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“Finding the Challenges” is an original column appearing every other Wednesday at Everything-Voluntary.com, by Verbal Vol. Verbal is a software engineer, college professor, corporate information officer, life long student, farmer, libertarian, literarian, student of computer science and self-ordering phenomena. Archived columns can be found here. FTC-only RSS feed available here.
This week, I will continue to illuminate two more of the turns for a worser American government, which I collect under the banner of Winnies (bad decisions in modern foreign policy by the dunderheads in DC). First, however, we will cover more of the misadventures of Farmer Verbal to see what may be in store for those with even the best of intentions. Why can’t we leave stuff alone? Then we will look at how we got to where we are with both global ambitions and suffocating taxation.
Just when I think I perfectly understand Mark Twain, I am treated once again to a demonstration of his wit and wisdom.
“If you hold a cat by the tail you learn things you cannot learn any other way.” – Mark Twain
I have almost always known this, but it keeps arising in new cases, for Mr. Clemons also warns, “It is not worth while to try to keep history from repeating itself, for man’s character will always make the preventing of the repetitions impossible.”
It seems almost that Ron Paul’s entire political life was built around these ideas. See his theories on why the rest of the world hates Americans. But we have shown that we are no more interested in listening to wisdom from one source than another.
So I go without remorse from being a two-year-old who couldn’t take his mother’s advice about an electrical outlet to a man 35 times older who decided that intervening between fighting dogs was an appropriate thing to do. Now these were the dogs who live on the farm with me, and you’ll have to take my word for it, no two more pure hearts have ever beaten within a canine’s breast. But the upshot and the consequence are what I’m pursuing here. The upshot – I spent 4 hours in a local ER (the last day before Obamacare, thank goodness), getting 8 stitches in my left pinkie. The dogs, of course, were fine, just as they would have been if I had not been present at all. The complication – we discovered that one of the dogs was about 6 months overdue for a rabies vaccination, and since I didn’t know which one had found my hand in the grip of her jaw, we didn’t know whether the pertinent hound had been vaccinated.
Here then is the consequence – under decree of the county health department, there are 3 things to do: incarcerate the dogs and be their warden for 10 days, or surrender the dogs to a death penalty, then if the observations are positive for rabies I should undergo a very unpleasant medical ramification. All of this precaution is for the extremely unlikely fact set where either of the dogs has rabies.
OK, so I presume to make the best choice for me and the mutts, which is to make all 3 of us prisoners for 10 days. The dogs are locked for the most part, in a stall in the horse barn. This shows something that I have intuited for a long time. If you cage a living thing with any intent other than to kill it, then you the jailer become likewise a prisoner to the regimen. I have to plan every day around the keeping and caring of the prisoners; I too become incarcerated by the process of incarceration.
Now the irony raises its head. The dogs don’t appear to be suffering as much as I am. And this is the point of this writing. The dogs very quickly adapted through their Stockholm Syndrome. I began to see that their comfort with the loss of freedom was rapidly achieved (not by me, but by them). This also caused me to note that the 4 horses who live in the same barn, are usually in their stalls, even though they have entirely volitional entry and exit. The status quo here at chicory blue hill is that these 6 critters have the run of 100+ acres, but they will often voluntarily trade freedom for security.
All I need to do to establish dominion over them is to take advantage of their natural preference for security. It’s too easy. If my inclination were not to enjoy freedom, I could easily become a tyrant by merely devoting 24/7/365 to the misery of my friends.
The short moral of the story is to have a care about where and why you intervene, the longer moral is to be aware of how easily comfort, or even comfort with discomfort, can supersede one’s happiness and philosophy.
And the Winnies just keep coming.
In my last column we already scourged imperialism, at least in the mode of claiming to be the world’s police. But the democracy scam is only a cover. What is being covered is far more of a concern. There are a number of disturbing ideas behind the facade.
Ideas such as:
- The earth’s natural resources belong to those who can take them, by hook or by crook. Whoever happens to be there, whether or not they are using the resources, can easily be replaced with a friendlier set of thugs. Spend a little time with some true history of the overthrow of the Hawai’ian sovereign, or the duplicitous creation of Panama.
- Native populations have no business wanting or seeking self-determination. By posing the straw man that self-determination is only the province of distinguished groups such as worthy classes (industrial barons, aristocrats, bureaucrats, politicians, warriors, supreme races), it becomes easy to deny all of the unworthy classes by denigrating them in comparison to the elites.
- What’s good for Monsanto, for instance, is good for its beneficiaries, supposed or otherwise. And all who shut up and stand in awe of those benefits are creatively described as beneficiaries. Other industrial giants have used this dodge – railroads, the federal government, the auto industry, the Pentagon, higher education, public education.
- A superior state’s way of doing things is superior to all possible alternatives.
- An inferior (fictional) collective must either adopt the methods of a superior collective or be colonized.
- Native colonials must be productive within the context of the colonizer or be eradicated.
- War is not an economic activity, but a means for achieving justice.
- Peace can coexist with the state.
- Individual peace is only found within the jurisdiction of the state.
- Exporting culture is an act of peace.
- Importing culture is an act of aggression.
- Intervention is a cooperative behavior.
I would be most happy to discuss any of these assertions at any time. I know that assertions without support are just argumentative, so one supposes that we would begin by identifying what support may be available. For example, what support can we deduce for “a superior state’s way of doing things is superior to all possible alternatives”?
On the other hand, we could take this approach: do any of the above assertions satisfy the NAP (non-agression principle)? Although the NAP does not totally describe voluntaryism, there are no descriptions of voluntaryism which can exclude the NAP.
I have covered income tax previously in this column, but only on the grounds of whether it was right or wrong. This time I will contend that the decision to impose income taxes upon a collective of people is an example of a wrong path for a social order. In 1913, the USA decided that its programs were too meager and could not be continued without taxing the very means of life for its citizens, their incomes.
There was a seemingly good reason – to pay for a war to save the world (If you want more fairy tales, I must humbly refer you elsewhere). It was going to be relatively painless for two reasons – only the smallest percentage of the very rich would pay, and as soon as the war was over the tax would be retired. I have a single answer for all three of those canards, and it is the same answer as that to the question, “what comes out of male bovines in piles?”
Nowadays taxes have produced perpetual wars which in turn produce perpetual taxes. And everybody pays in one way or the other. We will not even get into the management and the application of taxes for the common good, a non-existent thing. Just as the tax-war-tax vicious cycle smacked us in the face, we are now beginning to see that there is a tax-makework-tax cycle of which the endless war is only a part – certainly a nasty part.
Every peccadillo of the state is related to the tax cycle and to all of the little wheels grinding within. For instance, why do we need government-run schools? Well, that’s the wrong question. The begged question is why do government-run schools arise? State schooling is necessary for advanced militaristic planning, for indoctrination, for conditioned response, for the gaming of logical and self-ordering systems.
Similar answers apply for roads. A similar answer exists for anything that the government has succesfully removed from private market mechanisms. And, to be sure, I use the term “successfully” only relatively, regarding the state’s hidden agenda.
I feel that all of the above presented cases are emblematic of the kind of thing that you see in a cheap, cheesy creature feature – the monster must steal the essence of some innocent, accidentally by-standing group – even when the monster has the best of intentions. To the voluntaryist mind, there can be no acceptance of knee-jerk intervention (minding someone else’s business), of demanding that others pay for your hidden agenda, or of objectifying any person or thing as an obstacle to your agenda.