Monday, May 18, 2009

Petty corruption of tyranny

The following is a personal outlook paper of The Jacksonian Party.

Taxation is one methodology for the State to get the funds to keep itself running so as to protect society.  The Nation State has that burden and uses the tool we call taxation to burden the public for its own defense.  And yet we hear of all the great 'good' that can be done by taxation, if only we give the government more of our money.  Unfortunately government is not a good caretaker of funds nor an able spender of them, as I have looked at before.  So when government gets involved in anything, the immediate cost overhead burdens how the money is spent with inefficient bureaucracy, oversight and other compliance mechanisms required within the government.  I personally worked at one of the most efficient agencies in the US federal government that only had 35% of its budget taken up with that overhead, and worked with another that only had 41% taken up with such overhead.  The functions of defending the Nation, its borders and upholding the common law are all things that cannot be done elsewhere in the bureaucracy or by the people: these are National concerns.

Things like healthcare, education and agriculture are all better suited to local administration, the more local the better.  When government gets involved your tax dollars go less far, less efficiently and with less accountability that with State, local or personal expenditures.  As you can hold all your recipients personally accountable, you are the best place to spend any funds for things that are best done locally.  You pay a premium to get government 'oversight', and that comes in loss of productivity for the system as a whole

Higher taxation is always touted as 'necessary' and 'patriotic' to pay for such things, and yet I remember that when the Goods and Services Tax was first put in across the border in Canada, shopkeepers welcomed me with open arms as I didn't have to pay that tax!  It is the strangest dichotomy that something that gets such a 'good' is reviled or even despised by those who have it put on them.  What happens is that such taxes are not liked nor do they engender good feelings towards the overall system.  In fact just the opposite.

From this article by Pierre Lemieux originally seen in The Globe and Mail in 1994 and reposted by the author, I can see those transition years happening as I understood them, then:

As budget day nears, politicians of all stripes warn us that tax evasion is rampant in Canada. Before he started talking about tax increases, Finance Minister Paul Martin had declared that "hundreds of thousands of otherwise honest people ... have withdrawn their consent to be governed" by escaping in the underground economy.

The problem is that the politicians do not seem to draw the right conclusions. Pressed for money -- actually, nearly bankrupt --, the federal government, as well as some provincial governments, has decided to clamp down on the underground economy. Revenue Minister David Anderson has declared a war on tax evaders.

After shopkeepers defied the law by openly selling smuggled cigarettes in Saint-Eustache, Qué., Bloc Québécois leader Lucien Bouchard came out against what he sees as a new state-cheating culture. He apparently thinks that citizens should always obey the rulers. Indeed, the governing class shows a rare unanimity in bringing the Canadians back under the government's rod of iron.

That is to get the much lauded healthcare system in Canada, that now sees people not liking it all that much as services for what we, in the US, would consider routine tests, like MRI and CAT scans, now have long waiting lists.  I remember someone citing that all of Canada has the same number of MRI machines as metropolitan Philadelphia.  When government takes more money to provide fewer services than was available without government intervention, the people draw their conclusions on the efficacy of funding government.

Mr. Lemieux then looks at some of the reasons the tax cheat culture started in Canada:

First, how did tax evasion develop among so docile a people as the Canadians? The answer lies, of course, in the tax burden they have to shoulder. Tobacco, on which federal tax rates have increased by 150% over the last five years, is only the tip of the iceberg. The total tax take by all levels of government now amounts to nearly 40% of the Canadian gross domestic product. If we include the deficits, which are just future taxes, government takes close to one half of what people produce and earn in this country. In two words, tax evasion is a response to tax invasion.


Galloping regulations are another factor. Some of them come with taxes: Small businesses now have to perform time-consuming GST accounting, and prepare a complex quarterly report. I don't know if we ever were a nation of shopkeepers, but we are certainly becoming one of tax collectors and accountants. Other forms of regulation -- labor regulations, for instance -- make it much more simpler and cheaper to go underground, for consumers and suppliers alike.

The second question is, How could we ever accept such a tax burden in the first place? One hundred or 200 years ago, the great Western thinkers to whom we owe whatever liberty we have left would never have thought this could happen in a free country.


The third question relates to the state's reaction. Politicians argue that the individuals who do not pay their "fair share" thereby increase the tax burden of other citizens. The main thrust of the coming federal and provincial budgets may well be to increase the effective tax burden under the guise of "fair shares."

This is a naïve cliché which assumes that political and bureaucratic processes naturally lead to the optimal amount of taxes required to finance unanimously demanded public services. What actually happens (at least if we agree with the Public Choice approach in economics) is that the government will take as much as it can, it will charge what the traffic will bear. Governments satisfy minority pressure groups and buy votes through spending. If Canadians in the underground economy were to start paying their "fair" taxes, government revenues and expenses would just increase by the amount of the new taxes. In this perspective, the underground economy is a useful restraint on Leviathan, and a benefit to all taxpayers.

Yes, that is exactly what I remember from shopkeepers when the GST was put in place: they had become the accountants for the revenuers!  And loathed it.  Some even preferred 'off the books' purchases that were legal, just so they could avoid doing the paperwork on the purchases... anything to avoid the overhead of doing the government's work FOR IT without any recompense.

Looking at Recent social trends in Canada, 1969-2000 on p.468 (via Google Books excerpt), the trend of tax evasion declined from 1969-80, and then steadily increased thereafter.  In Taxation in Canada by Janet Shimbashi Denhamer pp. 55-57 (via Google Books excerpt), is a discussion of means to avoid taxes in Canada via planning, avoidance itself, evasion, or putting income into categories that are not directly taxable.  Thus when government puts in broad-based taxes that are deeper and more invasive, people lose their adherence that they are for the 'common good' and that the 'common good' is best served by avoiding taxation at all costs.

Germany has one of the highest tax rates for individuals in Europe, and yet it appears there is something going on at the lowest levels.  From this report at Marketplace at Public Radio on 19 FEB 2008, we see some of the hints of how people feel about taxes when tax evaders are caught:

Brett Neely: Well, it seems like someone who was possibly an employee at this bank in Lichenstein, the LGT bank, stole a DVD full of sensitive customer information and sold it to Germany's intelligence services for what's reportedly about 5 million euros.

Jagow: Why would the intelligence service pay for this information?

Neely: There's been a big problem with tax evasion in Germany. It's kind of a sport in some ways. And Lichenstein is one of the favorite places for wealthy Germans to stick their money. The German government's been trying to find ways to collect on these taxes for years, but they can't get through Lichenstein's bank secrecy laws. So when this data was put up on the market, it was irresistible.

To put that in US terms it would be the following: the CIA was spying on American's overseas finances to supply information to the IRS.

Mind you, everyone on the Left tells you how wonderful it is to pay taxes and how those in Europe are so glad and pay so readily... and then become tax evaders, apparently.  Mr. Neely continues on that it is unusual for people to drive to Liechtenstein with cars full of money, but that everyone gets tax consultants to help expose as little money as possible to taxation in Germany.  Everyone does it.  Mind you, that is from generally left-leaning Public Radio, and a startling admission that broad-based taxes may not be that well received in highly taxed Nations.

In Denhamer's work, it is pointed out that the ability to misrepresent  items leads to the amount of evasion being higher than expected when considering Gross National Income.  Lemieux makes that point also, and when comparing tax receipts on income versus GNI, the delta between what 'should' be garnered under taxation and what is garnered is the amount being avoided.  Government raise rates to generate more revenue... which increases avoidance as taxation gets more draconian.

In a Business Today article of 20 MAR 2008, Aseem Mahajan looks at some of the coverage of the scandal and what it reveals:

The drama began on February 14th, when police detained Zumwinkel at his villa.  The CEO was charged with evading tax payments of over € 1 million ($1.5 million) by channeling money into underground foundations set up in Liechtenstein by LGT Bank (along with Andorra and Monaco, Liechtenstein has been labeled as a tax haven by the OECD).  While many German elites tried to stay clear of Zumwinkel and his financial dealings, a deeper probe revealed that more than 1,000 German investors had also channeled money into Liechtenstein’s “foundations” to avoid Germany’s notoriously complex tax code.  To add to the situation, in recent years, many Germans have become wary of the gap between corporate managers and average citizens.  According to The Economist, “the pay of Germany’s top managers jumped 17.5% in the 2006-07 financial year,” while “globalization and economic reforms have squeezed the wages of ordinary Germans” (“The Disgrace of Germany AG,” February 21, 2008).  Although Germans voted to raise the top income tax rate in 2007, this has had little effect on reining in the wealthy.  The number of German tax advisers has increased recently, and “tricking the taxman is now widely considered a national pastime in Germany” (“Not so Fine in Liechtenstein,” February 22nd, 2008, The Economist).  In a country that delicately balances capitalism with large social-welfare programs, even a few scandals can rile critics of capitalism, which leaves it much more vulnerable than in America. 

That is the crux of the social welfare state: any avoidance of taxation demonstrates that the welfare, itself, is not appreciated and that political favoritism goes to the pocketbook, directly.  When government takes healthcare and social services out of local hands, it then puts in place the avenues of political corruption that can range on a National scale, not State (or Provincial) or local one, which should be easier to catch and hold people accountable for their actions.  At the National scale entire political classes who gain benefit from corrupting the tax system to reward some over others on the public dollar then rally to say 'how good' the tax system is at going after the 'fat cats' while seeing that it is those exact, same 'fat cats' who are their backers across all political parties.  More government increases the avenue for corruption, not decreases it.  Higher taxes on the wealthy become a facade behind which the decaying State is eaten away by its own politicians.  'Progressive taxation' turns out to be a misnomer as it heavily politicizes the 'progressiviness' of the taxes and allows those who have the means to avoid them, evade them or just not pay them.

Taxation 'progression' leads to political regression.

On 20 FEB 2008 article at Euro Intelligence by Wolfgang Münchau examines the principle reason for tax evasion being... yes... taxes:

Germany has always had a problem with tax evasion, mainly because of relatively high marginal tax rates. Slovakia with its 19% flat tax has no such problem. Austria, which has one of the lowest tax rates of the industrialised countries, has no such problem either, even though, unlike Germany, it has a direct border with Liechtenstein. Nor have the Swiss. The French have a problem with Switzerland and Monaco. The Italians have a problem with Monaco. And the Spanish have a problem with Andorra. But nobody has bigger problems than Germany (which has problems with Luxembourg, Liechtenstein, Switzerland and even Austria). Germany is a country where business elites enjoy among the lowest pay packages, and the highest marginal taxes.

The German government now plans a series of measures to crack down on Liechtenstein. But to what effect? If the German government succeeds to destroy Liechtenstein's business model, this will be bad news for the plucky principality. But then, what stops wealthy German investors to go to Monaco, the Channel Islands, or the Cayman Islands?

Ah, the winds of the next World War, perhaps?  Unlikely as Germans are not about to militarize over taxes... yet.  But destroying the efforts of small Nations to be financially independent in how they do things so they can address local concerns means that they need to get understanding that their sovereignty matters.  When liberty is destroyed or put at threat by outside forces, those doing the threatening need to understand that they are harming the flow of all liberty, not just seeking their 'just due' via taxes being avoided by THEIR OWN CITIZENS.  Perhaps if they would lessen services and programs and institute a more moderate and lower tax, the people could find a way to provide for those things that government does in a piss-poor way?

That requires divesting the Nation of internal power over its own people and allowing liberty a greater hand for each individual to determine their own course in life and not seek cradle-to-grave support from a beneficent that has draconian taxes and a tyrannical system of collection that uses spies to find out just where their own people are hiding money.  As so many point out how 'good' Germany is in healthcare, the flip side is that their own espionage services are used upon their own citizens to catch them evading TAXES.

I thought the idea was to build up social cohesion and trust in government, not destroy it?

What is even worse is that the entire EU concept was supposed to ameliorate the problem.  From Businessweek 27 MAY 1996 an article on Germany's problem then:

Can German Chancellor Helmut Kohl spark a supply-side revolution in Europe? No one would have believed it just a few months ago. But Kohl's Apr. 26 announcement of plans to ax more than $46 billion from government spending and to roll back Germany's costly tax and social security regimes is the strongest signal yet that such a shakeup is on the way. Kohl's proposed budget cuts--the equivalent of 2% of gross domestic product--would slice far deeper in a single year than then-Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher ever did when she launched her bid to reform Britain.

Kohl's plans could mark the start of an economic and psychological turnaround whose effects would soon ripple throughout Europe. While his program aims to revive Germany's economy, his broader goal is to change Europe's economic mind-set. He wants to scrap the long-held expectation that Europe must have big government, high taxes, unbending labor practices, and huge social spending. "Psychology is 50% of economics," says Meinhard Miegel, head of Bonn's IWG Institute for Economy & Society.


A more favorable tax regime would also kill the incentive for tax dodgers who bank their money in Liechtenstein, Switzerland, and Luxembourg. "It would absolutely stop tax flight from Germany," says Martin Hufner, chief economist of Munich's Bayerische Vereinsbank. That, in turn, would help Germany regain an estimated $70 billion in revenues lost annually through tax evasion. Revamping the tax system is also aimed at luring foreign investors away from other high-tax countries such as France and Italy. Says Herbert Demel, CEO of Audi: "It is the first step to correct Germany's disadvantages as a place to do business."

Didn't get anyplace, did it? This downsizing government and giving back liberty deal, just didn't make headway all that much against the 'progressive' interests of unions and business.  Those two items working together for their own interest shows a major problem once big government arrives: you have a hard time getting rid of it via 'cuts'.  That was back 12 years before the 2008 scandal, and yet that is where you get when you don't give back those things government has taken from smaller concerns within the Nation.  By not increasing liberty the government now uses repressive means to squeeze the citizenry, rich and not-so-rich alike, based on 'fairness'.  Just like their fellow citizens in Canada, those in Germany see no reason to adhere to an oppressive tax code and obey it.  That disobedience engenders an adversarial relationship between the State and the people, where the State flexes the negative liberties invested in it AGAINST its own people.

In the US we see this distrust arise in a different venue one which we know all too well due to past abuses.  At The Wall Street Journal on 18 MAY 2009 Glenn Harlan Reynolds has an article on this topic:

At his Arizona State University commencement speech last Wednesday, Mr. Obama noted that ASU had refused to grant him an honorary degree, citing his lack of experience, and the controversy this had caused. He then demonstrated ASU's point by remarking, "I really thought this was much ado about nothing, but I do think we all learned an important lesson. I learned never again to pick another team over the Sun Devils in my NCAA brackets. . . . President [Michael] Crowe and the Board of Regents will soon learn all about being audited by the IRS."

Just a joke about the power of the presidency. Made by Jay Leno it might have been funny. But as told by Mr. Obama, the actual president of the United States, it's hard to see the humor. Surely he's aware that other presidents, most notably Richard Nixon, have abused the power of the Internal Revenue Service to harass their political opponents. But that abuse generated a powerful backlash and with good reason. Should the IRS come to be seen as just a bunch of enforcers for whoever is in political power, the result would be an enormous loss of legitimacy for the tax system.

Our income-tax system is based on voluntary compliance and honest reporting by citizens. It couldn't possibly function if most people decided to cheat. Sure, the system is backed up by the dreaded IRS audit. But the threat is, while not exactly hollow, limited: The IRS can't audit more than a tiny fraction of taxpayers. If Americans started acting like Italians, who famously see tax evasion as a national pastime, the system would collapse.

Or become so infamous at cheating that they would take it as second nature that to avoid government taxation, regulation and oversight meant that one easily disobeyed those laws and any others that happened to get in the way of free exercise of liberty.  Taxes are put upon liberty, and it doesn't matter where they fall. 

If upon investors, they lack the ability to invest in a robust fashion and build industry to provide jobs and productive capacity for the Nation.

If upon businesses, they are robbed of the ability to to be competitive and unequally put upon by 'progressive' tax loads that ensure big businesses will always survive and small ones never threaten them.

If upon shopkeepers, they must needs spend productive time being the unpaid accountants and tax collectors for the government.

If upon the individual, then the means to sustain personal liberty is directly taxed and, with 'progressive' taxation, the impetus is upon the rich to gain political clout so as to shield their wealth at the expense of the rest of society.

Because government is a necessary evil to give us a space to secure our positive liberties does not make it a benefactor to society.  One would think that generations of having demonstrated how 'entitlements' done through government by taxation have had the opposite effect of enriching society.  Those that have made the citizenry beholden to government have created those that will evade it and created a cheating citizenry seeking the free exercise of liberty.  Moderate and equal taxation with an exemption for the destitute gives each individual a citizen's share: everyone contributes in the exact, same proportion be they poor or mega-wealthy.  Each extra dollar earned is only moderately taxed, so there is great incentive for an individual to do more to secure their worldly life and exercise their liberty to their benefit and understand the responsibility of being a citizen to one's fellow citizens.

To do otherwise is to make shopkeepers the tax collectors... and to turn the espionage services meant to defend a Nation against its own citizens who are viewed as cheaters.  Unfortunately it is government that cheats by taking liberty in excess of the few things it must do to secure the safety of society and administer laws equally.  And when government tries to 'do more' it becomes beholden to the special interests and not the general interest of all of society.  That is no good at all.

Friday, May 01, 2009

The thought is in the air

The following is a personal perspective paper of The Jacksonian Party.

Many have tried to give Divine push to their political outlooks and yet when the quotes come to back the politics the meaning is lost:  try a powerful quote without the backing of it by anything happening, and you get non-support for your politics.  Thus a quote that I had remembered for ages, used in song and stage, recaptured in print ideas again and again and Mark Steyn at Maclean's is the one to get the gist of it the best.


From Mark Steyn:

The sums are bigger than in King Belshazzar’s day: mina mina, shekel, half-mina. Now it’s trillion trillion, billion, half-trillion. But throughout the advanced social democracies the upshot’s the same: demographically, the days of the kingdom are numbered; fiscally, we’ve been weighed in the balances and found wanting; and geopolitically, the Persians and others (no sign of any Medes) are beginning to divide up what’s still supposed to be a “unipolar” world.

Bertie’s Aunt Dahlia is right: once upon a time, you were certainly an ass if you didn’t know where “the writing on the wall” came from. It was part of the accumulated cultural inheritance: Handel and William Walton wrote oratorios about it. It was routinely alluded to, hither and yon: “No more his eager call / The writing’s on the wall,” as Judy Garland sang in A Star Is Born, music by Harold Arlen, lyrics by Wodehouse’s pal Ira Gershwin. Rembrandt’s painting of Belshazzar’s Feast hangs in the National Gallery in a London all but oblivious to its significance, not least in G20 week. Today, I doubt one in a thousand Canadian high-schoolers would have a clue whence the expression derives. And one sign that the writing’s on the wall is when society no longer knows what “the writing on the wall” means.

Our society, once so steeped in the Western Tradition of knowledge and wisdom now grows up a generation or two that not only disdain but ignore that knowledge and wisdom. It is thusly so strange that they echo just before these generations were ill-taught, ill-advised and deceived by those that had for so long looked to do wrong to liberty and freedom.  Turned from what matters to what doesn't one song now comes to haunt those generations that those in power have purposefully sought to ruin:

And the people bowed and prayed
To the neon god they made
And the sign flashed out its warning
In the words that it was forming
And the sign said, "The words of the prophets are written on the subway walls
And tenement halls"
And whispered in the sounds of silence

The Sounds of Silence was an anthem of angst, yet the dying of the light that started then was witnessed, even if those that saw it could not understand that it was their light that was dying by their own hands.  A generation that had come to invest itself in men, not laws, would soon turn from laws to man and the neon gods being put forward on television screens and pushed out the door in all their glory.  As a member of the generation just after that, I have had to fight, and fight very, very hard to find the actual sources of wisdom that guided our Forefathers and how they realized that the Laws of God and the laws of man had distinction, needs and attributes that were different from each other.  How could one seek to reconcile Moses coming with the Laws of God, throwing them to the ground in disgust at his people's actions and then turn to break one of the Laws he had been given?

If we adore the Laws of God, we recognize the frailty of man and that to uphold the law is more important than the blind fury of those that do not.  To be serious about the Laws of God, then there must be no breach of them, and yet that is exactly what was done by the one chosen to bring those to mankind.  This would, indeed, purify the Jewish people of those that would worship the idols, but the price was in breaking the very Laws given to be eternal.  Putting the broken tablets together to make them whole would not be possible then or now.  By not teaching our history and being proud of it, we have broken with it, and if the journey made from unsophisticated man ruled by passion to modern man ruling his passions by the law are broken, then it is to the Law of Nature we head, given to Nature by its God.

A society once passing that must work very hard to regain its lost soul, and not bow down to neon god and the smiling of man who vows to do good, and yet breaks his promises at every turn.  The words are silent.

The meaning clear.

Even knowing how many pieces there are, the whole cannot be made again.



"What is a cynic? A man who knows the price of everything and the value of nothing."
Oscar Wilde, Lady Windermere's Fan, 1892, Act III
Irish dramatist, novelist, & poet (1854 - 1900)

We value many things beyond price.  Good health, loving family, the ability to decide one's own course in life and deal with it.  No one can put a cost upon these things, and attempts to try and do so require losing liberty not only personally but creating a society that no longer has liberty and freedom to exercise it.  These things that have no price, once they have a cost put on them, then lose their value and become debased. 

There are many people willing to bankrupt the Nation, the people and you to get good health care, but they do not recognize that getting such is an act of liberty, not one of merely saying how much it costs to get health care.  It is beyond price because no earthly cost can cover it: everyone wants perfect health, and to achieve it, to get those extra few days, hours, minutes and seconds of life, one must make the judgment between spending themselves into oblivion, and thus losing any chance of care, or being wise and understanding that to live within one's means requires self-responsibility. 

Is it any wonder that when your 'cost' is taken from the equation, the actual cost of the delivery of this priceless good then skyrockets?  Even worse is that to get such lovely and 'free' health care, the decisions on your actual health pass from your hands to those disinterested in you, as an individual.  No matter how nice the bureaucrats are and the 'appeals board' you are now APPEALING for something that used to be under your absolute control.  When laws get passed on what can and cannot be done, as physicians move from the medical field as they become over-regulated, the cost rises higher and higher and higher.  Your 'payment' is to let others decide your health FOR YOU and now you can only APPEAL to these people you so ill-advisely trusted: politicians, lobbyists, corporations.

Your health, which is your concern because it keeps you alive, is now put into the hands of those who will decide if the value of your life and health is worth the cost to THEM.

This is seen on health and safety 'regulations' that put lovely warning labels on products never meant for some things, like using a ladder that doesn't reach as far as you thought it did and then trying to jump up from the top to where you want to go.  It was never meant for that, and yet I am sure, someplace, someone has sued based on their own inability to use reason and placed wishful thinking above that and blame others for it.  If you can't figure out if something can be used in a certain way, then ASK someone who knows what they are doing or research it YOURSELF.

Don't take that plugged in hair dryer into the shower with you, as you will get electrocuted.

Don't walk under ladders because you never know what numbskull is above you trying to jump up from it, or drop something just by accident.

That cape will not let you fly off the roof of your house.

If you don't know if its loaded, then CHECK first.

Learn to say 'please' when asking for something and 'thank you' upon receiving something of value to you.

No one can exercise common sense for you.  No warning sticker takes the place of your good sense, your ability to reason and ASKING for help.  Yet we pay the cost for people doing these sorts of things, getting themselves killed or injured and then having laws made to ensure that other nit-wits will have a perfectly good warning sticker to IGNORE and then complain that no one taught them to READ.

Perhaps because too much time was spent on the stickers and not enough spent on teaching people to read.

The writing on the wall does you no good if you can't read it, and even Belshazzar had to ask folks for help in that, of course by then it was too late.

Because we cannot see to count, our times are numbered.



Its a disaster.

What is?

Anything you wish to gain attention.

Drunk drivers?  A disaster, not a damned fool decision made by those that can't figure out how to moderate their drinking.

Obesity? A disaster, not a reflection of the most affluent society the world has ever seen where THAT could be a problem for the poor and not starving as is usually the case.

Smoking? A disaster, not something that has plenty of warning labels, good pharmacology behind it and is a known addictive substance with long term health effects that you then seek to avoid by getting others to pay for them.

Planes crashing into the World Trade Center?  Obviously the fault of those inside them, no?

That is the thinking of the political class of the Left and many 'moderates' in America today.

The weight of your personal decisions should be lifted FROM you and let government decide them FOR you so that YOU can be dictated to about your life.  Those that attack you?  It is your fault for being well off enough to afford having government do all these things for you, and the remedy is that taxation will make you poor.  Then, of course, you will be blamed for devaluing poverty because the 'truly needy' have gotten your money, your goods, your wealth and squandered them berating you.

There is a trick to the following equation:

Any society that would give up a little liberty to gain a little security will deserve neither and lose both.
-Benjamin Franklin

If you give up none of your negative liberties, to wage war, to hold others against their will, to inflict pain and suffering for misdeeds that you judge with no other backing, then you will get NO security.

There is nothing so frightening as man who has reclaimed all his negative liberties to himself and then sets about to wage war on civilization.

LASTLY, the crime of piracy, or robbery and depredation upon the high seas, is an offense against the universal law of society; a pirate being, according to Sir Edward Coke,10 hostis humani generis [enemy to mankind]. As therefore he has renounced all the benefits of society and government, and has reduced himself afresh to the savage state of nature, by declaring war against all mankind, all mankind must declare war against him: so that every community has a right, by the rule of self-defense, to inflict that punishment upon him, which every individual would in a state of nature have been otherwise entitled to do, any invasion of his person or personal property.

That from Blackstone's Commentaries on the English common law, that would be well known by Franklin.

We seek society so as to define our common values, our common liberties and rights and then vest our negative liberties into government to protect us from those who retain all their liberties under the Law of Nature.  Ben Franklin does not mention this as he probably felt it did not need to be mentioned, but the implication of NOT vesting our negative liberties into the organs of society known as government is to have no security at all.  Any who put forward that the means to defend ourselves from those who have returned to the savage ways of nature is either 'uncivilized' or creating tyranny, need to address just what the basis of civilization is and what the actual boundaries are between civilization and Nature and what to do with those that recognize NO law of man and are savages in their outlook.

The weight of stepping from society, from civilization to attack it is not a responsibility of those being attacked.  Those attacked are the victims and have every right, under the Law of Nature inflicted upon THEM, to use those exact, same laws upon the attackers.  In civilization we ensure that we are not brutalized by that liberty to do that by holding government accountable for its actions, but the judgment of using savage tactics upon those who have reverted to savagery depends upon the severity of the attacks and the long term consequences of not stopping more of them.  Our civilization is NOT a suicide pact so that we are to be liquidated by savage man come to kill us.  Nor is it a straightjacket to bind us so we cannot defend ourselves with all means necessary as dictated by the actions taken against us.

To those that seek to make morally equivalent the brutality of those stepping away from civilization to attack all mankind to the necessary means to defeat them put society and their very lives at risk when they elevate the attacker's stature to that of civilized human.  They aren't.  The actions taken speak much louder than any word, any invocation, any protestation, any excuse.  The means to address those grievances are available under civil law and if they cannot abide by civil law then they are an absolute moral threat to civilization and a physical threat to our very being and OUR liberties and freedom. 

In our understanding of 'outlaw' it is one that is not provided the protection of the law: to be outside the law.

To gain benefit of the law's protection, one must submit to it.

To do the opposite and take up arms and then attack is beyond any civil law to provide for them.  We do put in place actual laws for those that can be brought in, but the discretion of moving from the realm of the martial to the realm of the civil with those who seek no benefit, no adherence and, indeed, the destruction of both areas of law, is to be put upon the captor getting brutal, savage man and then deciding what to do with him.  Those that merely kill these humans of savagery are to be understood and no action taken against them: they are defending themselves, ourselves, our society, our laws and our Nation.  When savage man attacks, our civil and even martial laws run into man as beast: cunning, wild, and seeking power over everything.

When the weight of those attacking are placed upon the victim, there is not only no justice in doing so, but the effect is to step away from civilization and say that savage man is all we will be and lets just get rid of this civilization so that the few can inflict themselves upon the many.  It is an invitation to warlords to return.

Not to oppose them is to welcome a Dark Age upon us.

Still many wish that above all things as they cannot stand being civilized.

Thus in the balance we hang, where each is to do their duty to all of society, and those wishing to encourage the beast do just the opposite.

The scales tip as the balance shifts against Nations... and society.



A house divided against itself cannot stand.
-Abraham Lincoln

A man comes to run for office to 'heal the Nation' and go past the old boundaries of partisanship.

Instead he runs a tired, old agenda and calls it fresh just because he is doing it, and ignores that it has been tried and failed before in other lands.

A man claiming to be one of the people then calls the people unhelpful when they demonstrate against ill policy.

Our common dream of being able to judge a man by the content of his character then becomes a source of chastisement that it is really about race.

Pressing forward with petty politics and seeking to impoverish the rich so as to make them poor, the very foundation of the house is attacked with gusto, seeking to rend it apart into divisions and so part the people.

Well have we understood this to be the role of government as was said before the Nation was born by Thomas Paine in Common Sense:

Some writers have so confounded society with government, as to leave little or no distinction between them; whereas they are not only different, but have different origins. Society is produced by our wants, and government by our wickedness; the former promotes our POSITIVELY by uniting our affections, the latter NEGATIVELY by restraining our vices. The one encourages intercourse, the other creates distinctions. The first a patron, the last a punisher.

Society in every state is a blessing, but government even in its best state is but a necessary evil; in its worst state an intolerable one; for when we suffer, or are exposed to the same miseries BY A GOVERNMENT, which we might expect in a country WITHOUT GOVERNMENT, our calamity is heightened by reflecting that we furnish the means by which we suffer. Government, like dress, is the badge of lost innocence; the palaces of kings are built on the ruins of the bowers of paradise. For were the impulses of conscience clear, uniform, and irresistibly obeyed, man would need no other lawgiver; but that not being the case, he finds it necessary to surrender up a part of his property to furnish means for the protection of the rest; and this he is induced to do by the same prudence which in every other case advises him out of two evils to choose the least. WHEREFORE, security being the true design and end of government, it unanswerably follows, that whatever FORM thereof appears most likely to ensure it to us, with the least expense and greatest benefit, is preferable to all others.

Government enlarged, government more expensive, government more expansive are the exact opposite of the way the House was built.  The least possible government is the best and yet we now hear that we need more and more and more of it, to address every need, account for every infraction and create new ones with which to rob the people of their liberty.  To do all this we see our future earnings for two generations flow out of government and we see that our children will pay for our petty needs and leave none for them.

These are the chains of ill government brought to us by a man who said that he would, indeed, comb through every line item, and then disavows that with the very first signing of a bill that none has read.

We hear how dissent both is and is not the highest form of patriotism, so as to foment disorder and then suppress those who do not agree with the direction of things.

That is hypocrisy.

That is authoritarian.

That is despotic.

Congress sets us to war in two lands, and the hue and cry that one was just and the other unjust turns out to be mere stances taken to divide up the population yet again.  Those who raise the question forget that it is their representatives that determined the Just actions, not their dissent.  Even if wrongly gone to war, it must be backed until such time as it is either wholly repudiated by Congress or the outcome of the conflict determines our future course in any land.  To win is to be a gracious victor, extend a hand of friendship and let the people know it was their government, not them, that we did oppose.  To lose is to let others dictate terms to us.  To dissent to no earthly end is dissolution cast upon the waters of the body politic.

And yet those who cried so greatly for fighting the war they liked now find themselves with a President, for the first time in American History, who has ordered LESS to be committed to the fight.  No economics can guide that - one either commits or not and now this President is dissolving our understanding that to fight a war requires full commitment to it.  Instead we get half-baked ideas on warmed over and maggot infested dough that has gone green, and told it is wholesome.  Save the banks!  Save the auto companies!  Save this pet project or that one or all of them!  Health care is so important!  And 'green' energy!

What did happen to fighting in that Just war?

Each and every word spoken has an 'expiration date' on it, when it will be decided that it was not a good idea.  Some expire in hours, others in days, and a few have lasted a month or two.  Until political expediency requires changing, again... and again... without hope or solace or direction or reason behind it.  To say one does not want to nationalize banks or auto companies requires DIVESTING the nation's government of them.  Yet that utterly, completely, and straightforward approach to actually DO AS YOU SAY is not taken.  Laws pass, but who truly cares about the pet ideology of the moment?  It is ALL exhausting the nation, robbing us of liberty and returning us to chains.

Soon we will find a later passage from Mr. Paine most enlightening:

The present state of America is truly alarming to every man who is capable of reflexion. Without law, without government, without any other mode of power than what is founded on, and granted by courtesy. Held together by an unexampled concurrence of sentiment, which, is nevertheless subject to change, and which, every secret enemy is endeavouring to dissolve. Our present condition, is, Legislation without law; wisdom without a plan; a constitution without a name; and, what is strangely astonishing, perfect Independance contending for dependance. The instance is without a precedent; the case never existed before; and who can tell what may be the event? The property of no man is secure in the present unbraced system of things. The mind of the multitude is left at random, and seeing no fixed object before them, they pursue such as fancy or opinion starts. Nothing is criminal; there is no such thing as treason; wherefore, every one thinks himself at liberty to act as he pleases. The Tories dared not have assembled offensively, had they known that their lives, by that act, were forfeited to the laws of the state. A line of distinction should be drawn, between, English soldiers taken in battle, and inhabitants of America taken in arms. The first are prisoners, but the latter traitors. The one forfeits his liberty, the other his head.

Yes, none dare call it treason when a President does not carry out the duties of office to actually run a war authorized by Congress.  He has too many jobs that are NOT given to the President, Congress, Supreme Court or, indeed, to any facet of National government to do.  Strange that he wants all those jobs, but not the one he swore an Oath to.


Perhaps they should repeat it yet again to remind him of his duties?

These things divide the Nation and set it against itself.  Breaking the law is a mere affectation to the ruling elite who seek to empower criminals and subjugate the population to their horrific whims.  They distract time and again with all sorts of minor indulgences and errors and 'bloopers' and then we hear the sycophants trot out 'not to judge to quickly'!  Or 'he is new at the job'!

If it is too much to ask, if he was not prepared for the job on the very first day, then why in the hell did he RUN FOR IT?

There is no harder job on the planet and it is a volunteer position.  The President is to be the stalwart guardian of the Nation, upholder of its laws and guarantor that our enemies will be addressed.  Then why is it that our enemies are given succor and the PEOPLE are castigated for complaining about the cost of government and the man's inability to actually DO HIS JOB?

Those that have sought to divide the Nation know exactly what they do... and their reasons are legion, and the forethought is the exact same that Epimetheus had.  Much to his brothers discontent when he had to figure out what to give man.

It is seen and can be felt, a Nation divided.

Not between the haves and have-nots.

But between the despotic and the people.

A Nation is thusly divided that cannot attack during a war, cannot chastise its enemies and then goes to offend its friends and berate those that are the population of the Nation.

Divided it cannot stand.



America from its founding was numbered, twice.

Once from 1776-1786, under the Articles of Confederation, and that was found to be not well enough measured to meet the needs of the young Nation.

Again from 1787-1861, under the Constitution, and that was found to be lacking in Justice for all men.

America was weighed, once.

Weighed by the scales of such injustice the Nation was found wanting.

And then it divided.

Divided it fell into war.


We are the sons and daughters of the first Abraham and the second Abraham Lincoln.  The assassination of the second robbed us of the man who was President, who had saved the Nation, and who had started the means to amend past wrongs.  Those wrongs, however, killed him and the knitting took decades to work out.  To finally come to terms with that past took decades, and yet the goal was to have a society where all men were judged by who they were, not what they looked like.

From 1900-1964 America suffered through multiple wars, beyond just the World War.  In the Philippines, Haiti, Guatemala, the Cold War, Korea and Viet Nam we would see the Nation measure itself many times and only in the last was societal unrest happening, not due to the old problem from before the Civil War, but from a new one that arose from a generation born of privilege.  Given the best and greatest start of any generation in America, they found it not to measure up to their standards and demanded another set of standards of absolute perfection.  No Nation, no people, no ONE can measure up to that, and yet in found wanting of a nebulous state of perfection those inside the Nation came to abridge the measuring scales when they moved into power.  Past wrongs so abhorrent to them were now perfectly amenable to their perfect status.

Their measure was not the measure of man nor God.

For even creation is rife with imperfection.

That work of knitting our society together to ensure that all men have equal justice has not come to fruition by those who have distorted the law through privileges, quotas and other things which allow some citizens to get unequal treatment by government.  Those wishing to divide society chose government as it is the perfect actor to distinguish things and then treat them based on classification systems.  When applied to society, however, the end result is not 'enhanced' justice or 'making amends' via the law, but to inculcate that there are separate laws for different types of citizens based on gross features and beliefs.

The words of the modern prophets were not those of speaking up for equality, in those subway walls and tenement halls.  Those tenements had been built as part of the 'Great Society' to segregate people based on their class and race, and tore up neighborhoods of property owners to make them into renters.  Words going up were not ones that stayed silent, however,  as they reflected a slow brutalization of a once vigorous culture under the tender lash of a 'Great Society'.  Gangs that had once had to disperse to homes with mothers and fathers now became the focal point of any culture in poor, black communities.  And even once the tenements put up by government are, finally and with great prejudice, torn down, the violence that was given to grow in them has spread.  When government sought to do 'great good' as part of the 'Great Society', it committed an act of unspeakable evil to destroy the stable black culture that had thrived and was integrating with all of America and set it apart, once more, and then impoverished it further through neglect.

This ill created measurement of 'kindness' is anathema to America, and yet it continues on in our culture to attempt to digest it.  The measure of government is not the measure of ourselves as free people, but of our necessary evil given 'good' to do and turning upon society to corrode it.  Those that decried the evil of warfare re-instituted the evil of segregation and separation and neglect by willful good words and cheer of how government is can do 'so much good' that it creates debt now and far into our future if we can survive the next few months and years.  The effort to erase this knowledge of what a necessary evil government is has taken most of the 20th century by those that had come to power early in it.  They sought to remake man in a twisted image of perfection and now we have a twisted culture and ever growing evil we call government that sees citizens as a threat.

Measured once to evil means to gain horrific ends, America is distorted.


From 1964-2008 those who came of age during this distorted era now come to fruition in power.

They have not been taught history nor the basis of civilization.  Ignorance is not bliss, but fatal as the wisdom we can derive from past mistakes and past good work is now derided as created by a culture that just isn't 'multi-cultural' enough.  Strange that a culture that embraces societies stretching from central Asia to the Straights of Gibraltar, from above the Arctic Circle down to the last spot of land in Africa in the south, is derided as not being multi-cultural.  We can flip through our histories and see how the good peoples of Axum and Egypt and Mesopotamia and India have all influenced culture in Europe, and yet those wishing to debase that history deride it... and thus show their own grasp of history to be weak and ideologically driven.

We have been taught we are a democracy, that it is 'winner take all' and that all you need is 50%+1 to win.  But that is not the case, as that is the rule of the mob.  We live in a Republic under a Common Law, and utilize representative democracy in the Legislative Branch and indirect electoral democracy for the Executive Branch.  To 'win' in a pure democracy is to disenfranchise the minority.  To 'win' in a Republic is to recognize that the laws must fall upon ALL of society EQUALLY, and that the process is to create good laws for all in society, not just those who brought you to power.  To not do so is to undermine the common law and respect for the law so that society may thrive knowing that it all members are treated equally by the law.  Winner take all is purely partisan and authoritarian: it is wonderful for games, awful for societies and Nations.

To get a 'majority' of those who vote, the two parties have worked diligently year after year to isolate themselves from the public and allowed the ill-made laws of a sliding-proportionality, fixed size House of Representatives disenfranchise the people.  As we grow in size so must we manage our affairs in this larger society, but our Congress is stuck at the size it had in 1911: they do not have the numbers to cope with a prosperous and populous Nation and we are no longer represented well or at all by those seeking to divide the people.  At smaller scale representation your voice is heard and your vote matters, but in large scale politics your voice disappears and your votes only matter when turnout drops precipitously.   That is what has happened since 1964, during which the US had nearly 70% voter turnout to 2008 in which it is down to 51%.  That is a near 20% drop, or 1 in 5 voting age Americans, who do not vote and have joined the previous 30% to register their non-affiliation with the system.  Thus we have a system, as measured, that runs on a minority basis no matter who wins.  That leaves choices and politics up to ever more distant ideologues or 'pragmatists' who see great ends in getting their names in lights, giving their supporters goodies and then as an afterthought, actually try to make some decent laws for the Nation.  When they aren't carrying out some partisan cause or another.

If the legitimacy in representative democracy is support and turnout, then America is failing and nearly dead as a representative democracy.

Measured to these mean ends, America no longer recognizes herself and her people become distant from her, as we are no longer We the People.


Those that lift the weight of society, the State and the Nation are its citizens, not government.

Our common compact states that it is up to We the People to do many good things for ourselves, and that we institute government as one very limited way of achieving a few of those things.  The point of government is to find those that can govern with restraint and not overburden the people with laws and taxes.  Thus limited government is the goal of any Republic, as to do otherwise concentrates too much power into too few hands and puts liberty and freedom at risk to those seeking self-aggrandizing power over their fellow citizens.

As the power and scope of government grows, we lose liberty, freedom and the ability to lead our own lives well.  Government taxes us, and takes the fruit of our labors and squanders it on the worse sorts of bureaucracy which produce a mere four dimes for every dollar put in.  The regulations of government tell us what we may or may not do with our bodies, our property and our activities, beyond those few things that endanger individuals and society by life and limb, we get limitations on what we can buy, what we can sell and what we can eat.  The calls of some to attempt to take those positive Natural liberties that exist within us, the right to form our own communities, the right to defend ourselves and our property, and the right to think as we may so long as we do not endanger others... these are totalitarian in scope and concept and seek do disarm us in a hostile word and turn us into mere victims of government.

That growth is a great and ponderous weight on a free people.

They are the weight of chains being forged to encompass the human soul and yoke it to our necessary evil so that it may become pure evil in its own right.

We have, indeed, forgotten the horrors of slavery and now seek to enslave ourselves to ideals that are horrific in seeking nebulous perfection defined by the few for the many.

Weighed the chains of enslavement are sold with ill-intentions coated in sweet words, and we are lashed by those who wish those chains to be fitted and by the government that comes to their control, and will soon devour them as well.


Using the bludgeon and whip of government to discriminate in society, society is divided.

Not just once, we should be so lucky!  No the tender mercies of those that wish division amongst all things even divides within divisions on and on and on until you only become a tag of sub-divisions and have not greater meaning to government than those tags.  Our fellow man who then looks at those tags think they can take the measure of the man, twice, and see him to be lacking in weight by ill measures and then break him so as to divide his body from his soul.

In America this division has been present since before the Founding and nearly destroyed the Confederation in 1786.  Now it appears again, the great rift of society between Urban and Rural America.  Between those who believe in concentrated power and those who believe in dispersed power that is disaggregated.  Those seeking to concentrate power live in those environments of concentration where great works of public need must be done so that people can survive.  These magnificent cities can benefit from small improvements in limited areas and see great changes... yet those same improvements put to anything larger than a city fail and miserably, as the concentration of humanity is not there to have any real effect.  It is easy to be a Ward Boss where a half day of walking around can get you to your entire Ward.  It is much harder if that half day barely gets you from one small group of people to the next as is seen from the suburbs to rural America.

As those who get elected come more and more from the great population centers, they outnumber their rural brethren, and shift the Nation to where the people are, but also exclude the good ideas of how the more disparate areas live from their consciousness.  In truth there are not enough representatives in the most densely populated areas to reflect their true scale of diversity, and so bland metropolitan life is represented not as thriving and prosperous, but as a grey similarity from city to city.  Yet even within cities great neighborhoods could demonstrate how social ills can be countered and good ideas spread from them, if they were but given a voice in more than local affairs.  That great diversity in how we live in areas great and small, is lost at the top of the Nation and those that govern soon see only sameness, not diversity... no matter how much they want the latter they are unwilling to REACH FOR IT by changing the representation system in the House.

That is not governing in understanding, that is ruling in FEAR of those you are attempting to rule.  They no more want 'diversity' than they want 'liberty' to be had because they cannot control it, harness it and make it work for them.  And the more they try the poorer we all become and the greater the smiles from those who crush us to make us equal.

We the People have a basic and fundamental division in our culture and it remains, to this day, as unaddressed as it was in the 1760's.  The Revolution, Confederation, Constitution and Civil War all only address this in parts and pieces, and when the Constitution is debased, as it was in the early part of the 20th century, to remove the power of States in the Senate and by the Congress to limit the say of the people in the House, that divide lengthens.


It is a chasm that now starts, culturally, at interstate bypasses.

Live inside the bypass and you are more akin to metropolitan America and Cities: centralizing is the solution.

Live outside the bypass and you are in suburban, small town and rural America: decentralizing is the way of life and the way to survive.

To address both can only be done by minimal laws and letting the citizenry work its liberty to its own ends to address the greater needs of society.

Yet we elect a man from City environs who promised much about crossing the divide, and then his actions seek to increase it until America falls apart.

This is not new, in America, but never has it been attacked and opened to such a great as an extent as today.

What has come back is the path of the Shaysites that did not start with Shays or even armed attacks, but started as civil protestations by the mass of America outside of Cities to end horrific spending and taxation that does little to help and horrific amounts to hurt liberty and freedom.

That started with civil discussions.

Civil protests.

And nearly turned to open war, save for the lack of one message getting to where it was supposed to go.

That last is no longer a problem in modern America.

Divided, the modern world now gives that power that was once only in the realm of cities, fast communication, to wide ranging rural areas.


Again we have been measured, twice.

Weighed and weighted continuously for years.

Divided by the ancient way we came to live in this new land.


It is time to pull the plug on the neon god.


And speak of the sounds of silence.