[Iconoclast's note: The copy of Franck's essay provided to me seems to have been scanned and optically character recognized, not without error. The errors were included in the copy provided to me, and if they inspire me to be somewhat more forgiving of spelling and punctuation, not to mention usage errors by the author, it is well they were there.]
In his essay, "Taxation is Moral - IV," Murray Franck, J.D., LL.M., writes ostensibly at the request of Dr. Larry Sechrest and Dr. Chris Sciabarra. Dr. Sciabarra has earned my respect, and apparently joined Dr. Sechrest in suggesting that Franck's rationale justifying taxation as moral might not fully account for Dr. Murray Rothbard's clear reasoning in "The Myth of Natural Taxation." Way to go, Chris.
Dr. Rothbard's thesis is that taxation can never be market neutral, a fact which he proves beyond any mentally competent doubt. Taxes always distort the market, and are among the major sins of the immoral entity we sometimes call "government." Dr. Rothbard's reasoning is not challenged by Franck with anything approaching evidence. The absence of even such limited kinds of evidence as anecdotes, authorities, or statistics makes Franck's claim that he argues that Rothbard is incorrect approach the sound and fury which Shakespeare once noted is more often heard as a tale told by an idiot. Franck may feel that he has made such an argument, and may, in fact, feel relieved of considerable guilt over accepting tax money in his paycheck from CUNY, but he has not done so. In fairness to Franck, which, in leaving off his honorific I may have already caused you to guess that I'm not much inclined to provide, he may have offered more reasoning and some evidence in Parts I, II and III. The prospect of evaluating three times as many such essays verges on the horrific.
Franck's thesis has several parts, all of which may easily be called into question. His thesis statement, which begins with the phrase "My thesis is..." (which phrase, when I was a student, would have necessarily bought me a "C" at best) "...that because taxes fund government..." continues from this impressive claim. No analysis of whether government has been or can be or indeed is funded by any other means is offered. We are expected to take at face value the claim that taxes fund government and that government is not or perhaps in his view may not be funded in any other fashion.
Since I am presently (November 1999) involved in an effort to organize a government to be funded strictly by voluntary means, I must disagree with Franck's claim. My debate coach used to say that "anything which has happened is possible," from which, sadly, he often went on to establish that extraterrestrials had visited Earth. Nevertheless, the principle is a sound one. Governments have been funded by voluntary means, including voluntarily purchased savings bonds. To this day, the United States still offers securities, including bonds, which may be purchased voluntarily. Governments, including the State of Texas (de facto) have been funded through lottery ticket purchases, also a voluntary act. Lotteries funded a great many early buildings and public institutions in New York City and elsewhere, although my brother, Tom, suggests that they are something of a reverse intelligence tax. Mike Oliver, a Lithuanian ex-patriate who fled Nazi tyranny and lately resides in Nevada, has pointed out that hospitals in Lithuania were always funded by voluntary donations. Lists of donors would be published, and those who were not listed often found themselves ostracized by their business associates. Organized religion has for many thousands of years provided governmental functions in various places and at various times, and has generally been funded through donations. In the heady days of the Reagan Administration, we learned of the Iran-Contra affair, in which arms were sold to Iran, hostages were released, funds were used to buy drugs, drugs were sold on the streets of Los Angeles, and more arms were bought for use by Contras in Nicaragua. That sort of inventive transaction does beg the question of why the arms which were sold to Iran weren't simply sent to Nicaragua, but it also illustrates the point that taxes are not the only possibility. Lest we forget the other type of socialist, under the Clinton Administration, funds were raised by renting the Lincoln Bedroom in the White House for as much as $100,000 a night. Governments may make poor hoteliers, but they need not tax.
So, it is essential for Franck to prove that taxes are necessary (and not merely sufficient) to fund government in order to even begin to consider their moral possibilities. In considering such a proof, it is important to remember that government exists as an entity only to the extent that we delegate some of our individual power to government. No power possessed of a government can be said to be inherent in government only, for government is merely a collection of humans to whom certain powers have been delegated by others. (In many cases, the delegation is not by choice, but the source of the power is the same; the slave must cooperate with his master to remain a slave, and while his alternative is often death, it is still the case that you cannot enslave a man who knows he is free -- the most you may hope to do is kill him.)
Governments steal. They call it "taxes." Taxation is theft. Individuals have the power to steal. They also have the power to kill. From time to time, individuals have delegated these powers to government. Invariably, over time, each such delegation has proven to be a mistake. It is very difficult to prove an individual case of theft to be moral. It is even more difficult to prove an individual case of killing to be moral. True, exceptions exist, such as self defense in the case of killing. By and large, however, an individual is not acting in a moral fashion when he steals. Neither is a government.
The fact that a person can steal does not excuse his choosing that as his only form of income. The same person who can steal might also be able to sell useful products and services. Even in areas where government intervention in the markets have lead to limited choices for individuals, alternatives to theft exist. Often, contraband products and services may be sold at considerable profit, for example. Since the United States government has operated a Nevada casino, run a whorehouse, and sold narcotics, we can be certain that it doesn't steal out of necessity. It has other skills.
Franck continues, "taxation per se is morally legitimate only if government as a service phenomenon is morally legitimate and that because government renders the market possible, taxation does not distort it."
Goodness, isn't that repetitive? It seems that Franck is attempting to encourage us to believe that taxation is morally legitimate by repeating the term over and over again. It suggests that it might be wise to pause and reflect on moral legitimacy. We can dismiss the term legitimate as a supernumerary. It is apparent that Franck is not using it to discuss the married status of a child's parents, so it seems clear that it is enough to say, as he does in his essay title, that he is claiming that taxation is moral. A thing which is moral is also morally legitimate, while the arguments Franck uses may not be so legitimate.
So, what is moral? I'm comfortable with the teachings of Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount as a useful basis for considering morality. He taught us to love our neighbors as ourselves and not to do unto others except as we would have them do unto us. He taught that we should render unto Caesar that which is due Caesar, and unto God that which is due God. He also told his disciples to sell their cloaks and buy arms, though, as I recall, that was in another sermon. He likened these teachings to a rock, a solid foundation upon which one might build. He suggested that those who ignore these fundamentals were like a foolish man, who built his house upon the sand, and the floods came and the storm blew and the lightning struck, and the house fell, and great was its fall. A wise man built his house upon the rock of moral principle, and the floods came, the storm blew, the lightning struck, and the house fell not. And there was much rejoicing.
As well, I'm comfortable with Ayn Rand's fundamental moral precept, that you should not live for the sake of another, and that you should take no part in a slave society. Thoreau said that we should suffer others to live apart if they please, to do not more than might be expected of a neighbor (e.g., coming to help when there's an alarm, not killing his neighbor's cattle, etc.), and leave them alone. The libertarian fundamental is that you should not initiate force or fraud for political or social purposes. If you are not willing to use force or fraud except in self defense, and if you are not willing to delegate these activities, you are a libertarian. Otherwise you aren't.
There are a great many ways to identify moral behavior. Some are more stringent even than Jesus, who, after all, broke bread with publicans and sinners. He kept company with criminals and prostitutes. He came, in fact, not to save the righteous, but the sinners. Jesus did not, as some suppose, teach that we should render taxes unto Caesar, but only that which is Caesar's due. He illustrated his point by holding up a fiat money coin with Caesar's likeness, a penny made of base metal. The responsibility for the debasement of the coins was Caesar's, and well known at the time. Rendering unto Caesar that which has his image is only just and appropriate to Caesar's crimes.
Are taxes moral in the sense that Jesus meant? No. Nor is theft. Thou shalt not steal. Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's possessions. The love of money is the root of all evil, not because money is evil but because the love of it will allow you to justify taking stolen money from CUNY or encourage you to covet other people's money.
Are taxes moral in the sense that Rand meant? No. Taxes are, at best, meant for the benefit of another. In many instances, they benefit nobody. Thus paying taxes, especially when they may be avoided without penalty, is immoral. Levying taxes is also immoral, in the sense that Rand indicated.
Are taxes moral in the sense that Thoreau meant? No. Thoreau noted that the statement, "that government is best which governs least" should be taken to its logical conclusion, that government is best which governs not at all. He refused to pay his taxes, and found that as a result he was shut away with only himself for company. Or, rather, as he put it, society shut itself away from him, and placed him where he would not be tainted by its immorality.
Are taxes moral in the sense that a libertarian might mean? No. A libertarian cannot condone the use of force or fraud, and taxes are both. Taxes are collected through force or the threat of force, and are generally promised falsely for benefits that cannot be delivered.
Having examined the idea of morality in some depth, let us return to Franck, who was saying, "taxation per se is morally legitimate only if government as a service phenomenon is morally legitimate and that because government renders the market possible, taxation does not distort it."
The idea that government is a service phenomenon is amusing. A very good friend of mine used to operate a racket in an east coast city. It was a protection racket. He would extort money from businesses, provide them with "employees" who were friends or relatives of his and who would watch to see if more money could be extorted, occasionally chase off excessively greedy competitors including a few government inspectors, and generally ride these people in the same manner that a vampire bat rides a herd animal. His racketeering was punishable under the Racketeering Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) statute in exactly the manner that such behavior by government is not. Needless to say, had he expressed the notion that what he was providing was a service phenomenon, the judge would not have been amused.
Government is a scam. It is a rip off. It is, as Thoreau noted, the means by which men impose upon each other and themselves. Government serves the overt purpose of corruptly allocating contracts and limiting competition. All other window dressing is part of the showman's trade, misdirection to obfuscate the basic purpose. The purpose of government is to collect money, use it to buy guns to make sure that more money can be collected in future, allocate contracts to friends and cronies of the politically powerful, and attack those who dare to compete with the vested interests using legislation and regulation when taxes aren't enough.
Does government render the market possible? No, it merely renders it like a soap maker might render a batch of chicken fat. In the melting down, the market is massively distorted.
Markets exist in the absence of government. Michael van Notten, a Dutch diplomat and friend of mine, spends a great deal of his time in Awdal and Somaliland, both parts of Somalia. In 1991, the Somali people rose up, kicked out the dictator Siad Barré, and abolished their national government. There is no national government of Somalia. When the UN came in 1993 and insisted that a new national government, complete with legislature would be established, the Somali people threw a fit. When UN troops from Pakistan surrounded a television station to further the agenda of controlling the media, the Somali people killed some of them. The Somalis then killed a number of American troops, shot down two helicopters, and prevented the kidnapping of their war leader Aideed. Subsequently, the Americans and the UN left. Two years later, Aideed announced that he would form a new national government complete with legislature. His own tribesmen hunted him down and killed him. Somalis want no part of a nationalist socialist agenda. They have markets in Awdal, they have markets in Somaliland, but if you think what they have is government, make no mistake, it isn't. Nor do they take to being insulted by suggestions that their clan and family traditions constitute a form of government. At best, this type of political organization might be called a kritarchy, the rule of judges. For the most part, however, it is not the clan elders who run things, but the market place.
Markets exist without government. Indeed, markets exist in defiance of government. Where governments have set a ceiling on production, as in Texas where the Railroad Commission tried to limit or "production ration" oil, Texans amused themselves for decades by producing "hot oil" and selling it on the black market. The price of some drugs have been artificially elevated by government bans. Industrious youths market these drugs without the assistance of, and generally in the face of opposition from government. Government makes markets difficult. As Thoreau notes, if it were not for the fact that business and industry are made from a material resembling India rubber, they would not be able to bounce around all the obstacles that legislators put in front of them. Indeed, he goes on, if those men were judged by the results of their legislation and not also partly on their intentions, they would deserve to be classed and punished with the mischief makers who put obstructions on railroads (Thoreau, Henry David, "Civil Disobedience," 1848). For my own part, I am not amused by the supposed good intentions of the legislators, as we learned long ago which road was paved with such intentions.
Franck does go on. He admits to disagreeing with Rand, as bold an understatement as he seems capable of making. He claims that political philosophers, in whose number he cannot imagine himself to be, have struggled with the legitimacy of government. He identifies the classical liberal position of a social contract, the concept of which was thoroughly destroyed by Lysander Spooner in his essay "No Treason." Unhappily, the present essay is necessary because Franck goes on to claim that he is suggesting a non-contractarian approach "which legitimizes both government and taxation and counters Dr. Rothbard's claims."
Dr. Rothbard's many fans will be relieved to learn that Franck fails to legitimize taxation or government or his own paycheck, and also fails to counter Dr. Rothbard's claims. His attempt, though, has been noted widely enough to be worthy of demolition.
If you are facile with your first notions, we might say you are prima facie. Thus with Franck. He claims, "To begin with, it must be emphasized that the individual never lives in isolation, but always in society." Living, as Franck does, in a city infested with as many diplomats as it is graced with ex-patriate Texans, it is no wonder he makes such a claim. Recently, however, I visited the wilds of Utah, Wyoming, Nevada, New Mexico, and some of the mountainous parts of eastern California. These are places where there are miles and miles filled with nothing but miles and miles. All around, in several visible directions, is the absence of people. It is possible to live out there in isolation, and I've met a number of people who do.
One such person is an old lady who enjoys the carefree practice of nudism. Under her wrinkled, wizened skin lives a happy and delightful soul, whose inner beauty was once matched on the exterior, judging by photos in her home. Her favorite summer time activity is to go hiking, take off all her clothes, leave all her things behind, and walk for weeks on end, seeing no one, wearing nothing, living off the land and her knowledge of the wilderness. She lives in isolation, not "always in society." It is enough to establish that one person ever lived in isolation to demolish Franck's claim. Hermits exist, and have done for millennia.
Franck then extrapolates that individual survival depends on individual production or trade. While I'm content that individuals can live in isolation, and often do, I'm willing to agree that individuals in society must either produce or trade, if they are not to conduct themselves immorally with theft or fraud.
"The natural social nexus between individuals, however, is not organic: each individual is independent and must think and act independently." Apparently, organic chemistry is not Franck's best subject. Since the society of which he speaks is composed of living organisms, it is necessarily organic. We find within individuals any number of organic chemicals. Perhaps Franck is trying to say, as Rousseau did, that society is not a state of nature. (Where does one go to trade a non-organic natural social nexus for a society which is not a state of nature?) Personally, I find the idea that humans aren't natural and that the social organization of humans into cooperative groups larger than the family is artificial to be contrary to the basic concepts of nature. When we observe bees operating in large hives, ants operating in large mounds, termites building enormous mounds, beavers cooperating to build dams, packs of dogs hunting herds of wildebeest, we speak of their natural or instinctive social organization. Biologists have identified animal behaviors which are the exact items of murder, war, rape, infanticide, abortion, prostitution, homosexuality, theft, barter, trade, self-defense, motherhood, and if not apple pie then at least the consumption of fermented apples. Why should human social behavior be considered other than natural? Bees build hives, beavers build dams, humans build cities.
"As such, the individual is bom neither in thrall to others, nor at liberty to do whatever he pleases without regard to other people." Strange. My parents seem to have labored under the illusion that I was born in thrall to them. Either that, or I emptied garbage pails, mowed lawns, and cleaned swimming pools for fun as a youth, though that isn't consistent with my recollection. Subjects of Her Majesty the Queen of England, Scotland, Ireland, and other domains are, legally, born in thrall to her. Those little twits who beat that toddler to death and left his body on a railroad track are in prison for life, but their actual sentence is that they serve at "Her Majesty's pleasure." A very large number of Christians and animists living in Southern Sudan are in fact in thrall to northern, mostly Islamic Sudanese who frequently travel by railroad into the South to take slaves. Perhaps in the parochial world view of someone living in New York City and taking tax money to offer what passes for wisdom at CUNY, the individual is born neither in thrall nor at liberty. As far as I can tell, most people are born in some sort of servitude or another. Rousseau said that man is born free but lives everywhere in chains. I say that man is and of right ought to be free, and must free himself.
"To survive as a natural individual, one must seek the values necessary for one's existence as a mortal creature endowed with reason and free will." I can almost hear the boyz in the east part of Greenwich Village tittering as they survive as unnatural individuals. We'll deal with Franck's supposed values momentarily. Meanwhile, consider an immortal creature endowed with reason and free will. I'm a libertarian immortalist for weather control, in that I am opposed to taxes, death, and the inevitability of the weather.
"To do so, one must be free to act to seek one's values." Clearly, in the midst of all this barbed wire, if we are to be free, we must free ourselves.
"After all, if others can restrain a man in this pursuit, they can withhold material and spiritual sustenance and thus destroy him." Here we see the essence of both government and taxation. Government is a means by which the politically powerful may withhold material and spiritual sustenance from an individual, and either destroy him or enslave him. Taxation is often imposed by withholding, a point which any wage earner knows so well that the term "withhold" has no greater meaning.
If my comments seem pithy but not overly buttressed by data or argument, it is because there is considerable fluff to be waded through. To whit, "The requirement of freedom, in turn, gives rise to the concept of the individual's inherent moral prerogatives of action, more commonly -- but sometimes confusingly -- referred to as 'natural' rights or 'man's' rights." Anyone who attempts to prove that the tax money put into his paycheck is obtained morally may be excused for finding the concept of natural rights to be confusing. I find the concept stunningly simple, and the equation of an individual's inherent moral prerogatives of action with the term natural rights to be reflexive in its facility. However, as a propertarian, I don't need to refer to "rights" in order to justify the moral actions an individual may take to protect self, life, and property.
"'Legal' rights, as translated or defined by government should be derived from, and must not contradict or undermine one's inherent moral prerogatives of action." Or, to use terms of one syllable, rights is rights. We should not allow government to dare to presume to limit our natural rights by misidentifying or ill defining them. "Rights are inherent in human life. Being inherent, they are neither granted nor bestowed: government merely identifies rights; it does not grant rights. This much, of course, is consistent with Rand's identifications." Quite.
One may say as much about powers. Powers are inherent in human life. Being inherent, they are neither granted nor bestowed. Government has no powers except those which have been specifically delegated to it by individuals. Individuals thus have those powers inherently while government has them merely by delegation.
Although it isn't the case that "the individual always is in a social context and therefore must interact with others possessing the same moral prerogatives of action," it is true that "the actions taken by individuals may well conflict with each other." That isn't necessarily the case when all individuals are taking moral actions, and, indeed, based on each of the aforementioned concepts of morality, it is conceivable that individuals may not conflict with each other for years or decades. Of course, quite a few people are sloppy. Some are so slipshod in their morality that they will take tax money as payment for their labor.
"That is, individuals pursuing their respective prerogatives are likely to encounter significant conflicts of interest." True, as far as it goes. As usual, Franck doesn't go far enough. Generally, my problem has been that I go too far. But, I'm the unreasonable man, upon whom the progress of the future depends (Wilde?). Encountering a conflict of interest is likely. Resolving that conflict without resorting to force or fraud is generally very easy.
"Government translates these prerogatives into a compossible or noncontradictory or non-clashing set of fundamental rules which again, we denominate 'legal rights.'" You should know that I looked for "compossible" in my American Heritage Dictionary, 1980, and my Black's Law Dictionary, Fifth Edition and found it in neither. I did run across, at roughly the same place compossible should have been found the Latin phrase "compos mentis" referring to the sound mental state which seems to be lacking in much of Franck's writing.
There are translators who work for the military intelligence community as well as for the diplomatic staff of embassies. To this extent only, government may be said to translate. Where individuals encounter conflicts of interest, they often find government there ahead of them, taking a campaign contribution from one side and resolving the conflict (surprise!) in favor of that side. I use the term "campaign contribution" lightly, in the traditional sense of a bribe, kickback, payoff, ripoff, or thing that nobody saw (per the rock lyric from "Smuggler's Blues").
It is wishful thinking to suppose that government sets up non-contradictory rules to limit conflicts of interest. Such a conception of government ignores the millions of words of frequently contradictory laws, regulations, court opinions, and the history of the last several centuries. I don't lightly argue that Franck is non compos mentis where he makes such a flight of fancy. Schizophrenia is a term used to characterize a withdrawal from reality, perhaps brought on by overwhelming guilt as a result of some trauma (such as seeing a church full of taxpayers gassed to death by government thugs) related to one's life (or paycheck). The schizoid personality may be unable to distinguish between reality and fantasy, between film and the real world, between a game and real life. It is my view, and the prospect of forensic pathology investigations in this area offer fascinating possibilities, that Karl Marx and many of his adherents were schizophrenic, in that he described a system of economics which was so entirely divorced from human nature as to be purely in the realm of fantasy. I digress. And I do it so well.
"To illustrate: man has the inherent moral prerogative to attempt to acquire property." Let me say, here, that I find it extremely comforting that Franck acknowledges that man has property rights. There may be hope, though the prognosis is doubtful.
"However, in the absence of clearly defined and promulgated criteria of ownership, i.e., a clearly defined legal right of property, the prerogatives of all men to seek to acquire property would clash." So, is the solution to set up some individuals as all powerful would-be referees to be bribed into submission?
"For example, who owns a piece of wilderness and what are its boundaries? Does ownership include mineral and air rights? Who owns the fruit of the vine?" Franck seems to hope we'll pretend that he isn't familiar with the concept of a contract. Ownership, including the definition of what is owned, often proceeds from a sale. Writing seems to have been invented by humans for the purpose of recording transactions. Indeed, the very earliest markings found in human dwellings seem to be the bones of animals marked with tallies to indicate how many of that animal was owned or bought or sold. Needless to say, I am familiar with mediation, independent arbitration, and other means of reconciling contracts by private means without resorting to government and its rendering processes.
"To press the point, even an attempt to retreat peacefully to a 'state of nature' must fail in that one could not know who owns the very cave in which one wishes to live." One who spends even a little time in the great outdoors as far away as the Adirondacks or Catskills will find any number of caves which are not owned by anyone, even to the extent that they are not known by anyone in many cases. Since I find cities to be as natural as landslides, the point misses the mark considerably, which is to adopt the fencing metaphor having, as I do, an abiding interest in swords.
Let me parry and lunge with a point of my own: much of the land in these united States is not owned by anyone. The map may identify it as belonging to a national park, national forest, or the Bureau of Land (mis)Management but it is not owned by anyone. First, it has not been brought into the private sector, since these lands were not homesteaded or claimed under the Mining Act. The Homestead and Mining Acts having expired, these lands will not be privatized by the regime in power. Second, it is not owned by the Feral Gummint. They may claim ownership, but such claims are devoid of constitutional authority, and thus void. The constitution for the united States of America is quite explicit in what property may be owned by the federal government. Except for 10 square miles around the seat of government (the District of Columbia is composed of about 70 square miles), forts, arsenals, dockyards, and other needful buildings, the government of the united States is not allowed to own any property. The several states having ceded their ownership of that land, often at the extortionate insistence of the Feral Gummint, the land in question is abandoned and owned by no one.
How, then, is such land, on Earth or on the Moon, to be brought into the private sector? My good friend Dennis Hope has been privatizing the Moon entirely on his own accord. The first step is to establish a claim, and publish it. Dennis has done that work, to good effect. The second step is to occupy the land and enforce the claim. Once the second step has been accomplished, the land can be bought and sold, kept secure or stolen, as the case may be. Delightfully, most people would rather cooperate with the property ownership aspirations of others than steal that which is not theirs by right. Those few of the other type, who have larceny enough in their hearts to take stolen money in their paycheck, may be dealt with by direct means.
"And, regarding the psycho-spiritual dimension of an individual's life, freedom of conscience and of speech and artistic freedom entail legal bo6fida,@n,es concerning wnere one can speak, ownership of the media, privacy, defamation and copyright." As mentioned, the optical character recognition seems to have given out. Perhaps the use of the term "psycho-spiritual" tripped some psycho-babble detection device. As the Boomtown Rats once sang, "The silicon chip inside her head, gets switched to overload / And nobody's gonna go to school today, she's gonna make 'em stay at home...." I digress. And, yes, as you mention it, it does amuse me.
Government has no business telling anyone where they can speak. Government has no business establishing ownership of the media, except to favor the politically powerful. Government has no business interfering in privacy. Government has no business being involved in defamation or copyright. What part of "Congress shall make no law...abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble...." does the attorney from New York fail to understand? Which aspects of "The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated..." escaped his attention? At one point, each attorney in Texas swore an oath to the court, to the constitution, and to his clients, in that exact order. If they swear that way in New York, I wonder if they also require a passing knowledge of the constitution the oath is meant to safeguard.
"Furthermore, creating, trading and producing require the definition and protection of the rights employed and exchanged during these processes." It does seem that writing was invented to make possible such definitions. Other, later inventions, including government and attorneys, don't seem to have been as effective, for all their pretensions at having improved the art. Contracts are needed for individuals to properly identify the terms of an exchange, rights of redress, and various aspects of accountability. It is not the case that contracts must be adjudicated in some jurisdiction, nor is it necessary that some band of mongrels get together to license each other in a bar association and deny licenses and deny the right to make a living to those who they find unacceptable for personal or political reasons, in order for contracts to be upheld. Contract law is the original basis for common law, and it was a mighty day indeed when the barons of England were able to get their Magna Carta, a contract they themselves were able to enforce.
The responsibility for enforcing contracts does not lie with government, but with the contracting parties. The barons and Prince John well understood this precept. Had John the stronger armies, the Magna Carta would never have been signed. It would have been yet another minora carta passing unnoticed into history.
Being responsible for enforcing my own contracts does not limit me to force. I have mass media at my disposal, opinions which I can influence, good will which I can prevail upon, and all manner of cooperative arrangements. If a client won't pay, I can use private means to record that fact with credit reporting agencies. Delegating force to government does not change its character. If I delegate force to Guido and Gino, and they go break the debtor's legs, that is exactly the same as if I delegate force to a judge and a county constable who go and seize the debtor's property. The moral character of the delegation is the same, and the moral character of the force used to enforce the contract is the same. The trappings are different, the clothing worn by the parties is different, but the morality is identical.
"This is the purpose of government at the economic level." At this point, you have to imagine me, a fairly hairy guy, at six feet somewhat tall, rolling on the floor, kicking my arms and legs into the air in paroxysms of laughter, shrieking to wake the neighbors. It seemed as if I would never stop laughing.
Look, the purpose of government at the economic level is to screw those who are least able to complain and reward those who are most politically powerful. Generally, though not always, these groups line up as poor and rich. Government exists to corruptly allocate contracts so that the money it seizes can be used to keep it in power through the acquisition of friends as well as guns. Politicians exist to extort campaign contributions, kickbacks, and payoffs from the rich and popular. Bureaucrats exist to promulgate regulations to the demise of those who lack friendships with important politicians. Attorneys exist to make it all sound legal and moral. Government is not moral in nature, it is expedient. It is an imposition. Accordingly, it is not anchored to any moral justification, such as guiding contractual relationships. Instead, it is anchored to the wind, blown about like the shifting sands. In responding to the wind as it blows from every quarter, politicians fill the sails of a few and leave the rest twisting in the wind. To overcome these obstacles, voters may seek redress in the ballot box, not to consent to be governed but to protect themselves by getting rid of the worst of the rascals.
"In the absence of government to define and protect legal rights, they constitute mere moral declarations, a chimera of theory devoid of substance." The same is true in the presence of government. Government does not protect legal rights, nor does it adequately define them. If I choose to exercise my right to remain silent, police officers will charge me with disorderly conduct. If I continue in this silence, they will beat me, or send in the next best thing to a cop, a court appointed attorney to take my testimony and use it against me in a plea bargain.
Governments protect legal rights? Tell it to the unborn, the infants, the children, the women, and the men at Mount Carmel. They were exercising their legal right to practice religion as they saw fit, along with their legal and moral right to keep and bear arms. For their protection, Jackboot Janet saw fit to massacre the lot of them, protecting the children especially by taking their lives by brutally gassing their church, pushing concrete walls onto them with tanks, and keeping their parents from fleeing with them by shooting at them with automatic weapons. The sniper who protected the legal rights of Vicky and Sammy Weaver at Ruby Ridge was also present at Mount Carmel to do it again, harder. Dr. Ron Paul of the Texas delegation to Congress has identified 60,000 cases of IRS abuses in a single year, including kidnapping, murder, and assault.
"To possess a right, the protection of which requires that the possessor constantly focus upon and engage in defensive activity (and/or battle) at the expense of creating for living, is to possess only a moral claim to the self-defense of mere physical survival, a survival akin to that of an animal for which ethics and the concept of rights, to say nothing of aesthetics, are meaningless." It is the case that I've known dogs to dig in the dirt with more artistic merit than much of what is on display in museums and galleries in New York. If you haven't freed yourself, you don't understand. It's a freedom thing. Liberty requires constant vigilance, said James Otis. Benjamin Franklin, when asked what form of government had been selected for the united States, said, "A republic, if you can keep it."
To keep your rights, you must constantly focus upon and engage in defensive activity, up to and including battle. If you aren't willing to fight for your freedom, you aren't free. If you are clever, you will cooperate with others who share your ideal of freedom. You will associate with those who exchange their gold or silver for your labor, and vice versa, who pay their debts on time, who speak the truth, who have better things to do than gossip, and who seek to build a stairway to the heavens founded upon a moral rock. Even so, you may find that you have to fight to remain free. The tree of liberty has, as its natural manure, the blood of patriots and of tyrants, as Jefferson noted. Patrick Henry realized that, at some point, war is inevitable, and we must fight. I've reached the conclusion that the time has arrived.
Freedom isn't cheap, but it is moral. It may be nothing more than a moral claim to the self defense of mere physical survival, akin to that of an animal, but I think it to be a pearl of great price. Dogs enjoy freedom more than Franck seems to, and I wouldn't be surprised if he were from that B.F. Skinner "Beyond Freedom and Dignity" school. Freedom is, to me, like a pearl of great price, one which I would sell all that I own to possess, one which I would not dream of casting before swine incapable of appreciating it. To prevent such swine from trampling it in the dirt, I would eagerly kill in its defense. Freedom is the most important thing I can make available for my children to possess, it is the most significant contribution I can make to the circumstances of myself and others. I say make available and make to the circumstances because freedom cannot be given. Each man must take it, must seize it, must suck the marrow from its bones.
To be free is animalistic, it is uncivilized, it is natural. As William Wallace says in the film "Braveheart," in describing himself, "I am homo indomitus, a savage." He is undominated, indominable, free. Free to choose, to make, to cooperate, to seek, to find, to seize, and never relinquish.
"Again, a right devoid of a mechanism of protection, simply, is not a moral claim to live as a full-fledged human being." True. And a mechanism of protection, force, delegated, is no different from the real thing. Robert Heinlein once wrote that when circumstances dictate, you have to be able to shoot your own dog. Farming it out, as he described delegation, doesn't make it better. It makes it worse. The dog doesn't understand it better, you don't get out of the guilt, and nothing you could do to make the dog get through the experience with less anguish is possible unless you do it yourself.
"Thus, government, while neither the creator nor the grantor of rights, might be classified as the institution which explicates rights." In a pig's eye. Government doesn't clarify the meaning of rights. It doesn't make rights possible. It denies rights, imposes upon rights, disrupts the free exercise of rights, and corruptly allocates contracts. If running roughshod over the rights of some doesn't benefit any set of political contributors and interferes with the corrupt allocation of contracts, it is delayed, but only in that rarest of cases.
"Because of its role, a properly limited "monopolistic" government is a metaphysical necessity for man's potential existence as a psychologically and physically fulfilled individual." Twaddle. Competition limits. A monopoly either exists or doesn't exist, but it cannot be a monopoly if it is limited. Government is the entity which creates and maintains monopolies by interfering in the market place. Government is not necessary, nor is it desirable. It arises from the eagerness of bullies to use force to get their way. Finding a ready market for such "service phenomena" the bullies adapt fraud alongside force to every customer's purpose. The demand glut is so great, politicians and bureau-rats won't even stay bought for long. The only individual fulfilled physically by a government is the one who has been subject to the over-the-barrel ministrations of government, typically with sand in the vaseline.
"Thus, government is not a conditional good or an outright choice in the form of 'if a man wishes to live in a rights-protecting society, then he ought to consent to, or hire, a government.' It constitutes an error of categorization to compare government to conditional goods, even to a conditional necessity of life such as food." Correct, though not as Franck supposes it. Government is not a conditional good, it is an unconditional evil. If bound thoroughly and put in competition with other entities it may be made to serve, like a captive demon, for a time. Loose its bonds, as some idiot will inevitably be persuaded to do, and it becomes a fearsome master.
If a man wishes to live in a rights protecting society, he should flee at the first sound of government's din. If he means to be free, he must oppose all efforts to identify him, license him, categorize him, tattoo him, Mark him for the Beast, enumerate him, designate him, or impose the assistance of an attorney upon him. If a man wishes to live in a rights protecting society, he should seek the company of like minded people. He should avoid those who would resort to force and fraud, and, where they are unavoidable, he should kill them as they attempt to rob him of his property, his freedom, his identity, and his life, by turns.
"The absence of a proper government harms everyone in that its viable existence is a prerequisite if all men are to be able to attempt and compete in order to secure conditional goods such as food, and to fulfill choices in a peaceful, i.e., non-conflicting manner." Malarkey. Really. This stuff doesn't even rate the vulgar words. The absence of a proper government is ubiquitous. All we have on Earth are governments which are improper, immoral, and immature. Heaven forfend we get one that ripens. The presence of such government as we have harms everyone.
Rather than allow all men to compete, government exists to distort the market. Those who contribute to campaigns, war chests, slush funds, or the favorite charities of politicians and bureau-rats get to compete. Everyone else gets to suffer. The occasional fluke who, like Microsoft, dominates for a brief time a limited range of products or services, quickly find that influential opponents have been contributing like crazy to federal judges and federal officials, so that, before long, a new tilt to the playing field can be established. Government is simply the biggest bully on the school grounds, so if the teams seem uneven, that's because one side has been thrashed so often.
People who want to fulfill choices without conflict don't seek the final argument of kings, they seek to cooperate. Avoiding conflict doesn't require government, it requires the absence of government. Lawyers and bureau-rats are conflict-creating entities. If you hire a lawyer when you aren't in legal difficulties, you soon will be. Cooperation without force or fraud is possible; government is not an example of such cooperation made real.
"Thus, in political and economic terms, government in its rights-protecting capacity should be classified as a pre-conditional good." No, not quite. Government in its rights-protecting capacity, such as it exists and not as it may be imagined in a flight of fantasy, is best classified as a pre-conditional harm.
"Most, if not all, interpersonal ethical issues ultimately resolve themselves into issues of rights, and all rights, including property rights, ultimately are political, i.e., require government for their definition and protection." Tommyrot. All interpersonal ethical issues are best resolved by contracts. All contract disputes are best resolved by private mediation and arbitration. Rights, especially property rights, are not political and require the avoidance of government for their definition and protection. The police officer is not your friend, he is a swaggering bully armed and dangerous to you, your property, your family, your rights, and your life. Avoid him, and to the extent that he cannot be avoided, retaliate with extreme prejudice.
"It is because government is necessary to define, promulgate and protect legal rights -- if rights are to have any value, any substance and meaning -- that a viable government is a precondition and component of legal rights, i.e., that an integral relationship exists between government and rights." The relationship is the opposite of what is supposed by Franck. Government is necessary to distort, destroy, and limit legal rights. If rights are to have any value, any substance and meaning, it is in the absence of, or, at worst, the avoidance of government. Government is evil by its very nature, and must be opposed by those who mean to be free. Governments inevitably become destructive of the ends of protecting life, liberty, and property. Accordingly, it is the right of free men to throw down such government.
"A natural requirement, or necessity, without the possibility of a means of implementation would constitute a metaphysical contradiction: a violation of the non-contradictory natural order." Perhaps Franck missed out on the great mystery of the superluminary objects of the 1980s. Objects which, while distant from Earth, appeared to be traveling at greater than the speed of light. Perhaps the distance scale to these objects was mistaken, perhaps the scale of the objects themselves was mistaken, or perhaps the natural order contains contradictions. Certainly the identified black holes at Cygnus and elsewhere represent a violation of non-contradictory natural order, being objects of greater mass than can be contained within the space-time continuum. Nature may seem to be organized and orderly, but at the next level down, all is fractal patterns descending into chaos. Within chaos are patterns of force, beneath which is more chaos. To imagine that nature is orderly, let alone comprehensible, is to attempt to encompass the infinite in a plastic baggy.
"And, because taxation is necessary to maintain a viable government, one's legal rights must account for access by government to some portion of one's property to support its existence, i.e., for limited taxation." Poppycock and drivel. If this nonsense were any more utter, it would give milk. Taxation is not necessary to maintain a government, viable or otherwise. I can give a dozen examples of methods of funding government which do not involve taxes, which are in fact voluntary for all parties. Government isn't necessary. Rights are not best protected by government, they are worst protected by government. Give a government the power to impose a $200 licensing fee for the possession of certain weapons, and they will run off into the woods of Idaho, chase down folks like Randy Weaver, convince him to saw a shotgun barrel short, and then the government will murder his wife and his son while hiding behind sovereign immunity. Given that same power, with less pretext, and an entire church of Branch Davidians will be conflagrated to ensure next year's budget for the BATF.
The Saudis have a saying. Once the nose of the camel is in the tent, the rest of it will follow as surely as it is cooler in the shade. Give government access to some portion of your property, and they will end up taking it all.
The men at the Embassy in the International Free Zone near Fort Davis negotiated with government for a cease fire agreement. The Republic of Texas was granted, in that negotiated document, the right to keep its embassy and fly its flag. As soon as Richard McLaren was in custody, the government agents bulldozed the embassy and were video taped urinating on the Republic of Texas flag. Put your trust in such men and you will be pissed upon from a great height.
"Although taxation is non-voluntary and is coercive, by reason of the fact that the collection of taxes implies the use, or at best the threat of the use of force, it does not violate rights as it does not constitute the initiation of force and does not address matters of choice, just as the enforcement laws prohibiting trespass neither constitute the initiation of force nor deal with matters of choice." Stuff and nonsense. Taxation is non-voluntary. Taxation is coercive. Taxation is the use of force, as attested to by those 60,000 abused taxpayers Dr. Paul has identified for a single tax year. Taxation violates rights. It violates the right to property. It violates the right to privacy. An IRS Commissioner has even resigned over the fact that the tax code as written cannot be enforced without denying every American their right to be safe in their papers from unreasonable searches. Taxation constitutes the initiation of force, imposed by government without any prior act. To suggest that taxation is retaliatory is to suggest that the taxpayer does not have the prior or greater claim on his property. Force may be initiatory or retaliatory. Taxation is not retaliatory and is therefore initiatory.
Taxation does not address matters of choice, but of force. As a coercive act, and an initiation of force, taxation is an imposition, imposed by government for the benefit of those who run the government.
Laws prohibiting trespass are rarely enforced by police. Most enforcement of trespass laws is done by individuals. Homeowners with guns kill intruders. On rare occasions, homeowners with guns are silly and simply capture the intruders. Keep in mind that half measures don't pay. If retaliatory force is called for, go all the way. There's nothing better in a conflict than a corpse; nothing testifies less.
"Thus, Rothbard's taxonomy categorizing all actions as either voluntary on the one hand, or violative of rights by dint of the initiation of force on the other, is invalid as it ignores a third category, that is, actions mandated by inherent necessity, emanating from man's nature." Tell it to the judge. It has all the merit of "society made me do it." There is no third category, except in the shame of a man who takes money which has been extorted from taxpayers who are beaten like serfs to pay his salary. This third category is the product of a hypocrite attempting to assuage a guilty conscience. There are voluntary actions. There are actions characterized by initiatory force, which violate the rights of some for the benefit or potential benefit of others. There are no actions mandated by inherent necessity emanating from man's nature which are not either completely voluntary or some type of initiatory force. Saying that the act of forcing another to pay taxes is justified by the necessity of funding government, paying law professors, or any other rationale is mere equivocation. You can't equivocate your way past the Gates of Heaven, but you can easily equivocate your way to Hell.
"Yes, a robber employing a gun is coercive and is initiating the use of force." In exactly this manner is a government agent employing a gun and initiating the use of force. IRS agents, BATF agents, and other tax collectors either carry guns or are accompanied by those who do.
"However, in contrast, the need to produce and trade in order to survive is a compelling fact of life." This fact is one which law professors at public universities and government agents have a curious tendency to ignore.
"The actions mandated by nature, including human nature, are not in the same category as actions impelled by the initiation of force." Who compels the robber to steal? Who mandates that the government tax?
"Again, as explained, one cannot produce and trade without a tax-supported government." Explained, but not proven. In contrast, I have shown numerous examples of ways in which government can fund itself without taxes. Franck has not shown a single example of a government unable to subsist without taxes.
Nor has Franck shown that production and trade are impossible without a government. In contrast, I have shown numerous examples where trade and production are distorted or prevented by government in every field of endeavor from software to narcotics to prostitution to gambling to aerospace. The examples are legion. I would be delighted to cite specific instances. I was subject to one such situation myself.
"To summarize thus far, because of its role, a properly limited monopolistic government is a necessity -- indeed a metaphysical or inherent necessity -- for man's inescapable social existence." I gotta get me one of these jobs pushing law at CUNY. Except for the bit about having to take stolen property as payment, the ease with which one can discourse must be relaxing. To summarize, thus far, because of its role, government is an evil. At no time has Franck defined a properly limited government, at no time has he explained the contradiction between limited and monopolistic. Indeed, monopolistic seems to have crept in, again without proof.
Franck has failed to prove that taxes are required for government, that government is required for trade and production, that property rights are protected by government, that a monopoly of force can ever be limited, that a monopolistic government can be termed proper, or that government is a necessity, metaphysical, inherent, pre-conditional, conditional, or coital. In contrast, I've shown examples where government exists without taxes, where trade and production exist without government, where property rights exist without government, where competition in force protects the consumer, that government is evil, and that under the best of circumstances it governs not at all. If my efforts at identifying cites and facts seems lax, it is only because the law professor doesn't inspire much effort.
"Thus, the concept of 'consent' is inapposite in that it implies choice, and choice is not operative in the fundamental sense of 'should we or should we not have monopolistic government?'" First of all, why can't Franck say "inappropriate" like everyone else? Inapposite must derive from apposite, meaning fitting or appropriate. What a misfit, to obfuscate with such terms.
Consent is always appropriate. If taxation is coercive and non-consensual, it must involve initiatory force. To suggest otherwise is to take another flight of fancy, making up third categories to hide the shame of taking stolen property.
Of course we should not have monopolistic government. We must avoid it at all costs, and destroy it where we encounter it.
"There is no state of nature and there is no 'social contract' between individuals to form society, or between society and a sovereign, from which one can opt out even in principle." When I was in business law class, we learned that in the absence of a contract, everything was optional. A contract specifies, the absence of a contract leaves it up to individual choice.
There is a state of nature, and we're in it. Cities are as natural as beaver dams, and humans as natural as beavers.
There is no social contract between individuals to form society, because a contract, to exist, must be signed and delivered. To be valid it must be entered into knowingly, willingly, and competently. No social contract exists which meets these criteria.
These facts do not lead me to conclude that monopolistic, force-initiating, taxing, and market rendering government is necessary or desirable.
"In contrast to Rothbard's perspective, the consent of the governed to be governed is not a fundamental principle." You know, and I think even the most fannish Rothbard enthusiasts will agree, that the concept of the consent of the governed does not originate with Rothbard. It originates with Jefferson.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights, that among these rights are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, that to secure these rights governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the unanimous consent of the governed, that whenever any government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or abolish it, establishing new institutions laying their foundations on such principles and organizing their powers in such manner as to them shall seem most likely to effect their future happiness.
The consent of the governed is a fundamental principle. By saying that it is not, Franck takes his place among the Nazis, socialists, Marxists, and slave holders.
"Because consent is irrelevant to the justification of government power, and because money is necessary for government to function, the necessity of consenting to pay for government's legitimate functions also is not required." Consent is the only means by which government can derive just powers. If consent is absent, then the power is usurped. And, a long train of abuses and usurpations has evinced a design to reduce us under absolute tyranny. So we should be thinking very seriously about staking our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honors on a new way of life, and if a few collaborators get shot so much the better.
Money is necessary for government to function, though it is very clear that government is not necessary for money to function. Indeed, fiat money and fractional reserve banking are fraud. Government harms the functioning of money. What has not been demonstrated is that taxes are necessary to get money. Stealing is one way. Selling bonds is another. Lotteries are a third.
Taxation without representation is tyranny. Taxation without consent is also tyranny. Sic semper tyrannis is the motto of the sovereign State of Viriginia, and the cry uttered by John W. Booth when he eliminated that tyrant, that American Lenin, that abuser of the constitution, Abraham Lincoln.
"And, in contrast to Rothbard's claim, unanimity is not requisite to determine whether or not a particular government service is legitimate and, indeed, whether or not taxation itself is valid." Here we have a refutation of an important point by mere contradiction. Note the technique well. I'm sure Franck will demonstrate it again.
"The dictates of objective reality mandate particular forms of social organization." That may be, but there is no evidence that Franck's mental state shares the same objective reality the rest of us live in. Assuming that objective reality mandates a few particular forms of social organization, one wonders at the widespread diversity of them around the world. There are things under the Sun which are not imagined in your legalistic moral philosophy, Murray.
"Because no individual is omniscient, democracy and the vote are not ends in themselves; they merely are two of many other mechanisms -- such as the division and balance of power and federalism -- requisite for defending liberty." Nor are communism and the gulag ends in themselves, they are merely two of many other mechanisms used by those who don't believe in government by consent. It is offensive to me to read a phrase like "defending liberty" amidst this egotistical Nazi claptrap.
"And individual liberty to be defended requires -- absolutely -- the payment of taxes to support government." Not to mention to support law professors at public universities. If government is necessary to defend individual liberty, a claim which Franck hasn't proven, the payment of taxes is very clearly not necessary to support government. I've taken the time to prove my points with numerous examples.
"While the government is our "agent" or "servant," rather than our master, and must be paid for its services, it is not an agent with which we have a voluntary relationship in the ordinary sense of a contract." Then it is not our agent in any sense of the term. An agent is engaged by a contract. The absence of a contract might make the would-be agent a blackmailer, kidnapper, or extortionist, but it doesn't make him an agent. If we have no choice but to pay, then government is our master. Coercion is the hallmark of slavery, consent is the hallmark of freedom. To imagine a third category, a consensual coercion, is to engage in Newspeak.
"In fact, man always is governed." Sounds like a personal problem. Man is either governed by himself or by others. If he is free, he is homo indomitus and governs himself.
"The sole question is: 'is he governed consistently with human nature?,' that is, by a government limited by principles derived from that nature." If he is not governed by himself, he cannot be governed by principles derived from that nature, for it is every man's nature to break his bonds and free himself. Only some prefer to get paychecks from tax-funded institutions and equivocate third options to hide their hypocrisy.
"To view government as an alien imposition, or even as a necessary evil, is mistaken because a properly limited monopolistic government is a nonc6ntradictory derivative of man's natur#, its sole and exclusive function being to render civil life possible." Then, let us take these in order: government is an alien imposition, it is an unnecessary evil, there is no such thing as a properly limited monopolistic government, and government does not make civil life possible, though it does render it by melting it down, distorting it thoroughly.
"As to Rothbard's claim concerning the non-neutrality of taxes, rather than being extraneous to, and a burden upon, the free market, government functions as part of the market by facilitating its operation." Wrong. Markets exist without government. Government does not exist without a market to distort and entrepreneurs to feed upon.
"Thus, taxation to support the legitimate function of government, namely, the protection of rights, is market-neutral." So. A tax imposed on cigarettes but not on cigars is market neutral. How droll. Such wit. Boil him in his own oil and bury him with a stake of holly through his heart, as Dickens suggested. Taxes cannot be market neutral, because they impose a distortion on the market. By taxing gasoline at one rate and marine diesel fuel at another, the market is distorted. By subsidizing highways and not individual VTOL aircraft, the market is distorted. That is, after all, the purpose of government, to protect the interests of the politically powerful.
"Simply, such taxation creates the very possibility of a functioning market...." Incorrect. Markets exist and function without government, and governments exist and function without taxation. It is thus beyond reason to suppose that taxation creates the possibility of functioning markets. The fact that markets continue to exist in the presence of taxation does not suggest that they were created by taxation. By such post hoc, ergo propter hoc reasoning, a farmer would imagine that his mule is created by carrying burdens. Heaping larger burdens on the mule will eventually kill it. Heaping larger taxes on the market, rather than creating a larger market, drives it underground. Food and water create the continued existence of the mule, as willing buyers and willing sellers create the continued existence of the market.
Markets exist in the absence of government. Where there is a willing buyer and a willing seller, though they be separated by oceans, mountains, or the depths of space, there will be a market.
"... --To address the same point from a slightly different perspective, controversy is built into the market. While the free market deals in goods and services for which subjective valuation (in the Austrian school sense) is essential, the market requires a protective mechanism to facilitate the execution of such subjective choices." The market is a protective mechanism to facilitate the execution of subjective choices. Where willing buyers and sellers are found, markets exist. Where buyers and sellers are most free from force and fraud, markets are largest.
Consider Hong Kong. This tiny island is not one of the world's largest economies because of its rich natural resources, its delightful location, or its situation at the foul smelling delta of a river. It is heavily populated because it was, for a very long time, a market more free than any other accessible to mainland Chinese. Willing buyers and willing sellers flocked there to avoid government, not to embrace it.
"In the absence of government's protection of rights -- i.e., in an anarchic situation -- the lack of punishment would be an invitation to fraud and theft." It always amuses me when fools speak of anarchy, as if governments operated in a fashion other than brutal. An anarchic situation is not necessarily a situation without rules, it is merely the condition of no rulers. Governments do not protect rights, as we have seen at Ruby Ridge, at Mount Carmel, at Fort Davis, and repeatedly through history. Governments commit genocide, by first disarming the people and then murdering them wholesale. Governments are responsible for the massacres of Armenians in Turkey earlier this century; for the massacres of Jews, Slavs, and Poles in Nazi-occupied Europe toward the middle of this century; for the massacres of civilians in Manchuria and the rape of Nanking at that time; for sending Nisei to concentration camps in America's mountainous West; for the slaughter of kulaks and peasants throughout the Soviet Union; for similar slaughters throughout China; for the massacre of civilians in Cambodia, Guatemala, Rwanda, Zaire.
The lack of punishment for crimes does invite fraud and theft, as well as murder. That's why every man should be armed. To protect your life and property, you are responsible. Shirk that responsibility or delegate it how you will, you remain responsible. There's never a cop around when you need one; frequently one arrives when you don't want one. I suspect that donut shops have an "unwanted officer" alarm to signal the most inauspicious moments for a policeman to happen on a scene.
A uniformed security guard at my alma mater, Columbia, rushed to the sound of breaking glass. The perpetrator had fled the scene and the guard was told how to identify him. My friend, the perp, was six foot three, about 180 pounds, and wore steel toed army boots. His impatience and anger prompted him to kick the side of a building done up in modernist curtain wall glass. When the glass broke, he ran. The security guard listened to the descripton of my friend given by some bystanders, and his eyes widened, and widened. He then radioed for backup, and a small covey of guards began a desultory pursuit.
My point is that government does not protect you from crime. If you would seek protection from crime and outrage, buy a gun. Carry it with you all the time. Learn gun safety and practice regularly. Keep your guns clean and your ammo handy. Guns prevent crime, police do not.
In the absence of government, people do not instantly go to war. The jealously guarded secret of Europe is that the fall of the Roman Empire brought about a much better situation for most people. Barbarians were welcomed into many cities because, while they might rampage, pillage, and loot, they also were effective at slaughtering bureau-rats and politicians. Taxes were invariably lower under Attila the Hun than under the Romans. While Huns and Romans were both capricious and arbitrary, the Huns commanded much less in tribute than the Romans required in taxes. Attila, the "Scourge of God" and other barbarians brought Roman government officials to their knees, in which posture they relieved them of their heads. Europe did not then fall into a Dark Age. Rather, the small land owner or yeoman farmer, was finally able to keep his property from the greedy (and now dead) Roman Senators. Instead of being subjected to constantly greater extortionate demands, seizures and forfeitures, the small holder under barbarian rule was safe. After all, the barbarians weren't interested in seizing farms. Horsemen of the steppe didn't want to become farmers.
"More significantly, the inability to resolve honest disputes before a truly neutral and truly final arbiter would discourage trade and investment." Anyone who believes that government has the ability to resolve honest disputes by acting as a truly neutral and truly final arbiter should visit my friend Paco at the Brooklyn Bridge for the purchase opportunity of a lifetime. Seriously, governments have the power to settle disputes in a final way. To imagine that this power is allocated from a neutral posture is to reckon that saints are created from men when they once begin to work for government. It doesn't happen that way. Bureau-rats, far from administering justice with an even hand, are easily corrupted. Their rule books contain a reason not to grant a license or a permit to everyone, and their hands are always out. Judges are bought and sold. Politicians are whores. To imagine that such a system protects the disputants in an honest difference of opinion is ludicrous.
Consider the words of Spooner in "No Treason." "The highwayman takes solely upon himself the responsibility, danger, and crime of his own act. He does not pretend that he has any rightful claim to your money, or that he intends to use it for your benefit. He does not pretend to be anything but a robber. He has not acquired impudence enough to profess to be merely a 'protector,' and that he takes men's money against their will, merely to enable him to 'protect' those infatuated travellers, who feel perfectly able to protect themselves, or do not appreciate his peculiar system of protection. He is too sensible a man to make such professions as these. Furthermore, having taken your money, he leaves you, as you wish him to do. He does not persist in following you on the road, against your will; assuming to be your rightful 'sovereign,' on account of the 'protection' he affords you. He does not keep 'protecting' you, by commanding you to bow down and serve him; by requiring you to do this, and forbidding you to do that; by robbing you of more money as often as he finds it for his interest or pleasure to do so; and by branding you as a rebel, a traitor, and an enemy to your country, and shooting you down without mercy, if you dispute his authority, or resist his demands. He is too much of a gentleman to be guilty of such impostures, and insults, and villainies as these. In short, he does not, in addition to robbing you, attempt to make you either his dupe or his slave (Spooner, Lysander, "No Treason: The Constitution of No Authority," 1870)." Spooner goes on to contrast the conduct of government men who are impudent, do claim to protect us, are not sensible, are no gentlemen, and brand as rebels and traitors those who would resist with manly courage their impostures and insults and villainies. Government men try to make us their dupes and slaves.
"Thus, the marginal utility, discounted value of the marginal product, and marginal revenue product or service must account for the costs attendant to the very possibility that dispute resolution may be required." The casual manner in which Franck tosses out these economic terms suggests a lack of clear understanding of them. Perhaps he is a Benthamite chasing the greatest utility for the greatest number, or such nonsense.
Dispute resolution in a free society is a cost that can be accounted for in any contract by providing for mediation or arbitration. A great many transactions are cash and carry, and require no contract more substantial than a bill of sale. The store keeper offers his goods to the willing buyers. If he catches a shoplifter purloining an item, he has recourse that instant to seize the ruffian, eject him from his store, and, during this conflict, to ruin the twit's nose or end the twit's life, with complete impunity. Stealing from armed men is stupid. Being unarmed is even more foolish; "among the other harm it brings you, it causes you to be despised (Machiavelli)."
For more complex transactions taking place over longer periods of time, contracts serve very well. Private courts of mediation and arbitration have been established and have proven their value in resolving contract disputes. Where contracts are absent or the parties involve prove obstreperous, there is always recourse to violence to retaliate against theft or fraud. Government is merely a means by which violence may be delegated, it is no less violent for the delegation.
"As noted earlier, government is a preconditional good and therefore taxation is a cost antecedent to, and implicit, in a fundamental sense, in all market transactions." As noted earlier, repetition does not make for proof. Government is a preconditional evil. Taxation is not necessary for government to exist and function. Market transactions take place without government. The necessary and sufficient conditions for a market transaction are two: a willing buyer, a willing seller.
"Rather than divert resources from the market, taxation for legitimate government functions, such as courts and the police, foster the market." False. Let us return to Spooner, who said it well:
"Furthermore, if taxation is limited to the universal necessity of the legitimate functions of government, for the reasons noted above, taxation to support government services do not entail transaction costs, in the ordinary meaning of the phrase, relating to the immediate transaction." Franck's conditional is not fulfilled, nor does his arm waving disappear the transaction costs of taxation.
Taxation is not limited to the universal necessity of the legitimate functions of government, even if we were to imagine for a moment that governments had legitimate functions. (The term legitimate reminds me of that scene in the film "Sneakers" when Robert Redford's character says, "I could have worked for the NSA, but they didn't like what I put on my job application. My parents were married.") Taxation is not limited by demands government has to provide legitimate functions, but rather by the limits of supply. In the absence of Proposition 13, property taxes in California would have escalated indefinitely, not limited by the amount of government services that could be provided but only by the ability of the subjects to pay. In discussing new taxes, politicians discuss the fairness of such taxes which is their way of speaking about the interests of those who contribute to their campaigns and otherwise put money in their pockets.
For example, in Houston, voters recently defeated a proposal for a large, tax-funded arena for the basketball team owner. Clearly, the proposal to hike car rental taxes, hotel taxes, parking fees and "ticket taxes" did not satisfy the voters as to its legitimate justification, especially when the earnestly touted proposal brought forth from the anal cavities of the politicians was that a billion dollars of wealth be provided to the basketball team owner in exchange for his "investment" of two hundred and fifty millions. The fact that voters earlier were duped into agreeing to such taxes for a downtown baseball arena for another team owner does not in any way demonstrate that such schemes are a legitimate purpose of government.
Governments exist to allocate favors, to distribute and redistribute wealth, to seize from the many and give to the few. Taxation exists because we have not resisted it sufficiently, because we have not killed the thieves who pretend they have the right to our property.
By continuing to allow our property to be seized by thieves in the name of our protection, we experience very high transaction costs indeed. Fully half of our gross national product is annually drained into the coffers of local, county, state, and federal governments. Regulations add an additional 18% burden. Taxes are passed along to the consumers, who aren't "getting ahead" because they are mired in quicksand.
"On a qualitative level, the only level that matters in a rights-based society, all individuals benefit equally from the government's protection of those rights:..." If Franck could find a qualitative level with both hands and a road map, I would be surprised. Death and taxes are great levelers, and harm all individuals equally. Government, however, intervenes to show favoritism to those with the ability and cowardice to pay for its largesse.
"...the immediate victim of a crime, a trespass or a breach of contract; and those frightened by the transgression; the poor as well as the rich." This reminds me of the words of Jacques Anatole François Thibault, better known as Anatole France, who wrote, "The law, in its majestic equality, forbids the rich as well as the poor to sleep under bridges, to beg in the streets, and to steal bread (Le Lys Rouge, 1894)." Make no mistake, government protects those who have enough to influence its behavior, and harms all others.
The case of the tobacco companies is delightful. First they seek tax subsidies for tobacco farmers. Then they operate in collaboration with the tax authorities, selling no tobacco without tax stamps on the cigarette packets. They happily pay campaign contributions and bribes and kickbacks to build up the authorities. Then, along come the trial lawyers, who see a huge pile of wealth, sue ostensibly on behalf of state governments, and pocket an enormous amount of that wealth. All tobacco company executives should be powerfully aware that they put the gun in the hand of the government which used it to rob them. I have no pity for their suffering, but I am happy to help them defend themselves against further depradations.
"If one is to be free to focus on life-sustaining productive activity, including spiritual happiness, each individual has a right to a 'sense of tranquility,' against even a threat to the security of his rights, which, as noted, would divert his attention from productivity to a human imposed defensive status quo." Domestic tranquility is cited as a purpose in writing the constitution for the united States of America. Clearly, all experience hath shewn that governments do not foster domestic tranquility. As H. L. Mencken noted, governments create hobgoblins, all of them imaginary, to panic the public into continued support of government. If once the people stop to think about the consequences of putting guns into the hands of those who ride them like vampire bats, they would inevitably throw off the iron heel of tyranny and fertilize the Tree of Liberty with the blood of those tyrants, bureau-rats, and collaborators who so richly deserve to die.
Franck writes as a man who is willing to trade a little freedom for a little security. The bargain, as Franklin pointed out, cannot be made. Freedom, especially the right to keep and bear arms, is the only way to provide for your security. You cannot delegate force to another and hope to be more free. Liberty requires eternal vigilance, and if that vigilance doesn't help you in your productive activity or generate your spiritual happiness, you should adopt a more healthy attitude. Wishing for a situation where you can be a happy slave and produce for the benefit of others, singing spirituals, and hoping for pie in the sky, bye and bye, is not a desirable manner of wishing. The consummation of that sort of wishing may be seen in the ovens of the Nazis, in the slave quarters of the Old South, in the rivers running bloody in Africa. Wish rather for freedom, and seize it. Carpe libertas!
"Civil as well as criminal trespasses upon rights harm all individuals in the community, and therefore are not merely private wrongs." Thus we find that individuals cooperate to eliminate or banish those few who perpetrate trespasses. Vigilance committees and posses arise out of the desire of the people to cooperate in the establishment of justice. In the absence of a government jealously guarding its monopoly of force, people manage quite well.
"The enforcement of contracts and other rights is not a 'private good' because the harm affects other individuals as well, and thus merits and validates taxation." The enforcement of contracts and rights is a public good, but it is not well served by placing it in the public domain. Where a good or service or property is made common, it suffers from the tragedy of the commons. It is mistreated by being left by each to the care of the others. The enforcement of contracts and other rights is best maintained as a private good, and enforced by private means. Where a specialist arises who is talented at enforcing contracts and rights, he may offer his services on a private basis. Nobody is helped by being taxed against their will for the purpose of maintaining such specialists in the absence as well as in the presence of need for their services.
Taxation is not merited and is not validated by the public good of enforcing contracts and rights. Governments ill protect these, and bring other harm. Taxes are not required for the enforcing of contracts, as private courts of mediation and arbitration have demonstrated. Taxes are not required for the functioning of governments, as above illustrated. Franck seems to be at once unimaginative and authoritarian, just another mindless Nazi.
" Indeed, because government protects the free market, everyone participating in a govemment-protected market economy ultimately enjoys a net benefit from the exchange, and by dint of such, enjoys a net benefit from taxation." Saying it does not make it so. Government interferes in the free market, as it has for its primary purpose the distortion it can accomplish on behalf of the politically powerful. Everyone participating in a government-protected market economy, like everyone subjected to any other protection racket, is harmed. There is no net benefit from government, which, by initiating force to obtain its funding is not offering an exchange of value. Government withholds value in exchange for withholding force, though on frequent occasion it imposes force without regard to whether taxes were paid or not. Taxation is not a benefit, it is a cost. Inverting the relationship and perverting the facts does not illustrate anything, except the hypocrisy of the law professor who is paid with tax dollars.
"Thus, in terms of personal net benefit, assuming an appropriate tax code, there are no free riders." Assuming an appropriate tax code where one exists is idiotic. No tax is appropriate. Any tax code with as many weighty volumes as the Federal tax code is foolhardy. While bills of attainder are unconstitutional and void, much of the Federal tax code operates to provide exemptions and loopholes for the benefit of specific parties. Reading it in that light can be amusing, though in a morbid sense. Nobody rides for free? Only in the sense that motorists pay for their fuel, one way or another.
"The mere existence of an adequately financed, properly limited government is a prophylaxis to the violation of rights, and every individual has the responsibility to support it." Dead wrong. The existence of an adequately financed government does not imply that taxation is required. A properly limited government governs not at all. Government is not and cannot by its nature be a prophylaxis to the violation of rights. Rather, government violates rights more than any other class of entity. Every individual has the responsibility to abhor government, to throw down government, to bind it where it is found, to limit it severely, and to avoid it at all costs.
"To withhold a proper portion of one's funds from such a government is to weaken government's ability to function;...." To weaken your enemy is the moral and courageous thing to do.
"...and thus it is to participate in the violation of the rights of all individuals by facilitating anarchy, foreign invasion, a minoritarian or majoritarian insurrection and/or the breakdown of law enforcement and the judicial system." What's this concept of a majoritarian insurrection? If the majority won't consent to be governed, are they not granted by their Creator with the inalienable right to alter or abolish their form of government? Indeed, as we have seen in the American Revolution of 1775, the minority who refuse to consent to be governed have the right to throw off government. As we saw in the Second American Revolution of 1861, the majority in each of the several states voting to secede established their right to sovereign self determination.
Withholding taxes may facilitate anarchy, and in that sense it is good, to the extent that anarchy is the absence of rulers rather than of rules. Withholding taxes may facilitate foreign invasion, which nicely puts a hobgoblin on our doorsteps to frighten us like small children. Imagine my fear of an invasion from Canada or Mexico or, perish the thought, Cuba. Think of all those hordes of starving Russians waiting over the Pole to invade Alaska. We should welcome into our country all those who would be free, offer them no "entitlements" or benefits, subject them to no taxes, and encourage all who mean to work for a living to stay and do so. On the basis of just such invasions, North America was settled and made great.
Withholding taxes may bring about the break down of law enforcement. Good. Law enforcement is evil where the laws enforced are unconstitutional and null. Law enforcement, where it infringes on individual liberty, should be resisted with deadly force. The judicial system is not the protector of our rights but the betrayer of our liberties. There is no proper portion of my funds which is owed to government, and anyone who thinks otherwise will have to kill me to get them.
"It is, in principle, to destroy government and thus destroy the very institution that defines and protects rights." Taking taxes away from government may destroy government, although there are fools who play the lottery yet. (Were a private casino to offer such poor odds, no gaming commission in Nevada would certify their house.) To destroy government is to destroy the institution that usurps power and destroys rights.
"And, no correctly derived legal right allows one to trespass upon the rights of others." No correctly derived legal right allows one to accept stolen property as payment. No law professor who works for a tax funded institution has a moral right to his paycheck. Any such law professor is as guilty of the initiation of force and fraud as the tax collectors who support his habits. Collaborators are appropriate targets.
"Everyone has a right to have rights protected, and no one has a right to escape from the responsibility of paying for this protection." Everyone has the right to attempt to acquire property. Everyone has the right to attempt to protect his rights. While no one may escape from the responsibility of paying for this protection, no one is obligated to submit to a government bent on exercising a monopoly of force. A force monopolizing government does not protect rights, it tramples them. It is the obligation of those who would be free to destroy such government.
"Again, because man requires a properly limited government for his social existence, and government in turn requires resources if it is to function, taxation is in fact a corollary of that requirement." Again, man requires a government limited to the point where it governs not at all. Government requires resources if it is to function, but taxation is not the only means for government to acquire resources.
"Indeed, the necessity to support government with one's time and property extends beyond the taxation of a portion of one's money." Indeed, the hypocrisy of the law professor knows no bounds.
"For example, one must notify the police of a crime in progress; one must testify in court, for one may not hide the identity of a criminal; and one may not harbor a criminal on one's private property." Government has no properly constituted or moral authority to compel notifying the police, testifying in court, identifying criminals, or refusing safe harbor to a suspect. Government would like to make us all into collaborators, snitches, finks, and sluts for the evil work of government. Nazis employed Juden Rat to keep the Jews in the ghettos in line. The 19 April 1943 uprising of Jews in the Warsaw ghetto saw the immediate execution of many of these Juden Rat. A free man does not love a collaborator, nor suffer him to live at his expense. Pick a side, choose wisely, know your enemy, and nullify him.
"The justification for taxation is not premised on the false tenets that the government is the sole owner of all property, including all money, and/or that it has a blank check on all of it, leaving the individual citizen only with what the collective wishes." Nor would such premises be valid. Taxation is not justified on any basis.
"The amount of tax one must pay must be consistent with all of the essential components of man's nature and as such is determinable." Yes. Delightfully, the exact amount of tax one must pay to be consistent with all the essential compoonents of man's nature is zero.
"Again, one is compensated for the payment of taxes by government services protecting the rights which render the earning of money possible in the first place." Only to the extent that the government has to provide some such services upon occasion to delude the masses into paying their taxes. Spooner identified the nature of such a "bargain."
"What type of tax is valid?" None. Asked and answered, counselor.
"Certainly the subsequent discussion and recommendations entail significant technical problems." Zero is the answer, and takes no technical analysis to recognize.
"... user taxes-often analogized to "fees'@-are not accurate, per se, in the sense of clear attribution, they at least have the merit of linking benefit to payment." It is desirable to get what you pay for, and to pay for what you get. We are blessed by government only in that we get considerably less than we pay for, while government pays for none of what it gets. User fees are an acceptable means for government to collect money in the absence of taxes, but only to the extent that government never attempts to exercise a monopoly over any service it attempts to provide.
"Universal taxation by a fixed dollar amount- such as a capitation tax-may be fair in the sense that each individual (and those responsible for him, such as parents) bears an equal share of the expense for equal benejits received." That gets back to the law in its majestic equality as noted by Anatole France. The several states were right in not ratifying the so-called 16th Amendment because it provided for a capitation tax. Philander Knox should burn in hell for his role in pretending that the income tax amendment was ratified.
"A poor couple with eleven children receives thirteen times the benefit of government services than does a bachelor with no children." To this same extent a group of women is raped by government more totally than any single woman. Government doesn't serve nor does it benefit. It harms.
"However, one could argue that a millionaire bachelor receives much more protection for his financia worth - his property - than a poor man with a wife and eleven children." Imagine, though, the opportunity of the millionaire with a wife and eleven children.
"Perhaps a flat percentage tax resolves this problem by charging the millionaire in proportion to the value of his property being protected." Perhaps it simply robs him of wealth in proportion to his ability to create it.
"However, if one values life more than property, then a capitation tax appears more equitable." And if you value life more than liberty, you deserve to have neither.
"Perhaps a combination of a capitation tax and a flat tax constitute a fairer system." Perhaps it would be more fair to simply chain the peasants and whip them constantly until they cough up the money for your pay check. Twist it by any logic you might try, but there is no reasoning with government. Government is force and fraud. You who take government paychecks accept stolen money and do evil.
"I believe that a consumption or transaction tax may, in fact, be the most equitable system." In contrast, I believe that each person who has ever accepted a government paycheck should be forced to work in the private sector until the entire amount has been paid back, and personally distribute it to the taxpayers and the heirs of the taxpayers involved.
"First, it is a tax on market prices and thus reflects the value of the government's having made the market possible by making the transaction -- and all prior transactions -- viable in the first place, again, by defining and defending the rights exchanged." Again, government does no such things. The government doesn't make the market possible, and often makes the market impossible. Taxes on market prices and consumption are simply going to be added by government to income taxes, excise taxes, import duties, and the host of other taxes already imposed. To imagine that your fantasizing about fair taxes has any meaning to government is to suppose that idiots like you are taken seriously by anyone.
"Second, given that the market does not price in accordance with any particular individual's income, a uniform consumption or transaction tax in its absolute dollar amount is dependent upon the price of the goods and services consumed." The market does not price in accordance with any individual's income because it isn't anyone's business what an individual makes. However, any indvidual who wears his wealth in fancy clothes or jewelry will find prices higher at every booth in the market he turns to, unless those prices are posted. I'm reminded of a scene from "Paper Moon" in which Tatum O'Neal's character sees a fancily dressed widow at the door and asked three times for the engraved Bible as her father was going to ask. And gets it.
"As such it reflects the free market, i.e., the ever-shifting context of production, desires and prices." No tax ever reflects the free market, for a market to be free must be free of taxes.
"Third, it reflects the burden on government of individual economic activity, i.e, of the number of contracts entered which must be enforced." The continuing pretense that government enforces contracts is wearying.
"Fourth the poor man in our example is taxed only in proportion to his true needs as reflected in his engagement in the market, i.e., in proportion to his exercise of his right to earn, use and dispose of his property." In other words, he is screwed to the extent that he wants to acquire, use, or dispose of his wealth.
"Although the wealthy man is likely to spend a smaller proportion of his wealth on consumption and thus would pay a concomitantly lower proportion of his wealth in taxes, the absolute amount of his wealth expended is likely to be greater than that spent by the poorer individual." From this sort of reasoning, Marx concluded to take from each according to his ability to pay, and give to each according to his needs as perceived by Marx. Madness.
"In sum, the value of social interaction to the individual, and the dependence of such interaction on government, render taxation moral." Social interaction is not valuable to all individuals at all times. Social interaction is not dependent upon government, but is limited, distorted, and perverted by government. Taxation is not required for governments to exist, and is immoral.
"All legitimate functions of government constitute universal goods for all under its jurisdiction." Government has no legitimate functions. All governments as they exist constitute universal harms for all under their jurisdictions.
"Although there is no right to opt out of the political schema of Defense and Justice, if government errs in the provision of any service, it is the selfsame system that is self-correcting by reason of a constitution, judicial review, the vote, and the fact that resultant market distortions are detectable and that the market cannot bear them for long." No smug sanctimony will render Franck's hypocrisy the less. There is a right to opt out of the political scheme and machinations supposedly offering defense and justice, but actually offering offense and injustice. There is nothing but error from governments as they exist. Government pretends to sovereign immunity and will not correct its treasonous, murdering liars. The constitution, as Spooner points out, is of no authority. Judicial review is a made up means for judges to legislate. The vote is merely the ordinary man expressing his desire not to be enslaved by the most perverse, but by the least. And government, as well as taxation, imposes distortion on the market that are detectable and undesirable, as even Franck here admits.
"Finally, no one has a right to use or dispose of that portion of his wealth which makes the very notion of property rights possible to begin with." If Franck is man enough to back up this claim himself, let him come to my home and demand that portion of my wealth which he claims for his paycheck. I will deal with him directly, as I would deal with any trespasser or thief who presented himself at my home. My justice will be swift, personal, complete, and irrevocable.
My wealth is my own. The fruit of my labor is mine to do with as I please. I own myself, my body, my person, my labor, my property, my livestock, my things. Any man who seeks to take them from me should come armed and prepared to fight.
Recently, a friend of mine was kind enough to drive me into a part of Las Vegas he doesn't usually frequent. He reached up under his shirt and pulled out a necklace on a chain. The pendant seemed to be finely polished black wood. One quick jerk and a brightly polished knife was pulled from its scabbard. Lovely, I thought. Reaching into the pocket of my overcoat, I pulled forth a .38 caliber revolver. At my belt were two HKS speedloaders. All told, 15 rounds of hot, hand loaded wad cutters were at my disposal, without even reaching into my bag for bulk ammo. Only a fool brings a knife to a gunfight.
Those who believe that government protects them are fools. They have yielded to government the means to enslave them, and if government forebears, for a time, it is only for one of two reasons. Either government sees more who may be brought under enslavement, and seeks to lull these into a false sense of security, or government sees a well armed populace which it cannot enslave or control, and seeks to build up its store of treasure and support until it can arrange for foreign mercenaries (perhaps in UN blue helmets) to disarm its people.
Government is force and fraud. If you would be free, you must resist tyranny in all its facets, you must be prepared to kill tyrants in all their costumes, and you must be responsible for your own safety and happiness. Free yourself. Carpe libertas!
Copyright © 1999 Jim Davidson All Rights Reserved