Monday, January 4, 2016

Typing vs. Dying

More often than not, I find this author to be an articulate but irritable asshat because, most often,  he chooses to write otherwise insightful observations in the most unnecessarily irritating and vulgar, manner. But every now and then he hits one right out of the park....

It's good to be zealous about a noble cause. It's also good to be intelligent. In "The Art of War," at no time does Sun Tzu say, "Just get really, really mad and start killing people!" In the movies, really believing in something, and being in the right, makes you magically win. In reality, it has pretty much no bearing on whether you will be successful. Contrary to what Hollywood implies, being one of the "good guys" doesn't make you bulletproof.
I totally sympathize with people who are outraged at the myriad of injustices perpetrated by "government" agents on a regular basis. And if your goal is to martyr yourself by righteously dying for what you believe in, have at it. But you might want to ponder whether what you are doing, or suggesting doing, would actually accomplish anything positive in the long run. I regularly get pro-freedom people bitching at me because I'm not "doing anything," and by that they mean that I'm not currently engaged in mortal combat with state mercenaries. According to them, the "brave" thing to do--and what I would do if I was a "real" anarchist--would be to have a shootout the next time a cop pulls me over for an expired registration sticker. But I'm not going to. Why not? Because while might does NOT make right, might DOES make results. And who has the "might" depends upon what people BELIEVE. If there is one slave who believes in freedom, and 99 who don't, standing up to the slavemaster is not going to turn out well for that one "uppity" slave. Sure, he would be in the right; he would be the good guy. He would also be the dead guy, and then slavery would continue.
Yes, there are some situations in which, regardless of outcome, I will forcibly resist state thugs. And I would probably die in the process. But my goal is not to "fight the good fight"; my goal is to WIN the good fight, permanently. And that requires changing MINDS. While it's 100% moral and righteous for people to defend themselves against aggressors, including those with badges, the real problem is people's belief systems, and you can't shoot a belief system. Violent conflict, even when totally justified and necessary, only deals with the SYMPTOMS of authoritarianism. Eradicating the underlying problem requires WORDS, not bullets. So when someone asks me, "Are you just going to sit there typing words, or are you going to go out and start shooting cops?!" For now, my answer is, I'm going to sit here typing words. The thousands of people who now believe in self-ownership and non-aggression got that way because other people SAID STUFF, not because other people shot at cops. When those thousands become millions, the state will die with a whimper, not with a bang.
- Larken Rose


On September 4, 1993, President Bill Clinton spoke about the American Dream in a weekly radio address.

He told his audience that “in America, the idea is that if you work hard and play by the rules, you’ll be rewarded with a good life for yourself and a better chance for your children.”

That’s what America used to stand for, and indeed much of the Western world. Freedom. Truth. Hard work and fair play. Building a better life.

But those ideals have all but faded now, displaced by a new normal of war, debt, government surveillance, freedom-killing bureaucracy, and a monetary policy that decimates responsible, hard-working people for the benefit of a tiny elite.

In his end-of-year commentary in the Washington Post, writer George Will summed up 2015 citing example after example of government overreach and excess--

  • The value of property seized by the US federal government through Civil Asset Forfeiture exceeded the value of property stolen by burglars and thieves 
  • Florida police raided a Mahjong game played by four women aged 87 through 95 because they were *gasp* betting with their own money 
  • New Jersey police arrested a 72-year old retired schoolteacher for illegally carrying a firearm-- a 300-year old flintlock pistol he had purchased from an antique dealer 
  • A 9-year old in Florida was threatened with sexual harassment charges for writing love notes to a girl saying that her eyes sparkled like diamonds
George Will’s list, of course, barely scratched the surface of the tip of the iceberg.

2015 was the year that the middle class was officially vanquished in the Land of the Free, with its share of the population falling to just 50%.

US federal debt reached nearly $19 trillion in 2015, an increase of almost $750 billion during the calendar year.

The US government published over 80,000 pages of new regulations, making it nearly impossible to understand ‘the rules’, let alone play by them.

2015 also saw the passing of incomprehensibly terrible laws, including the USA Freedom Act, which restored many of the worst parts of the PATRIOT Act that were set to expire.

Then there was the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act, passed at the end of the year, which officially turns the Land of the Free into a gigantic information-sharing surveillance state.

And of course the 2015 spending bill, which as of 3 days ago, allows the US government to strip you of your passport if they believe in their sole discretion that you owe them money.

These are hardly the actions of a solvent, trustworthy government, or a nation that’s on the right track.

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that this story doesn’t have a happy ending.

We can pretend that this time is different, that this country is different, that there is some special sauce that allows this government to run massive imbalances forever.

But deep down we all know the truth... and where this is headed.

I’ve read no shortage of apocalyptic predictions suggesting that 2016 is the year of the dollar collapse. Or the global economic collapse.

Or something else that invariably ends in the word ‘collapse.’

I don’t believe that. First, no one can credibly answer the question “when?”

Governments have surprised us all with their uncanny ability to kick the can down the road and delay the repercussions of their folly.

But I don’t really think the question of ‘when’ is relevant.

Nearly every major western government is insolvent. Entire monetary and financial systems are insolvent.

Governments have destroyed their own middle classes, giving rise to the greatest wealth gap that has existed since the Great Depression.

The risks are obvious. And you either stick your head in the sand and ignore them, or you take steps to reduce their impact on your life.

It’s like anything else-- if you live in a wildfire zone, you get fire insurance. And you’ll never be worse off for having good coverage on your home to protect your family.

Having a Plan B just makes sense, regardless of whether a major disaster occurs in 2016, next year, or never.

We can’t see the future, we can only see the risks today. Develop a Plan B that addresses those risks, and you’ll never have to worry about the future again.

h/t SB