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The Founding of the United States, wealth creation, and the Constitutionality of Charity

<SNIP>

    Before the United States came into being the laws of Europe were codified around what was known as ‘the Divine Rights of Kings’. That is, it was thought that the King of any given country received guidance from God and thus his word was law. The King could take anyone’s life or property by snapping his fingers because he was the law. King Henry the 8th of England killed how many of his wives? The circular argument was that God wouldn’t have put this person in charge of the country if he wasn’t meant to be there by God’s Will. Therefore the Kings used religion, often with the help of ministers, priests, and bishops, to brainwash their subjects and retain complete control of power. The pope complicated things a bit for these Tyrants, as he had an enormous amount of political power over Catholic nations – one of the reasons that led to the rise of Protestantism. German princes, and eventually, the Dutch and English, were eager to be free from the moderating tentacles of Rome in order to gain more power for themselves.

    There was no freedom of religion in most of Europe. You were often heavily taxed, excluded from social circles, and sometimes persecuted and killed if you didn’t conform to the state religion. Religious authorities were appointed and monitored by the King and dismissed, imprisoned, or killed if they became too outspoken. Thomas Paine later rightly said, "All national institutions of churches, whether Jewish, Christian, or Turkish, appear to me no other than human inventions, set up to terrify and enslave mankind, and monopolize power and profit." (29) 

    Political opponents had their property seized, confiscatory taxes financed the constant wars of the Kings, which kept the people in a state of fear of foreign powers (preventing rebellion), and the top down socialistic economies of the King (or his Vassals) were the rule, as it enhanced the power of the King. A hierarchical society dominated by titles, ranks, and nobilities bestowed by the King gave the King further power through the resulting loyalty of his Vassals. If someone started to become wealthier than the King, the King just took his money! The King was always the wealthiest person in his country. Needless to say, all this didn’t go over too well with quite a few people and, upon hearing of cheap land and political/religious freedom in the colonies, they left for America.

      The many groups that came here may have been quite different in language, ethnicity and religion, but shared the common bond of fleeing Tyranny, and so set up a radically different form of government then had ever been done before in human history. They established the first codified separation of Church and State. They knew, as Justice Hugo Black said, that "..a union of government and religion tends to destroy government and to degrade religion..."(29) They believed all men were equal under God and despised the Vassals that were made more equal than the common man under the Kings and so wrote in article I section IX of the Constitution: “No title of nobility shall be granted by the United States: and no person holding any office of profit or trust under them, shall, without the consent of the Congress, accept of any present, emolument, office, or title, of any kind whatever, from any king, prince, or foreign state.” (74) Finally, they wrote laws that removed the King and eliminated the artificial Middle-Man between the common man and God. Each man was the King of his own private property, including his physical body, and thereby only answerable to God, not government. What took place was a massive decentralization of power to the individual. There was no longer any King who owned and lorded over all the land; the people owned and lorded over their own land. The people were free

    Pennsylvanian William Pitt gave a famous speech to the British Parliament describing a basic American principle, every man a King, that would become ingrained in our Constitution:

”The poorest man may in his cottage bid defiance to all the forces of the Crown. It may be frail, its roof may shake; the wind may blow through it; the storm may enter, the rain may enter -- but the King of England cannot enter; all his force dares not cross the threshold of the ruined tenement!” (29)

    This idea of ‘ownership’ and ‘property rights’ consistent with the rule of law is the only reason why the United States became the most powerful nation on earth. In retrospect this might seem rather obvious. If you own property you will develop, improve, and maintain it and attempt to produce wealth with it. Any profit you make from your property might be channeled back into further improving your property, or spent in voluntary exchange to purchase another person's property, or perhaps saved and/or given to charity. Since wealth = money and money is backed up by things of values, then it is clearer how the United States became a super power: by the enormous amount of wealth created by the industriousness of individual American citizens. This unique opportunity to produce wealth without being harassed by government and with all property owners equal in the eyes of the law, attracted an huge influx of immigration that continues to this day. 

    These property laws and the amazing economic growth they produce can only be enforced and codified by a Republic. A Republic is different from a Democracy in that there are core laws that cannot be voted on (without changing the Constitution) and decentralization is further increased. For example, in theory, all of the citizens cannot vote to take the property of the richest citizen because that rich citizen is King of his own property under the Constitution. In theory, the people of a state and in turn a county can live how they wish provided they respect the basic principles of the Constitution. 

    Notice the use of the phrase 'in theory'. Indeed, we have drifted far from the principles that brought us such prosperity. If you fear you will loose your property, or that you will receive only a small portion of the total revenue you generate from it, are you not discouraged from improving it? If you pay property tax on your property do you own it or do you rent it? If your land can be seized by ‘eminent domain’ for the ‘public good’ do you really own it? If you own a business and 1/3rd of all your money goes to the Federal government then doesn’t the Federal government own a third of the business? If you own a business and your employees determine the value of their labor (unions), not you, do you own or control your own property? When the people of a state only own 10% of the total land of their state (Nevada) then do the people of that state own their state or does the Federal Government (30)? What was the point of even getting rid of the King?!? In our ignorance we have created a new King, another middle man between the common man and God, except now it has a different name: the Federal Government of the United States.

    Lord Acton famously stated, "Power tends to corrupt; absolute power corrupts absolutely." (29) The great thing about a Republic is that almost all power is concentrated at the local or individual level, thus limiting corruption. This is why it has always been perplexing to see the attempts to unconstitutionally restrict the actions of free individuals with all of these campaign finance reform laws that never ever end up working. The simple solution is to reduce the power of the Federal government! If government doesn't have the power to do anything, then why should private industry give money to political candidates? The more power the Federal government has, the more money and corruption will flow in and out of the system. In the Federal government today even non-partisan boards, panels, commissions, and agencies with power become corrupted; members leave and take high paying jobs in the industries they are supposed to regulate; cronyism and political favoritism run rife. The corruption and special interest benefit is derived from the power itself. The power needs to be returned to the individual.

    Now, it is said that the Federal government should be used as a tool to help the 'poor' and 'less fortunate' and to further the 'public good'. As author Ayn Rand wrote, "The idea that 'the public interest' supersedes private interests and rights can have but one meaning: that the interests and rights of some individuals take precedence over the interests and rights of others." (29) In a truly free society there are no provisions, at the Federal level, to help the 'poor' or 'less fortunate'. Indeed, any provisions made, at the Federal level, are legalized theft and are inherently Tyrannical. If citizens do not voluntarily donate in order to solve a crisis then the society does not believe that there is a crisis worth addressing. This is self-evident. Power given to elitists who believe they, not the citizens, see all the wrongs that need righted is a formula that, regardless of their good intentions, can only end in corruption and the abuse of power. The elitists are fighting for a return to Monarchy.

    These aspiring Kings claim that because of the stupidity and incompetence of average citizens that great ills would befall the poor if the Federal government did not exist to rob the wealthy and middle class and spend their money for them on the ‘common good’. This myth is easily debunked because the freest societies have always had the least amount of poor, the most immigration to them, and have always been the most wealthy and powerful (and thereby can be always be criticized by the same elitists for not helping the ‘poorer’ corrupt nations of the world). Nathan Rosenberg wisely said, "The perception of poverty as morally intolerable in a rich society had to await the emergence of a rich society." (29)

    These elitists forget that the only reason their country become rich in the first place was by giving individuals the freedom to produce wealth freely. What do the most successful individuals often do with their created wealth? The most generous people in the history of the world have been private foundations and individuals who created their wealth in capitalistic societies because they were free to do so by limited government. By attempting to take care of the unfortunate, at the Federal level, a society becomes corrupt, not only fiscally, but morally. Worse, the unfortunate are most often not helped, but hurt. I realize this is often quite counterintuitive.

    This principal might be better illustrated using the example of Bill Gates and Microsoft. Bill Gates and Microsoft created Windows, a program of enormous value. This program was of value to consumers and other businesses because it enabled their businesses to become more productive and produce more wealth. These businesses were often able to lower prices and thus people had more money to spend. The whole economy benefited. However, Gates and Microsoft got very wealthy. But this money was not stolen or taken from anyone! A business would not buy Windows unless it was able to become more profitable by using it. So Microsoft was clearly not taking any money from business. Microsoft was creating wealth. It was enlarging the pie, not stealing or taking it from anyone. This is how economies grow. If taxes in the US had been at 90% do you think the company would have been able to achieve such rapid growth, create such a useful product, and create as much wealth and employment? Of course not. Heck, if taxes had only been set at 10% then who knows what futuristic system we might be operating on now! If you think a tax rate of 10% is 'radical', recall the words of Benjamin Franklin who said, "It would be a hard government that should tax its people one-tenth part of their income."

      But, most importantly, Gates and Microsoft use much of their money to support a variety of charitable causes around the world. These contributions add up into billions of dollars. This charity arose out of thin air – it was derived from the wealth that Microsoft itself created. How can we complain about Gates being unequally wealthy when he created all his wealth for himself by merely doing the unspeakable: growing the rest of the economy and making the world a better place! We should be applauding him for benefiting society. Those who attempt to foster blame, hate, and jealousy towards wealth creators work to destroy the very essence of freedom, liberty, and morality.

    Take this example of Microsoft and spread it across hundreds and hundreds of industries and it is more apparent how low taxes and little government control results in better lives for everyone. A King, the elitists, and the current US Federal government all conspire to steal the money of these hard working and generous entrepreneurs and, in effect, kill the goose that laid the golden egg. 

    Do you now see the reason for the disparity between the US public and private giving and that of the other countries of the world? The US has the highest per capita GDP of all those countries listed because we still respect the property of our citizens the most, which is reflective in our 'low' public Tsunami aid. However, the most interesting part of this entire analysis, and the key point of this paper, is that by respecting the property of our citizens the most we also assure that the largest and most important aid contributor in the Tsunami relief effort are the private citizens of the United States of America and their military. 

    But I would not want you to just blindly take my word for all this. Here are some quotes from great Americans (29):

Benjamin Franklin
When the people find that they can vote themselves money, that will herald the end of the republic.

George Washington
Government, like fire, is a dangerous servant and a fearful master

Thomas Jefferson
He who governs least, governs best. 

Thomas Jefferson
 
A government big enough to give you everything you want, is strong enough to take everything you have.

Thomas Jefferson

Let the general government be reduced to foreign concerns only, and let our affairs be disentangled from those of all other nations, except as to commerce, which the merchants will manage the better, the more they are left free to manage for themselves, and our general government may be reduced to a very simple organization, & a very unexpensive one; a few plain duties to be performed by a few servants. 

 

James Madison

If Congress can employ money indefinitely to the general welfare, and are the sole and supreme judges of the general welfare, they may take the care of religion into their own hands; they may appoint teachers in every State, county and parish and pay them out of their public treasury; they may take into their own hands the education of children, establishing in like manner schools throughout the Union; they may assume the provision of the poor; they may undertake the regulation of all roads other than post-roads; in short, every thing, from the highest object of state legislation down to the most minute object of police, would be thrown under the power of Congress. Were the power of Congress to be established in the latitude contended for, it would subvert the very foundations, and transmute the very nature of the limited Government established by the people of America.

Mark Twain
No man's life, liberty, or property is safe while the legislature is in session.

Calvin Coolidge
Collecting more taxes than is absolutely necessary is legalized robbery. 

Barry Goldwater
The income tax created more criminals than any other single act of government.

Ronald Reagan
Man is not free unless government is limited. There's a clear cause and effect here that is as neat and predictable as a law of physics: As government expands, liberty contracts.  

CA Justice Janice Rogers Brown
Some things are apparent. Where government moves in, community retreats, civil society disintegrates and our ability to control our own destiny atrophies. The result is: families under siege; war in the streets; unapologetic expropriation of property; the precipitous decline of the rule of law; the rapid rise of corruption; the loss of civility and the triumph of deceit. The result is a debased, debauched culture which finds moral depravity entertaining and virtue contemptible. (29)

    A few other statements and stories from past Presidents:

James Madison, the father of our Constitution, said, in a January 1794 speech in the House of Representatives, "The government of the United States is a definite government, confined to specified objects. It is not like state governments, whose powers are more general. Charity is no part of the legislative duty of the government."

Franklin Pierce, our 14th president, vetoed a bill to help the mentally ill, saying, "I cannot find any authority in the Constitution for public charity," adding that to approve such spending "would be contrary to the letter and the spirit of the Constitution and subversive to the whole theory upon which the Union of these States is founded."

In 1887, President Grover Cleveland, our 22nd and 24th president, said, when he vetoed a bill to assist drought-inflicted counties in Texas, "I feel obliged to withhold my approval of the plan to indulge in benevolent and charitable sentiment through the appropriation of public funds. ... I find no warrant for such an appropriation in the Constitution and I do not believe that the power and the duty of the General Government ought to be extended to the relief of individual suffering which is in no manner properly related to the public service or benefit... The friendliness and charity of our countrymen can always be relied upon to relieve their fellow citizens in misfortune. This has been repeatedly and quite lately demonstrated. Federal aid in such cases encourages the expectation of paternal care on the part of the Government and weakens the sturdiness of our national character, while it prevents the indulgence among our people of that kindly sentiment and conduct which strengthens the bonds of a common brotherhood." (44)

    Edward Sylvester Ellis writes in The Life of Colonel David Crockett about a constituent of Congressmen Crocket who lectured Crocket about $20,000 he voted to give to families that had been left homeless in a D.C. fire:

"Yes I know you; you are Colonel Crockett. I have seen you once before, and voted for you the last time you were elected. I suppose you are out electioneering now, but you had better not waste your time or mine, I shall not vote for you again."

"It is not the amount, Colonel, that I complain of; it is the principle. In the first place, the government ought to have in the Treasury no more than enough for its legitimate purposes. But that has nothing with the question. The power of collecting and disbursing money at pleasure is the most dangerous power that can be entrusted to man, particularly under our system of collecting revenue by a tariff, which reaches every man in the country, no matter how poor he may be, and the poorer he is the more he pays in proportion to his means.

What is worse, it presses upon him without his knowledge where the weight centers, for there is not a man in the United States who can ever guess how much he pays to the government. So you see, that while you are contributing to relieve one, you are drawing it from thousands who are even worse off than he.

If you had the right to give anything, the amount was simply a matter of discretion with you, and you had as much right to give $20,000,000 as $20,000. If you have the right to give at all; and as the Constitution neither defines charity nor stipulates the amount, you are at liberty to give to any and everything which you may believe, or profess to believe, is a charity and to any amount you may think proper. You will very easily perceive what a wide door this would open for fraud and corruption and favoritism, on the one hand, and for robbing the people on the other. 'No, Colonel, Congress has no right to give charity." (33) (this is a great read)

    Unfortunately, all of this is not self-evident to members of our current government and, most disappointingly, to members of the Republican party. These principles were at one time the heart and soul of the Republican party, but it seems many members, including our current President, are increasingly thinking like the elitists. Why else would the President offer $350 million (now {2/10} $1 billion) of money that was not his own? Why couldn't he have just given the $10,000 of his own money as an example and exhorted citizens to donate (as he also did)? 

<SNIP>

    The socialistic nature of many third world economies breed gross corruption and contribute to lawlessness, scaring away foreign investment. It is self evident that a government with little power cannot be corrupt. For example, reminiscent of the old Kings of Europe, in many African countries the richest men are all in the government. The BBC reports the comments of Jeremy Pope, head of anti-corruption watchdog group Transparency International:

"What has been revealed is a hopelessly corrupt political elite - a political class across the spectrum that simply sees politics as a way of becoming wealthy," Mr Pope says. "As long as politics is seen as the path to wealth, then Africa is on a downward path." (76)

<SNIP> (from 'Arab Governments and Causes of Terrorism')

    It has been argued that the United States is the world's best policemen because our citizens own many things of value in countries across the world. Likewise, multitudes of citizens from many, many countries across the world own things of value in the United States (such as businesses that employ our citizens). Therefore, as the wealthiest country in the world, we have the most interest in seeing the world stay free, peaceful, and prosperous in order to protect and increase our own wealth and prosperity. For the United States, a win for us is a win for the world (and vice versa). In the same sense, China's shift from a Communist regime to a Capitalist regime has greatly reduced the threat it poses to it's neighbors. Any hostile actions by the Chinese against, say, Taiwan, would devastate it's economy. Chinese businessmen and workers, the former of which are becoming increasingly influential in the Communist party, would howl and possibly revolt. Chinese aggression is a loosing strategy for China and a loosing situation for the world. In contrast, a hostile action by Saddam Hussein against Kuwait is a win for him and a loss for the world. Socialistic countries are not held back from aggression by business/economic pressures; they see only external prizes that can be easily claimed by 'the state'. It's citizens don't raise a fuss about the need to protect their property because the citizens don't own anything (or very little)! Of course, the term 'Socialistic' as I am using it here does not apply to the Socialistic Scandinavian countries, which consist of private industry (with internal and external foreign investments) burdened by high taxes and regulations. In Arab Socialistic countries there may be some areas of relatively low taxes, but there is little private industry. 

<SNIP>

Disclaimers 

Further elaborations are needed for added clarity. 

1. I realize that around the time of our founding Democratic type movements were underway in certain areas of Europe, most notably in parts of Germany, Italy, and England. The Dutch, and then the English, became world powers when advances in property rights allowed their merchants to keep a large share of their profits. The Magna Carter, a document that limited the power of the King, was a huge reason behind Great Britain's subsequent rise to superpower status. But the idea of a pure republic with limited government is largely an American concept, and a wildly successful experiment.  

2. There is a lot of emphasis on the religious nature of our founding. It is a clear way to view the contrast between Europe and America and historically reflects the thinking of our founders. However, one can construct the same political structure without using the word 'God' or religious references and one can certainly be an atheist and live in America (past or present). For some (admittedly) eccentric thoughts on religion/spirituality check out 'A Theory of God'. 

<SNIP>

Related Articles

Not Yours To Give - 2/9/05 Walter Williams writes a great piece on the unconstitutionality of government charity. (here is the original Not Yours to Give Davy Crockett lesson)

Tsunami Aid: Not Theirs to Give - Sheldon Richmon's good article in the Boston Chronicle. 

Constitution Class taught by Michael Bandarick - 7 downloadable hours of class on the Constitution from the 2004 libertarian presidential candidate. The 2nd hour gave a very good description of our founding in a way very similar to what I've described. I highly recommend it if this area interests you. I do not fully agree with the Libertarian party platform, most especially on foreign policy, military spending, and the gold standard (since money backs up things of value and gold backs up things of value then having gold back up money doesn't seem to me to accomplish all that much). 

Turkey's imams predict more freedom of worship- thanks to the EU - 12/19/04 Telegraph The religious Tyranny our founders fled in Europe is still alive and well in Turkey and throughout the Muslim world. Chief Mufti of Istanbul faxes out the sermon, which must be delivered in identical form across the country. The Saudi Royal family appoints and dismisses all imams. Almost all Middle Eastern Governments engage in similar practices. The Mullahs of Iran have managed to overthrow and become the new Tyrants of that country. State and Religion are now the same in Iran. We often hear about a small minority of Muslims who corrupt the Islamic religion. Remember Justice Hugo Black: "..a union of government and religion tends to destroy government and to degrade religion..."(29)  This degradation of religion by Middle Eastern governments  is one of the 'Causes of Terrorism'.

Chavez Land Crusade Eyes UK-Owned Venezuelan Ranch - 1/8/2005 Reuters Reports on the respect leftist Venezuelan leader Huego Chavez has for property rights. In a different story, the Chavez appointed Governor in the disputed area acts like a Vassal for his King: Cojedes state governor Johnny Yanez Rangel, addressing supporters who gathered at the ranch along with heavily armed National Guard troops and police, said “private property ... is a right, but not absolute” and that “the collective interest” must be considered. Update 23/3/05 Indeed, they seized it. (More on Chavez and Venezuela here.)

Related Posts

Posted 11/2/05

The U.N. finally discovers property rights

10/29/05 Union Leader The UN has appointed Hernando De Soto as a co-chair (the other one, unfortunately, being Madeline Albright), of a commission entitled: 'High Level Commission on Legal Empowerment of the Poor'. Now, normally we would expect such a commission at the United Nations to go about doing their best to hurt the poor in the name of helping them by criticizing wealthy nations for debt relief (giving money to criminals), more aid, or some other socialist wealth distribution scheme. However, who is Hernando De Soto? 

    Peruvian economist Hernando de Soto is the recipient of the Cato Institute's [Libertarian Think Tank] 2004 Friedman Prize for his work exploring the link between poverty and property rights in underdeveloped states. World leaders, academics, and journalists have praised his book The Mystery of Capital, which describes the extralegal systems of economic transaction created by citizens in countries without a strong system of property rights. De Soto's think tank the Institute for Liberty and Democracy seeks to implement reforms that give citizens of poor countries the ability to operate in a free enterprise system. The Economist has praised the ILD [Institute for Liberty and Democracy] as one of the most important think tanks in the world, and the institute has implemented reforms throughout the former Soviet Union, as well as in Egypt and Peru.

    Strong property rights means that the governments of these countries will not be able to steal from their citizens as blatantly as before. In capitalist economies, De Soto notes, business transactions are made possible by widely accepted rules governing legally defined property. Such concepts often don’t exist in the developing world, where existing legal systems (or the lack thereof) may not recognize the assets and transactions of some 70 percent of the population.

    This same problem occurs on our Native American Indian reservations and those in Canada, with 'tribal ownership', everybody, but in reality, nobody, owns any given piece of property on the reservation and so cannot leverage it in a mortgage to a bank or raise any capital with it.

    Reforms, whereby property protection is enshrined in law, sometimes don't exist because such concepts are foreign to people, but other times are opposed because it facilitates conditions where important activities take place outside the realm of government. Since the poorer countries of the world are run by corrupt thieves worried most about holding onto power, 'important things happening outside their control' is initially a bit discerning to them. But here is the kicker, and the reason I love this article:

    The reform program he developed for his native Peru resulted in the legalization of an estimated 300,000 enterprises that previously operated off-the-books. When political leaders in other countries saw how the Peruvian reforms moved some 560,000 workers from the underground economy to the legal economy and generated some $300 million a year in new tax revenues, they started to understand.

   Alert readers will remember that in 'Middle Eastern Governments and Causes of Terrorism', I wrote:

    Another theory is that without foreign aid or natural resources, governments are forced to liberalize because it is the only way for them to get tax revenues. In other words, when wealth can only be generated through the naked productivity/ingenuity of it's citizens, the rulers of that country will be most inclined to introduce reforms to accelerate this. Notice some of the strongest economic zones in the world today - Hong Kong, Singapore, Japan, Switzerland, Israel, Taiwan, South Korea and the (early, eastern) United States - are poor in natural resources. Historically, the British, Dutch, Portuguese and, going way back, Carthageans and Athenians, were all were top world powers without being strong in natural resources. Why was the Spanish Empire, a centrally controlled country drowning in colonial gold, discarded into the ash heap of history so fast? Returning to the Africa analogy, the areas which are richest in natural resources, especially the diamond belt, are suffering the greatest conflict and strife.

    So, by educating the corrupt thieving rulers of poor countries that there will be more loot for them to steal if they let their people become prosperous and respect property rights, De Soto has a great plan to really help the poorest of the poor.
"In most countries, including my own, the idea is we the government will tell you what is good for you. In this case, the responsibility of carrying out the administration has been thrown at the people themselves. That trust in people is essentially what characterizes Europe in the 18th and 19th centuries going from being elite-led nations to those of nations that have grass-root economies." 

- Hernando De Soto.

 

Daschle moving to K Street (posted 3/16/05)

3/14/05 Washington Post gives us a an interesting look at the excessive power that government holds. Neither (former Democratic Senate Minority leader) Daschle nor his new employer would discuss how much he will be paid. Other influential former members of Congress have drawn annual compensation packages of as much as $1 million and higher after making such moves. <..> "The revolving door is just spinning out of control these days," said Craig Holman, legislative representative for Public Citizen, a nonprofit consumer advocacy group. Holman said that in the 1970s only about 3 percent of retiring members of Congress wound up in K Street law and lobbying firms. These days, the figure is more like 32 percent, he said, in part fueled by the dramatic increase in pay for such positions. Why are all these ex-government officials worth so much money to these private companies? Private companies only (rightly) pay people who get results and and increase their profit. Therefore, certain private companies are using government, owned and funded by the people, and twisting and corrupting it for their own special interest purposes. Should we then blame the private companies? No, each company has a right to use any means within the law to increase their profit and wealth. The problem lies in the fact that government has given itself the power to do whatever these companies find so valuable for it to do. More appropriately, the problem lies with the people of the United States for not standing up for their stolen dollars and against their corrupt government

"He's got a lot of friends in the Senate, and I've got a lot of friends in the Senate, and, combined, who knows -- we might have 51," (Former Republican Senate Majority Leader) Dole (who also works for the same firm and got Daschle the job) joked. "It's going to work fine." Yuk Yuk....

 

In North Dakota, Farmers Wary of Cuts to Subsidies (update 4/5/05)

4/4/05 Washington Post sob story on the plight of farmers in North Dakota in light of the Bush administrations timid 5% cut in the bloated farm subsidies. A few ideas for a more accurate headline:

'Corrupt Government reduces massive Citizen Swindle by 5%, Special Interest Complain'

'Thieving Farmer Groups demand more money to be Looted from Honest Citizens'

'Bloated and Desperate Farmer Groups bribe Congress to continue Stealing'

''Generous' Government might spend 5% less of the money ripped off your family to support a Special Interest Group'

'The US government, with a 'Conservative' 'Republican' President and 'Conservative' 'Republican' Majorities in both houses of Congress, will continue to imprison US citizens if they don't continue to pay 95% of Farm Subsidies'

'Criminal Congress continues to break the 8th Commandment: Thou Shall Not Steal'

'Apathetic Populace Complacent over Continuing Thievery, Seem to respect the Governments right to sell the fruits of their labor to the Highest Bidder'

'Looney Farmer Groups claim Citizens benefit from being Extorted'

'Government Mafia shakedown might be cut by 5%, Farmer Groups Complain to sympathetic Media'

'Constitutional Violation by Congress over Farm Subsidies Continues'

'Congressmen not Seen as Criminal, Reelected despite Continued Public Pillaging'

    Besides a poor choice of Headline, this Post article does not accurately describe what is actually occurring or arrive at the proper conclusion - like this one from 'Causes of Poverty in Developing Nations':

    For example, the governments of the United States and Europe will imprison their citizens if they do not pay the hundreds of billions of dollars in taxes that these governments then return to small, often wealthy, farming interest groups. These bloated subsidies allow farmers to price their goods below market price (although in reality they are actually above market price), thus preventing developing nations from exporting substantial foodstuffs to developed countries. These farmers then donate some of the money the government stole for them back to the politicians that orchestrated the theft.  

    This is, by any definition, a criminal act, if not legally (in this case the thieves are making the laws), certainly morally. However, individual farmers actually do have a right to be livid at the Federal Government. Why? Because other special interest groups are, in turn, robbing them of billions of dollars each year too! If all of these thefts were eliminated it is entirely possible that farmers would be better off even without 100% of the subsidies that their political groups have traditionally extorted from their fellow citizens.

    In a sense, one can hardly blame the farmer groups; with government so powerful, if you don't have Congress stealing for your side, they'll be robbing you for the other side. In fact, the worst off are those that don't belong to a special interest group that can bribe Congress to steal from everyone else. These unfortunate families get robbed by all these various groups and don't even get the satisfaction of returning the favor! I wonder if the Washington Post will ever do a story on them?

    With the Presidency and Congress corrupted and the people apathetic, can the judicial branch stop the madness?

    CA Justice Janice Rogers Brown would certainly try. Justice Brown believes:
    Some things are apparent. Where government moves in, community retreats, civil society disintegrates and our ability to control our own destiny atrophies. The result is: families under siege; war in the streets; unapologetic expropriation of property; the precipitous decline of the rule of law; the rapid rise of corruption; the loss of civility and the triumph of deceit. The result is a debased, debauched culture which finds moral depravity entertaining and virtue contemptible. <..> 

    We no longer find slavery abhorrent. We embrace it. We demand more. Big government is not just the opiate of the masses. It is the opiate. The drug of choice for multinational corporations and single moms; for regulated industries and rugged Midwestern farmers and militant senior citizens.

    However, Justice Brown's nomination to the DC court of Appeals, one of the most powerful courts in the country, was blocked by Senate Democrats: "Justice Brown, your record is that of a conservative judicial activist, plain and simple," said Sen. Richard Durbin, D-Illinois. "You frequently dismiss judicial precedence ... when it doesn't comport with your political views." According to Senator Durbin, protecting citizens from elected burglars is a clear sign of a political agenda.

 

Dairy Gets Squeeze by the Feds

6/1/05 The Seattle Times. In its 85 years of existence, Smith Brothers Dairy in Kent has survived all manner of misfortune and mistakes. There was the Depression, when milk sales plummeted. There were cow-killing floods. There were modern times, when it appeared the old-fashioned idea of fresh milk delivered to the doorstep had died. "None of that compares to this," says Alexis Smith Koester, 60, dairy president and granddaughter of the founder, Ben Smith. "This is the biggest threat we've ever faced." She's talking about the federal government. Again, in the name of 'helping small farmers', government does the opposite. Power corrupts. We've seen this pattern play out countless times. Help 'em out.

 

(Posted 6/8/06)

    Last week the people of France and the Netherlands rejected the EU Constitution. Polls in other countries show opposition increasing and the value of the Euro has since tanked. One cannot help but make comparisons to the United States at the time of our founding. In both cases, states attempted to come together to form a Federal Government.

    From reading through this website, you may believe I disdain the Federal government; indeed, some Libertarians believe the country was functioning fine under the Articles of Confederation. I disagree. Although, of course, I disdain the massive powers of the present Federal government, it is more accurate to state that I disdain any government power beyond that which is minimally required. The source of this power is irrelevant. 

    This distinction is quite important because a Federal government can sometimes result in less government overall and thus more freedom. If you recall, the Articles of Confederation were plagued with problems: states taxing each other, issuing currency, differing debts, national defense, western land claims, foreign policy, judicial differences, tax policies, religious discriminations, commercial meddlings etc.. Nearly all of these problems were a result of excessive state power. Power hungry state officials, naturally (as power corrupts), passed many laws and developed many policies, which they must have thought would help the people. They were wrong. Government laws and plans, besides those protecting property and the basic criminal code, most often hurt, rather than help. 

    The best illustration of this is the vaunted US Bill of Rights. It has been proposed that the well intentioned founders who passed these Amendments actually enabled grievous harm to overall liberty in this country because the many Freedoms that weren't specifically included in the Bill of Rights, have since been considered 'expendable' in the name of 'public safety' or 'the children', or whatever other semantic rot they always use to sell decreases in Freedom. All of the Rights in the Bill of Rights and the many other Rights that have since been taken away are, in fact, already covered and accounted for in the original Constitution. The fact that a Constitutional amendment designed to enhance Freedom, ended up restricting it, should be warning enough for us to fear the power of Government. (Admittedly, even some of the Rights guaranteed in the Bill of Rights have been violated or 'stretched'.)

    In any case, when the Constitution was ratified, the Federal government immediately nullified many of these state abuses of power. States no longer could tax one another, states couldn't discriminate against religion, there was common currency, states couldn't claim western lands, and some state judicial, tax, and commercial laws were abolished. The reason the US Constitution had popular support can be illustrated in the following way:

                   Power Before        Power After

Township            10                        10

County                10                        10

State                    80                       30

Federal                 0                         10

Total Power       100                        60

 

    Notice that the Federal government restricted State power more than it gained itself. A keen observer might also note that the states could have accomplished this without the Federal government, but didn't. Some Libertarians state that effort should instead be put into educating the population so that states would voluntarily reduce their powers and voluntarily corroborate on such issues as national defense and foreign policy. While laudable, is this entirely realistic? Powerful special interests in any given state will always be trying to use government for their advantage and politicians are loathe to give up powers. Irregardless, the Libertarians rightly feared that, over time, the Federal government would grow and grow in power, just like the state governments had. By creating a Federal Government were we fighting the symptoms rather than the disease?

                   Power After        Power Today

Township            10                        10

County                10                        10

State                   30                        20

Federal                10                        60

Total                    60                       100

 

    Oh no! We're back where we started! Federal government is excellent when it works to reduce the powers of state and local government, but becomes Tyrannical when it begins to assume positive power, and attempts to 'do things'. Conservatives today rightly blast the UN because it attempts to impose more rules and regulations on the American people. But what if the UN worked instead to limit the power of the Federal government? I, for one, would support it!

    Returning to Europe, the European Constitution is a bloated 340+ page document. Our original Constitution was about 10 pages long. From what I've seen of the European Constitution, it doesn't really take away much power from individual states, but rather just gives new power to a new bureaucracy, which is already attempting to engage in wealth transfers, setting drug prices, farm subsidies etc.. and generally hurtfully meddling in the economic affairs of the citizens of Europe. The Europeans are probably voting for something like this:

                   Power Before        Power After

Township            10                        10

County                10                        10

State                   80                        70

Federal                10                        50

Total                   110                      140

 

    This overall increase in Federal power, without the decrease in state power can only end in negative results. Let us hope the Europeans are able to redo their Constitution to form a truly limited Federal government. 

Man is not free unless government is limited. There's a clear cause and effect here that is as neat and predictable as a law of physics: As government expands, liberty contracts.

- Ronald Reagan

 

Supreme Court Strikes Down Quebec Medical Law (posted 6/9/05)

6/9/05 CTV News This article will definitely be added to the blog grouping 'Government Health'. The Supreme Court of Canada has decided to strike down Quebec's prohibition of using private insurance for services covered under medicare because the care was poor, the wait lengthy, and they realized that forcible socialized medicine was probably killing more Canadian citizens than it was saving. Just kidding! The last part wasn't actually in the news article, but should be. Zeliotis spent more than a year in pain, waiting for a hip replacement in 1997. He finally got a new hip but says he should have had the right to pay earlier for the surgery himself, even though it's illegal to pay for health services covered by medicare. He and Dr. Chaoulli (His doc) argued that spending months waiting for surgery amounts to a violation of their constitutional rights to life, liberty and security of the person. Of course, he's right. The Canadian government decided to destroy Zeliotis's life, liberty and pursuit of happiness in order to, ostensibly, provide life, liberty, and happiness to others. Don't be shocked. After all, we make a regular practice of this in the Untied States too. Phillippe Trudel, who's representing Zeliotis, told Canada AM ahead of the ruling that he didn't believe that a decision in his client's favour would lead to the destruction of the public health system. How can it? Zeliotis is still forced to waste his tax dollars on the public system or face jail time. All he is fighting for is his 'right' to pay extra for real care. This reminds me of the current US public school system. Parents are forced to pay taxes to the public schools, despite their decision to either homeschool, or pay extra to send their kids to private schools. However, before this recent Canadian court ruling, it would have been analogous to the US Government making it illegal for private schools or homeschoolers to even exist! If the Canadian health system is so great, why not let people choose to opt out of it? Not just pay extra for private care, but really opt out of it, and not be forced to pay any taxes towards something you won't use. The government will never let its citizens do this because the elitists know it would set off a stampede out of the government care. 
The inherent vice of capitalism is the unequal sharing of the blessings; the inherent vice of socialism is the equal sharing of the miseries. 

- Winston Churchill

 

(See 'Canadian Health Care' for more)

 

(Posted 6/16/05)

This will be added to China and Constitutional Issues

The Rise of a New Power

6/20/05 US News and World Report Interesting article on China. "This is the late-19th-century United States, except that it's happening on a faster and broader scale," says Marshall Meyer, a professor at the Wharton School.

    A central question, which this article doesn't address, is one that has been percolating for some years in some so-called 'intellectual circles': Can a rightist dictatorial government be superior to a democratic government? In the case of Chile and Singapore, some say the answer is affirmative. The weakness of democracy is that people often laud the passing of laws and regulations, and, over time, sometimes seem to work towards enslaving themselves, by creating bigger and ever more tyrannical government. 

    The point has been made that politicians are not rewarded for passing freedom enhancing laws (or, better yet, repealing restrictive laws), but sometimes punished, because those limiting freedom for their own nefarious purposes can lobby/bribe the politicians to enact measures to increase their personal profits, while the countless more that would benefit from freedom don't exist to lobby government. For example, privatizing bloated agencies like the postal service and Amtrak is long overdue and would save taxpayers millions, but the replacement companies don't yet exist to stand up for themselves and individual taxpayers tend to be apathetic (as they only 'loose' a small amount each). Meanwhile, the postal and train unions and their lobbyists can put their full effort into fighting reform. These internal pressures are what corrupted the states in the Articles of Confederation and what is corrupting our current Federal Government. Representative governments have an inherent antipathy to change. The voiceless have no voice. 

    Could a rightist type dictatorship be more effective at dealing with these types of prosperity stifling problems? For example, in China:  The central government even seems to be purging corrupt officials--proving that communism can still be ruthless. Last year the government executed four bankers accused of fraud. <.> Foreigners are usually treated much better. Shanghai woos western conglomerates with favorable tax treatment and other perks, the same way American cities and states compete to lure businesses. Western firms often discover that when it comes to business, an authoritarian government isn't such a bad thing. "Usually, if the government says a road is going to be built by September, it will," says Jerry Nissen, a former U.S. investment banker who is executive director of SmartLink International Holdings, a Shanghai-based consultancy.

    If government is able to forcibly prevent citizens from passing liberty depriving laws, while effectively enforcing the basic rule of law, especially regarding property rights, then might this country become so prosperous that the democracies are left in the dust? Could a Libertarian dictatorship be the 'utopia' we are looking for? Might it be China? 

    Currently, at least in regards to China, the answer is no. The Chinese government still owns a plethora of state owned companies, banks, and utilities etc.., and arcane laws, rules, and regulations plague the country. The government meddles in health care and education, and the state owns roads and much of the land (especially farm land, leasing it to peasants). Corruption and government interference in pensions and retirement is a  threat to prosperity. Draconian drug laws restrict freedom. Pollution poses health risks and hurts economic growth (yes, pollution falls under criminal law - damaging someone else's property, including their physical bodies, is illegal in a Libertarian society). Military spending and intelligence budgets are soaring. So, China is clearly not even close to a Libertarian utopia. In fact, China's ultimate destination is unclear.

    But let's theorize a bit and pretend that in the next 10 years China becomes a true Libertarian one party system, ruled with an iron fist. Since, in a Libertarian society, the government hardly has any power, there is almost no corruption. In fact, the government will be most consumed with preventing groups of citizens from stealing from each other (taxes) and inhibiting each others freedoms ('safety resolutions', regulations, and other measures for the 'public good'.). While some might say inhibiting elected citizens from enacting compulsory taxes is tyrannical, others might, more accurately, state that this intervention is merely preventing legal thievery, protecting the minority against the tyranny of the majority, and enforcing the basic laws of morality. 

    Now, some of you might might suggest that I am treating people with the same sort of condescension that I routinely attack liberals for displaying towards the 'masses'. I seem to be saying that people are too stupid to live in democracies and don't know what's best for them. I don't think this comparison is accurate. 

    First, my condescension towards those that would pass draconian compulsory laws is reflective of their own condescension towards the minority, whom they are forcing their laws and regulations on. If socialism of any kind (education, health, retirement) is so great, why do governments always throw their citizens in jail if they don't participate? This isn't an exaggeration; try not paying SS, Medicaid, or Medicare tax and see what happens to you. As David D. Boaz profoundly stated: The difference between libertarianism and socialism is that libertarians will tolerate the existence of a socialist community, but socialists can't tolerate a libertarian community.

    A Libertarian community can be predominantly, or even entirely, socialist, but it is not compulsory. This is a key point. But... but... but... won't the rich always opt out of these programs? Perhaps. But then what is your solution? To not let them opt out and pillage their property? 

    It is worth mentioning that because of the government enforced bias in the media (via regulations, media laws, public theft/subsidies of media etc..), academia bias, the public education system bias, and Hollywood bias (the only bias not currently government subsidized), many citizens are brainwashed into socialistic ways of thinking. 

    The Internet is helping to turn the tables, educating increasing numbers of people and disseminating previously censored views. So, it is not condescension, but unrealistic, to expect that people can have a respect for something (freedom) they have never been exposed to. Again, the condescension label is most accurately applied to those who want to keep the status quo and forcibly educate people, rather then giving them the freedom to educate themselves.    

    Consider though, our original Constitution. Government primarily possessed negative power - that is, people had all these rights that government (local, state, or federal) could not mess with. One might argue that our constitution was dictatorial in the sense that, without changing the constitution, government was pretty restrictive in what it could do and people were restrictive in what laws they could pass, irregardless of what a tyrannical majority might want to do. Whether it is a Constitution, or a steady stream of Libertarian dictators that prevents these liberty destroying acts might turn out to be somewhat of a moot point. Of course, today our rights have been eroded so much that we barely even pay lip service to our Constitution. Don't believe me? Read it!

    If we can cut through these blurry semantic differences, it seems obvious that a representative republican (republic) Libertarian society is preferable to a dictatorial Libertarian society and if we are moving (returning) in that direction anyway, then why risk a dictatorship? A dictatorship, even a rightist one, has a number of key limitations. Remember, we are giving this dictator powers to prevent citizens from passing anything against the Libertarian viewpoint. This also gives him/her power to act in his/her own interest, with little threat of repercussion from the people. Just like our corrupt and/or ignorant Congressmen pass laws against the public good in the name of 'the public good', a Libertarian dictator will be tempted to take action against the Libertarian viewpoint in the name of the 'Libertarian viewpoint'. This government could operate with impunity and break its own laws. Power corrupts and there is no reason to believe that every dictator will be the ideal 'benevolent enforcer' that would make the system work. 

    Another point is that there are disagreements over exactly what the 'Libertarian view' really is. In other words, what I have laid out here as the 'Libertarian view' is so different from the way our present society is run, it must seem quite radical to some people. However, among Libertarians, there are a number of gray areas where disputes can arise.

    In conclusion, it appears we must discard this dictatorial utopia, and work on educating the people. As previously mentioned, it is my view that China will undergo a democratic revolution within the next 5-10 years, or earlier. Most probably, this will happen during the next Chinese recession.  

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Posted 7/27/05

Added to 'Constitutional Issues', 'Founding of the United States and Constitutionality of Charity', and 'China'. (lol, these posts are all interconnecting, which is sort of a pain and a good thing at the same time...)

    If you recall, I posted some time ago about the difference between a 'Libertarian Dictator' or 'representative republican (republic) Libertarian society'. In the former, freedom is, in effect, forced on the citizens and in the latter the citizens choose it themselves. Although I ended up siding with the representative society, some wondered why I would even take the time to consider the dictatorship seriously. 

    In my view, this objection arises from a misunderstanding of what a 'Libertarian dictatorship' is. Unfortunately, dictatorships are semantically lumped together in the same category, when in fact, they often differ drastically. A better understanding can be achieved if a given dictatorship is measured by how much power the government/dictator has and exercises. Almost every dictator in history has been socialistic, the more socialistic, the worse the tragedy of the country. One of the few who was not was the much vilified General Augusto Pinochet of Chile, whose economic policies led to the growth that make Chile the wealthiest country in South America. [For those interested, I have compiled a fair amount of research on Chile, but need some time to go through it and organize it.] 

    Why do we dislike the idea of a dictator? Because we distrust the power a dictator has over the country; their propensity to disrupt our lives. However, in a Libertarian dictatorship, the opposite occurs; government is reduced. The government has less power and a Libertarian dictator, by definition, can't do much of anything! In fact, the term is an oxymoron.

     He can't stop you from doing anything you please (besides preventing you from passing laws limiting the freedom of others). He can't steal your property. He can't stop you from putting substances in your body. He can't prevent you from freely contracting with another citizen. He can't prevent you from trading with a citizen of another country. He can't prevent you from bringing workers from other countries to work in the United States. In short, what is it you fear from a Libertarian dictator? Our current government does all of the above and worse, yet, because we are conditioned to fear dictators, we fear them worse then our own democratically elected thieving, pillaging, and regulating government.     

    In fact, a Libertarian dictator must, by definition, be an extremely altruistic and selfless person because he is giving up power, wealth, privilege, and fame for the benefit of others. I always feel a hint of pride when I see polls showing that Michael Jordan, Michael Jackson, Tiger Woods, Tom Cruise, (Opera?), (Bill Gates?) and Madonna have more name recognition among foreign and US populations than the US president. By contrast, in Cuba and North Korea, Kim and Fidel's portraits, speeches and writings hang in every classroom and house and state television slavishly follows their every move. Can you name a famous Cuban or North Korean? From the LA times:

    On the opposite wall [of a citizen's house] hang the obligatory framed portraits of Kim Jong Il and his late father, Kim Il Sung, who seized power in the northern half of the Korean peninsula after World War II.
    The government forbids people to put family photos or other decorations on the same wall. Party cadres used to drop by almost daily to make sure residents kept portraits free of dust, but that stopped two years ago.
    "They don't worry so much about ideology now," he said. "All anybody cares about is finding enough food to get through the day."

    In a true Libertarian society, the Libertarian dictator would probably have little name recognition because he would be relatively 'unimportant'. 

    Now, as previously stated, I am not advocating a Libertarian dictatorship, but merely stating that the seriousness in which I take the proposal is not misplaced. 

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Oxfam pays $1m tsunami aid duty (posted 6/18/05)

6/17/05 BBC Added to 'Tsunami Tyranny' and 'Causes of Poverty in Developing Nations'.

British charity Oxfam has had to pay the Sri Lankan government $1m in import duty for vehicles used in tsunami reconstruction work.

Paperwork had kept the 25 four-wheel drive vehicles idle in the capital, Colombo, for a month. <.> Britain's Daily Telegraph said Sri Lankan customs had charged $5,000 a day while the vehicles were processed. Oxfam was given the choice of handing over the vehicles to the government, re-exporting them or paying the 300% import tax. <.> Some aid workers have expressed anger that reconstruction is being slowed by red tape and inefficiency. What is happening in Sri Lanka is outright theft. The government holds Oxfam's vehicles for a month, charges $5,000 a day, and then says, "well, if you don't want to pay us 1 million dollars, we'll just keep the vehicles!" These are the actions of a mafia, not a government. This, of course, has been a central point I've been trying to make throughout this website. All governments act like mafias, some are just worse than others. The richest countries have smaller governments, with less corruption, the poorest have larger governments with more corruption. This is the difference between rich and poor countries. It is that simple. We should all be thankful that our founders had the wisdom to craft the most limited government ever created in the history of the world. 

    Why do incumbents have something like a 90% re-election rate here in the United States? Because they shake down businesses in their districts for cash. If you're not buddy buddy with your congressmen, or support his rival, he might try to ruin your business. After all, the congressmen needs money to spend repaying all of his extra generous supporters and it has to come from somewhere. Might as well come from his enemies, or non supporters. Additionally, his next opponent might have trouble challenging him with his support base ruined. 

Untangling a Lobbyists Stake in a Casino fleet

5/1/05 Washington Post The dead man was Konstantinos "Gus" Boulis, a volatile 51-year-old self-made millionaire, a Greek immigrant who had started as a dishwasher in Canada and ended up in Florida, where he built an empire of restaurants, hotels and cruise ships used for offshore casino gambling. Boulis's slaying, still unsolved four years later, reverberated all the way to Washington. Months earlier he had sold his fleet of casino ships to a partnership that included Republican superlobbyist Jack Abramoff.

    What it looks like happened was that government passed laws and regulations making Boulis's prosperous businesses illegal and then demanded Boulis sell a stake in the business to their cronies in order for it to remain operational. They then ruined his business and he ended up dead in murky circumstances. Government was able to do this because the apathetic people give it the power to pass these sorts of laws and regulations, enabling a mafia to exist within the law. 

    So, don't think we're all that different from Sri Lanka. If this is what Sri Lanka does to a charity, can you imagine what they would do to a business? If you were an entrepreneur and started up a company in Sri Lanka and created wealth and employment guess what would happen? The thieving government would come in and threaten to steal everything you've created. You'd probably have to pay them heavy bribes in order to prevent this. The government of Sri Lanka causes more deaths, more misery, and more destruction than was caused when the Tsunami hit, yet, no one seems to care about this. People would rather give money, and therefore power, to the government that is responsible for the misery of its people. 

Why the West's billions may end up in the Wrong Hands

6/9/05 Times Online Details how the much ballyhooed Blair/Bush debt relief plans for Africa will most likely just prop up the thieves that rule those countries. However, we're in a for a little surprise. Guess who is an advocate for debt relief?:

Anna McDonald, campaigns director for Oxfam, said: “The world's poorest countries need full cancellation of their debts now to pay for the hospitals, the medicines, the schools that will enable them to pull out of poverty in the long term.

    Oxfam is just as just as guilty as Sri Lanka because, besides acquiescing to the thievery of it's donors' property in Sri Lanka, they appear to have no clue as to what really defeats poverty! The solution to poverty is not giving government more power to control education, health etc...! How can a charity, whose specialty is, ostensibly, poverty reduction, be so misguided? Perhaps because its donors are misguided, fed all this rot in the media about how Western Governments are to blame for Third World poverty and believe by throwing money at a problem they can assuage their guilt and do some good. Again, just like education reform and welfare reform, money is not the problem. We could give 10 times, 100 times, more aid and money to Africa and Sri Lanka and the people of those countries would, in all probability, suffer MORE, not less! 

    So, you ask, what can we do to help the people of these desperately poor countries? Well, we have a few options: 

1. Do nothing. When the corrupt and thieving governments realize that they must let their citizens create some wealth in order to have a tax base to steal from, then their economies will begin to grow. 

2. Donate money to pro-democracy type organizations that work on educating people of impoverished countries and lobby for political reform. These organizations often establish freedom promoting media and occasionally aid revolution.  

3. Donate money to religious charities/evangelical groups. Generally these charities operate outside the role of government and take power from government. Churches often illustrate that morality trumps legality. Just because thievery is legal in a country doesn't make it right. In fact, Churches can become quite powerful political movements. In Africa, the thriving Christian communities are playing important roles in challenging government thievery and regulatory tyranny. This is why non state controlled religions are discriminated against or outlawed in most of the corrupt countries of the world.

4. Donate to politicians that 'get it'. Work to elect those that comprehend history, economics, and human nature, and understand, ideologically, the causes and solutions to poverty. A dollar given to the Club For Growth surely does more to make the world a better place than a dollar given to Oxfam. Also, the more donations a politician receives from regular folk, the less he/she will rely on the corrupting special interests (who often advocate government expansion for their benefit). 

5. Write letters to the editor, contact your representatives, talk to friends, become more informed yourself. Maybe even start a blog... :) 

6. Donate weapons and ammunition to freedom loving people in order to help them overthrow their governments. (Gasp!) What kind of right wing extremist would advocate starting a war in an impoverished country? But is it really that 'extreme'? What do you do if you find a thief breaking into your house? You shoot him before he steals your stuff and attacks you and your family. If you let him go, you are encouraging burglary. Most burglars will continue robbing until they get caught, or are killed. Shoot a burglar and you might be saving the life of a future victim. Now, what if your neighbor is getting his home pillaged on a weekly basis? If you have an extra gun would you not give it to him, or even come to his defense? So why would you not do the same for other poorer and desperate people throughout the world?

    The governments of these countries keep their citizens disarmed and are deathly afraid of revolts, often creating external enemies in order to keep the population thinking it needs them for 'protection'. Instead of shipping grain to North Korea (to be distributed by the now empowered Communists killers), why not airdrop arms and weapons? Why not setup a charity that smuggles in weapons from China? When will a charity stand up to the thugs and dictators of the world? When will a charity shout, "Stop the killing, the raping, the stealing, or we will do it for you!" 

    No, instead, sadly: A spokesman said: "Clearly Oxfam would have preferred not to pay this tax on the vehicles and we did everything we could to have the tax waived. "However the government has turned down our request and the laws of the country dictate that we must now pay the normal import tax." The spokesman said the incident would not affect the way Oxfam worked in Sri Lanka.

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Posted 7/30/05

Added to 'Required Reading'

Ten Most Harmful Government Programs

76/29/05 Human Events Excellent! I highly recommend you check this out. It is rare that I find myself agreeing with every single point a group or person makes, but I find myself in complete agreement with the elite panel selected by Human Events (although I would place the programs in different order). Every single one of these hurtful programs should be abolished. Well written and I like their focus on the Constitution (All of these programs are unconstitutional, except the income tax, which is only constitutional due to the 16th Amendment, which should be revoked). These are priceless:

Constitutional provision: A Social Security spokeswoman pointed to the Social Security Handbook on the Social Security Administration website, and said, “It’s not going to relate to the Constitution, but it’s going to give you an overview of the history of the Social Security Act.” 

Constitutional provision: Medicare spokesman Don McLeod said, “I don’t know that issue.”

Constitutional provision: “Congress adopted a new title to the Social Security Act—Title XIX—and within that title created the Medicaid program,” Medicaid spokeswoman Mary Kahn said. “That’s its authority.”

Constitutional provision: Article 1, Section 8, Clause 3, which gives Congress the power “[t]o regulate Commerce … among the several States,” has been used in federal court to justify ESA—even when the species in question lives in only one state. 

Constitutional provision: Ethan Allen, executive officer in the Office of English Language Acquisition, said he did not know.

Constitutional provision: “[I]t is a judicial issue, which is not addressed by the Office of Population Affairs,” said spokeswoman Jeannine Nielson.

Constitutional provision:  CPB spokesman Eben Peck said:  “That’s a bigger question than I’m able to answer. You could probably ask the same question about any department or agency in the federal government.” Good point Mr. Peck. Maybe it's time we start asking these questions. Speaking of Public Broadcasting...:

Top Ten Reasons to Privatize Public Broadcasting

7/26/05 Cato Institute My favorite is #5 

5. You shouldn't use tax money for lobbying. As soon as a congressional subcommittee voted to reduce funding for the CPB, NPR's 800 stations and PBS's 300 stations swung into action. They broadcast 30-second spots urging listeners to call their congressman and "save public broadcasting." Their websites said in bold lettering, "Please call your Senator today to express your support of federal funding for Public Broadcasting" and provided the phone numbers and email addresses. This was a multimillion-dollar ad campaign in a week, paid for with tax dollars. It's just wrong to use our tax dollars to lobby Congress to get more of our tax dollars. LOL thieves using stolen money to promote more further stealing...  And if you think I am using hurtful rhetoic by calling them thieves then please tell me why these public broadcasting stations didn't ask for their listeners/viwers' money? They told their listeners/viewers to lobby congress in order to STEAL other peoples' money! 

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Posted 7/29/05

    In my last point I discussed how the United States was aiding Communist dictatorships. The United States is also, arguably, the largest perpetuator of poverty in the third world and on the African Continent and at the same time has done more to bring developing nations out of poverty than any other country. How can this contradiction exist? Because US foreign investment, trade, military stability (pax Americana) and political ideas/culture is bringing poorer countries out of poverty while our massive government and private aid is working to keep them subjugated, socialist (corrupt), and therefore poor. Leftists, who believe we are responsible for poverty around the world because our government doesn't confiscate enough of our citizen's wealth and our companies exploit the third world, are, again, 180 degrees from reality. The (relative) freedom, economic and political, we have here, results in large amounts of private aid (3x the amount government steals from us) being directed at less free countries. This prosperity we experience only exists because our government is limited (less criminal) than that of corrupt poorer nations. For more on this see 'Charitable Corruption', 'Causes of Poverty in Developing Nations', and these two articles: ONE and TWO

    In order to more clearly illustrate the realities of this line of thinking I've constructed the following crude chart:

    This chart is backed up by posts throughout this website. For example, I've posted about the difficulty of real estate dealing in Russia, on how 80% of Iranian industry is controlled by the government, on starvation in North Korea and Zimbabwe, and on Venezuela's Chavez

    A few clarifications are worthy of mention. I state that one could reverse the graph for immigration. This isn't entirely correct because some of the more oppressive regimes imprison their citizens in their own countries. For example, in Cuba, boats are outlawed to prevent escape, and prospective North Korean immigrants are killed and/or tortured if they try to escape to China. 

    North Korean criminal law prohibits unauthorized departure, a violation of the fundamental right to leave one's own country. Article 47 of the Code provides:

One who escapes to another country or to the enemy in betrayal of his motherland and people, or who commits treacherous acts towards the motherland such as espionage or treason, shall be punished by at least seven years or more labor-re-education. If it is a serious violation, he shall be punished by execution and forfeiture of all property.70

    Also, during the great depression, when 'Republican' Herbert Hoover shrunk the money supply, slapped huge tariffs on goods (Smoot-Hawley Act), raised the top income tax rate from 25% to 63%, and FDR ushered in American socialism, for the first time in history the United States experienced a net exodus of population. 

    You may wonder why I placed 'United States 1900' to the left of the graph. This is because the 'gilded age' was the most free man has ever been from government interference and the United States underwent the greatest productivity and wealth creation boom in the history of the world. Here is an example of how limited the government was and how much wealth was produced by capitalists:

     He [JP Morgan] was also identified in the distribution of government bonds, and in 1877 in co-operation with August Belmont and the Rothschilds, floated $260,000,000 in U.S. four percent bonds, thus relieving the government from serious financial embarrassment. After the financial panic of 1893, the gold of the country becoming very scarce and threatening the stability of the treasury, he joined with other prominent bankers in buying $200,000,000 worth of government bonds and paying for them in gold. This transaction undoubtedly preserved the credit of the United States, but Morgan and his associates were denounced by the public and in congress for the large amount of commission asked for the service. In the threatened panic of 1896 he again offered his services and supported the administration in the funding of a popular loan.

    Private citizens were begged by the failing government to help with its finances! Citizens looked, not to government, but to private bankers to rectify economic situations. Could you image this happening today? Today government would just legislate, pass a tax or regulation, or threaten one, in order to 'shakedown' whatever deal they need. This is what I mean by equal rule of law. In 1900, the law prevented government from stealing from its citizens!

    Contrary to popular opinion, this 'robber baron' capitalism brought prosperity to millions and made the United States the world's leading superpower. More on this and so-called 'evil' monopolies later. 

    Now, you may question the idea that inequality increases as government power increases. This is undoubtedly due to leftist and media propaganda that socialism increases equality. Taking money from the rich and giving it to the poor makes everyone more 'equal' right? Wrong. However, there is a grain of truth to this that requires careful analysis to root out this pervasive fallacy. 

    There are two types of inequalities, pure financial inequality and practical inequality. Pure financial inequality is what is commonly, and misleadingly, parroted as the only sort of inequality that we should be concerned with. The most wealthy, prosperous, and capitalistic nations have, by definition, the greatest financial inequality. But this is not a bad thing, in fact, this should be a goal of policy makers and should be lauded by the media. Should. Wealth creation occurs at different rates by different individuals and by penalizing the top wealth creators for their innovations and productivity and limiting the natural conditions for their activities, exponentially less total wealth exists for the country. In socialism, these wealth creators are assaulted by a corrupt and thieving government, resulting in overall less wealth creation for the country, but less 'financial inequality'. Taken to the extreme, in true Communism, nobody produces anything and everyone is equally dead. :) As Winston Churchill said: The inherent vice of capitalism is the unequal sharing of the blessings; the inherent vice of socialism is the equal sharing of the miseries. 

    However, if we were to examine 'practical inequality', what the average citizen owns, food, health, security, as compared to the wealthy, we would find a stark contrast. In socialistic countries, average people are quite poor and have less ownership, poorer health, more wars, less consumption, and less consumer goods, while the politically connected have many luxuries that are out of the price range of average citizens. In freerer countries, the average citizens are more prosperous and share many or most of the luxuries that the wealthiest citizens own, despite being more 'financially unequal'. I quote a Heritage Foundation report in 'Welfare; History, Results, and Reform':

The following are facts about [United States] persons defined as "poor" by the Census Bureau, taken from various government reports:

·  Forty-six per cent of all poor households actually own their own homes. The average home owned by persons classified as poor by the Census Bureau is a three-bedroom house with one and a half baths, a garage and porch or patio.

·  Seventy-six per cent of poor households have air conditioning. By contrast, 30 years ago only 36% of the entire U.S. population enjoyed air conditioning.

·  Only 6% of poor households are overcrowded. More than two thirds have more than two rooms per person.

·  The average poor American has more living space than the average individual living in Paris, London, Vienna, Athens and other cities throughout Europe. (Note: These comparisons are to the average citizens in foreign countries not to those classified as poor.)

·  Nearly three-quarters of poor households own a car; 30% own two or more cars.

·  Ninety-seven percent of poor households have a color television. [by the way, I don't own a color television or any television for that matter] Over half own two or more color televisions. Seventy-eight percent have a VCR or DVD player. Sixty-two percent have cable or satellite TV reception.

·  Seventy-three percent own microwave ovens; more than half have a stereo, and a third have an automatic dishwasher.
    I discuss the skewering of Inequality further in 'International Poverty Rates', which also contains this illustrative graph:

    The Australian treasury department did a study which looked at world per capita income levels Chart 50 (91):

    Using the commonly used poverty standard [Inequality], more impoverished people exist in 2000 then 1900. This is a ridiculous notion. 

    In the above graph, pretend the United States is on the right (2000) and (socialist) Sweden is represented by the left (1900). This is what I mean by the United States being more 'financially unequal', but more 'practically equal', because we are all better off. 

    For example in North Korea:

    In most rural areas there is no medicine, running water, heating, food, or bandages where as the capital city, Pyongyang, glitters with nightclubs, casinos, luxury hotels, gourmet restaurants and state-of-the-art hospitals.

    In Canada, politicians and their cronies can jump the often fatal waitlists of the Canadian health care system

    In Marxist Zimbabwe: Robert Mugabe, the president of Zimbabwe, is building a lavish palace costing £3.75m on the outskirts of the capital, Harare. Furnishings and security are expected to send the cost to more than £6m at a time when nearly half of Zimbabwe's population is dependent on international food aid.

    History is replete with examples of socialist African dictators and government officials compiling wealth, Middle Eastern Socialist ruling classes rolling in oil money, and the gentrified classes of Europe. So, it is clear that socialism results in more inequality, not less. 

    A last point of contention on my original chart might be the aid flowing to Europe and Japan (you could include South Korea in this) from the United States. Even excluding the fact that the United States rebuilt and set up the political structure in the post WWII years that enabled the citizens of these countries to create wealth freely, we still offer substantial aid to these countries. Humanitarian aid flows (government and private) to Eastern Europe and the Baltic states and US foreign investment and consumption (trade) drives economic growth. But most importantly the United States military protects this trade and provides for the defense of these countries. It was the US military that stabilized Kosovo and prevents the Chinese and North Koreans from attacking Taiwan and South Korea.

    In 'John Kerry and Foreign Policy' I state:

    During the recent US military reorganizations, South Korean and German officials came to the United States to lobby against the removal of US troops. When has this happened in the history of the world? In Eastern Europe, citizens feared the Red Army of the Soviet Union and cheered when Soviet troops finally withdrew (Russia is currently occupying Georgia against the wishes of its president). All over the world, many countries not only welcome, but often proactively seek to draw American troops to their countries. For example, in the past week US defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld visited Romania:

In a sign of Romania's eagerness for Americans to use the facility, officials renamed one street on the base "George Washington Boulevard," honoring the first U.S. president. If yes, the move would signal closer U.S. ties with its NATO ally and funnel millions of dollars into the Romanian economy. "I hope so, but it's not in our hands," Pascu [Romanian Defense Minister] said. (51)  

    Japan and European countries have signed onto the US missile Defense system.

    Why is it that the United States has such a powerful military? How do we have such a powerful economic base to support it? In 'Tsunami Tyranny' I conclude:

However, the most interesting part of this entire analysis, and the key point of this paper, is that by respecting the property of our citizens the most we also assure that the largest and most important aid contributor in the Tsunami relief effort are the private citizens of the United States of America and their military. 

   Property is respected by limiting the theft of it by government. 

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Posted 7/29/05 

Useful Idiots alert. How the United States is propping up and perpetuating Communist Regimes. These regimes use our aid to pay off supporters and increase their power. The aid doesn't help because the underlying problem is not a 'lack of anything', but rather the political structure, which this aid perpetuates. In North Korea aid workers are not allowed to touch foot on land: (The foreign sailors are not permitted to disembark.)

U.N.: Starving N. Koreans Scavenging for Acorns, Grass and Seaweed

7/26/05 NewsMax 

    The WFP tries to feed about 6.5 million North Koreans, or more than one-quarter of the country's population.

    The United States has promised to send 50,000 metric tons of cereals to help feed millions of malnourished North Koreas.

Castro Warns against 'Acts of Treason'

7/27/05 Miami Herald

    The population has grown increasingly weary from blackouts that last for hours, spoiling already depleted food supplies. Small, sporadic antigovernment acts have been reported across the island.

    The audience, including hundreds of Americans who arrived this week with an aid shipment, gave Castro a standing ovation.

    We are doing the same thing in Zimbabwe, another murderous Marxist dictatorship.

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Posted 9/18/05

    Bangart made some good comments on a 7/29 post: Inequality, Aid, and the Nature of Governments that I had been meaning to follow up on. In the graph I have aid going from rich (free) countries to poor (corrupt) countries. Poorer countries with no capital are aided by foreign investment from rich countries, which are rich because their governments don't steal their citizens money. A formerly oppressive poor country will become prosperous by allowing foreign companies, and their own citizens, to freely utilize the cheap labor of its citizens. In other words, foreign investors will aid in bringing prosperity to a poor country as long as they are assured of not having their assets looted by the corrupt governments (as often is the case). However, what I left out of this post is that once wealth is created in corrupt poor countries, it is often transferred from poor countries to rich countries because the owner can get a better return on his money in a rich country because the government is not as criminal as his poor country (which is why poor countries are poor and rich countries are rich). As we might expect, the thug leaders of poor countries don't even feel safe keeping their own assets in the country that they have looted because of the instability they have thrust on their country through their criminal behavior. This is why Saddam Hussein, Mugabe, Kim Jung Ill and most African leaders all have/had bank accounts in free countries like Switzerland and the Bahamas, which have strong property protecting laws. 

    Because of our relative freedom here in the United States, the US received the most foreign investment every year until a few years ago when China passed us. This is a troublesome indicator as one could draw the conclusion that the Chinese government is now less criminal than our own government, a conclusion most Americans would dispute - yet with the government spending (stealing) $2.3 trillion a year from US citizens and taking into account the rampant and spreading socialism here in the United States, the idea certainly deserves consideration. Of course, China might just be experiencing a short lived boom. If you recall, in the 80s, ignorant politicians bemoaned the fact that Japan was 'buying America'. It was best said by Milton Friedman:

    It is a mystery to me why... it is regarded as a sign of Japanese strength and American weakness that the Japanese find it more attractive to invest in the U.S. than Japan. Surely it is precisely the reverse - a sign of U.S. strength and Japanese weakness.

    This recent trend of 'outsourcing', is bemoaned for the wrong reasons, the fact that some Americans may (in the short term) loose jobs, is somewhat irrelevant compared to the bigger concern of why companies find it more attractive to set up shop overseas. In China do you have to pay Medicare, Medicaid, and SS tax? It is not simply the cheaper labor that companies go overseas for, if that were the case then they would most likely just import the labor here in the form of increased immigration. Yet, blocking this immigration is facilitated, again, by the Federal government of the United States , including many so-called 'Conservatives'. What business of it is the Federal Government's, whom businesses employ on their own property? Or where they house them? Or what they pay them? Or how many immigrants come here? Such things occurred naturally throughout our early history, and would still be occurring today, except that Government has given itself the power to 'regulate' and block such actions, and it does so, hilariously enough, in the name of 'saving those jobs for Americans'. Again, Government accomplishes the opposite of its intentions, as it indirectly encourages both outsourcing and capital deflection.

    But the main point is that, looking at the shown graph, there should be another arrow indicating the flow of capital from poor countries to rich countries. This is not the 'aid' money, that flows from rich to poor countries, and it is true that a poorer country that is newly liberalized will see substantial foreign investment due to cheap labor, but in most corrupt countries of the world, citizens that manage to create wealth are quick to send it away from the thieves that run their countries, and, as shown in the 9/17  post below, are also likely to leave the country themselves. 

 

    LOL! In re-reading what I wrote above, I said: "This is not the 'aid' money, that flows from rich to poor countries." But I am wrong because much of this money actually IS the same aid, recycled, accumulated, stolen, and shipped to safety in the bank account of the tin-cup dictator and his cohorts! Apologies for the error... :)

 

 

 

Posted 9/17/05

Brain Drain

Federation for American Immigration Reform 

An interesting article I accidentally stumbled across (btw, I don't agree with their platform):

    For example, more African scientists and engineers work in the United States than in all of Africa—leaving the entire African continent of 600 million people with just 20,000 engineers and scientists.1 The United Nations calls brain drain one of the greatest threats to economic development in sub-Saharan Africa.2

    A few years ago, Zambia had 1,600 doctors; now only 400 practice there. More than 21,000 doctors from Nigeria are working in the United States while Nigeria suffers a shortage of health care workers.  Sixty percent of Ghana’s doctors left during the 1980s, leaving the health care system in critical condition.3, 4

     There reportedly are more Sierra Leonean doctors living in the Chicago area than in all of Sierra Leone.6 Seventy percent of graduates from the country’s College of Medicine and Allied Science have left the country.5

    More than half of all Ghanaian medical doctors have emigrated.9 One third of Ethiopa’s general practitioners left the country between 1988 and 2001.

    While twelve percent of Mexico’s labor force lives in the United States, 30 percent of Mexicans with PhDs live in the United States. Mexico reports that 79 percent of the science students it funds to study abroad never return to work in Mexico.13

    75 percent of Jamaicans with a higher education live in the U.S.14

    Four of out every ten Indian software developers are now working in the U.S. In 1998, the renowned Indian Institute of Technology sent 30 percent of all of its graduates to the United States, including 80 percent of its computer science graduates.19

    Only half of foreign doctoral and postdoctoral students who study in the U.S. return to their home countries within two years after finishing their studies.33

    Why do all these people come to the United States? Why is the United States the most powerful nation in the history of the world? Liberals have trouble answering these questions, because people don't come here for the policies they advocate (higher minimum wage, universal health care, higher taxes, more regulation, more lawsuits, bigger government), in fact, people come here to flee those policies elsewhere. The answer to these questions can be found here: 'The Founding of the United States and the Constitutionality of Charity'. 

    Added to 'Voting with your Feet' among others. 

 

 

 

Posted 2/10/06

Bogus rights

2/8/06 Walter Williams A pretty good article. 

    In other words, when Congress gives one American a right to something he didn't earn, it takes away the right of another American to something he did earn.

    If this bogus concept of rights were applied to free speech rights and freedom to travel, my free speech rights would impose financial obligations on others to provide me with an auditorium and microphone. My right to travel freely would require that the government take the earnings of others to provide me with airplane tickets and hotel accommodations.

    The real tragedy for our nation is that any politician who holds the values of liberty that our founders held would be soundly defeated in today's political arena.

 

    Reminds me of these quotes from JRB:

 

Politicians in their eagerness to please and to provide something of value to their constituencies that does not have a price tag are handing out new rights like lollipops in the dentist’s office.

- CA Justice Janice Rogers Brown

 

Something new, called economic rights, began to supplant the old property rights. This change, which occurred with remarkably little fanfare, was staggeringly significant. With the advent of "economic rights," the original meaning of rights was effectively destroyed. These new "rights" imposed obligations, not limits, on the state. It thus became government's job not to protect property but, rather, to regulate and redistribute it. And, the epic proportions of the disaster which has befallen millions of people during the ensuing decades has not altered our fervent commitment to statism.

- CA Justice Janice Rogers Brown

 

Theft is theft even when the government approves of the thievery. Turning a democracy into a Kleptocracy does not enhance the stature of the thieves; it only diminishes the legitimacy of the government.

- CA Justice Janice Rogers Brown

 

 

 

Articles on Africa can be found at the bottom of 'Tsunami Tyranny' or in the other excerpt: Causes of Poverty in Developing Nations

 

Posted 2/5/07 (By Travis)

Political Power and the Rule of Law (Required Reading)

2/5/07 Ron Paul

 

See also 'Warning Concerning a King, a Biblical Perspective'.

 

 

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