Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Rothbard on Ireland and the Stateless Society - A St. Patty's Day Special

What connection can possibly be drawn between Murray Rothbard, a non-believing Jew, the Ould Sod and a saint of the Church?

That was the ruse to get you to read on.  This has nothing to do with religious belief but plenty to do with Murray, ancient Ireland and liberty.

In his classic For a New Liberty: The Libertarian Manifesto, Professor Rothbard makes a compelling case for a stateless society.  To dismiss the blarney that such a world is a pipe dream, he cites numerous historical precedents when humans coexisted harmoniously without the benefit (impediment?) of an overarching state structure.  Among his examples is ancient Ireland.  He writes:

“The most remarkable historical example of a society of libertarian law and courts, however, has been neglected by historians until very recently. And this was also a society where not only the courts and the law were largely libertarian, but where they operated within a purely state-less and libertarian
society. This was ancient Ireland—an Ireland which persisted in this libertarian path for roughly a thousand years until its brutal conquest by England in the seventeenth century”

Up until the English takeover Ireland was,a highly complex society that was, for centuries, the
most advanced, most scholarly, and most civilized in all of Western Europe.”

Yet for over a millennium: “ancient Celtic Ireland had no State or anything like it. As the leading authority on ancient Irish law has written: ‘There was no legislature, no bailiffs, no police, no public enforcement of justice. There was no trace of State-administered justice.’”

Rothbard explains that the ancient Irish maintained justice and order via a network of 80-100 voluntary associations known as tuaths.   The tuaths met periodically to discuss and agree upon operating rules.  Those who were unhappy with the policies of their tuath were free to leave and join another tuath. 

However, legislation was sparse.  For the most part the law was similar to English Common Law practice.

“…the law itself was based on a body of ancient and immemorial custom, passed down as oral and
then written tradition through a class of professional jurists called the brehons. The brehons were in no sense public, or governmental, officials; they were simply selected by parties to disputes on the basis of their reputations for wisdom, knowledge of the customary law, and the integrity of their decisions.”

The decision of the brehons were enforced,

“Through an elaborate, voluntarily developed system of “insurance,” or sureties. Men were linked together by a variety of surety relationships by which they guaranteed one another for the righting of wrongs, and for the enforcement of justice and the decisions of the brehons. In short, the brehons themselves were not involved in the enforcement of decisions, which rested again with private individuals linked through sureties.”

In short, the Irish were governed by private contractual laws.  These laws were developed over time by custom and enforced socially by the community at large.

“…this system applied to all offences, aggressions and assaults as well as commercial contracts; in short, it applied to all cases of what we would call “civil” and “criminal” law. All criminals were considered to be “debtors” who owed restitution and compensation to their victims, who thus became their “creditors.” The victim would gather his sureties around him and proceed to apprehend the criminal or to proclaim his suit publicly and demand that the defendant submit to adjudication of their dispute with the brehons. The criminal might then send his own sureties to negotiate a settlement or agree to submit the dispute to the brehons. If he did not do so, he was considered an “outlaw” by the entire community; he could no longer enforce any claim of his own in the courts, and he was treated to the opprobrium of the entire community.”

Rothbard concludes:

Thus, we have indicated that it is perfectly possible, in theory and historically, to have efficient and courteous police, competent and learned judges, and a body of systematic and
socially accepted law—and none of these things being furnished by a coercive government.

Thus the Irish lived in relative peace for over a thousand years without a centralized, compulsive state authority.

The same could be said of the ancient Hebrews. From the time of their re-entry into Canaan after fleeing Egypt, they lived under the written law of the Torah which was administered by local “Judges”.  This lasted for about 200 years until they demanded a strong central authority for their security.  The final Judge, Samuel, warned them that this strong central authority, the king that they wished for, would:

“…take your sons and assign them to his chariots and horses, and they will run before his chariot.

He will also appoint from among them his commanders of groups of a thousand and of a hundred soldiers. He will set them to do his plowing and his harvesting, and to make his implements of war and the equipment of his chariots.

He will use your daughters as ointment-makers, as cooks, and as bakers.
He will take the best of your fields, vineyards, and olive groves, and give them to his officials.

He will tithe your crops and your vineyards, and give the revenue to his eunuchs and his slaves.

He will take your male and female servants, as well as your best oxen and your asses, and use them to do his work.

He will tithe your flocks and you yourselves will become his slaves.”

Sure enough the Hebrew kings did all of that.  Within three generations the kingdom was divided and at war with itself.   In time the Hebrew people would be conquered, enslaved and exiled from their homeland.  This example gives concrete proof to Ben Franklin’s axiom that, “He who sacrifices freedom for security deserves neither.

Thus the two key takeaways from this essay should be:

1.    The State, whose existent is rationalized by the supposed protection of its subjects often extracts onerous costs and ultimately fails in its mission

Saints be praised, begorrah!

Related Posts:

The Wisdom of the Ancients
The State (Huh - Good God Y'all) What It Is Good For?

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"Half the people are stoned and the other half are waiting for the next election.
Half the people are drowned and the other half are swimming in the wrong direction."
Paul Simon

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

President Nucky O

Fans of HBO’s Boardwalk Empire may recall how the series opened with protagonist Nucky Thompson fervently denouncing demon alcohol before the Ladies Temperance League.  In the very next scene the same Nucky Thompson schemes with his cronies to make millions by subverting the new Prohibition laws and keeping AC awash in hooch.

Do you think that President Obama was aware of the eerie parallels as he denounced China’s proposed new Internet restrictions?  Was he coyly imitating art with his real life performance?

If he did not get it, surely some of his Tinseltown toadies must have caught the joke. Only days before, this same president did an end run around Congress to impose Net Neutrality by dubious administrative fiat. 

The Prez berated Beijing for forcing “all foreign companies, including U.S. companies, to turn over to the Chinese government mechanisms where they can snoop and keep track of all the users of those services,"  

Isn't this the same guy who ratcheted up NSA surveillance of U.S. citizens and foreign dignitaries to unprecedented levels.  The same man who forced Edward Snowden into exile and keeps Julian Assange an international fugitive?

Even most of the press corps, his rooting section, believe that the President is spying on them.  His own guys can’t trust him. 

Like Nucky before the temperance league, Obama was playing for Silicon Valley.  Like all statists he sells the illusion of protection while stabbing constituents in the back.

Like the U.S., the Chinese government justifies its excesses by blaming terrorists and the need to protect “state secrets”.

The very fact that People’s Republic or the USA has “state secrets” flat out contradicts the claim that either is a “government of the people, for the people and by the people”. 

Can state secrets by justified by the same logic as the national debt?  Apologists for government debt tells us not to worry, we owe the money to ourselves.  Does that mean that we keep secrets from ourselves too?
No one keeps secrets from themselves unless they in pathological denial.  This means that the keepers of state secrets are either hiding bad things from us or they are deranged.  I vote for a combination of the two. 

A couple of weeks ago, both guests on the OnFire Radio Show, referred to the high level government officials as psychopaths.  They may be on to something.  Perhaps like Norman Bates, the men at the helm of states lose touch with who and what they are.  The lose sight of right and wrong as we most people understand it by kindergarten.

Thus Enoch Malachi Thompson and Barack Hussein Obama share something else besides intriguing Middle Eastern names.  Both share the uncanny ability to charm and appear reasonable, even loveable, while coolly presiding over murder, plunder and fraud.

President Nucky Obama indeed.

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"Half the people are stoned and the other half are waiting for the next election.
Half the people are drowned and the other half are swimming in the wrong direction."
Paul Simon

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

ISIS, Rabbinical Wisdom and Jihad Jujutsu

 Gamaliel was, perhaps, Jerusalem’s most respected Rabbi circa 35 A.D.  When asked how the Sanhedrin should deal with the alarming and seemingly heretical Jesus movement, he counseled restraint and patience advising that:

“if this endeavor or this activity is of human origin, it will destroy itself. But if it comes from God, you will not be able to destroy them.”  (Acts 5 33-39)

In support of his case, he cited earlier popular “messiahs” that had come and gone of their own accord.
Today, when the West is challenged by radical Islam, Gamaliel’s sage advice rings true.  Leaving the Islamic Middle East alone to work out its issues may be the most prudent and productive response.

A thumbnail portrait of Middle Eastern history and quick peek into the probable future will provide useful perspective.

From ancient times up until the 16th Century, the legendary Silk Road and associated spice trading routes were the commercial arteries through which Europe obtained precious silks, spices and even opiates.  These routes passed through Persia and the Arabic lands.  The Middle East was prime real estate and its inhabitants prosperous traders.

Fortunes plummeted when Columbus returned from his voyage to the New World.  With the Age of Discovery, oceanic shipping displaced land based commerce,  Thus the Atlantic facing nations including England, France, Spain and the Netherlands rose to world dominance while the Middle East and Italy, then the commercial hub of Europe, withered into irrelevance.

However, the invention of the internal combustion engine coupled with the discovery of Middle Eastern petroleum made the Islamic desert wastelands a hot commodity again.  Following the First World War, the Western imperial powers assured themselves of access to Mid-East oil by divvying up the region into client states ruled by compliant war lords.

From that time onward, imperialist meddling in Mid-East by Europeans and the U.S. has never ceased. A century of political, economic and military intervention by Christian, Jewish and secular Westerners has stoked nationalist and religious resentments alike.  This is manifested in the violent “blowback” that Ron Paul and our own CIA has documented.

A look forward validates the Gamaliel strategy.  The fracking boom combined with new energy efficient technologies have broken the Mid-East stranglehold on energy.  The world is awash in petroleum and prices have tanked.  Experts estimate that we have a supply of over 200 years of crude in the ground.  My guess is that way before the supply runs out, the human race will have moved onto new energy technologies and Mid-East oil will as relevant as Silk Road trade routes in a jet plane world.

As oil income wanes in importance, the region’s people will seek other livelihoods.  This will require innovation and investment which demands economic and social liberalization.  At that point you can  kiss radical Islam goodbye unless, it is “from God” as Gamaliel hedged 2,000 years back. 

If it is from God, so be it.  But I don’t think so.  Meanwhile, Islamists use political, cultural and emotional
Jujutsu. Jihadists turn the force of Western incursions back upon their opponents. The harder that America strikes at them, the more foolish we look.

A half century ago, The United States faced a far more formidable threat from the Soviet Union, a true military super power.  At that time Princeton scholar, George Kennan, recommended a policy of “containment”, diplomatic and economic initiatives to hem in Stalinist – Soviet expansionism.  This formed the basis of U.S. foreign policy for the next 40 years.

The Marshall plan to rebuild war torn Europe and Asia was the type of program that he envisioned. This was s patient Gamaliel approach. Unfortunately, America’s militarists misrepresented Kennan’s intent.  They exploited it to justify a massive military buildup, nuclear proliferation and unceasing armed intervention the world over. 

President Eisenhower, the diplomat/warrior hero of World War II, perceived the folly of continual proxy wars and runaway military expansion.  He withdrew from the Korean War and warned his countrymen of the dangers of the “military industrial” complex in his presidential farewell speech:

“In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.”

Ultimately, America prevailed in its showdown with the Soviet Union, because of Gamaliel theory, not armed confrontation.  Because Soviet Communism was oppositional to human nature, it collapsed under its own weight.  It was of man, not of God.

Thus the true danger from the Islamist movement comes not from wild eyed terrorists.   The true danger is how it frightens Americans to surrender their essential liberties to the military and surveillance state.  Long before Ike, America’s first warrior president foresaw danger of a militarized government:

“a large standing Army in time of Peace hath ever been considered dangerous to the liberties of a Country… it could not be done without great oppression of the people.”

America’s enormous warfare establishment makes us unsafe by intervening in intractable international conflicts that are beyond our control and in which we have no moral standing or compelling interest.  Americans are best served by the Gamaliel strategy of allowing the will of God or nature to take its course,

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"Half the people are stoned and the other half are waiting for the next election.
Half the people are drowned and the other half are swimming in the wrong direction."
Paul Simon

Friday, February 13, 2015

Piltdown, Polar Bears, Ponzi and Fiat Money

Up until now, the Piltdown Man was one of the great scientific hoaxes of all time. In 1912, a collection of carefully doctored human-like remains were unearthed near the village of Piltdown in Sussex, England.  These findings were put forward and readily accepted as the missing evolutionary link between man and ape.  This farce stood for nearly 50 years as scientific “consensus” until it was demonstrated that this discovery was a mélange of human and orangutan bones of fairly recent vintage.  They had been dyed and filed to look like the Real McCoy fossils of a heretofore unknown species.
To this day, the jokesters remain anonymous and no one was bilked out of billions of dollars.  The worst that can be said is that the worldwide scientific community got punked and ate a healthy slice of humble pie.
Scientific shenanigans are afoot again in new millennium.  This time the tables are turned.  Scientists are pulling the wool over our eyes with the climate change scam. In a February 7 Telegraph article, Christopher Booker reports on how global temperature data has been fudged upward at monitoring stations throughout the world.  The article is based upon the investigations of Paul Homewood.  Booker writes:
“When future generations look back on the global-warming scare of the past 30 years, nothing will shock them more than the extent to which the official temperature records – on which the entire panic ultimately rested – were systematically “adjusted” to show the Earth as having warmed much more than the actual data justified.”
 But what about those poor polar bears whose icy home is melting away?  Homewood demonstrates that is not global warning that is causing the thaw.  Rather the diminished ice is the result of:
“cyclical shifts in a major Atlantic current – this last peaked at just the time 75 years ago when Arctic ice retreated even further than it has done recently. The ice-melt is not caused by rising global temperatures at all.”
And why would scientists throughout the world be party to such as scam?  The reason is that “Big Science” is underwritten by “Big Government”.  Just as Big Government handsomely paid Big Science to create weapons of mass destruction and disruption, they are now in cahoots to shake taxpayers down with the warming scare.
Another present day “scientific” canard comes courtesy of those who practice economics as if it were particle physics.  Econometricians would have us think they can pull a few levers and people will respond predictably as if they were rats in a Skinner Box.  

Thus central bankers adjust the flow of legal tender intent upon modifying our behavior, supposedly for our own wellbeing.  Here is what happens:
1.     Elite bankers and financiers get newly created money first to invest or spend it as they see fit.
2.     This new money makes it way downstream in the economy, thereby devaluing the currency that Joe and Jane Sixpack hold.  This drives up the nominal cash prices of the things that Joe and Jane must buy.  Meanwhile the elites were able to buy things at lower prices before inflationary pricing kicked in.
3.     The U.S. Fed seems pleased with itself that the Consumer Price Index is increasing at a “modest” and “steady” 2% per year.
4.     This means that if Joe and Jane just hold on to their money, it decreases in worth by 2% each year.
5.     Since The Fed is also suppressing interest rates at near 0%, Joe and Jane will still lose purchasing power by putting money in a savings account – formerly a time honored way of building up middle class wealth in America.
6.     So it order to break even, Joe and Jane must move their savings into risky investments like securities and commodities.
7.     This again benefits the elite Wall Street crowd by artificially pumping up the value of the stocks and bonds that they hold.
The schemes of Charles Ponzi fleeced a handful of greedy investors who should have known better.  The
policies of The Fed and world’s central bankers rob unsuspecting millions of their savings.  They encourage malinvestment and inflate financial bubbles that create hardship and misery on a global scale.
The real question is, “why do people keep falling for the empty promises of the ruling elites?”  I suspect it that people have lost faith in themselves and in any other higher power.  Therefore, like captives under the spell of a worldwide Stockholm Syndrome, they wish to believe that their captors have their best interests at heart.
The moral at the end of Steve Goodman’s con man saga, Turnpike Tom, is this:
“Remember that you only fall for
Lies and stories when you really want to”

Related Posts:

Climate Change – The Model
The Nobel Truths of Climate Change
Blinded BY (Pseudo) Science

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"Half the people are stoned and the other half are waiting for the next election.
Half the people are drowned and the other half are swimming in the wrong direction."
Paul Simon

Monday, January 26, 2015

Don’t Cry For Christina, Argentina

According to Yahoo! News, Argentine Federal Prosecutor Alberto Nisman “was found dead with a
bullet to the head in his Buenos Aires home on Sunday, just before he was set to go before a congressional hearing to accuse (President) Kirchner and Foreign Minister Hector Timerman of shielding Iranian officials implicated in the 1994 bombing of a Jewish community center that killed 85 people.

With spin moves worthy of the Bolshoi Ballet, Argentine President Christina Kirchner has proclaimed Nisman’s death first to be a suicide and then a murder staged by a rival party to in order to make it appear as if she is trying to cover her tracks.

The narrative leading up to Nisman’s demise this past weekend is as follows:

1.       In 1994 a bombing of the Argentinian Jewish Mutual Association center in killed 85 people.  The case was never solved but evidence indicates Iranian involvement, specifically the former Iranian cultural attaché in Mohsen Rabbani.
2.       In 2013 Argentina agreed to cease investigation of this crime and cancel all Interpol warrants for the Iranian suspects.   The investigation would be turned over to an Iranian “truth commission”.
3.       The flip side of this deal was that Iran would exchange its oil for Argentine wheat, thereby easing Argentina’s energy crisis while boosting exports.
4.       Prosecutor Nisman asserted that this murder cover up was orchestrated by President Kirchner and through illegal non-diplomatic back-channels.
5.       Nisman was prepared to go before Argentine lawmakers on Monday (1/26) with a detailed 300 page indictment before death changed the plan.

In a related story, Damian Pachter, the first journalist to break the Nisman execution story, has fled the country, fearing for his life.

For those readers of the” it-can’t-happen-here” persuasion, let’s take a stroll 22 years down memory lane.

Vince Foster was a White House attorney and former law partner at the Rose Law Firm with then-First Lady, Hilary Clinton back in Little Rock.  Foster had first-hand knowledge and provided direct linkage between the Clintons and their nefarious business dealings in that murky Arkansas backwater.   Muckraking vultures were circling and Foster was panicked.  He had drafted his resignation note and was scheduled to tender it to President Bill Clinton on the morning of July 21, 1993.

Conveniently for the Clintons, that meeting never happened.  Foster turned up dead, also with a bullet in his head, in Fort Marcy Park in suburban Virginia.  Foster spent the morning of July 20 at the White House and was in attendance at a ceremony announcing Louis Freeh as the new head of the FBI.

Then according to Michael Rivero of What Really Happened,

The White House is the most secure private residence in the world, equipped with a sophisticated entry control system and video surveillance system installed by the Mitre Corporation. Yet no record exists that Vincent Foster left the White House under his own power on July 20th, 1993. No video of him exiting the building exists. No logbook entry shows he checked out of the White House.

Several hours after he was last seen inside the White House, Vincent Foster was found dead in Fort Marcy Park”.

No records or video indicate that he left work in the most secure building in the world.  To this day, the official accounts of Foster’s death do not add up.  They are are inconsistent and rife with contradictions..

What’s the lesson here?  When collectivists accuse capitalists of “cutthroat competition” they are speaking metaphorically.  Businesses compete via improved efficiency, price cutting, innovation and clever marketing.  Political players, on the other hand, are the literal cutthroats.

A bit Later in his administration, when he was embroiled in the Monica Lewinsky fiasco, Prescient Clinton launched highly publicized air and missile strikes on a little known Islamist named Osama bin-Laden.  Strangely enough, as this was happening, the Hollywood spoof, Wag the Dog, was hitting the theaters.  The film’s premise was that a sitting President stages a war to distract the country form his own child-sex scandal.

In the movie, the “war” was a hoax, a staged media event.  President Clinton actually bombed human beings.  The Film & History website reports:

…on August 20, 1998 (President Clinton) stated that “Our forces also attacked a factory in Sudan associated with the bin Laden [terrorist] network. The factory was involved in the production of materials for chemical weapons.” Initially, the media accepted this statement as fact. In an August 22nd Gallup Poll, Clinton’s action was applauded by two thirds of the respondents.
The facts, as they gradually emerged, tell a far different story. Key evidence for this ‘nerve gas’ accusation was a soil sample taken in December, 1997 across an access road about 60 feet from the factory.   A private lab (why tests were not conducted in a federal facility is unclear) concluded that this indicated the presence of a critical component in the making of nerve gas. According to less-than-reliable clandestine sources (the American Embassy in Khartoum was closed in January, 1996), this factory was under tight security and, thus, was not available for personal inspection.
Scientists observed that this sample may well have been contaminated by sloppy collection procedures. Moreover, scientists questioned whether this component was related to any ‘nerve gas’ process.
The purported ‘nerve gas’ factory had, with private U. S. engineering assistance, been constructed as a pharmaceutical plant supplying about half of the Sudan’s medical needs. On August 26, 1998 a British technician, who had been a technical supervisor in the 1992-1996 construction of this factory, said that he had gone into every corner of the plant and that there was no ‘high security.’
This “secret plant” was officially opened by the British ambassador. A World Health Organization inspected the plant in December, 1997. Other recent visitors included an American delegation, which had inspected this medical facility.
There had been serious doubts within the U. S. government about this purported ‘nerve gas’ facility. At the State Department, analysts in the office of Intelligence & Research published a paper that challenged the alleged nature of this facility. Major doubts were also raised by the head of the CIA Directorate of Operations, the CIA African division chief, and the chief of CIA’s Counterterrorism Center. CIA “Slam Dunk” Tenet, though he stated that the link between bin Laden and the factory could only be drawn by inference, expressed greater certainty of the plant’s involvement with chemical weapons.

The reality is that governments will not stop at murder to protect and defend the interests of officeholders.  The only difference is that that when the killing is done on the group plan, we call it “defense” and “war”.
 Meanwhile, back in Argentina voters are nonplussed.  Fox reports that: “Death of prosecutor shakes faith in president, government institutions in Argentina”.  The story relates how:
“Many Argentines say the mysterious death has underscored an erosion of faith in the country's institutions and in (Kirchner) at a time when her administration is struggling to fight economic ills and rising street crime.
"I'm depressed," said Manuela Luis Dia, a 54-year-old maid who supported (Kirchner) in the last elections. "We don't know who to trust anymore."
Do ya’ think?
Maybe if anything good is to come from Mr. Nisman’s death, it will be to open eyes as to what government is really all about.
 Don’t cry for Christina Kirchner, Argentina.  Pray for yourselves and for your children,

Related Posts:

Fighting For Democracy? For Real?
Losing Faith In Politics?
Hillary, Benghazi and Trayvon


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"Half the people are stoned and the other half are waiting for the next election.
Half the people are drowned and the other half are swimming in the wrong direction."
Paul Simon