Posts Tagged ‘Liberty’

WHY FREEDOM?

June 23, 2010

WHY FREEDOM?

Here’s a philosophical question I’d like you to consider; we each tend to make judgments on the basis of several more or less fundamental philosophies. Which is most fundamental with you?

My list includes the following:
Religious law, the rules of your religion.
Cultural law: the rules and traditions of your cultural group.
Egalitarianism: Does everybody get “fair” or “equal” treatment?
Libertarianism: Maximum freedom for each person.
Utilitarianism: The greatest good for the greatest number.
The golden rule: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Live and let live.
If you have a philosophy that differs from all of these, please contribute a comment.

These fundamental philosophies tend to overlap more than they conflict. Of course, each person has his own interpretation of each of them. And it seems that many religions initially were dogmatic and claimed precedence over any philosophy.

I’m libertarian, but I try to justify liberty as the best solution to the requirements of all other philosophies. Is this necessary? Can liberty stand alone, fully justified without reference to any other measure of right or wrong? I’ll give it a try

Liberty, like the golden rule, is not imposed from above, but is a simple rule each individual imposes on himself; “I will not violate another person’s liberty”. Perhaps this is the foundation of common law. It is the self government which makes anarchy workable.

Within liberty, each person is free to belong to any group, religion, or culture, and free to give up some liberty to live by the rules of the group. However, he is still bound by the rule of liberty; he shall not violate the liberty of any other person.

Trade is essential to our survival if we are to sustain our present population. Within liberty, all trade is free, within groups, and between members of different groups. Liberty is the only framework which assures that all groups, cultures, and religions can live together in peace and prosperity.

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THE HELPLESS CONSTITUTION

June 6, 2010

THE HELPLESS CONSTITUTION

When the US Constitution was written, it was simply a framework of offices and institutions, duties and powers. It immediately became apparent that it lacked protection for the people and the states from oppressive use of these powers. So the first 10 amendments were added to limit the power of the Federal Government over the States and the people, and the power of the States over the people. The amendments were quite specific and unambiguous.

The Constitution had its checks and balances to permit each branch of the government to limit the excesses of the other branches. The Supreme Court was the final judge of the constitutionality of any action of the other branches. But the members of the Supreme Court were appointed by the President and Congress.

The only basis for selecting the Justices of the Supreme Court should be their honesty and wisdom; interpreting the constitution should be the basis of all their decisions. However, they were selected from the start on their political positions on the difficult decisions of the time; how did they feel about slavery or abolition, States’ rights or Federal power.

So the decisions of the Supreme Court were always political, rather than technical. When they disagreed with the Constitution, they would use a “liberal” interpretation of the Constitution; it said just what they wanted it to say. They were only human. The Constitution was soon in tatters and ineffectual.

When a President decided to go to war, (Not his prerogative), He would simply send the army off to war, and Congress would dutifully declare war after the fact. States’ rights quickly went down the drain.

The Constitution was a noble effort to avoid the pitfalls that had ended earlier experiments of democracies and republics. It proved helpless against the thirst for power of politicians. There was always a struggle between the branches of government for dominance. Each branch increased its own power but in the end the presidency became dominant and we now have the Imperial Presidency.

Is there any alternative? In my opinion a written constitution is powerless, the enacted laws of congress are disastrous, and the imperial presidency is stripping away even the freedom we had before the American Revolution. Anarchy could hardly be worse. The unwritten common law serves up better justice than the written laws of Congress. The problem is not bad men or policies of any political party. It is the weakness of a legal document against the very human craving for power. Power is the root of all evil.

FEEDBACK

May 9, 2010

FEEDBACK
Hello, there,
Is anybody listening? I’ve had very little feedback and no real disagreement in comments to my blog entries. Is my blog too far out? Is it too bland? Or just plain boring? I’d appreciate any comments, but especially disagreement. Then I’d know if I’m getting my message over to you.
Wordpress.com gives me daily readings on how many “hits” are made on my blog. I may get 16 on an occasional good day but mostly 2 or 3 each day. So I haven’t captured much of an audience.
I feel that I have an urgent message to get out. Our free market is definitely not free. We are constantly being manipulated and robbed by government, partly on behalf of pressure groups, lobbyists, and campaign contributors, but mostly on behalf of politicians and bureaucrats. They have an insatiable craving for power. They intervene in the market in many ways, but the greatest intervention by far is the manipulation of our money supply.
When Ron Paul ran for the Republican Nomination for President, the biggest plank in his platform was to shut down the Federal Reserve System. Nobody out there had a clue as to what that was all about. Few Americans have had any schooling in economics. Of those who have studied it, nearly all were taught some form of fallacious Keynesian Economics. I think we all need to understand economics. It is vitally important to our freedom and the ultimate survival of humanity. The fundamentals of free market economics are really simple. Only the manipulations of government make for the weird convoluted, impenetrable economics of Keynes. Real (Austrian) economics could and should be taught in high school and even in grammar school.
If the market is not free, then we are not free. Please comment.

The Tax-Free Society

May 8, 2010

The Tax-Free Society
This is something that Libertarians consider seriously, and it deserves our serious consideration. The Anarchists propose to eliminate taxes, eliminate government and privatize all government functions. Libertarians propose to eliminate most of these functions, leaving a bare minimum of government. Of course these services incur costs and need financial support, but that would be paid, voluntarily, to one of competing corporations, by monthly subscription or fees per service. In many cases an insurance company might provide several of these services.
The immediate objection will be this: some people can’t afford to pay for these services. Must they then live without the safety and justice these services provide? I have 4 answers for that
First, charity is the only chance of survival for people who are really unable to provide for themselves. They must accept what charity, freely given, will provide for them. Any effort to force people to support others is a return to the welfare state and a violation of their freedom. It is in fact serfdom. My perception is that people are very charitable and in a tax free society the truly needy would be pretty well provided for.
Second, people who have very limited means can economically provide many of these services for themselves. With a burglar alarm system, a gun, and the ability to use it, you can protect your life, property, and family, and carry on guerrilla warfare (the most effective kind) against an invading army.
Third, we have the impression that the poor now don’t pay taxes. They do, and the sales tax, property tax, and stealth tax burden them more painfully than people who are better off. The welfare state is mostly a mirage, a trick with smoke and mirrors. A competitive system to provide them with the services they want would serve them better at much lower cost than the wasteful political system which serves us poorly at great cost.
Fourth, If you feel that you couldn’t afford to pay for those services, stop and think. Who do you think is paying for them now? You are, through your taxes. You’re also supporting a huge bureaucracy. A bureaucrat has very little incentive to give you good service. He has a secure job with good pay, lush fringe benefits and retirement pension, all because he has no competition.
You may believe that you pay in more than what you get out of the system (and that’s true for most of us). If that’s OK with you, then that’s a fine charitable attitude. But, honestly, if the tax were voluntary, would you contribute as much as you’re now paying?
Perhaps you would stop to consider that you’re contributing to things you don’t approve of. Private, voluntary charity gives you the option to choose which causes to support, an how much to contribute.. Private, competing service providers would give you the option to get only the services you want, and to select providers that give you the best value for cost.
Now consider all the people who pay their taxes unwillingly, because taxation is compulsory. Do you approve of serfdom?
On the other hand, you may believe that you pay less than what you get out of the system. You’re probably wrong, because you aren’t conscious of the stealth taxes and the taxes that you pay indirectly, such as the property tax on the home you rent, and corporate taxes which are passed on to you in the price of the goods and services you buy from them.
Nevertheless, supposing that you really profit from the welfare state, how do you feel about the fact that you live partly on money taken forcibly from others? Do you feel better about that than you would feel about being supported by voluntary charity? The government tries hard to convince you that you are entitled to these things. If so, who is obligated to provide your “entitlements”? The government doesn’t have the means, other than what it takes coercively from taxpayers.
So here we go. Here are suggestions of the ways we could provide essential services without taxes in a system of anarchy (no Government) with free market solutions:
POLICE PROTECTION
We have private police systems now. They serve us well. Without the corrupting protection of the political system, and the spur of competition, they must serve efficiently, respect our rights, and minimize violence. They could be financed by subscription, by fees per service, or through an insurance company which insures your security. Such police would not be obliged to protect non-payers.
THE JUSTICE SYSTEM: COURTS
The libertarians have some very interesting ideas here. Courts, and judges, would be private competitive organizations, paid a fee for their services. They would apply common law, which is well established and serves us well in civil lawsuits. They would mostly arbitrate between 2 parties. The parties would choose the court, and if they couldn’t agree on that, their 2 choices of courts would choose another court to settle the suit. The sentences would mainly consist of fines, with the “guilty” party paying court costs and reparation to the victim, NOT to the state.
PRISONS.
We now have privately operated prisons. Although they work for the government, they have proven more effective, safe, and efficient than government owned prisons.
The libertarians, however, prefer a system in which the criminal lives outside of prison, works to provide for his necessities and pay off his fine, and is prevented from “disappearing” by technical means such as a radio beacon or other surveillance, under the control of a private organization which guarantees his detention and behavior. He would be a slave until he pays his debt to his victim.
ARMED FORCES.
Private armies can be on call or created quickly by private competing organizations, strictly for self defense. An anarchic society wouldn’t be a desirable target for invasion, for there’s no government that they can take control of, and each resident would have to be conquered individually. For defense we wouldn’t need nuclear missiles or bombers. The armies could be financed by subscription or by the job, or through an insurance company which insures your security. Such armies would not be obliged to protect non-payers. Each member of society, in an emergency, could voluntarily serve as a guerrilla fighter to defend self, family, and property.
EDUCATION
All schools at all levels would be private competitive organizations. Costs would be paid by students, their families, or voluntary endowments. Scholarships are already a popular form of charity.
STREETS AND HIGHWAYS
Many Libertarians want this to involve private ownership of all streets and roads, paid for by tolls as with our present toll roads. I differ on this. I think that the ownership of a strip of land completely surrounding my land, (as the streets do) is an absolute monopoly which could make me virtually the slave of the owner of that land. The only solution I can see would involve severe limitations of the ownership of that land which would assure me of reasonable access to the rest of the world. Perhaps roads would be built on the fringes of my property and yours, under lease with the stipulation that we shall have reasonable access to this road and the connecting system of roads.