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Source link: http://archive.mises.org/4446/society-needs-no-managers/

Society Needs No Managers

December 16, 2005 by

Liberty cannot be imposed in the way that socialist systems of old were imposed, because genuine liberty is not just another form of government management. It means the absence of government management. Libertarianism doesn’t propose any plan for reorganizing government; it calls for the plan to be abandoned. It doesn’t propose that market incentives be employed in the formulation of public policy; it rather hopes for a society in which there is no public policy as that term is usually understood. FULL ARTICLE

{ 28 comments }

Joel December 16, 2005 at 9:44 am

I really enjoyed this essay Lew. I have had many discussions with people that suggested the planners just aren’t smart enough and they aren’t implementing the correct public policy. If only we had smarter planners, everything would be better for all.

Thanks you for the outstanding resource, the constant stream of ideas, and the stubborn determination to educate all of us.

Cheers,

Joel

Marwan December 16, 2005 at 10:30 am

Excellent comments any rational human being can only agree with you Lew.

The only flaw I see in true liberal thinking, is that it is just thinking. Our call for a dissolution of power and a return to freedom is valid and correct. It also sounds nice and appealing to anyone NOT in power. Yet, we are rather ineffective, rarely accomplish anything substantial and no matter how hard we try, don’t seem to be able to convince the ignorant masses of what is best for them.

In looking at history, it seems humnans, as a whole, have an inevitable momentum toward being controlled and abdicating the natural state of freedom. No one or group has ever possesed a technology to hold everyone under their sway, yet many have. I can only conclude that people voluntarily choose to be controlled.

I have conversations every day with people who believe that others are better at looking out for them than they are themselves. How can we truly be free if the majority is willing to compromise all of us by hadning power over to a few and eventually to one?

I was lucky enough to be blessed with high moral fibre and developed a set of principles that I will NOT compromise. I was please to find the Mises Institute becuase I feel less alone now. I am engineered to never compromise and that may be the end of me — yet most people are pliable. How can freedom win?

I used to be more positive and less cynical, then I read Ayn Rand — she’s right on many accounts and I must disagree with her on numerous points. How can we stay positive? How will we accomplish this seemingly impossible objective of a natural state of civilized freedom, liberty?

I am a liberty warrior and will not give up the fight — I think I make positive difference daily. it just doesn’t seem to be enough.

In reference to Iraq — of course, what we have imposed upon them is NOT freedom. How can make others free if we are slaves ourselves. Yet, Iraq today is far better than it has ever been. Should we have done it? Is it the responsibility of our troops? Is the price we have paid in dead soldiers, taxes and further encroachment on our liberty? I seriously doubt it. However, one cannot argue that what has occured is positive — yet, Iraqis, Arabs and Muslims are less prone to want to be free than we are. These are a people that have been under occupation for their entire history.

The people of the fertile crescent have been occupied by kings, Greeks, Persians, Romans, Arabs, Turks, Crusaders, French, British and now an American sponsored hegemony. Can we really expect them to spontaneously develop a natural sense to want freedome and know how to go about reacquiring it. No way.

Perhaps, this violent, abhorent action by the US is the wake up call for the middle-east. Maybe if thet get a small taste of freedome they will organically desire more. Then perhaps, we can remove the threst of ‘terror’ and reallign ourselves with freedom again. Of course, we have to prevent the next threat from being fabircated.

As long as threats, real, percieved or fabricated exist — people will choose ‘security’ over liberty.

I would love to hear a practical reason to be more hopeful that freedom will ring again. I look forward to your comments.

Sic Semper Tyranys! (it seems violence is the only way to get free again. How sad is that?)

Don Beezley December 16, 2005 at 11:04 am

Marwan:
At the end of your comments, you say “As long as threats, real, percieved or fabricated exist — people will choose ‘security’ over liberty.” You are implicitly accepting a false premise here–that security is lost in an environment of liberty. Freedom INCREASES personal security–by being able to take action to secure your values, your personal security –certainty about the futiure–is INcreased, not DEcreased. When your ability to take the action needed to secure existence is truncated or eliminated by the state, your security (certainty) decreases–you exist at the whim of others. This is a fundamental psychological/philosophical divide–we all want security/certainty, but some folks believe that an ethic of DEpendence rather than INdependence will deliver that security to them. They lack the personal sense of value required (“self esteem”) to take a “risk” on thenselves. Freedom and an ethic of INdependence is the only way to increase certainty about the future–because it puts you in control.

Lew: a nice piece, and a philosphical and cultural revolution is sorely needed. A political revolution will only lead to all out fascism, not a revival of American revolutionary principles. The culture no longer exists to support it. We are losing across the board–the Catos, Mises, Independence (Colorado) organizations are all fighting for mostly positive things, and may be holding things back to some degree (impossible to know), but the efforts are ultimately failing and liberty is being crushed every day–because that’s where the culture is. I don’t know if something like social security privitization would have a postive impact on the culture by demonstrating to folks that (quasi) independence can succeed and they can build value and be secure based on their own efforts, and it is somewhat perverse for a libertarian to look at modification of an existing gov’t program to help move the culture in a positive direction, but (bloody) political revolution is not the answer, and we know that the efforts being made now are not the answer (see Iraq, deficits, budgets, inflation, regulations, taxes…and compare them to 20 or 25 years ago when the think tank world really took off). Your comment that they (something like SS priv.) will only result in more bad effects is pure supposition, not delivered truth. Does that mean I’m optimistic that the perverse solution will work? No. But we appear to be in a perverse situation in which our other efforts aren’t working–at least not in a very timely fashion!
This doesn’t mean give up, I think the efforts made now have value (or perhaps I just hope they do), but there are obviously, based on current outcomes, other/additional strategies that need to be employed as well.

Marwan December 16, 2005 at 12:09 pm

Don,

I totally agree with you. I was working on some tax stuff this morning when I received the mises.org email — so I was in a bad mood and perhaps that had influence on my post.

I know real security is only achieved through freedom. Freedom of choice and the responsibility of risk management that goes with it. The problem I was referring to is that the masses, in our present culture, will choose ‘security’ over freedom as they define security. I think most poeple erroneosly define security as protection from risk and automatically attach ‘at the cost of freedom’.

Most Americans, arguably the most free people in the world, beleive that freedom and security are part of a zero sum equation. In this paradigm of flawed logic, the more security I desire the less freedom I can have. That’s OK, becuase the limits on my freedom are also limits on the freedoms of those who would compromise my freedom. This paradigm also yields the logic that I know I can be trusted with freedom, but the other guy cannot; therfore, I will limit freedom and then through the power of democrcy, grant additional freedom to myself as a member of a specific sup-group in the society through the coercive power of the government.

It seems to me that we can advance the principle of freedom intellectually and academically but not practically. We are very much a minority, free-minded people always have been. I am fighting with the problem, admittedly my own, that I can’t fathom how we are going to propel freedom forward in an environment of fearful individuals, collectivized into a socialist mob armed with the rhetoric of freedom and locked in a self-perpetuating, downward spiral towards a misguided quest for security at the expense of freedom.

In my heart, I am compelled to beleive that freedom is the natural state of man and that all men desire it; however, in my head, I am increasingly convinced that they don’t want it. This is a state of agony. I only avoid feeling like Cassadra becuase I can help very few people, one at a time, walk towards freedom.

This blog is helpful because it is evidence that I am not alone. Often, I am surpised by the amount of so-called libertarians that are fascist socialists in disguise. Most posts are ecouraging, like yours. Thanks.

tz December 16, 2005 at 12:33 pm

Is it Government that corrupts or Power itself (as Action worded it)? This is not an insignificant question, for there is a difference in how you would structure things:

1. The only public policy is that there will be no public policies.

2. The only public policy is that Power will never be allowed to concentrate to levels dangerous to liberty.

The latter means that some power or powers (the plural would be multiple organizations, like the attempt to split into executive, legislative, and judicial branches which would fight each other) needs to be used to scatter itself and others who would use their liberty to accrue enough power to deny liberty to others.

(I define power in this usage is the ability to coerce, and I don’t limit it to force or threats of force since other means could be used to coerce someone who could then might only be able to counter that coercion with force).

Otherwise you simply end up with approved forms of private coercion (“approved”, but by whom? if there is no public nor policy…). These might be considered barbaric and denounced if they were done by a state agency.

It doesn’t matter if Gitmo is military, public, contracted out, or entirely private, it is an evil and its nature cannot be changed by changing who is doing the evil no more than a sad song can be changed into a joyful one by switching the person singing it – it can be sung well or badly, and if you wish less sorrow it is better done badly than more efficiently.

If an Ancap Gitmo were formed that randomly “deported” arabs or muslims (which made the majority of non-arabs paying them feel more secure) would it be any more moral than what we currently have? It would likely be cheaper and more efficient (and considering that politicians at least can’t publicly condone torture, I would fear the Ancap Gitmo doing their ISO 9000s based on the number of confessions of guilt…).

That is not a trivial fear – that a totally free market system would do evil things far more efficiently than any bureaucracy.

There can be evil in how something is done, but there is more often evil in what is done in and of itself. The market, private, government, public, (I would add nonprofit volunteer organizations), is a how, not a what.

Marwan December 16, 2005 at 12:46 pm

tz,

Freedom will not eliminate evil, neither witl a free-market. Your arguement that a free-market can implement evil in a more efficient manner is seemingly logical; however, it is unfounded.

In a truly free society, the market would be free to respond to the needs of good people to manage all risks, inluding protection from evil.

Your logic contains a fatal flaw in the premise: That freedom will leave evil free to destroy good and eliminate freedom. Since freedom is good. evil can only corupt it when freedom ceases to be free. This is the current state we live in now. Freedom has been corrupted and only a small amount of evil is required to pollute a large amount of good.

The only option for freedom is to eliminate all barriers against it. Once freedom is unfettered, the good will efficiently and effectively seek to prevent evil from occuring. Will good erradicate evil? Doubtful, but it in a free state evil wouldn’t be able to acquire more than a toe-hold.

Our history shows us that freedom has never been the prevalent state of affairs. We moved from barbarism to various forms of control structures of varying degrees. The natural state of freedom has to be gained through our intellectual, emotioanl and spiritual evolution. Saddly, it is in the physical realm that freedom has always failed to materialize.

Alan Gifford December 16, 2005 at 7:18 pm

tz, I hear where you’re coming from. But I don’t take the view that many people are out to do harm to others. I don’t take the view that most in government really seek to consolidate power unto themselves. I think by far the majority of people in government have really good intentions, but as we well know, the road to hell is paved with good intentions.

So, if you accept that most in government really want to bring good things to people, then adding to their efficiency does not result in more suffering. It changes things from a situation where plans to do nice things end up costing more than they help, to a situation where they either help or go away. Contrast this with many government offices that end up with results worse than what they started with, only to be greeted with more money next fiscal year (of course, our plans couldn’t be retarded, we just need to put more money into them).

Bill Haynes December 16, 2005 at 10:23 pm

Having read Lew’s talk, I have to believe that some of those in attendance were brought to a new thought about what freedem is.

I appreciate Lew suffering the TSA humiliations to make the flight to Washington.

david December 17, 2005 at 3:38 am

Lew,

Interesting article, and the person whose worldview is uninformed by the Bible would tend to agree with you. You mentioned that Moses courageously stood against Pharaoh in insisting that all the shackles of government be removed from the Israelites, if I remember it correctly. That’s true as far as the shackles of Egyptian government were concerned. God had a much “easier yoke” for Israel in mind–a theocracy. His rule was absolutely just and benevolent. A better form of government could not be devised. Under the Judges (let’s skip over the failures and disasters on the part of Israel for the time being) Israel had a very light load. All they had to do was support the Aaronic priesthood and perform prescribed sacrifices which, compared to past and present governmental claims, were remarkably unburdensome. But Israel proved unable to handle such freedom. When the opportunity arose, they even clamored for a king, and brought upon themselves untold grief. Time doesn’t permit me to go into all these events in detail. The point I make is, if Israel was unable to deal with the absolutely righteous and benevolent rule of God, what makes us presume we can function in the absence of any rule whatsoever? The assertion that government is inherently illegitimate is both utopian and unbiblical. (I realize that that second point probably carries little weight with many, but I include it because I’m interested in the truth.)

Afghanistan is a good example of a place without cohesive central government. In the absence of overarching power, until recently the country was ruled by a number of local chieftains, sometimes referred to as warlords. If you look in the Bible you’ll see the same arrangement. This is the normal civil pattern in the absence of larger nation-states. Why? Two reasons occur to me, both having to do with the fallen nature of man. First, power is a great attraction, and powerful people sieze power. The only thing to keep them from doing so is greater power. The trick is to ensure that the greatest power is benevolent. This has been a hard one to accomplish over the centuries. Second, related to the first, people need protection from those who would prey upon them. St. Paul says the very same thing in Romans 13–that governments (even bad ones!) are from God, and exist in order to restrain evil. Feel free to disagree with Paul if you like, but as for me, I’ll take whatever he, and the Book, have to say over someone else’s opinion.

What libertarians desire, and I’m with them on this, is a situation where peace, prosperity, and freedom prevail. I think that what they don’t fully understand is that in order for this to happen righteousness must also prevail. This isn’t going to happen in the present state of affairs. Even with perfectly righteous government, the citizenry are unrighteous, and wouldn’t stand for righteous government any more that the Israelites did. God usually lets us have our way and gives us the tyranny we demand. But a time IS coming, in which an absolutely just and righteous government will prevail, with an absolutely just and righteous King. That’s what we all long for, whether we realize it or not. Some will reject this King: “We will not have this Man to rule over us”–but it won’t alter the outcome, only the outcome of the rejecter. The fact of the matter is, He WILL reign:

“For unto us a Child is born,
Unto us a Son is given;
And the government will be upon His shoulder.
And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Of the increase of His government and peace
There will be no end”

Merry Christmas!

David

Bob Gleason December 17, 2005 at 3:53 am

Superb, Lew. It seems to me that if we ever want to see our individual rights again, we’ll have to assume our responsibilities again. And not as a matter of efficacy or practicality, but as a matter of principle — and in advance of any hoped-for abdication by the powers that be — by rejecting the seductive offerings of the state (where possible). “No you may not educate my children –because you are the state.” “No you may not provide for my retirement — because you are the state.” “No you may not keep me from evil,” etc… Government doesn’t grow by promising to restrict individual rights, but by the siren song of “spreading the load.” Perhaps you could help start a “No thanks” movement to help re-establish the notion of in-dependence. Individualists unite!

Jim Bradley December 17, 2005 at 7:32 am

Thanks for this great article, Lew. Back to the real essentials.

Marwan December 17, 2005 at 2:13 pm

David,

Your sentiments are correct, although I have to ponder. Can a theocracy operate wihout the evil that power brings? Additionally, for us to contemplate God, which is infinite, as finite beings, is a futile effort. How can we know that we are being ‘ruled’ by a benevolent king. The entire concept of ‘rule’ is a master-slave relationship, irrespective of the benevolence of the ruler. Is a benevolent ruler preferred? Of course. However, no ruler is best.

As for the citizenry being unrightous — I couldn’t agree more. That is precisely why we live in a tyranny of the majority. The solution is not to look for a rightous citizenry, but simply to have no citizenry at all. If we are all independent, free individuals then rightosness will prevail. Will evil exist? Most certainly. Yet a free society of individuals engaged in voluntary social exchange will efficiently and effectively deal with evil.

How can I make these statements, which seemingly disagree with you while I claim to agree with you? Again, it is simple. Free will and rational self-interest are bestowed upon us by our Creator; therefore, they are the natural and rightous manner in which we should live.

Merry Christmas.

Mike December 17, 2005 at 6:22 pm

Lew,

Good job. I’ve been trying ways to say the very same things, and your excellent work has given me some insights and ideas.

Sherman Broder December 17, 2005 at 9:10 pm

If freedom is “the end of politics itself,” then we will never live to enjoy freedom.

Only the naive imagine a world in which all human beings believe in the same social philosophy, or, for that matter, believe in the same idea of what constitutes right and wrong, good and evil.

Humans resolve these differences either by means of war or politics. I prefer politics.

If our constitutional democratic republic has failed us, and if traditional Libertarian politics do more harm than good, then how does Mr. Rockwell propose we bring about the “complete revolution in economic and political life” he hopes for?

David White December 18, 2005 at 10:33 am

Sherman Broder,

With the collapse of the American welfare-warfare state (which I believe is inevitable, given that the government is bankrupt and is only being sustained through lending by foreign central banks), we will see a massive devolution of power — first to the individual states and then, hopefully, to smaller units of governance that include experiments in stateless society.

Depending on how successful these experiments are (and I believe some will be extremely successful), government by consent of the governed will at long last be a reality, as people are allowed to choose between forms of governance that include, but are not limited to, states, which I also believe will “wither away” in the face of a rapidly changing world.

Consider, for instance, how the “stateless” Internet is changing the world as I write: http://www.lewrockwell.com/orig/garris3.html

Sherman Broder December 18, 2005 at 2:38 pm

David White,

So the libertarian action plan for the future is to wait for the American welfare-warfare state to collapse? This notion seems no more effective and is about as satisfying as Rockwell’s action plan which is, presumably, to wait for government to abdicate, i.e., “to walk away from society, culture, economy, and the world stage of international politics.”

I’m sorry. I don’t believe the U.S. federal government will abdicate its authority any time soon. Nor do I believe its collapse is inevitable. Nor do I believe that, if a collapse should occur, a “massive devolution of power” from the federal government to the states will necessarily result. As I’ve said before, the opposite is just as likely to happen.

As for the internet, I agree it is a wondrous communication/marketing tool, but its users are a “society” only in the loosest meaning of the word. Sure it is “stateless,” but then again so are worldwide news services and Walmart.

For as great as it is, not one mouthful of food has ever been grown on the internet and individuals who use the internet still must reside somewhere. And though the internet is self-regulating, it is not self-policing. Individuals who are victims of internet fraud rely on state and local law and order agencies to obtain justice.

Doyle December 18, 2005 at 10:29 pm

The word isn’t “inevitable”, it’s “imminent” (my guestimate: 80% chance of collapse within five years. Take note and see if I’m not right!!). I don’t think “massive devolution of power” will be the result, though. Lesser collapses in history have led to the arisal of Hitler, Mao, Stalin, Pol Pot, etc. Eventually, the state _will_ fall, but much blood will be spilled first.

david December 19, 2005 at 12:35 am

Marwan,

I just finished a (rather lengthy) reply to some of your comments, and then made a miscue which sent it all into cyberspace! So here’s a second attempt which, given my deflated state of mind, will probably be lots shorter. I’m sure you’re thankful for that! :-)

Anyway, thank you for your polite and thoughtful commentary. To address your concerns:

“Can a theocracy operate without the evil that power brings?” Not with human beings the way they are. The human operatives must be beyond corruption. Witness the hated regime of the mullahs in Iran who presume to speak for Allah. But according to the Bible, there will be a theocracy ruled by a Man who is perfect, perfectly wise, and completely able to do all that He desires. In other words, absolute power will be joined with impeccable character.

How can we, as finite beings, contemplate the Infinite? Good question. The truth is, man, beginning from himself, can never find God or know the truth of Him. Such knowlege must come from revelation to man. Revelation, according to the Bible, comes in two forms, general and specific. The general revelation comes from inspection of the world and universe we find ourselves in and can tell us basically two things about God–that He is infinitely powerful and that He is Other, outside of the created order which we ordinarily perceive. The specific revelation contained in scripture reveals many other things about God both in propositional statements, and in narratives and illustrations. It reveals a God who is first of all personal (this is very important), and also perfect in all His qualities–power, knowledge, morality, etc. It also reveals to us what He expects of us. These expectations are both ridiculously simple and terrifyingly difficult: “Do justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with your God”; “Love the LORD your God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength, and your neighbor as yourself”.

The problem always was, and is, that humans are fallible. The Bible calls them fallen, that is, that they were once what they should be, and now they are not. This is a crucial point. If we approach humankind, and the world, as though they are what they’re meant to be–that they’re normal–we just won’t understand the situation. The Bible says that people are abnormal, and that the world is abnormal. Some day, a normalization will occur, and has already begun. The normalization process will reach its future fulfillment in the perfection of both human beings and the created order.

Regarding your concern with the “master-slave” relationship: I understand your concern, based upon the history of this relationship with fallen humanity. But we were actually made for this. God made us for Himself. He placed “eternity in (our) hearts” so that we wouldn’t be satisfied with anything less than the Infinite and Eternal. Money, power, pleasure, fame–all the things we have tried to substitute for Him–will not fill up the “God-shaped vacuum” within us. In the coming order, the greatest will be the servant of all. Even now, we sometimes call our government officials “public servants”, which is a little too hopeful in light of the reality. But some day it will really be true. And we ourselves will rule as servants of His. Jesus commended the centurion because he understood the concept of authority (Matt. 8) which undergirds the entire order of the universe. He basically recognized that since Jesus was obedient to Authority, He had the delegated power to drive out sickness and disease. And Jesus applauded him. Then He healed the centurion’s servant.

There’s much more to say, but rest assured that the One whose we are and whom we serve will never take advantage of us. He has nothing to gain from anything we can give him, except to be loved by us, which is His highest joy. Anyway, that’s long enough for now. I’m going to post this before I lose it again!

Blessings, David

Marwan December 19, 2005 at 8:28 am

David, I appreciate your reply. Your view, which I think is a common Christian view works very well — if you accept the premise. Once the premise is accepted, that the Bible IS the revelation of God, then the rest of it falls neatly into place. I do not accept the premise becasue I am fallible (and, in your view fallen). To me, becasue I am finite and fallible, so to must be those that penned the Book, ergo, their prejiduce and fallibility is present in the book. And when you add the nuances lost in translation, first through oral tradition and then in written versions from Aramaic, Hebrew to Greek, Latin and now English and American, one has to wonder, how much of it is pristine. Furthermore, God, as he is depicted in the Old Testament, presents many fallible human qualities, as did the Pagan Gods, before him. Suddenly, following Jesus, God became a softer and kinder diety. I think that had more to do with Jesus’ peacful and loving influence on the original writers of the New Testament. To add to the confusion, only the four cannonical gospels made it to print following the council of Nicea(sp?) four centruries after Jesus preached. What of all the other gospels? I am not stating the book is in error, I cannot know that — but I alos cannot know that it is correct. Perhaps that’s why religion is referred to as faith. What I do know is that humans are fallible — therfore, we cannot entrust anyone of us to have power over any other. Freedom is the only state in which rule by one or several over any is thwarted. I think, Lew’s commentary, clrealy states why we cannot give anyone power. Saddly, I would even say that Jesus may not be exempt from the corruption of power. Evidence, from the Bible, shows that sometimes he displays fallible emtotions, although, the record shows far more love than any other feeling — which is why we all like him so much. Additionally, humans are probably not ready to accept someone like Jesus today, especially one who desires to rule, no matter how justly. This also leaves the door open to an imposter. That being a possibility, I would prefer to wrest the reigns of power from all and make sure that everyone is absolutely free. Peace be upon you. Marwan

Sherman Broder December 19, 2005 at 8:51 am

Doyle,

With regard to your prediction:

“…my guestimate: 80% chance of collapse within five years…”

You write: “Take note and see if I’m not right!!”

Of course you MUST be right. Couching your prediction in terms of probability assures you cannot be wrong.

Roger M December 19, 2005 at 9:46 am

Good article! Since Lew brought up the subject, it might be helpful to remember that when Israel grew tired of the rule of judges and wanted a king, so they would be like other nations, God warned Israel that Kings would oppress the people and they would regret giving up their freedom for a king.

As for restoring our lost freedoms, those we enjoyed in the early years after the revolution, we need to become better evangelists for freedom because most of the country doesn’t agree with us. We could put forward candidates who would act as recking balls against the laws and judges who limit our freedoms, but they would fail because we’re too small in number.

Ralph December 19, 2005 at 10:37 am

David’s comments interest me. First, there is a scripture in Romans 8:7 which tells us that the natural, physical mind is not subject to God’s laws and cannot be. Consequently, any attempt to impose “God’s will” on the people will result in further division, speciation, disagreement, anger, and war. That is the logical result of minds that cannot be subject to God’s law.

If Jesus advocated the continuation of God’s law, as he did in Matthew chapters 5-7, the result would have been constant division and individuation. Not only did Jesus realize this, but stated it as one purpose of his ministry in Matthew 10:34-38.

We can conclude from this that God’s law aims toward both non-coercion and freedom. If the physical mind cannot be subject to God’s law, a nation “under God” must be a nation that is not under law. A nation of necessity under law cannot be a nation under God.

Regarding the government’s power to tax, Jesus himelf made a direct connection between law, taxes, money and images when he took a coin and asked “Whose image is on this coin?”

The second commandment tells us that we are not to make any graven images or likeness of any kind, and we are not to bow down and serve them. Since God himself has decreed that we cannot be subject to His laws, can a nation claim a power that God Himself will not claim? Not according to the 1st Amendment to the US Constitution.

Neither can the Federal Reserve Board claim exclusive right to print images on paper that is a monopolistic “legal tender for all debt….”

The logic behid this is simple. Since all value derived from such notes is completly dependent on government coercion, or power derived from the gun, it stands in direct contradiction to the second commandment and to God’s will, since He places no coercion on obedience to His law.

Consequently, the 16th Amendment is unconstitutional.

Ralph

Michael A. Clem December 19, 2005 at 10:49 am

In the short run, it’s very hard to be optimistic about success. As Marwan says most people seem to be opposed to true freedom, and are ready to give up rights to the government at the drop of a hat.

In the long run, I think there are reasons to hope. The whole classical liberal movement was about changing the politics of previous centuries from monarchies and empires to liberal democracies, and increasing the focus on the value of the individual, his freedom and rights. It’s true that liberal democracies have fallen short of the ideal, but they do at least have that ideal in mind.

I don’t think that it’s inevitable that humans choose to be controlled, but rather social and cultural factors that make people lean that way. The nature of humans is to thrive with freedom, not control.
The next few hundred years will probably involve humanity’s review of the classical liberal ideal, picking it apart and separating the contradictory ideas in it, and rebuilding it on firmer principles. While libertarianism seems to be unsatisfactory to most people, I’m convinced that the non-aggression principle is important and must be adopted if humanity is to continue making political and social progress.

Our job today seems to be one of improving on libertarianism as best we can and keeping the ideal alive. With technology like the internet, though, we may be able to discredit bad ideas and make improvements faster, and it certainly allows the ideas to be readily disseminated to those who look for it.

Marwan December 19, 2005 at 11:42 am

Michael,

Thanks for the encouraging words. I intend to keep working for freedom and I do agree with you that given the knowledge, most people would choose freedom. In a natural state, we are all barbarians. The discovery of knowledge and its trasnfer creates civilization and the barbarians amongst us will use power in a barbaric state or a civilized one to subjugate the rest of us.

As for your comment that social and cultural factors are part of the reason that people choose to be controlled — I must agree. It really comes down to lazy parenting and a lack of acknowledgement of the difference between intelligence and knowledge.

Ralph, I agree, the 16th ammendment IS unconstitutional and unethical. It was never ratified, it was enacted. How can an occupied sovreign state ratify an amendment to a compact initiated by the occuppier?

david December 20, 2005 at 2:33 am

Marwan,

You’re exactly right when you say if one accepts the “premise”, then everything falls into place, the premise being that the Bible truly is a supernatural revelation of God to man. Rather than attempt a lengthy defense of that premise here, I refer you to a couple of authors who can do it much more completely and elegantly than I can: Josh MacDowell, in: Evidence That Demands a Verdict (2 Volumes, I think); and just about anything written by Francis Schaeffer, especially: Death in the City; and, He Is There and He is Not Silent. These address all the concerns you noted. Also, just about anything written by C.S. Lewis is worth reading in that regard.

Regards, David

Marwan December 20, 2005 at 11:37 am

David,

I appreciate the tips on the readings. I am familiar with Lewis but not the others. Faith is a personal thing and I think the point Lew was making with his article is that freedom from any form of coercion allows one to beleive in whatever they desire. I know George Mason was thinking that when he wrote Article III of the Bill of Rights, what we refer to as the first amendment. However, I think Lew states, and I agree, that we need to go courageously further up the path toward freedom — totally. Including faith, money, etc. Freedom truly is a righteous ideal.

tz December 20, 2005 at 3:38 pm

Evil would destroy freedom and then goodness in that order.

Worse, I agree that most people don’t intend evil or think their actions are evil. If you look through Hitler’s eyes, he was just eliminating those who made the species weaker or were just useless eaters or whatever. Stalin was preserving his state and spreading the wonderful benefits of communism to the entire world. Doctors like Benjamin Rush would bleed people because they thought they had too much of the sanguine humor and that is why they got the fever (while swatting at the pesky misquitoes). Keynes (need I say more?).

I have never said I consider the state or government as anything but an evil. At best a useful evil. Much like war itself, which is only just when defensive against a serious incursion. It is better to suffer many, many, petty evils than to give government the power to supress them. But there are some evils which need suppression, and then either we are all our own governments – being judge, jury, and executioner – or there must be a standard indicating which evils will not be tolerated collectively. Hell is not a good or good, but it was created so that the evil beings would not have to stay in heaven. Government is invoking hell upon those who are so disruptive to society as to be beyond toleration.

Is freedom a threshold thing – where unless you are above some level it is not able to preserve itself?

And what of the times freedom is thought of as an evil (freedom of thought, speech, religion…)? Will good men still defend it, and if so, on what basis – duty? tradition?

It is the tiny vices which destroy freedom. That is why I tremble when I see avarice, lust, gluttony, sloth, or the other deadly sins advocated in the name of liberty or freedom. Vices will exist as we are all fallen, but every time I fall, I realize I’m destroying my and your freedom, or at least taking the first step toward that end. When freedom is destroyed – when people have power over others, be it violent or economic or something else, the devil steps in and takes over the machinery and uses it for his ends.

The little sloth where they won’t vote for honest or freedom loving candidates or serve in a militia. The little avarice where they will bribe someone or take a bribe. The little gluttony where they want the extra few inches of property. The little pride where they are too good to do something like guard duty. The little envy that won’t help the neighbor in trouble but prefers the schadenfreude. Good people. But not saints. Not good enough to preserve freedom.

I’ve been told what amounts to the following: If I can require using any form of coercion actions necessary to the maintainence of freedom, then it is not freedom. (The $5 police tax v.s. the $500 to a mercenary company).

If good people won’t do it on their own, and you won’t admit of any coercion even when it is vital to preserve freedom, then why do you think it will be preserved?

Alan Dunn December 26, 2005 at 9:44 pm

It’s refreshing to read an essay by someone who knows the difference between liberalism and socialism.

As soon as a government gets involved the result is always a managed / socialist economy.

In a true liberal system admittedly there will be a few losers, but in in a socialist economy everyone loses.

Given a monetary system whereby governments (via a central bank) control and issue money by fiat

I see no genuine reason for taxation. Other than to create demand for the governments worthless fiat money- which coincidently is the only meduium accepted to pay the liabilities.

What I think this all boils down to is that governments today essentially “pick winners” and that the entrepreneurs ability to succeed is too often adversely effected by the whims of government.

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