Government Should Follow Rules Too

People seem confused about what role — if any — government plays in our lives. This misunderstanding causes problems.

Government was never intended to be the master, but the servant. Your servant doesn’t tell you what you are allowed to do, nor punish you for not obeying him. The servant isn’t allowed to do things in secret with the master’s money, nor to keep any job-related secrets from the master. Your servant is accountable to you; never the other way around.

If someone takes a government job, they either accept their subservient position in society, or they can take a job — without such strings attached — in the productive sector. Forgetting their place should result in immediate unemployment with no chance of ever holding another government job.

Government wrongly claims to have the right to track everyone, spy on everything we do, collect all our information, and punish us for doing things we have the natural human right to do, but which government forbids. Nothing can trump natural human rights, not even the opinions of the vocal majority legislated and enforced by government employees.

Police across New Mexico object to a requirement to wear body cameras, which help them be held accountable to their bosses — the people of the community. If they can’t do their job under this condition, they are free to find other jobs. No one is forcing them to be police.

Locally, people are begging government for permission to re-open their restaurants, when government never had the legitimate authority to shut businesses in the first place. This illustrates the danger of allowing the servant to require business licenses. It’s none of their business who opens what kind of business, and nothing can make it their business. Not even if “this is how we’ve always done it,” which isn’t true anyway.

Local government is even pretending it should have the power to dictate whether someone will be allowed to use their own property as a subdivision.

This is crazy!

If we are to continue to fund government and give it our occasional obedience there must be rules for it to follow. Since the Constitution has been ignored for the past century and a half or so, what do you suggest be tried next?

Those who want to keep political government around are the ones responsible for keeping it out of the lives of everyone else. If you won’t rein in your troublesome servant, his misbehavior is on your head.

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A Governed Society Isn’t Civilized, It Is Slap-Dash

Nobody asked but …

The so-called Modern World has been sitting on its thumbs since WWII, maybe since the US Civil War. How else can we explain the massive failures of The Depression, Pearl Harbor, the Military Industrial Complex, 9/11, and the Coronavirus Pandemic?  We keep getting caught with our pants around our ankles, because we do not pull our pants up in the first place.

We have randomly created the perfect government for making sure everyone is pissed.  We have enshrined the scene of the accident.

We focused on dissent rather than just getting away from one kerfuffle and into another.  We were escaping from King George III, so we wrote documents that immortalized the crimes of a crazy monarch.  Our concept of freedom is couched in terms of being away from a distorted personality.  Our Bill of Rights is a punch list of things we will not tolerate from European monarchists.  No wonder this government pays no attention to the BoR.

— Kilgore Forelle

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Government Makes Crisis Worse

America is in crisis. Nearly everyone agrees on this point; they only disagree over what the crisis is.

Fewer still agree over what caused the crisis they can’t agree on, so they can’t agree on how to solve it.

Whatever the crisis is, and whether it was caused by a virus, police callousness, racism, inequality, or something else, governments love the excuse to crack down on liberty. This is often among their first responses — regardless of what the crisis is, what caused the crisis, or how it might be solved. It’s as though they don’t even care about those trivial details.

A crisis is when your right to life, liberty, and property is most important. When things are going well, are more robust and stable, a small disruption probably won’t cause ruin. When things are already on the edge, one little push in the wrong place, at the wrong time, can spell disaster.

Deciding to treat liberty as if it’s negotiable is a big jackbooted shove to civil society.

To respect the liberty of every human being is the civilized thing to do, even if some people aren’t respecting the liberty of others. This is why self-defense remains an important human right.

No crisis justifies additional government power; instead, it’s a time for less government meddling. Especially when the path forward is unclear.

The result of restricting liberty is to limit the number of individual solutions that can be tried. When there’s disagreement, it’s important to let people take different paths. If enough things are tried, someone will get it right. If you force everyone to follow the same path, the chances are nearly 100 percent that the wrong path will be imposed.

This is why the Constitution doesn’t allow itself, or human rights, to be suspended during any emergency and thus doesn’t permit martial law.

To pretend martial law is constitutional the Supreme Court was forced to concoct political “theories” to justify it. They made up, out of thin air, things the Constitution didn’t say and that it was explicitly designed to prevent.

It seems the Constitution has never stopped government from committing any action it really wanted to commit. Someone, somewhere, will rubber-stamp almost anything.

If the Constitution did permit the suspension of rights for the duration of an emergency, this would invalidate the document. That it doesn’t, yet government goes ahead and does it anyway, invalidates government.

Government “help” makes any crisis worse.

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Falsifying Liberty

I believe liberty to be worthwhile, to say the least. I also believe it is objectively superior to any alternative. This means I should try to falsify this hypothesis to myself. If I can’t think of ways which– if they held up– would prove my belief is based on a falsehood if it is, my belief is worthless.

How could liberty be falsified? If I could find one example where liberty– freedom tempered with responsibility– fails, that would do it. So far I keep coming up empty.

People have given me lots of examples where they imagine liberty fails: drugs, sex, “immigration“, etc. (and even the post office!) In every case, they weren’t thinking their position through very well or were trying to argue against liberty by artificially keeping The State a part of the scenario.

Sure, some people neglect their responsibility. This simply means humans are flawed and since they can’t always be responsible for themselves they certainly shouldn’t ever be put in charge of others.

Sometimes, people want to argue that because exercising your liberty in some essential ways is illegal, it can’t work even if it weren’t illegal. They imagine this rights-violation shows that liberty would fail even if the artificial barriers they refuse to reconsider weren’t there. The “we can’t get rid of government border controls because of democracy and welfare” people fall into this category.

That’s just dumb. If you want to argue against freedom of movement, you’ve got to at least discuss it without the artificial constraints of keeping other Big Government programs propped up to make sure liberty fails the way you want it to fail. And if you can get rid of one facet of tyranny you can get rid of the others– don’t pretend otherwise.

Yes, I am biased. I am pro-liberty and I am against theft, aggression, and slavery. I think I am able to consider all claims, however, I don’t need to wake up each day and decide anew whether I would be within my rights to go next door and start slaughtering people so I can take their stuff. You can ponder that question with each new day if you believe it’s necessary, but I’m done with it. No one has the right to archate and nothing can change that fact.

If, in the course of pondering this question yet again, you come to a different conclusion for reasons no one has presented before, try to convince me you aren’t just wallowing in statist superstition. Maybe you’re on to something and have discovered a way to falsify liberty, but I wouldn’t bet money on it.

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Stephan Kinsella: Intellectual Property and Economic Development (1h0m)

This episode features a talk by libertarian theorist and patent attorney Stephan Kinsella from 2011. Kinsella looks at the effects of patents and copyrights on economic development. Purchase books by Stephan Kinsella on Amazon here.

Listen To This Episode (1h0m, mp3, 64kbps)

Subscribe via RSS here, or in any podcast app by searching for “voluntaryist voices”. Support the podcast at Patreon.com/evc or PayPal.me/everythingvoluntary.

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Cancel Culture Is Out of Control

The online mob came for Harald Uhlig.

What terrible thing had he done? As I show in my new video, he tweeted that Black Lives Matter “torpedoed itself, with its full-fledged support of #defundthepolice.” Instead of defunding, Uhlig suggested, “train them better.”

Hundreds of people then signed a petition to demand that Uhlig, a University of Chicago professor and head of the Journal of Political Economy, resign. Even prominent economists like Janet Yellen and Paul Krugman joined the mob. Krugman called Uhlig “another privileged white man who evidently cannot control his urge to belittle the concerns of those less fortunate.”

But that’s just a lie. Uhlig wasn’t belittling concerns of anyone less fortunate.

“There was nothing racist or discriminatory in how he said it,” says Reason magazine senior editor Robby Soave, who covers the new “woke” protests. “But because he has some different views from the protesters, he must be a racist.”

Uhlig was placed on leave by the journal he ran.

The new totalitarians demand that no one criticize their view of the world.

The online mob even attacks its fellow Democrats.

David Shor, an analyst at Democratic polling firm Civis Analytics, tweeted a study that concluded, “race riots reduced Democratic vote share.”

That study was probably accurate. Obviously, rioting alienates voters.

But the mob attacked Shor. “Come get your boy,” one tweeted.

His bosses did. Even though Shor issued a groveling apology, he was fired.

Soave points out, “There’s a cruel streak in activism that says, ‘If you disagree with me…you have no right to speak.'”

“Why are they winning?” I ask. “Their argument is ridiculous.”

“People are afraid to challenge them,” explains Soave. “It just takes one employee at one company, to say, ‘Here’s the law that protects my rights to feel safe and comfortable in this workplace. If you’re not making me feel safe and comfortable, I’m going to get you in trouble.'”

So cowardly corporations cave.

A Boeing executive was even forced out for opposing women’s service in the military—30 years ago.

A Los Angeles soccer team fired a player because his wife posted racist comments.

Michigan State pushed out a physicist when a twitter mob from its “Graduate Employees Union” labeled him a “scientific racist.” What racist thing had the physicist done? He “rejects the idea that scientists should categorically exclude the possibility of average genetic differences among groups,” is how a Wall Street Journal column explained it.

Now “cancel culture” has moved abroad.

Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling is being smeared as “transphobic.” When a tax researcher was fired for saying, “Identifying as a woman does not make a person a woman,” Rowling tweeted, incredulously, “Force women out of their jobs for stating that sex is real?”

She said she has nothing against trans people, but she’s “concerned about the huge explosion in young women wishing to transition.”

The Twitter mob claimed her “hate” was “killing trans people.”

Some staff at Hachette, her publisher, refused to work on her next book. Actors in her Harry Potter movies spoke out against her.

But Rowling didn’t back down. “It isn’t hate to speak the truth,” she tweeted.

She also mocked a charity that used the phrase “people who menstruate” instead of women, tweeting: “There used to be a word for those people. Someone help me out. Wumben? Wimpund? Woomud?”

That further incensed the mob. It claimed her “hate…leads to trans women, especially teens and black trans women, becoming victims of sexual assault.”

But Rowling is the rare person popular enough to be able to resist the mob. Her publisher spoke up for her, saying, “Freedom of speech is the cornerstone of publishing.”

And the University of Chicago stood up to the mob, too. The school, after a 10-day investigation, announced there was “no basis” for taking away Harold Uhlig’s job. He’s been reinstated.

That’s how these cases should be handled.

“The solution is to challenge these people,” says Soave. “We just have to speak up.”

Those of us who can, must.

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