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Source link: http://archive.mises.org/11739/a-society-of-criminals/

A Society of Criminals

February 26, 2010 by

In fact, the vast majority of members of the public feel perfectly entitled to the property of others. They demand that the property of others be taken away through the tax system and other “public policies,” or forcibly interfered with through “regulation” as a matter of routine. FULL ARTICLE by Ben O’Neill

{ 72 comments }

Michael C February 26, 2010 at 8:42 am

Awesome.

Abhinandan Mallick February 26, 2010 at 9:05 am

Excellent article Ben! Well done, I loved the ground up construction of the analogy from criminality to statism.

Juraj February 26, 2010 at 9:14 am

It seems to me that some people are just unable to comprehend that there is any coercion by the state. As if things as they are now were given by God and there is no way we could have a society based on liberty. And if they do, as mentioned in the article, their justification is that “we” voted for it.

The “caring for the poor” argument usually comes first. When asked, what would be wrong with letting people decide how they want to help the poor, they say that no one would because people are selfish, greedy, and if some did, it would not be enough for the poor. So we have to force them. Some think of state as some sort of an insurance business – I pay in hope that if I get poor or sick, the state will take care of me. The coercion fact of it is irrelevant because *everyone* pays taxes and *everyone* benefits from it.

And with regards to free market – the most common arguments I hear are:
* it’s dog eat dog
* everything comes at a price
* we would get poisoned, robbed and tricked into buying something we don’t want
* companies would not compete but rather merge into one and become monopoly
* … and state inflated money is apparently good – we would not buy anything if we knew that prices decline over time

One feels like Don Quixote but we must not give up.

Predrag February 26, 2010 at 10:00 am

Excellent argument!

Kevin February 26, 2010 at 11:36 am

This is such a great way to frame the argument vs arguing about policy matters. One form of theft here in America you didn’t mention that is particularly egregious is civil forfeiture. Yikes!

danny February 26, 2010 at 11:37 am

Mr. O’Neill

This is wonderfully well done. Thank you.

Andrew February 26, 2010 at 12:26 pm

Excellent article.

In addition to theft, the government is also the first to “legally” avoid its own regulations it forces all others to follow. For example, if a business had a building on the shore of a large body of water and didn’t bother to set up any sort of septic system, instead dumping all raw sewage straight into the body of water, I can only imagine the amount of fines the business would incur. The government however, does this regularly. Every time there is a large storm up here in NE Ohio, the public sewers can’t handle all the water and raw sewage is inadvertently dumped directly into Lake Erie. What does the government do a bout this? They put up a sign on the beach signaling high bacteria levels and call it a day.

Dan E February 26, 2010 at 12:59 pm

While I agree with just about everything the author says, maybe someone can help me with this question – at some point, the govt has to do SOMETHING, no matter how small that role should be (as owner of the sole means of coersion, at a minimum I would assume that to be a police force), so how does THAT get paid for? And if it is with taxes, then haven’t libertarians lost the tax argument?

T.Brewer February 26, 2010 at 1:05 pm

Great article. I really enjoyed it. However, I have one somewhat undeveloped intuition to contribute; I think that part of the reason people don’t equate common criminality and legally sanctioned criminality as readily as you might hope they would is because most people have a basic, correct sense that there exists, in nature, a balance between the needs of the individual and the needs of the group. That these are not in conflict, but in harmony. Libertarianism seeks to solve this need by saying, basically ‘people will voluntarily put their money where they value common things’. I am not sure this is a satisfying and complete answer. Basically, we might be stuck with the fact that people just aren’t very forward thinking and mature. Given libertarian levels of freedom, it just might actually happen that a hellish, dog-eat-dog condition will prevail. Who knows? Maybe not. But I think most people who are “okay” with the taxes taken by the state feel that some necessary level of “common good” activity by a neutral authority is right. This of course does not excuse the excesses of this state, or the fact that the state NEVER limits itself to the enforcement of justice and the development of those things which are common goods. Somehow, though, I think libertarians need to attract adherents by focusing on the many ways in which voluntary society can and does have the capacity to develop institutions which protect the common good.

G8R HED February 26, 2010 at 1:05 pm

@ “- at some point, the govt has to do SOMETHING”

Why?

mikey February 26, 2010 at 1:25 pm

“In fact, the vast majority of members of the public feel perfectly entitled to the property of others. They demand that the property of others be taken away through the tax system and other “public policies,” or forcibly interfered with through “regulation…

Digest this-

http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601087&sid=ahuuwBS8KYq8

Deefburger February 26, 2010 at 2:08 pm

Beautiful article.

This is such a good illustration of what happens in people’s minds when faced with the question of individual vs. societal rights. What most people fail to recognise is that the society at large, or any group of individuals of any size or form of organisation has no rights of it’s own that are not derived directly from the fundamental rights of the individuals that make up the group.

And so, when asked if it is ok for the state to take from one and give to another by force, they see a difference. In their minds, the state has rights and powers that individuals do not. But the state is made of individuals, and those individuals do not magically gain power and rights just because they are in any particular place or exist in any particular position or circumstance. Any apparent “gain” of right and power over other individuals is illusion.

The same illusion is present when ever the “greater good” is invoked. The “greater good” is knowable ONLY by whatever “good” is experienced by all individuals within the group, and is measurable only by polling all individuals after the fact. There is no “greater good” that can be served because there is no means for any one individual to know the “good” of all the others or to be able to predict what that might mean to any other individual outside of himself. Any claim to effect the “greater good” is delusion of grandeur. Any claim of measurement is at best a statistical guess.

Shay February 26, 2010 at 2:11 pm

The most common rationalization for those crimes committed under “public policies” is the notion that these policies are the “will of the people” expressed through their elected representatives.

If this were the case, they wouldn’t need any legislation. For example, if everyone wanted to pay for a charity program, they’d just pay.

crimes committed by “common criminals” (who are actually the more uncommon kind)

Priceless!

Eric M. Staib February 26, 2010 at 2:22 pm

For the only difference between the recognized-as-a-criminal burglar and the not-recognized-as-a-criminal member of the public is that the burglar does his own dirty work.”

I LOVE this sentence!!! Bravo!

Daniel Hewitt February 26, 2010 at 2:31 pm

This was a great article. There are several great lines here that the other commenters have already cited.

Nevertheless, this was my favorite:

In fact, the vast majority of members of the public feel perfectly entitled to the property of others.

And to add a thought to it, the same vast majority of folks get extremely offended when getting challenged on this…

Roland February 26, 2010 at 2:33 pm

Fascinating that you chose to ignore commenting on the banking, securities, military, and insurance industries, who have recently proven themselves to be the most ravenous swindlers and crooks in existence as well as the biggest welfare queens feeding their greed at the public trough.

It appears that, in your opinion, the pillaging and plundering of society by the military, banking, securities and insurance complex along with their government enablers is O.K., it just depends on who benefits from these actions.

Guard February 26, 2010 at 2:33 pm

In the state where I live, the local public school can put a fund request on the ballot. If a majority of voters vote for it, a tax is levied against all real property in the district and given to the school. Every time this vote comes up, a large contingent of “upright” “respectable” often “Christian” people take out a huge ad in the local newspaper requesting everyone to “support the schools” by voting for the tax levy, and sign their names to the ad.
By doing this, they are publicly declaring:
1. They want my money.
2. They are willing to have the police shoot me in order to get it.

Not only is this wickedness openly displayed, but they are insolently proud that they have “supported the schools” by stealing my money. And of course they are all free to donate any amount they wish to the local school. The point is they want other people’s money.

I’m afraid it’s hopeless. No significant portion of the population is ever going to grasp this.
This is why I no longer believe in violence to defend against thievery. If I resort to violence to protect my property from a thief, it logically follows that I should shoot most of my neighbors who are literally voting my life away. Furthermore, I keep my mouth shut. I am not going to enlighten anyone. Instead, I am only going to become a hated pariah if I say anything. And don’t give me the feces about “everybody rising up”, “truth will prevail”, blah blah blah. All intelligent men have known for thousands of years that this is reality, it is not going to change, and we should not believe in a fantasy world.

Ken Zahringer February 26, 2010 at 2:44 pm

Excellent article, Ben. I agree completely – this is the core message we need to be putting in front of the world.
I would take small exception to the point you made in footnote 4. I would say it is morally acceptable to accept government money only in so far as it is unavoidable. For example, it is nearly impossible to have a career in education without feeding at the government trough to some extent. The impact we can have there (I hope) outweighs the participation in a criminal enterprise. I don’t think we should “take all the money we can” from the government, though. Remember, the government defines success in its programs as ever more people on the gravy train and every more money disbursed. Greater success is the excuse for continued, and increased, theft. Instead, we should work toward setting up alternative social institutions, through churches, service clubs, private charities, etc, and use these as ways to demonstrate the message that government is basically incompetent and individuals can do a better job without resorting to government theft.

Maria Folsom February 26, 2010 at 2:52 pm

Guard is right. It’s hopeless. Unless you want to alienate all your co-workers, friends, and family, you keep your mouth shut and belly up to the trough.

Great article! I wish everyone in the country would read it.

Daniel Hewitt February 26, 2010 at 2:54 pm

Roland,

It appears that, in your opinion, the pillaging and plundering of society by the military, banking, securities and insurance complex along with their government enablers is O.K.

This is also immoral.

DW February 26, 2010 at 3:12 pm

I have to say that I agree with Guard to some extent. In openly defending individual rights, I have become largely alienated in my local poor church community, that regularly advocates for more tax money and even invites politicians TO CHURCH for a rigged “public forum”. It’s sickening. But for most others it’s okay.

However, someone has to be willing to stand up for the priceless values of Liberty. If my heart is to ever lay peaceful and calm when I’m laid to my rest, it would be because I took risks in defending what is right in spite of the odds.

I’m practically going to pin up this article somewhere. It’s that good. Bravo Mr. O’Neill!

Dagnytg February 26, 2010 at 3:38 pm

Dan E,

Without getting into a deep discussion on what “libertarianism” stands for in terms of how much gov’t…there is much debate within the community on this issue. In one corner you have your Jeffersonian libertarians who believe that gov’t should provide basic services like infrastructure, education, and security and in the other corner your anarcho-libertarian/anarcho-capitalists who believe private enterprise and the market can provide these basic services.

In my own intellectual journey I started as a Jeffersonian and am now an anarchist only because small gov’t (no matter how well intended) leads to bigger gov’t and horrible consequences as history proves.

On the question of police- many people alarm their property, businesses hire security guards, people live in gated communities, people can arm themselves, community crime watch etc.

There is no need for police. They are a highly inefficient reactive organization. They do little to deter crime and in some instances (i.e. drug enforcement) increase crime. They are big on harassing easy targets like the poor and middle class and seldom take on real criminals. Some become corrupt (i.e. New Orleans) and in many cases make situations worse. (I know first hand I was in a hostage situation.)

Plenty of alternatives to the police (that in spite of police departments) people are pursuing.

Though I could be wrong, I believe the author is making an anarcho-libertarian case against taxes and regulations via property rights. Some libertarians will make the distinction between taxes/fees and income taxes. For example, in the Cayman Islands there is no income tax or sales tax but a duty tax and a small transfer fee on the sale of property. This is perhaps how some libertarians would fund police protection.

billwald February 26, 2010 at 3:55 pm

A criminal is one who has been convicted of a crime. That being said, the Bible teaches that we are all criminals. Some are better at it than others but the bottom line of most all human activity is greed and power.

EIS February 26, 2010 at 4:30 pm

An inconvenient truth.

Daniel February 26, 2010 at 5:06 pm

billwald, EIS

I thought you leftists were atheists or very secular

Tom Rapheal February 26, 2010 at 5:49 pm

If you’re looking for a common criminal look right here. I go to college and my tuition is paid for in state scholarships, loans and grants. My only justification is that school would be difficult to fund without them. Still, it probably would be doable and that is why I am a common criminal.

Thanks for the tax dollars. I’ll be giving mine soon enough.

gg February 26, 2010 at 6:08 pm

How is the libertarian ethic enforced? Who pays for that enforcement and how? It would seem that the nature of man is to free ride and steal from other men, so, even though the libertarian ethic sound fair and desirable, I don’t get how it is to be sustained. Man can be much more than a hillbilly with a shotgun ready to defend his property.

Daniel February 26, 2010 at 6:13 pm

I have an idea so crazy it might just work

It’s like this: you vote for it, you pay it

Learner February 26, 2010 at 6:40 pm

Tom Rapheal:

1. You’ll be starting your work life in debt (have fun with that).
2. Your thanks for tax dollars are unnecessary. Yes, you will be giving away your earnings soon enough as well, but that’s because you have no choice.

Brian Drake February 26, 2010 at 7:06 pm

This was indeed a great article. Well done sir.

gg,

Ideas have power.

Even if it wasn’t expressly illegal, how many people would have the guts in modern American society to openly admit to owning black people as slaves? Heck, many white people are embarrassed if they choose the wrong PC term-du-jour for darker skinned people.

My point is that if enough people were convinced that criminality is still criminality even when you get to vote for it, social pressure would go a long way in “enforcing” a libertarian ethic.

And what social pressure (including powerful economic boycott – minus moral hazard, store owners won’t allow you on their property if you’re a known thief) didn’t accomplish, guns would. A competitive market in property protection is BY DEFINITION more capable than a monopoly in satisfying consumer desire (which is to protect their property). Don’t you mini-statists get it? You’re arguing against the most basic economic principle (monopoly vs competition) when you ignorantly sneer “anarchy is utopian fantasy, we need government.”

Convincing enough people may be the utopian fantasy part (though if the State were ever removed from “education”, that’d change the playing field significantly). But convincing people of a limited state is no more “realistic” a goal, and arguably less so, since hard-to-convince people are always looking for the arbitrary internal-contradictions of a proposed new paradigm to attack. A flaw minarchism has in spades. Libertarianism (which is incompatible with a state) may be hard sell, but it’s at least coherent.

Peter February 26, 2010 at 8:46 pm

I have an idea so crazy it might just work

It’s like this: you vote for it, you pay it

Yes; I’ve said there should be a referendum asking what the tax rate should be…and then everyone has to pay the rate they responded with for the next 10 years. (Of course, you don’t tell them that in advance!)

Thief February 26, 2010 at 10:43 pm

There is one side of the thefts that is not examined. Burglars add to the economy: Because the TV is gone another one is purchased, the insurance company sells more policies, the police have jobs and the alarm company has a new client etc.

johnrock February 26, 2010 at 10:50 pm

Well wrote article,some truth is written.
Government should interfere in it,they have to do something.
…………….
johnrock

Banking Tips

Ben O'Neill February 26, 2010 at 10:54 pm

Hi everyone,

Thank you all for the enthusiastic comments. This is the probably the most positive response I have had for an article yet, so thanks to all of you.

Dan E: That is an excellent question Dan — What you are asking about is the crux of the debate over minarchism versus anarchism. Under the anarchist view (held by Rothbard, Hoppe, Block, Long, etc.), the government should not have a coercive monopoly on any industry, including police or courts. Under this view, all industries, including protection and arbitration services, would be provided on the free market, subject only to natural law principles.

Under the minarchist view (held by Rand, Machan, Nozick, etc.), the government would be limited solely to a coercive monopoly over protection and arbitration services. Minarchist views on the question of taxation range between various proponents of minarchism. Some hold that a minarchist government could be voluntarily financed (thought there is still the problem of the coercive monopoly), while others believe that some small amount of taxation is a “necessary evil” to fund their conception of the minimum (but still existent) state.

I would agree with you that this latter view is indeed inconsistent with the non-aggression principle, which is why I don’t hold it myself. (Dagnytg is right: I fall into the anarcho-capitalist camp.) Nevertheless, it would be very worthwhile for you to read some of the arguments pu forward by minarchist advocates, to hear this kind of argument put in its strongest terms.

There are quite a few good books on this subject. Roderick Long and Tibor Machan have edited a book called “Anarchism/Minarchism” which is a good place to start.

gg: Regarding the question of enforcement of law, I would again suggest looking at debates on anarchism/minarchism and books on private defense and arbitration agencies. I could not really do justice to this explanation here. I agree with Brian Drake that social pressure would go a long way to enforcement if ever a libertarian society could be brought about.

Roland: With respect, I think you are speculating pretty wildly here about my views on the banking, finance, insurance and military sectors. Actually, I would think that many —or even most— members of the banking, securities, military and insurance industries would be included in the many people who think it is okay to steal the property of others, so I would think that people like that fall squarely into the ambit of what I criticize in my article.

If your objection is that I didn’t specifically mention these industries in my article then I fail to see how this justifies your inference that I support corporate welfare to them. An article is necessarily delimited, and limited examples must be used. If you are at all familiar with the writings on mises.org then you will know that criticism of corporate welfare to these industries is a common complaint —one which I also share. In fact, in another article criticizing redistributive schemes I have specifically mentioned the banking industry, saying:

“Regardless of whether the recipients of redistributive policies are wealthy bankers or poor single mothers, brilliant intellectuals or stupid jackasses, careful planners or reckless party-animals, wealth ‘redistributed’ by government is always acquired through political influence rather than through production and voluntary exchange—so that increased time preference is the necessary result.”
(See O’Neill, B. (2009) Liberty, time preference and decadence. Policy.
http://www.cis.org.au/POLICY/autumn09/oneill_autumn09.html)

Remember, the failure to specifically criticize an action does not mean that one supports that action; a fortiori where one has made a general criticism of that kind of action. By the same logic you use in your inference, I could say that because your blog comment does not condemn Robert Mugabe, it appears that you are okay with his regime!

Ken Zahringer: Thanks for your high praise Ken, and thanks also for your critique of my position on the acceptance of money from government.

With great respect, I stand by my footnote. Holding unavoidability to be the criterion for acceptance is far too narrow and leads to several problems. As you yourself seem to concede, a career in education without accepting government money is only “nearly impossible,” not impossible. In my view, the correct position on this question is set out in Ayn Rand’s article The Question of Scholarships, where she argues that the acceptance of government money is morally legitimate only so long as one is opposed to the coercion with which it was gained. Admittedly Rand argues that this should only be done where the recipient regards the money as restitution – I would probably go further than this and say that it is legitimate to accept government money even where this goes beyond restitution, as a means of depriving the state of resources that it will otherwise use to advance its criminal actions.

Since much support for statism comes from net tax-eaters, I can imagine few things more strategically effective against statism than having a large group of people who oppose the state root and branch but also act as ravenous tax-eaters, depriving the state of revenue and crowding out other tax-eaters. As for the fact that government defines successes in its programs by the amount of money disbursed, there is a simple cure for this: don’t believe them.

Tom Rapheal: Following on from what I said in my response to Ken (above), I don’t think that the acceptance of a government scholarship, loan or grant makes you a criminal. I think the relevant question here is whether or not you support the forcible taking of other people’s money to pay for these scholarships, loans and grants. If you do then you are not entitled to them. If you do not, then it is morally legitimate for you to take the money as restitution for what has (or will) be taken from you by the government, or as a means of depriving the government of resources.

Again, I think the issue is covered very well in Ayn Rand’s article The Question of Scholarships. For more information on this, check out these quotes:

http://aynrandlexicon.com/lexicon/government_grants_and_scholarships.html

billwald: A criminal is one who commits a crime, regardless of whether he has been convicted or not. Otherwise criminal courts would not be attempting to decide whether the defendant is a criminal —they would be deciding whether to make him one!

Daniel: I have another idea so crazy it might just work: You don’t vote for it, you don’t pay it!

Thanks again everyone for your great feedback. I’m glad so many people enjoyed this one.

Cheers,
Ben.

Ben O'Neill February 26, 2010 at 10:56 pm

Thief: Don’t forget all the vast benefits from those broken windows!

gg February 27, 2010 at 1:03 am

Thanks, Ben. It’s nice to see the author acknowledge the comments and give a response to some of the issues raised.

As to what Brian Drake said, when I see the competition for power, protection and coercion among different groups (including the State) in the Mexican border, Haiti, or Somalia, I can’t help but think that perhaps at least one form of monopoly might be acceptable.

Brian Drake February 27, 2010 at 1:32 am

gg,

“I can’t help but think that perhaps at least one form of monopoly might be acceptable”

As far as “acceptable”, I would refer you back to Ben’s article. Morally monopoly (aggressive barrier to free entry) is not.

Economically, please explain HOW consumers can be satisfied better (or at all) by a monopoly compared to a competitive market. The key word being “consumers”, aka customers. The State (or any other aggressors) does not have customers and therefore cannot be said to satisfy them since they do not exist.

The “your wallet or your life” mugger doesn’t have a customer in you simply because you comply. Neither does the State. Those who comply with the State are not customers, and those who advocate the State are not customers, they’re accomplices.

newson February 27, 2010 at 3:45 am

following brian drake’s point. even if the moral argument doesn’t win you over, i find it hard to imagine many little thugs as being worse than one giant thug.

The Crash Consultant February 27, 2010 at 8:17 am

Couldn’t have said it better, Ben you have a gift.
One thing I’m missing is the clarion call to stop the “aiding & abetting’” of the crime thus exposed above.
I heard it once said that “You only believe in something as much as you do it”. The “call to arms”
would be “Stop paying your taxes” and preferably en masse! Watch the movie “Lagaan” to rile you up. This would take a lot of guts. Who’s got the balls?

The Crash Consultant February 27, 2010 at 9:11 am

I guess this article says it all.

The Politics of Obedience

Mises Daily: Friday, February 26, 2010 by Etienne de la Boetie

Brad February 27, 2010 at 9:11 am

I agree with all of this, but I go further in delving WHY people have a schism regarding criminality.

Essentially people are superstitious (i.e. irrational). They need to comfort themselves that someone is doing something about the boogey man. But the threats are mostly existential, and are then remote and of a different time – not clear and present like a burglary. And the solutions need to be remote and removed, and some sort of divinity is injected into the process.

And because it is not clear and present, but made out of whole cosmological cloth, all sorts of mental gyrations will take place, which only reinforces the attachment to the principles and catechisms and tenets and liturgies involved, but is founded on the root error which gets swallowed up in all the Good the us supposedly taking place. And the attachment to the forms over function actually absorb so much of peoples’ time that they don’t have the time to notice that the supposed Good isn’t even happening.

So articles such as this go along way to explain why those who wish to supply easy answers do so, but very rarely is it discussed why people hunger for them. It’s supply and demand. As long as we have a culture that makes bearded gents in the sky, or addled by fiction wherein everything turns out o.k. in the end, or notions that everyone can be above average, etc etc we will continue to have a mass of people hunting high and low for snake oil salesmen. Granted at this juncture they are in charge and control the treasury to scare people even more, but the egg before the chicken was superstition. Until we can get a generation of people trained to not turn to mysticism of any kind (religious or secular) to balm the angst in the pit of their stomach we won’t get anywhere. Unfortunately that ain’t easy. All we have is the example from the article – point at the error one person at a time.

Paul B. February 27, 2010 at 9:23 am

Thanks Ben – Great Article!

Read all the comments and enjoyed them too.

To Ken Z. – people have forgotten the lesson of Katrina: who was first with aid – that greedy Mega-corporation Wal-Mart or the (give us a few weeks, we will do something) government?

Luis Ramirez February 27, 2010 at 11:01 am

What a wake-up call. An excellent recapitulation on why we think the way we do. It is the eternal battle between the political versus the communal, the lex versus the ius, the positivist versus the negativist. Control versus culture. Civilization versus the cultural. And mostly, the collective versus the individual responsibilities. Though things may seem bleak, you have to keep hammering away. Eventually, people will begin to get the point. Right now, the best strategy is to leave them thinking eventhough they call you an “extremist” or “radical”. Take it as a compliment, not an insult.

Paul A. of Chicago February 27, 2010 at 11:56 am

Ben, thank you for mentioning natural law, which is much neglected, if not entirely unknown by the great majority, who live and die by the doctrine of the primacy of the will. Whether the alleged primacy is thought to inhere in this or that human individual, or in a majority of humans, or in gods varies with time, place, circumstance, and person, yet there remains in the doctrine at least one fundamental problem:

lawlessness informed by contempt for reason.

Popular doctrines like subjectivism, moral relativism, and legal positivism are fine complements for that squalid doctrine, if you want a criminalistic culture. And if you add a teaspoonful of malice, ignorance, and impatience to the receipe, you get the killer, collectivistic state, too. Still, I hope even the pessimistic defeatists (e.g. Guard, Maria Folsom) can be persuaded that it’s imprudent to yield, even at the risk of being tarred and feathered as a “dangerous ideologue or impractical extremist”.

Thanks also for spreading a few of the good words of Lysander Spooner, that marvelous American thinker of the first 100 years of Publius’ Federalist society. Spooner’s writings, No Treason, No. 1, in particular, are available at http://lysanderspooner.org/node/44 . No. 1 is one of several preliminary essays for No. 6 in which Lysander argues that the Federalists’ constitution has no authority.

Spooner has a lot else to say along the way, and that in spite of a wart here or there. (Apparently he believed in something called “legitimate corporate rights”, but if a group is not itself an entity, then how can a right inhere in it?) Those of you who liked Ben O’Neill’s essay will be rewarded by a longer tour of Lysander’s thinking, too, after which time Ben should have an audience even more sympathetic to antistatist natural law

Rightwingers, take note: The spectre of Spooner moves about your land again, and as he does he’ll remind us that ye will remain the leftistwingers’ political allies until y’all abandon them and the collectivism your forebears bequeathed to them.

“The principle, on which the war [between the American states] was waged by the North, was simply this: That men may rightfully be compelled to submit to, and support, a government that they do not want; and that resistance, on their part, makes them traitors and criminals.”

damocles February 27, 2010 at 8:37 pm

Finally, someone calling a spade a spade. Bravo!

Bob Lynn February 27, 2010 at 8:59 pm

Well said.

I would add that you overlooked the mentality of the criminal in its aspect of — sadism. There is some delight in theft, similar to other forms of sadistic abuse, such as ostracism, rape, voyeurism, etc.

I think where civilization has fallen behind is getting mainstream religious organizations to take free market economics more seriously as part spiritual. Much of state activity which is evil expresses the occult practices in the textbook, religious sense. To clarify it, I think people need more rule of thumb schemas to object to activity of the state at the unit level (not after an investigation is carried out).

NO TAXATION FOR ZOMBIFICATION – No state money for mind control technology
NO TAXATION FOR IMMOLATION – No state money memorials/”awareness-raising” re human suffering/sacrifice also, no false flag attacks or covert ops by Military/CIA
NO TAXATION FOR EUNUCHIZATION – No state money for sex reassignment surgery or mandatory androgyny teachings
NO TAXATION FOR COLONIZATION – No state money for territorial expansion in disputed land
NO TAXATION FOR EVANGELIZATION – No state money to duplicate classic missionary work, e.g. Peace Corps, USAID, etc.
NO TAXATION FOR MUTILATION – No state money for abortion, torture, circumscision any destruction of flesh

newson February 27, 2010 at 9:21 pm

to bob lynn,
may i recommend hülsmann’s work, the aim of which is precisely to bridge the divide between the contemporary (catholic) church teachings, and sound (austrian) monetary economics:

http://mises.org/books/moneyproduction.pdf

newson February 27, 2010 at 10:30 pm

and thank you, ben, for actively participating in your blog, a courtesy extended all too rarely by other article contributors.

exceptions: tucker and kinsella.

George Mason February 27, 2010 at 11:00 pm

Pretty good, Mr. O’Neill, but you can do better.

…Proceed ever more boldly against it.

Richard Miller February 28, 2010 at 11:38 am

Mr. O’Neill, et al,

How would the argument be addressed: that voting directly or the actions of representatives at any level constitutes voluntary agreement with given legislation?

Also, most people I discuss these ideas with do not comprehend or accept the difference between natural law and legislation (legal positivism). Could you expand on how to approach this discussion?

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