This is one of my favorite quotes by the great 19th century anarchist Pierre-Joseph Proudhon.
"To be governed is to be watched over, inspected, spied on, directed, legislated at, regulated, docketed, indoctrinated, preached at, controlled, assessed, weighed, censored, ordered about, by men who have neither the right, nor the knowledge, nor the virtue...
To be governed is to be at every operation, at every transaction, noted, registered, enrolled, taxed, stamped, measured, numbered, assessed, licensed, authorized, admonished, forbidden, reformed, corrected, punished. It is, under the pretext of public utility, and in the name of the general interest, to be placed under contribution, trained, ransomed, exploited, monopolized, extorted, squeezed, mystified, robbed; then, at the slightest resistance, the first word of complaint, to be repressed, fined, despised, harassed, tracked, abused, clubbed, disarmed, choked, imprisoned, judged, condemned, shot, deported, sacrificed, sold, betrayed; and, to crown all, mocked, ridiculed, outraged, dishonoured. That is government; that is its justice; that is its morality."
David Boaz, Jack Hunter, Mollie Hemingway, Justin Raimondo, W. James Antle III and Sheldon Richman weigh in over at Reason.
I sympathize most with Richman's answer, short and sweet. Rand Paul may be the best (or is it least-worst?) senator in a long, long time, but it really is a race to the bottom.
Yet he flirts with neocons and dismisses the principled supporters of his father. As Richman notes, Rand can't run from his father's legacy fast enough - even when the public is growing more sympathetic to non-interventionism.
It's also amazing to see the lengths with which Raimondo falls over himself to defend Paul. I love Antiwar.com and think Raimondo's credentials are rivaled by very few, but I will never understand his support for Rand Paul.
Rand has no chance anyway. No matter how much he sucks up to the neocons, they will never like him. In DC, it is either global empire - or nothing at all. Even with all his faults, he is too good for Mordor and will never make it out of the primaries.
As I have argued in several PolicyMic columns in the past few years (here and here), my only hope for Rand is that he would use his public platform to do what his father did. Telling the truth and opposing the empire root-and-branch is how his dad earned respect, not for his political credentials.
But he wants power, and you can see it in his eyes. And with his support for bombing ISIL in Iraq, he is apparently willing to commit mass murder to acquire it.
Since the FBI claims it has no data on how many citizens are killed by their so-called protectors and public servants, it is difficult to calculate exactly how many people are murdered by government police.
Thankfully, Fatal Encounters is a private organization compiling a database of such incidents so we can get an even better reality of the police state America has become.
It is telling that all sorts of documentation and statistics are kept about police employees who are killed by non-police employees, but the inverse – non-police employees killed by police employees – is not similarly tracked. That’s why I was so excited to learn of Fatal Encounters, which seeks to create an exhaustive database of individuals killed by police employees.
The transparency-maximizing endeavor will be a vital additional in the conversation of police accountability, making it much more difficult for anyone to ignore the institutionalized violence caused by police employees.
Fatal Encounters is intended to help create a database of all deaths through police interaction in the United States since Jan. 1, 2000. A large piece will be based on public information requests, but the bulk of it–the part that will make it sustain after the structure is built–will use crowdsourcing to update the database. To help, please go here to research and add data for an older incident; go here to add data for new incidents (but please do a last name search before you add a new incident).
This site will remain as impartial and data-driven as possible, directed by the theory that Americans should be able to answer some simple questions about the use of deadly force by police: How many people are killed in interactions with law enforcement in the United States of America? Are they increasing? What do those people look like? Can policies and training be modified to have fewer officer-involved shootings and improve outcomes and safety for both officers and citizens?
If police were actually incentivized to provide protection, it seems this data – how many people police employees kill – would be integral. Police outfits then might compete to have the lowest rate of deadly force incidents by capita. But, as we know, police institutions are incentivized only to grow in size and scope, and their “customers” are told to pay or else.
And far from putting the safety of the “customer” first, as Dale Brown notes is paramount, police today put themselves first, and are quick to shoot, confident that their badge will afford protection.
Police are motivated to protect their perceived legitimacy, and thus employ spin campaigns and frame each iteration as an anomaly, where the police triggerperson had no choice. It wouldn’t reflect well for them to disclose the frequency at which deadly force is used – which almost without exception, brings them protection from friends within the injustice system. That’s why accumulating, and making this information public has so much potential.
The US Senate's Torture Report claims that suspects detained by the US government were tortured within an inch of their lives.
This report will likely give us a little more information into the details behind the Bush administration's torture regime, but the full extent of it will never be known. Waterboarding, as horrific as this is, is nothing compared to the types of torture that the US has both used and outsourced throughout its long history as a global empire.
If a government can torture, than there are literally no limits on its power.
And keep your eyes out for hopeful release of 2,000 new Abu Ghraib photos that further show the extent that the Empire was willing to torture, subjugate and humiliate innocents.
Last week I said the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has become a monster that does more harm than good. But logical people say, "What else we got?" It's natural to assume greedy capitalists will run amok and destroy the Earth unless stopped by regulation.
These critics don't understand the real power of private ownership, says Terry Anderson of the Property and Environment Research Center. "Long before the EPA was a glint in anyone's eye," said Anderson on my TV show, "property rights were dealing with pollution issues."
The worst pollution often happens on land owned by "the people"—by government. Since no one person derives direct benefit from this property, it's often treated carelessly. Some of the worst environmental damage happens on military bases and government research facilities, such as the nuclear research site in Hanford, Washington.
Worse things may happen when government indifferencecombines with the greed of unrestrained businesspeople, like when the U.S. Forest Service lets logging companies cut trees on public land. Private forest owners are careful to replant and take steps to prevent forest fires. Government-owned forests are not as well managed. They are much more likely to burn.
Via Libertarian News:
As of 2013:
- 235 volumes of federal regulation have been created.
- 18x the amount of regulation that existed in 1950.
- Mandates such as “Shall, Must, Prohibited” appear over 1,000,000 times throughout existing federal regulations.
Economist Dan Mitchell points out that,
- Americans spend 8.8 billion hours every year filling out government forms.
- The economy-wide cost of regulation is now $1.75 trillion.
- For every bureaucrat at a regulatory agency, 100 jobs are destroyed in the economy’s productive sector.
- The Obama Administration added $236 billion of red tape in 2012 alone.
Mitchell goes on to cite the report mentioned in the video:
A recent study published in the Journal of Economic Growth found that between 1949 and 2005 the accumulation of federal regulations slowed US economic growth by an average of 2 percent per year. Had the amount of regulation remained at its 1949 level, 2011 gross domestic product (GDP) would have been about $39 trillion—or three and a half times—higher, which translates into a loss of about $129,300 for every person in the United States.
A 2005 World Bank study found that a 10-percentage-point increase in a country’s regulatory burdens slows the annual growth rate of GDP per capita by half a percentage point. Based on this finding, an increase in regulatory burdens can translate to thousands of dollars in lost GDP per capita growth in less than a decade.
Other economists have estimated that a heavily regulated economy grows two to three percent slower than a moderately regulated one.
According to a World Bank study, moving from the 25 percent most burdensome to the 25 percent least burdensome regulatory environment (as measured by the World Bank’s Doing Business index) can increase a country’s average annual GDP per capita growth by 2.3 percentage points.
The state really is nothing more than muscle for entities that it licenses and grants right to, corporations and banks being at the top of the list. And in a global, militaristic empire like the US government, one of the most underrated backstops of corporate power is the state's use of espionage and surveillance to further entrench this corporatism.
See the great Glenn Greenwald at The Intercept on how the NSA first denied that they were engaging in this fascist espionage and then proof that they were lying about it.
Max Borders has two very interesting articles at The Freeman, called "The End of Politics," about how vulnerable and archaic political institutions are in the face of the ever-increasing complexity and interdependence of modern society. Here is Part I and Part II. I highly recommend taking the time to read them both.
Politics is inherently conservative, seeking to desperately cling to the fruits of a privileged, coercive status quo. Politics is gridlock, battles between political factions over the ring of power, forcibly licensing, regulating, banning and restricting the free market, and an extreme distrust - bordering on paranoia - of individuals using their liberty as they see fit.
And as Borders argues, political hierarchy in a democratic republic, like monarchy and slavery before it, is perhaps a necessary evil step in the evolution of institutions and the order of society in a more anarchic and adaptive way.
As the world becomes more decentralized and horizontal thanks to the markets that always find a way to breathe, political rule is becoming less and less practical and responsive. Like Bitcoin's public ledger and blockchain - issued by no corporation, bank, or government - there is no single point of failure or central authority to attack.
Bottom-up regulation and feedback, not the hangman's noose, govern and provide order in non-political society.
This is the stake at the heart of the political process, and why at the same time it is so desired by liberals and conservatives. Politics is about control and compliance; society must be planned, molded and regimented.
Otherwise, there'd be anarchy!
But society is too complex and delicate for central planners, as it should be.
The end of politics? We can only hope so.
"I like to believe that people, in the long run, are going to do more to promote peace than our governments. Indeed, I think that people want peace so much that one of these days governments had better get out of the way and let them have it." -Dwight D....
"Liberty, finally, is not a box into which people are forced. Liberty is a space in which people may live. It does not tell you how they will live. It says, eternally, only that we can." -Karl Hess, "Anarchism Without Hyphens" For the victims of police violence - whether while...
The Washington Times recently ran a great story about black open-carry activists in Dallas, Texas "march[ing] with rifles, shotguns and AR-15s down MLK Boulevard." “We think that all black people have the right to self defense and self determination,” said Huey Freeman, an organizer. “We believe that we can police...
In "Technology Can Make the Regulatory State Obsolete," The Independent Institute's Lawrence J. McQuillan highlights one of the many ways markets and technology are undermining the power of the state to enforce their cartelizing and coercive regulations on peaceful people. The late American inventor and futurist Buckminster Fuller said: “You...