left to stand upon. It is only question of time before whatever remnant remains of your former rights are are shredded in their entirety. It is like a steer trying to stay on its feet amid a pack of hungry lions, hoping they will only rip off some of his flesh and be satisfied with that.

So, let’s begin with proper definitions – and call things by their right name, openly.

It will be a good start.

Throw it in the Woods?

 

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eric

Author of "Automotive Atrocities" and "Road Hogs" (MBI). Currently living amongst the Edentulites in rural SW Virginia. 

  58 comments for “Let’s Start Here

  1. Jay Wocky
    February 16, 2012 at 4:34 pm

    The very essence of authoritarian lawmaking is…making laws. Pardon the redundancy-plus-tautology.

    Have you ever known anyone running for a seat on any legislative body to campaign on a fundamental platform of finding as many unconstitutional or unjust or stupid laws as he can and then repealing them? It doesn’t happen (although Ron Paul alone tacks in that direction).

    Indeed, a first-time legislative candidate will typically promise to pass X-many laws (X being greater than Y: the number of laws his opponent promises to pass). An incumbent running for reelection will tout an impressive record of bills introduced, sponsored, voted for or all three. In other words, about how many new laws he passed.

    Even those running for the executive will promise to pass laws. Of course, they simply cannot do this. They promise anyway, and then later take credit for whatever laws their legislatures passed that they signed (assuming they deem such credit-taking conducive to reelection).

    Legislators or wannabes are ever “tough on crime.” Which means the have passed or intend to pass more and more laws, criminalizing more and more acts, and making penalties more and more severe.

    I could go on, but I know I’m not surprising anyone on this blog. I would just add this final point: They all claim credit as individuals, e.g. “I cut taxes, I increased benefits, I saved us from the recession, I, I, I.” Even the “royal We” is falling out of use: most notably by the current president.

    Like the hokey pokey, that’s what it’s all about. And why there is no meaningful difference when it comes to party labels or claimed ideologies.

    • roy harris
      February 18, 2012 at 2:21 am

      if indeed the appropriate distinction is, as the author has stated, that of authoritarianism vs anti-authoritarianism, then what is anti-authoritarianism ? it seems it is anarchy, essentially doing what you want and not being willing to be directed to do something you don’t want to do.

      let’s be honest here. does the author favor anarchy ?

      it might work if the good side of humanity is always in operation.

      but what happens when someone wants to usurp another’s freedom ??

      if there are no restrictions to behavior, people better behave themslves–good vs evil. if people are always “good”, there is no need for authority. on the other hand authority is not always “good”.

      so it boils down to the ramifications of the fact that man cannot govern himself. there is a paradox here.

      have fun with it and try to figure out the ideal form of government. what is it ?

      • February 18, 2012 at 12:08 pm

        Hi Roy,

        This comes up a lot, so let me try to answer. I will post a new article addressing your question shortly… look for it in about an hour.

        • Jean
          August 12, 2013 at 3:38 pm

          Eric,
          I’d request you put a link to that article here…

          Roy seems to be unaware that there ARE ways of dealing with those who consistently coerce others to do things against the better nature and judgement.
          And I’d like to read th article.

    • terryc
      February 18, 2012 at 4:58 pm

      A very well written argument for libertarianism. I don’t agree with government schools, compulsory attendance or most of the child labor laws, but I am NOT A liberterian. Still the very argument of libertarianism requires a MORAL populace. If there is no 10 commandments sense of right and wrong, anarchy and wild west morality will result. Just look at Detroit!!!!!

      • February 18, 2012 at 8:27 pm

        Hi Terry,

        Thanks – and, if you are opposed to government schools, compulsory attendance and so on, then you’re already at least half-way on your way to becoming an anti-authoritarian and one of us!

    • February 20, 2012 at 6:07 pm

      Well, O.K. This idea of agreeing on clear and accurate definitions seems, at first blush, a good idea. In the end, however, it sometimes boils down to an effort by one group to recast, restate, re-categorize (and otherwise distort) ideas that the one group does not like. This is often accomplished, as here, by “stripping away the false appearances” and “pretenses” so as to expose those ideas to the “clear light of day” and cause them naturally, to appear stupid, unreasonable, and evil, and to associate those ideas with past failures (authoritarianism, communism, fascism, etc.). So while attempting to sound reasonable and objective, Mr. Peters is, in actually, engaging in the oldest form of sophistry.

      In all fairness, he is correct in pointing out that both the major political parties in the U.S. support the basic idea that the society as a whole should be organized in such a way as to allow the society as a whole to join together for certain specific purposes and activities. These could include, for example, ensuring the common defense, promoting the general welfare, and the like. It might also include agreeing on some basic rules, such as that murder is illegal. (This rule could come in handy should someone stand near the border of one state, say in Cardiff, Maryland, and shoot someone just across the state border in Delta, Pennsylvania. Without a federal law that murder is illegal, perhaps nothing could be done about it. Most people, no matter where they live, would view that as a bad thing.)

      Anyway, a long time ago (let’s just say for purposes of this discussion, June 15, 1215), a group of citizens got together and went to another citizen and said to him “We don’t like the way you have been behaving lately — we would like you to consider some changes in the way we do things together.” That conversation basically took place in the middle of a field (with a lot of folks watching, waiting, and hoping the conversation would turn out well). It resulted in the Magna Carte, kind of an agreement among fellow citizens about how the society should work. Now, one could say that agreement involved some forms of “economic redistribution” and some “restraints on freedom”. It also involved some (at least implied) coercion, along with the understanding that compliance could be compelled, if necessary. Now I’m asking you, do we toss all of that in the same bucket with all the other “isms” (communism, fascism, authoritarianism) and other disasters cooked up by those pesky authoritarian collectivists then pour gas in the bucket and light it up?

      I asked a Libertarian friend of mine how we are to get along without any government, or at least without a government that has any power to enforce collective authority of any kind. His response was that this would need to be handled by private contract. Now I take that to mean that every time two people want to solve any problem and agree on joint action, they would need to make a new contract – in other words, they can’t piggy-back on some prior contract previously made. If that sort of quasi-public contracting were permitted, it would create a big loophole — it would be indistinguishable from things like . . . oh, let me see, . . . like the United States Constitution (which, if I remember my history, was intended to operate as an agreement among the peoples of the several states that enacted and ratified it).

      I have to confess that I like a lot of the libertarian ideas; I believe the libertarian ideal has much to offer. My favorite founding father, Thomas Jefferson, falls most neatly into the Libertarian camp. I want to listen to what libertarians have to offer and endorse it when I can. But when it becomes an absolute kind of thing, when we prohibit any collectively enforceable societal organization ab initio, then libertarianism would seem to go too far. Who will restrain criminals, for example, if there is no government with any kind of enforcement powers?

      Am I reading too much in to Mr. Peters’ words? I think not:

      “There are authoritarians of various inclinations – and people opposed to authoritarianism in all its manifestations.

      “You are either a free man – the owner of your person and any property you duly pay for, without restriction of condition. Or you are not.

      “It is time to choose sides.”

      It would appear that we are provided little room to maneuver. It would seem that is Mr. Peters’ point. As a consequence, we are left with little opportunity to recognize that life is full of surprises, or to join together in preparing reasonably for any of those surprises. The Common Law evolved in order to allow people to respond creatively to the realities of their circumstances. “One simple rule for all” is, at least initially, an attractive idea, but it fails to take into account the multitude of different circumstances to which any single rigid rule would need to be applied.

      I’m not saying today’s Republicans and Democrats don’t have lots and lots of work to do. I am saying that doing positive work, engaging in real honest dialogue, making real progress in the public square, requires a kind of intellectual honesty that I personally believe is lacking in Mr. Peters’ article. To be fair, I don’t really think that Mr. Peters believes that the feudal barons of 13th Century England became fascists or communists because they joined together to restrain, under the force of law, or of arms, the excesses of a despotic king. No reasonable person would think that. What I am saying is that we’ve got to keep our wits about us. The sands are constantly shifting. I’m looking for public-spirited citizens of fair mind and honest disposition to join together in this great enterprise of restoring our Republic – and I’m a registered Democrat. Take that Mr. Peters.

      Steve Rorke

      Click here: I WANT LEADERS FOR AMERICA . . .

      ________________________________________

      C. Steven Rorke
      http://www.csrorke.com
      csr@csrorke.com
      Phone: 602-852-5572
      Cell: 602-677-1244
      P.O. Box 1886
      Scottsdale, Arizona 85252-1886
      ________________________________________

  2. Enjoy Every Sandwich
    February 16, 2012 at 5:30 pm

    Amen to that. One of the things that infuriates me the most about politics is the dishonest way that language is twisted to hide the reality of government.

    • Jay Wocky
      February 16, 2012 at 6:05 pm

      Two prime examples: 1) “Invest”, meaning to spend and 2) “Cut”, meaning to slightly reduce an increase.

      • Marc
        February 17, 2012 at 3:53 am

        They also do wonders with statistics. There is an old saying that statistics may not lie but liars lie with statistics. The latest unemployment figures are a perfect example. The 1.5 million who dropped out of the work force and are no longer being counted made it appear like the unemployment rate dropped. As a consequence, Obama deserves, of course, to be reelected for doing a splendid job and partly fulfilling his hope pledge. In actuality, the number of those currently employed (a better way to calculate progress) remained about the same.

        • dom
          February 17, 2012 at 4:03 am

          Well they’ve done statistics on this I imagine. How many times do we need to say the same thing before all clovers have been programed sufficiently well to win an election? The proliferation of cloverism, contortion of facts, and pure lack of mental reasoning abilities works in their favor. And pretty well I’d bet!

    • Boothe
      February 16, 2012 at 6:52 pm

      EES it’s called sophistry and lawyers are very good at it. Many of our “law makers” ARE lawyers; hence most of our laws benefit lawyers. Intentional legal literary obfuscation designed to enslave and fleece the masses (what other purpose does it serve?) is a high crime. The perpetrators should be treated as we would any other grifter or flim-flam man; certainly not re-elected. When will the sheeple ever learn?

      • Doug
        February 16, 2012 at 8:07 pm

        The problem is money. Unlike corporate or government interests, there is no money backing candidates who support freedom and personal choice. Tweedle Dee or Tweedle Dildo. Which candidate do you think will least continue to destroy your quality of life? For the answer, don’t listen to what the politician is saying. Instead, check-out where his political contributions are coming from.

        • February 16, 2012 at 8:37 pm

          Money is only a problem because the system enables it to be used to buy government force (for redistributionist and other such purposes). If it were illegal to use the force of government to take money from Smith in order to “help” Jones, or to “invest” in “education” (pick your poison) then none of this would matter.

          In 1800, for example, a rich person (or company) could put millions behind a given candidate and maybe even succeed in getting him elected. But because government was limited by law (and by public demand) even the biggest scumbag crook of a politician could only do so much damage.

          Today, there is no limit at all to what a scumbag politician can do. The office is worth billions to various rent-seeking interests; hence the money in politics.

          • February 16, 2012 at 11:46 pm

            Precisely. The government has become a money pump. Anybody that wants some in their pockets simply primes the pump through campaign donations. They can do the same to push a political agenda, too, but that usually means that the money flows in another direction.

            Here’s the real question about the authoritarian ruling class in this country: What do we DO about it?

            I think that teaching the constitution to children and being a part of Ron Paul’s freedom movement are the best things we can do to correct our country’s course.

          • Gail
            February 17, 2012 at 6:29 am

            Political humorist P.J. O’Roarke once wrote that government office is the best job most of these guys will ever have.

            No wonder they fight like civet cats to hold onto it.

          • int
            February 17, 2012 at 6:43 pm

            mark, the constitution says congress shall have the power to levy and collect taxes.. taxation is theft, the sacrifice of individual’s and their property to the collective. the constitution is a flawed document. you cant protect individual rights when you start by violating individual rights. The means must be consistent with the ends. you cant make war for peace, you can’t steal for property rights. and you can’t murder for life. you can’t drink for sobriety.

            you can’t tax for freedom

          • Chris
            February 17, 2012 at 6:46 pm

            The problem with the notion of a constitutions or Ron Paul as a solution is they are both tar babies; their a subtle trap that gets you stuck in a authoritarian problem/solution modality. They’re also an overcomplicated “solution”. The solution is simply to no longer condone the initiation of aggression as socially acceptable behavior. Remove your support. Stop participating in it wherever you can. Educate and teach your kids why. Show others the alternative and superior methods instead.

          • ekim
            February 18, 2012 at 8:16 am

            I cannot agree with your insistance that the Constitution is a flawed document ! I believe it has been subverted and needs to be restored to original content and intentions.

          • February 18, 2012 at 11:20 am

            Hi Kim,

            In my opinion, the Constitution is flawed in at least a few respects, giving its authors the benefit of the doubt:

            * Vague, imprecise language. Examples include the wording of the 2A and, of course, the “general welfare” clause.

            * No clear statement of the voluntary nature of the federal union – and of the lawful right, in extreme circumstances, of nullification of unconstitutional measures and, failing that, of secession.

          • Chris
            February 19, 2012 at 10:16 pm

            “I believe it has been subverted and needs to be restored to original content and intentions.” So that it can be subverted again. Because it will be, that’s the weakness of that approach.

            Depending on a piece of paper isn’t going to work. You need to address people’s actions and activities. You need to educate them on why there are better methods and why these that we’ve tried don’t work.

  3. mikehell
    February 17, 2012 at 12:09 am

    Apologies if this link has been posted at epautos already, but it’s relevant to Eric’s piece. A must read. This is about those who “protect and serve” the authoritarians.

    The rise of the Praetorian class

    http://www.caseyresearch.com/cdd/rise-praetorian-class

  4. BrentP
    February 17, 2012 at 12:28 am

    I get into debates/arguments with people and pointing this out does not work for they believe in authoritarianism. It’s always what they feel is right and having the right people in charge. They believe that good works can be done at the barrel of a gun. They believe someone or some small group (that thinks just like they do) should organize and manage society. But they will not recognize the fact they are authoritarians. After all, they can vote!

    There is one thing they all dislike, freedom. They are afraid of it. Freedom is scary to them. Yet watch them scream when ‘the others’ get into power…. but they never reject the idea of power in the first place.

    People by and large want it this way. So long as the cage is nice they don’t seem to care. They don’t think the cage is going to get a lot worse.

    I think an honest look at the whole thing is something that will happen when it’s too late if it ever does.

    • February 17, 2012 at 12:36 am

      The only thing we can do is make them squirm – and maybe, get them to think a little – by forcing them to confront the ultimate reality of their authoritarianism. I have been working on this myself for some time and now, when the opportunity presents itself – as in the case of a discussion about the merits of this or that “program” or what have you – I say something along the lines of:

      I am not a violent person, so I don’t like the idea of threatening people – much less actually harming them or putting them in cages simply in order to force them to give me (or someone else) their money or to force them to do (or not do) something in their personal lives that’s not my affair because it doesn’t threaten me, or cause me harm…. so I’m opposed to….

      That usually gets things going.

      I think if enough of us pursued such a course, it might get a proper conversation started. I realize most people are Clovers and so would either dive off into a soup of bromides about “the public good,” “majority rule,” “the vote” and that “we all have a say” – etc. But I also think it would reach the reachable – and that’s something worth doing….

      • February 17, 2012 at 1:55 pm

        Damned good piece exposing yet another take on the specious left/right paradigm. The bad news is of course that you’re pretty much preaching to the choir, as many do, and as I do in my own writing.

        What needs to happen is that the choir itself needs to expand…and it is, thankfully…until these ideas reach the tipping point and become mainstream. It’s a slow, tedious process, but we need to keep plugging away at it.

        Since the method used to propagate authoritarianism is collectivism, I think the answer to combat it is individualism. All of us need to quit looking for that perfect specimen who can explain to the masses what’s wrong and how to fix it. That’s just not going to happen, and we’re wasting time searching for that person who doesn’t exist.

        Eric just reaffirmed that…he isn’t quoting some freedom guru to illustrate this, he’s developing his OWN methods to communicate with people. Sure, quoting others is handy and we can support our part of a debate this way, but it’s up to US as individuals to get he word out. You don’t have to get all spiffy to engage the public, do as many of us do, engage other individuals and use the facts that were strongest in your own understanding to convince them in turn. Then, the few you manage to win over can go and engage others, and so on.

        Individuals sticking with honesty, integrity and consistency is needed, along with the motivation to quit navel-gazing and DO IT if we’re to have any expectation of success.

      • mikehell
        February 17, 2012 at 1:55 pm

        I’ve learned a lot from Stef Molyneux about how to deal with statists. His latest approach is ask them this: “If I’m willing to respect your belief in statism and all that entails, will have the same respect for my beliefs in living as a free man?” Most reasonable people will of course answer yes, but if they do then they are then intellectually forced to confront the contradictions of statism: i.e., one cannot believe in both statism and freedom simultaneously. He has a 30 minute video presentation of the idea at the link below. It’s worth watching because as always there’s more nuance to it that I can convey.

        • BrentP
          February 17, 2012 at 2:36 pm

          I’ve tried to employ those techniques. IME the statists just accept that it is good and moral of them to use violence against people like myself. It does work however to get them to admit their system is based in violence, which other forms of argument rarely do, but the response is that their goals justify the use of violence because otherwise they wouldn’t get enough resources to accomplish them.

          From there it’s the usual personal attacks and ‘love it or leave it’ and that everything a person has is because of “society” (once again, they mean the state, not society. For some reason statists can’t separate the state, an institution, from society, people interacting with each other)

          • mikehell
            February 17, 2012 at 2:43 pm

            Admitting the gun in the room is a big step for most people. Let’s take what we can get. :)

          • February 17, 2012 at 8:10 pm

            “…statists just accept that it is good and moral of them to use violence against people like myself.”

            I like to point out that if they take that position, they invite violence on themselves. The whole, “live by the sword, die by the sword…” Do they want more 911′s? What if their child or spouse is killed in an attack, would they be ok with that since they accept violence an a useful method for resolving disputes?

            I try to make them understand that by believing it is there’s no longer any difference between them and terrorists. That they cannot express moral outrage over 911, for instance, since by their own admission the terrorists were solving a social problem using violence just as they also advocate. The only difference being that the violence was against their side and not by their gov proxies against the other side.

          • February 17, 2012 at 8:39 pm

            There’s a sort of religious element to it; i.e., they’re ok with violence if it’s been sanctified by “the law,” which was enacted by “our representatives” for whom we “vote” – and so on. To them, this amounts to a moral distinction between acceptable coercion and morally unacceptable coercion. Thus, it’s ok for the government to take your money (and your liberty) but a crime when done by individuals or gangs acting on their own.

            Yeah, I know. It makes no sense to me, either.

          • BrentP
            February 17, 2012 at 10:53 pm

            plenarchist, at that point they argue that it’s different when the government does it. I’m not kidding. I argued them right into that corner and they just stated it’s different when the government does it.

            Also, it is their belief that the state keeps us safe from other actors of violence.

  5. Pfc. Parts
    February 17, 2012 at 3:37 am

    You’re going to love this one Eric:

    NHTSA-2010-0053 – http://www.regulations.gov/#!documentDetail;D=NHTSA-2010-0053-0001

    It’s a new set of regulations defining the kinds of things people will be allowed to do in their cars. I know how you feel about tsxting in a moving vehicle so this one might present an ideological challenge.

    Should the government preemptively tell US car manufacturers what electronics they can install in cars, and how those electronics should work, all in the name of public safety? You decide.

    The link allows comments for the next 60 days…

    • BrentP
      February 17, 2012 at 4:35 am

      The cure for distracted driving is to not to make driving so boring by dumbing it down so much.

    • Jay Wocky
      February 17, 2012 at 5:09 am

      “The link allows comments for the next 60 days…”

      The irony here is rich: a government website soliciting comments that are likely to be overwhelmingly anti-government. Ironic like the fox. Lots of IP addresses to be harvested. Addresses of dissidents and troublemakers.

      And we all know what kind of future Big Sister & Co. has in store for the likes of them.

      Thanks for the link, Pfc. Parts. I think I’ll pass on using it. We’re already being watched enough as it is on epautos.com.

      • February 17, 2012 at 6:26 pm

        The harvesting of IP addresses, most of which are dynamic, isn’t really as big of an issue as it’s made out to be. The real issue with a government site like this soliciting comments is that it is meaningless. Even if one hundred percent of the respondents were to put down the idea, that would not for a millisecond stop the powers that be from enacting it into law. Even if it DID put a temporary moratorium on the issue, that would only give the PTB more time to draft up new legislation that would accomplish the same ends. All that this new legislation would do would be to wordsmith the issue in a way that the sheeple masses would find acceptable. This is exactly what will happen in the wake of the SOPA bill’s defeat. The ends intended by that bill will ultimately become law one way or another, the will of the People be damned.

        • Jay Wocky
          February 17, 2012 at 8:42 pm

          Good points. To further clarify, SOPA was a bill: i.e. proposed legislation. Because it met a ***t storm of negative public opinion, the elected legislators backed off. Therefore, it is likely that the regulators (i.e. unelected de facto legislators) will effect what was in SOPA, without having to subject anything to hearings or a vote.

          However, what began this sub-thread was a proposed regulation: in other words, a prerogative delegated to the executive by vague, unneeded legislation already passed by elected legislators because they want somebody else to blame for the negative regulatory fallout from their BS law. This also gives them an “issue” to run against, and someone to demonize during the campaign (i.e. an out-of-control bureaucracy).

          To echo Boothe’s earlier point, this is what happens when lawyers make laws. They create demand for their “services” in the private sector, along with problems for them to “solve” while still in the public sector. By means of more laws, of course.

    • February 17, 2012 at 10:27 am

      Thanks, PFC – I’m checking into this now…

    • February 17, 2012 at 6:17 pm

      As to texting and driving: It’s much like driving under the influence of alcohol. There are minor distractions in driving–eating, talking to a passenger, rocking to the music on the radio–and there are major distractions, texting, reading a book while driving (I’m seen that), having too many beers before getting in the car. No one has the right to endanger the lives and property of others. So how should that issue be handled, solely by civil courts?

      • Toldev
        February 18, 2012 at 4:44 am

        The problem with laws against things like texting and driving is that the government is charging people for a crime based on what they might do. Not what they actually did. The same logic is also used to prohibit such things as prostitution and drugs. If the government declares war on texting and driving, I would expect it to be about as effective as the war on drugs in eliminating drug abuse.

        • February 18, 2012 at 11:29 am

          Agree. It’s also an arbitrary standard; by which I mean people differ in their abilities to deal with things. For example, some people are still better drivers with two beers in their system (verging on “legally impaired” DUI) than others are completely sober because their impairment is lack of skill behind the wheel, or poor vision/reflexes, etc.

          I’m not advocating drinking and driving; just trying to make a point. It’s the same with things like talking on the phone or texting. There are people who can do it; others who can’t. The standard should be evidence of inept/dangerous driving such as failure to control the vehicle, or an accident resulting from that. Then by all means ticket/punish the offended. Otherwise, leave people alone!

  6. February 17, 2012 at 12:58 pm

    Bravo Eric!

    Now this is precisely the fundamental groundwork lacking in all contemporary American political discussion.

    We must abandon the labels deliberately crafted over the years to dilute meaning and blur distinction; Dem, Repub, Conservative, Liberal, etc..

    I have long maintained there are but two political creatures….authoritarians and anti-authoritarians, or if you will, statists and anti-statists. The authoritarians/statists truly believe government to be necessary and good; they either actively participate in, or fawn over those who do constitute institutionalized government.

    Anti-authoritarians/anti-statists know that while some limited form of government rooted in the timeless social contract of right vs. wrong is necessary….It is NEVER good. It must be constrained, mis-trusted, watched, and vigilantly monitored for signs of metastasis.

    Mikehell’s earlier post in this thread sheds more light; as the praetorian class rises and expands, the producing class falls and shrinks. The Praetorians (authoritarians/statists/plunderers/clover courtesans) define our society and culture in terms of the government they have crafted; the Producers (anti-authoritarians/anti-statists/creators/builders) define our society in terms of the family and wealth they have crafted.

    This political division is not new to history……it has been going on well before the first Greeks coined the term “polity”.

    Yes, let’s do halt the debate over what government should, or should not do. Let us instead frame up what government IS and how it is to be forever constrained and limited…….Ooops, silly me…didn’t we just do that in the late 1780′s?

    May I add a link to further reading? Here (with thanks to Dr. Clyde Wilson) is another glossary of political types: http://tomhallett.com/cavalcade/patria.html

    • Pfc. Parts
      February 18, 2012 at 1:51 am

      Well spoken Thomas. Eric has pointed the discussion in the right direction I think. The issue isn’t which group of authoritarians you belong to, it’s whether you belong to one at all. I like your comment about individualists defining themselves in terms of family and the wealth they have created.

  7. RG
    February 17, 2012 at 4:43 pm

    X: Do you believe in liberty?
    Y: Of course!
    X: It’s good to meat another anarchist.
    Y: I’m no anarchist! Don’t insult me. We need a government for defense, safety, roads, and what not.
    X: I thought you believed in liberty?
    Y: I do.
    X: But, you just we need government.
    Y: I did and we do.
    X: SO WHICH IS IT?! Either you believe in liberty or you believe in the state. It’s a black or white, yes or no question.

    • February 17, 2012 at 5:33 pm

      It is –

      It’s also a sort of Occam’s Razor in that it lets you very precisely cleave the authoritarians from the non-authoritarians.

      • Jay Wocky
        February 17, 2012 at 8:29 pm

        Now that’s my second favorite kind of cleavage!

  8. Keith Hamburger
    February 17, 2012 at 5:43 pm

    Statism is the utopian ideal that just the right amount of violence directed by just the right people in just the right direction can perfect society.

    • mikehell
      February 17, 2012 at 7:25 pm

      Well put, Keith

  9. February 17, 2012 at 6:28 pm

    I have said for years that there is no left or right in politics. It’s a matter of what percentage of government does your nation have. Zero % up to 100%. I dare say that all nations are over the 50% mark and the U.S. is probably close to 75% government control, if not more. But, as pointed out above, most people really either don’t understand what freedom and liberty entail, or they are afraid of it.

    Albert Jay Nock said in his book, “Our Enemy the State,” that the people of the U.S. (in the 1930′s) looked to the goverment much like the people in 1500 looked to the Catholic Church. Think how much more the people of today think that the government is beneficial rather than a necessary evil. And just how necessary is debatable.

    • Keith Hamburger
      February 20, 2012 at 10:06 pm

      The difference between governments is one of degree, not of kind.

  10. Tor Munkov
    February 17, 2012 at 6:53 pm

    When you are under a monopoly system of force, you are not free. Monopoly exists only under tyranny. The sons of englishmen who met in Carpenters Hall have brought the entire world under a monopoly of force. Ignore them and make their dominion as hollow and meaningless as possible. Oney Judge has shown you the way.

  11. RB
    February 17, 2012 at 7:20 pm

    Robert Heinlein said it best (from the diaries of Lazarus Long in “No Time for Love”):

    “Political tags – such as royalist, communist, democrat, populist, fascist, liberal, conservative, and so forth – are never basic criteria. The human race divides politically into those who want people to be controlled and those who have no such desire.”

    He also adds that the first group often acts from the highest motives of altruism, while the latter tend to be surly curmudgeons and loners (but, they make much better neighbors).

    • February 17, 2012 at 7:35 pm

      It’s interesting, isn’t it, that people who advocate threatening others with violence in order to “help” others are regarded as liberal and humane while those who reject the use of violence for any reason other than self-defense are looked upon as “mean spirited’ or (big sigh) “selfish.”

  12. Jason Calley
    February 17, 2012 at 7:35 pm

    Just to be clear, let me point out that being anti-authoritarian is not the same as just being against violence. Being anti-authoritarian means being against the AGGRESSIVE use of violence. We can even go one step further and define “statism” as the form of authoritarianism which grants one party (ie, the state) a monopoly on the use of aggressive violence.

    As an individual, I have every right to use violence, but only in a defensive way, not in aggression.

    One of the beauties of the early US government — and yes, while a condition of philosophical anarchy may be the most desired condition, it is still possible to say that some states have been better than others! — was that the government was NOT given a monopoly on violence. The means of violence was distributed and accepted among the populace; hence the militias and the desire for “every man to be armed.”

    • February 17, 2012 at 8:36 pm

      Right you are, Jason – thanks for pointing that out. Aggressive violence is the problem. Without it, defensive violence would be irrelevant!

  13. Jim
    February 18, 2012 at 2:36 am

    Excellent points. Democrats and Republicans are just two of the factions being used by The Prince to trick us into empowering him to slay our enemies, and thus his only grows. Machiavelli explained how the successful Prince uses this tactic to conquer foreign peoples, but I explain here how he uses it to conquer his own people.

    http://www.endofinnocence.com/2011/06/emancipating-slaves-enslaving-free-men.html

    • February 18, 2012 at 11:36 am

      Thanks, Jim –

      I see this as a necessary first step toward recovering what we’ve lost because we can’t proceed without recovering our senses first!

  14. Attila
    February 23, 2012 at 7:29 pm

    This is the usual trashing of both sides to show how the author thinks he knows more than he does. Meanings have a way of being twisted to suit the speaker in a travesty on the language. Liberal in the original meaning described advocacy for maximizing freedom of the common man while conservative described an advocacy for the status quo (an elite royalist class). Once the “progressives” true agenda (domination by the elites) became widely known, they hijacked the liberal term to hide themselves. For a while it worked but now they are going back to progressive as the current generation is clueless to history. Conservatives’ evolution was to a new status quo that enshrined the Constitution and the very successful ideas of a limited republic (it was the progressive elitists like President Wilson who pushed the erroneous flawed “democracy”). They were truly energized by Goldwater in the 60s and Reagan in the 70s and 80s. Since religious ideals were being essentially oppressed by liberals (inventing “separation of church and state” out of a neutral 1st Amendment for example), they were embraced by conservatives ready to defend personal freedoms like a federal government taking no position on religious issues. Unfortunately, they allowed the liberal/progressive/fascist opposition to frame conservatives as a bunch of ignorant religious radicals. Of course some “independents” (confused by ignorance) bought this, but conservatives today are mostly motivated by concerns over the runaway tyrannical federal monster, with religious oppression being only one of many disastrous consequences from abandoning the rule of law (Constitution). Our two party system holds the potential for reform; trashing it serves no useful purpose. It is true that both were dominated by liberal/progressive/fascist leadership until recently. Even Reagan was unable to completely break their hold on power. However, they continue to grow, at least in the Republican party, which supplies the most fertile ground for a libertarian type reform. Trash it for snobbish enjoyment if you will, the cost could be another generation of tyrannical liberal/progressive/fascist rule.

    • February 23, 2012 at 7:32 pm

      Trashing both sides of the authoritarian Janus is precisely what I meant to do – and was I wrong to do so? Your post seems to agree with me….

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