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Robert Higgs on The Perils of Trading Freedom for Safety

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Posted on Jul 17, 2007
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Robert Higgs author of “Neither Liberty Nor Safety” speaks with Truthdig’s James Harris and Joshua Scheer about how political opportunists and fear mongerers are gobbling up our individual liberties.

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By cann4ing, July 25, 2007 at 10:16 am Link to this comment

Oh so now your spewing of laissez faire dogma is the equivalent to 2 + 2 =  4?  You’ve offered only non sequitors which have no relationship to reality.  But keep posting.  Sooner or later, Mr. Davis, you will find someone less educated than I who actually might be taken in by your tireless tripe.

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By Mark Davis, July 25, 2007 at 7:14 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

When I state that 2+2=4 and you say that it does not, then I can only ask you to tell me what you think it is.  You have not provided an answer still.  I seek the truth and am willing to see alternatives to what I believe with an open mind no matter how strongly I may believe it.  To respond with name calling instead of an answer leads me to realize you are clueless about economics.  I have studied economics for many years and make a petty good living off of this knowledge.  I also never watch the idiot box, Faux News included.  Perhaps you should turn it off and spend some time reading von Mises or Rothbard as a primer to get you up to speed before looking silly in future posts.  Marxist dogma is so out of date.

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By cann4ing, July 24, 2007 at 10:52 pm Link to this comment

Mr. Davis, your retort amounts to repetition.  Just keep repeating, “wealth in the form of capital leads to increased productivity of labor”—like a mantra.  Real powerful logic you have there.  Why should someone like me intrude with a piece of reality from the growing class divide, or the billions of people who are the “losers” in the global class war?  What is the point of trying to impose reality upon “flat earthers”?

Where did you get this stuff, anyway?  Don’t tell me, your a drop out economics major who studied under Milton Freedman at the University of Chicago?  Or do you limit your economic horizons to the propaganda spewed over the Faux News Network?

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By Mark Davis, July 23, 2007 at 9:07 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

If wealth does not come from production that is saved instead of consumed, then where does it come from?  Wealth in the form of capital leads to the increased productivity of labor.  State intervention hurts labor and rewards capital.  The problem is the state not capital.

Long rants about Wal-Mart exploiting workers can not answer this fundamental question.  But I’ll address that.  Nobody is forced to work at Wal-Mart.  People accept jobs because the job they choose is the best choice available to them.  And they can quit at any time.  This relationship somehow bothers people that feel no remorse at using force to take from some to give to others.  That is a puzzle to me.

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By cann4ing, July 23, 2007 at 4:04 pm Link to this comment

Mr. Davis, your classical model of “production leading to trade” has very little relation to 21st Century American where most of the manufacturing base has been outsourced by the ruling class in an endless search for below subsidence labor.  (About the only thing still American made comes from the military-industrial complex whose sole source of revenue comes from our tax dollars under cost plus contracts that have absolutely nothing to do with markets). 

Let’s take the classic example for late 20th & 21st Century wealth accumulation, the company Jim Hightower has labeled “The Beast from Bentonville”—Wal-Mart, which by 2003, with its 4.400 stores had become the world’s largest corporation.  An Aug. 8, 2005 CNBC program reported on the opening of Wal-Mart’s 39th SuperCenter in China, noting that Wal-Mart was also the largest retailer in Mexico & Canada—a product of an ability of Wal-Mart, which did not have a single store outside the U.S. before 1991, to take advantage of international trade agreements like NAFTA & the WTO.  It’s “alwaysa low proces” translates into “always huge profits”—$7 billion per year, profits that have placed five members of the Walton family anongst the world’s top ten richest people, with a combined personal worth in excess of $100 billion.  This enormous wealth at the top is punctuated by the poverty level wages of Wal-Mart’s employees, the more fortunate of whom receive $15,000/year for full time work.  But for 70% of the Wal-Mart workforce, the company defines “full time” as 28 hours/week—$11,000/year.

The Scrooges at Wal-Mart are not satisfied with simply paying minimum wage.  At home, they devised an “off-the-clock” scheme in which employees are instructed to clock out, then assigned extra tasks for which they receive no compensation whatsoever—a practice, per Hightower, that netted Wal-Mart $30 million/year in Texas alone.  Abroad, Wal-Mart has aligned itself with sweatshop labor and has become the world’s largest purchaser of goods made in China.

As Hightower astutely noted, Wal-Mart “is now the world’s most powerful private force for lowering labor standards and stifling middle-class aspirations of workers everywhere.” 

The Opening of a Wal-Mart is an especially bad investment for a community.  Greg LeRoy observed “The upstream of a big-box store does not create many jobs for the local economy (think of all the goods made in China) and the downstream ripple effects are terrible because retail jobs are overwhelmingly part-time and poverty-wage…” Hightower puts it more bluntly, describing Wal-Mart as hitting “neighborhoods and tows like a neutron bomb, leaving buildings standing, but sucking out all of the economic and democratic vitality.”  It’s isn’t just size but the impact of its predatory pricing techniquests that force closure of local small business with a concommitment loss of the income and tax base those businesses meant to the community.  Yet, as incredible as it may seem, per a 2004 national survey, 244 Wal-Mart stores in 35 states received $1 billion in government subsidies.

If this form of wealth accumulation does not strike you as perverted, Mr. Davis, perhaps you should consider the words of our nation’s very first Republican President, Abraham Lincoln:  “Labor is prior to, and independent of, capital.  Capital is only the fruit of labor, and could never have existed if labor had not first existed.  Labor is superior to capital, and deserves a much higher consideration.”

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By Mark Davis, July 23, 2007 at 9:04 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Well Mr. Canning, the statist paradigm is difficult to overcome.  Your statement that the richest in the Gilded Age got a lot of their spoils through the use and control of the state reinforces my point.  My position is that using the state for income redistribution is evil, whether the state is controlled by the poot or by the rich: it is the same thing.  However, those whom spout “help the poor” slogans to get elected still end up helping the rich regardless of their rhetoric.  Thus democratic socialism is a scam at best duping the naive appears to work nearly everytime.  It ends up as a handy tool for facists.

Wealth comes only from production that is saved and is then enhanced by trade, plain and simple.  Please explain where else wealth can come from? When people produce more than they use it allows them to save and then to trade for other goods making both individuals whom make the trade better off.  This is the core of peaceful trade.  Intervention by the robber or the taxman destroys what was saved and undermines the incentive to produce more.  This is not “social Darwinism”, but common sense.

Big corporations control the state because they could not exist without it.  The view that the state exists to protect individuals from big corporations is part of the successful propaganda program over the past 100 years that the corporate state has fed us.  Focus on ending the state means of control if you truly seek freedom from this slavery.

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By Jabar, July 21, 2007 at 8:10 pm Link to this comment
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When did the United States become a “Democracy” as opposed to the Constitution’s Article IV, Section 4, guaranteeing a “Republican” form of government for the several states?

“On a candid examination of history, we shall find that turbulence, violence, and abuse of power, by the majority trampling on the rights of the minority, have produced factions and commotions, which, in republics, have, more frequently than any other cause, produced despotism.” JAMES MADISON

“From this view of the subject it may be concluded that a pure democracy, by which I mean a society consisting of a small number of citizens, who assemble and administer the government in person, can admit of no cure for the mischiefs of faction. A common passion or interest will, in almost every case, be felt by a majority of the whole; a communication and concert result from the form of government itself; and there is nothing to check the inducements to sacrifice the weaker party or an obnoxious individual.

Hence it is that such democracies have ever been spectacles of turbulence and contention; have ever been found incompatible with personal security or the rights of property; and have in general been as short in their lives as they have been violent in their deaths. Theoretic politicians, who have patronized this species of government, have erroneously supposed that by reducing mankind to a perfect equality in their political rights, they would, at the same time, be perfectly equalized and assimilated in their possessions, their opinions, and their passions.” JAMES MADISON (The Federalist No. 10)

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By Mudwollow, July 21, 2007 at 6:30 pm Link to this comment

Higgs seems pretty good at pointing out how government manipulates and oversteps its bounds but damn absent when it comes to offering superior alternatives.

The neocons are all for privatization. Property ownership Uber Allis.

Fine. So you buy a plot of forest were thousand year old trees are growing. The forest and everything that makes it up was there at least 950 years before you were born. No matter, you decide to cut all the trees down to make a quick buck. It’s your right after all, you own the land. But in clearcutting “your” forest the areas entire ecosystem is destroyed. Landslides occur, fisheries are ruined, whether is changed, wildlife gone. By exercising your freedom you curtail the freedom of many other living things including your freedom loving human neighbors.

It’s true that no central, socialist style government can ever be trusted to make all the right decisions for the general good. It’s also true that a staunchly capitalist system will ultimately result in serfs and lords and no middle-class. Neither extreme is sustainable.

If auto manufacturers had the freedom they desire, our vehicles would have no smog controls and no seatbelts. And of course the auto manufacturers would not be held accountable for the ramifications of the smog and traffic injuries. If an oil industry exercises its corporate freedom to buy politicians, acquire corporate welfare, and gets the government to protect its industry with an army paid for by the masses, isn’t that much closer to communism then capitalism.

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By cann4ing, July 21, 2007 at 3:53 pm Link to this comment

I never ceased to be amused when I read posts like that of Mark Davis, spewing the Social Darwinist mythology of a marketplace uber alles.  “Socialism is based on envy,” he claims, “better to destroy wealth in…redestributing it than it is to create wealth in the process of production and free trade.”  Yeah, right, Mr. Davis, as if “production” or so-called “free trade” has something to do with the accumulation of wealth in this society.

As observed by Kevin Phillips in “Wealth & Democracy,” “for three or four decades during the Gilded Age, corporations and railroads took their favors—enormous ones that help produce the world’s biggest fortunes—by all but seizing key portions of federal and state governments.”

As noted in my prior post, in today’s upside-down America, ostensibly “public” institutions have been increasingly perverted into tools of wealth disparity, as wealth has devised one scheme after another to insure that, from the perspective of the working and middle classes, things will only get worse.  Thirty years ago, at $1.3 million, the average annual CEO compensation was 39 times that of the average worker.  Today, at $37.5 million, it is over a thousand times that of the average worker.

While the middle and working classes are being pressured to surrender what is left of the New Deal safety net, the wealthy have had no qualms about extending a hand to receive government subsidies, as occurred between 1989 and 2002 when the U.S. government spent over $250 billion to bailout hundreds of Savings and Loan institutions which had been mismanaged into insolvency.  Perhaps the most blatant example of this, on an individual level, is the billionaire New York stockbroker, whom Jim Hightower refers to as Charles “Ducky” Schwab, proud owner of 1,500 acres of No. California rice growing wetlands—“Casa de Patos.”  Although Schwab grows rice merely to attract ducks so he can treat friends to a duck hunt, that didn’t stop him from placing his “Home of the Ducks” into the federal farm program so that he can cash in on a $500,000 annual subsidy because he doesn’t market the rice.  “Sadly,” Hightower observes, “it’s legal, and it’s a fine upstanding example of what George and his base like to call ‘entrepeneurship.’”

In “The Great American Job Scam,” Greg LeRoy documents how, over the past fifty years, corporations have obtained massive subsidies, outright gifts of land and property and enormous tax breaks from city, county, state and regional government entities by enticing bidding wars between them through empty promises of job creation that are most often never fulfilled and which, from a national perspective, do not create jobs but instead merely shift them from one region to another.

The differences between democratic socialism and Davis’s laissez faire ideology is the difference between “we” and “me.”  Democratic socialism embodies a sense of community.  Where the Mark Davises of this world would prefer a system that protects the profits of a few billionaire health care insurance company CEOs over the lives and well being of our people, democratic socialism envisions a sense of community responsibility; that the needs of the many outweigh the greed of a select few.

“The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much; it is whether we provide enough for those who have too little.”—Pres. Franklin Roosevelt

“More than anything else, I want to see the United States remain a country where someone can get rich.”—Pres. Ronald Reagan.

“Crony capitalism is the name of the Republican game.  Their slogan is ‘take care of your friends and leave the risks of the free market for the suckers.’”—Robert Scheer.

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By Mark Davis, July 21, 2007 at 7:01 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

That the state is able to perpetuate itself by creating fear in the populace of a simple tactic is certainly immoral, say evil.  “War is the health of the state” we seem to agree.  However, using the same method to rid society of other perceived evils such as income inequality, environmental threats, or pornography does not change the immoral status of this method.  Good intentions do not trump immoral actions.  The end does not justify the means.  A War on weather or poverty or drugs or terrorism by controlling the state apparatus is the same thing.  War is the ultimate socialist program and that is why all socialist programs turn to the rhetoric and symbolism of making war.

Socialism is based on envy: that it is better to destroy wealth in the process of redistributing it than it is to create wealth in the process of production and free trade.  Socialism undermines the incentives necessary to inspire individuals to produce additional wealth while it provides incentives to plunder the commons.  The illusion that becomes an expectation where everybody sacrifices individual interests for group interests requires love.  The use of force is not love and can not replace it under any circumstances.  The intimate decision to sacrifice personal capital must be made in good conscience or it will not be sustainable.

The use of force will often gain short term adherence to commands but it destroys long term respect.  The end result of central planning command and control strategies is contracting trade and the destruction of wealth.  This is so no matter what your intentions may be.  Socialism is based on the use of force and will fail as a unifying principle.

Liberty on the other hand allows individuals to be charitable, to truly sacrifice for love without the use of force.  The use of force taints the best of intentions save self-defense.  This is why self-defense is always used to falsely justify the use of force.  The inference being that you must be saved by central planners from your selfish ways.  This is a false paradox at best.

Sacrifice must come from the heart and not the point of the gun, so that the act of sacrifice has real meaning.  It then will inspire similar acts from other individuals.  The use of force also inspires a response in kind; the violent kind.  Which is better?

The moral choice is thus clear: a system based on voluntary cooperation (love and freedom) over a system based on mandatory cooperation (force and socialism).  That is, of course, if we truly believe in civilization over barbarism.

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By Mark Davis, July 20, 2007 at 11:46 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

That the state is able to perpetuate itself by creating fear in the populace of a simple tactic is certainly immoral, say evil.  War is the health of the state we seem to agree.  However, using the same method to rid society of other perceived evils such as income inequality, environmental threats, or pornography does not change the immoral status of this method.  Good intentions do not trump immoral actions.  The end does not justify the means.  A War on weather or poverty or drugs or terrorism by controlling the state apparatus is the same thing.  War is the ultimate socialist program and perhaps that is why all socialist programs turn to the rhetoric and symbolism of making war.

Socialism is based on envy: it is better to destroy wealth in the process of redistributing it than it is to create wealth in the process of production and free trade.  Socialism undermines the incentives necessary to inspire individuals to produce additional wealth.  The illusion that becomes an expectation where everybody sacrifices individual interests for group interests requires love.  The use of force is not love and can not replace it under any circumstances.  The intimate decision to sacrifice personal capital must be made in good conscience or it will not be sustainable.

Certainly the use of force will often gain short term adherence to commands but it also destroys long term respect.  The end result of central planning command and control strategies is contracting trade and the destruction of wealth.  This is so no matter what your intentions may be.  Socialism is based on the use of force and it will always fail as a unifying principle.

Liberty on the other hand allows individuals to be charitable, to truly sacrifice for love without the use of force.  The use of force taints the best of intentions save self-defense.  This is why self-defense is always used to falsely justify the use of force.  The inference being that you must be saved by central planners from your selfish ways.  This is a false paradox at best.

Sacrifice must come from the heart and not the point of the gun, so that the act of sacrifice has real meaning.  It then will inspire similar acts from other individuals.  The use of force also inspires a response in kind; the violent kind.  Which is better?

The moral choice is thus clear: a system based on voluntary cooperation (love and freedom) or a system based on mandatory cooperation (force and socialism).  That is, of course, if we truly believe in civilization over barbarism.

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By M. Gilbreath, July 20, 2007 at 9:32 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Mr. Higgs makes some good points about the coercive power of all government, and the tendency towards accruing ever greater amounts of power.  And yet it seems more than a little strange to me to argue that the creation of Social Security in the New Deal is the same as the military-industrial complex that Eisenhower warned us about and G. Bush has brought to full fruition. 

Let’s be clear that there has always been a political tradition that espouses a view similar to Mr. Higgs, Anarchists.  Peter Kropotkin, Bakunin (spelling?) Emma Goldman, and more currently Murray Bookchin, have all been articulate spokespersons for stateless societies, and in the best of all possible worlds this is where I would come down too.  But there are very practical problems that make the creation of such a world immensely difficult, problems that Mr. Higgs completely ignores, and which the hosts of the podcast did a poor job of addressing.

It’s all well and good to say that people should just take care of those in need and that we don’t need government assistance, but the reality is that the people, the churches the lodges etc. have never been equal to the task.  The Depression is the perfect example.  And the people responded not by taking care of each other, but by marching on Washington and demanding that the government “do something”.

Self-organized, self-governing, participatory societies have always had a very hard time sustaining themselves.  Anyone who took part in the Affinity Group based anit-nuclear movement of the 70s can tell you about this on a small scale.  And on a larger scale, the only large-scale modern day expression of this, the self-organized resistance to Franco (and indirectly Hitler) in pre WWII Spain, could not withstand the unprincipled assaults of the Communists because it took simply too much time and energy to reach decisions. 

Ultimately Higgs came across to me as an anti-progressive, holding us accountable for the providing the pre-conditions for the emergence of our current power hungry state.  I wish the co-hosts had been more aggressive in pressing him to make clear what it was he thought we should actually do.  Should we just abandon all government ?  Just trust that all those nice Evangelicals out there will take care of those of us with problems?  Just trust that we will be able to stand up to the first power-hungry bully that comes along?  I don’t think that human history gives us a lot of cause for optimism.

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By cann4ing, July 20, 2007 at 8:59 pm Link to this comment

In George Orwell’s “1984” the English language was reconstructed into Newspeak “not only to provide a medium of expression for the world-view and mental habits of [the Party], but to make other modes of thought impossible.”

Except with respect to the question of official complicty, Higgs’s analysis of the misuse of fear is spot on.  The most salient example of Orwellian Newspeak entails the phrase “war on terror.”  Within one day George W. told the nation that 9/11 was not merely an act of terrorism, but an act of “war.”  On 9/27/01 Rumsfeld publiced an op ed in the NY Times telling us that this would be a war like no other and we shouldn’t even think of an “exit strategy.”

While a nation whose psyche was badly damaged with each successive, televised replay of the collapse of the twin towers blindly accepted this initial assertion.  As a practical matter, the phrase “war on terror” borders on an meaninless oxymoron.  As noted by Gen. Wm. Odom, “Terrorism is not an enemy.  It cannot be defeated.  It’s a tactic.  It’s about as sensible to say we declare war on night attacks and expect that we are going to win that war.”  As noted by Antonia Juhasz, the phrase envisions a perpetual war with a “phantom menace” involving “shadowy networkds of individuals;” a threat that must be met “anywhere at any time, or everywhere all the time.”  The phrase has been used as cover for an effort to fundamentally alter constitutional democracy in to a dictatorial “Unitary Executive.”

Higgs’ libertarian/anarchist views and his critique of socialism is, frankly, idiotic.  One of the core purposes of government, embodied in the preamble to the U.S. Constitution—to promote the general welfare.  Government is as good or bad as the people who run it.  Examples of positive uses of government include the creation of the NLRB to secure the right of collective bargaining against the excesses of corporate power, laws protecting the environment, health, child labor, ending Jim Crowe segregation, universal free education—currently all under constant assault by the Bushies.  The effort to point to the failures of the Soviet system ignore that the USSR’s economic disaster was brought on, in part, by its participation in empire and an economically depleting arms race.  There is no correlation between a corrupt police state like the USSR and democratic socialism.

Mr. Higgs choses to ignore the success of, for example, socialized (or at least single-payer) medicine in every other industrialized nation but ours.  Who else to protect the uninsured if not the government?  If Higgs’s home caught fire, he would be the first to expect government (fire dept.) to show up to put it out.

The gap between Higgs’s laissez faire myth and reality is as stark as the growing gap between the wealthiest one percent and everyone else where, by 1999, the net worth of just three individuals, Bill Gates, Paul Allen and Warren Buffet, was larger than the gross domestic product of the world’s 41 poorest nations and their 550 million people.  In today’s upside-down America, ostensibly “public” institutions have been increasingly perverted into tools of wealth disparity—a problem Higgs doesn’t so much as acknowledge, let alone offer solutions.

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By Simon, July 20, 2007 at 10:56 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

You are pretty scary Dave, I hope you are not in public office.

Your version of society is “everyone should be happy and peaceful…as long as they cooperate with the majority.” You can’t see that that is violence in in itself, that is the definition of tyranny except it is just by the masses instead of a dictator.

And then you start prattling on about fair wages and nonsense like that, who decides what’s fair? You seem to want a more egalitarian society, but to achieve that you need to treat people under the law unequally, it is a contradiction.

You sound pretty offended by him, good.

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By Dave Toney, July 20, 2007 at 10:20 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I don’t agree with Mr. Swinington, Mr. Higgs is not a “nutcase”, he believes in the right to own property, a premise that is opposed to socialism.
Socialism negates private property rights, and is willing to use any force necessary to take whatever portion of property deemed excessive.
Socialism also negates individual rights to achieve its goals, if you do not wish to have your property or earnings seized for redistribution then the guns of the state will appear and imprison you or end your life if you insist upon resisting.
Socialism is coercion in all aspects of your life , unlike a free market, which forces no one to do anything other than respect individual rights.
Socialism is Hell on Earth for anyone other than socialists.

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By Scott Thomason, July 20, 2007 at 9:58 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

@ Dave,

Calm down, friend; take a deep breath; put down The Communist Manifesto for a sec and…uhhh…think.

First, assuming that “Higgs is a ‘nutcase’” because he dares to espouse a minority opinion, an appeal to the status quo does not an argument make.

“We are the government,” you say. I see, sorta like how a majority of Americans are against, say, Operation Iraqi Freedom, yet on it goes with no ending in sight. Who is “we” anyway? You proceed to bloviate, “it is not some separate entity that oppresses us.” One can shout from the rooftops or whisper to himself in the more quiet moments about how Big Brother is a benevolent sibling; one may even be quite perky come April 15th, for example, but the fact remains that you have no choice but to fork over the loot or be shot. This is beyond refutation. As Washington opined, government is “force,” nothing more. It is not Santa Claus; it is not the Tooth Fairy; it is not even Robin Hood or Jesse James. And it most certainly is not “us.” For the mere existence of one dissenter from your factitious “us” exposes the entire fraud of “us.” There is nothing inherently magical or even legitimate about a numerical majority. You write, “If we don’t delegate violence to the government/police, we will all have to use it everyday to protect ourselves and our families .. that’s the way it was for most of human history.” Needless to say, “we” didn’t delegate a darned thing. If any powers were ever delegated, it happened two centuries before I was born. Not to mention all the subsequent encroachments the US federal government has made. Allow a little thought experiment to shed some light on the absurdity of that assertion. Imagine that tomorrow the US federal government declares that it and it alone will produce toothpaste. Say one year later people begin discussing privatization of toothpaste production. Along comes someone who says, “If we don’t delegate toothpaste production to the government/police, we will all have to make it ourselves everyday to brush our teeth ourselves and our families .. that’s the way it was for most of human history.” It pains me to say that there will be a consumer demand for toothpaste and hence entrepreneurs operating on the profit motive (in effect far more kind than the faux philanthropy of bureaucrats) will stock Wal-Mart shelves faster than you can say “socialism is dead.” There being a demand for security in the absence of state monopolization, insurance agencies and private security firms will quickly fill the void—and far more efficiently and cheaper than the state.

You write, “We can’t have civilization without this handing off of violence to a regulated government agency.” So there was no civilization prior to the modern state, roughly a four hundred year old phenomenon?

You say, “The group as whole is better off than in a more individualistic society where a minority holds most of the resources and the majority suffers.” Ahh, that mysterious “whole.” Just how is such a “whole” measured

All the “we” talk? The Progressive movement? Just follow your fellow freedom fighters and do like they do. Drop your commie religion, and join the Church of Environmentalism. Dave, you’re soooooo 20th century. So collectivist. So scary.

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By Mark Davis, July 20, 2007 at 9:54 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Great interview with someone who realy gets it.

Mr. Swinington,
Calling Higgs a nutcase reveals a childish paradigm of living.  So-called individualism is reality, while identifying with groups is a cop-out.  Self-interest is the essence of any sane survival strategy.  To look for salvation through acquiescence to a “higher authority” is the opposite of maturing.  To seek to legitimize immoral acts like theft, murder and fraud with majoritarian doctrine is as evil as those whom seek the same with elite doctrine (e.g. divine right of kings). Finding solace in the Leader Principle stems from the fondness we all experience as children for the parents that take care of us, feed us and protect us.  Society is still in the process of maturing past the need for Big Brother.

Higgs is not only brilliant, well-read and informed; he also stands on moral principle and sound logic.  Rehashing paranoid egalitarian fears with naive notions of righteous government power to do good will help no one.  It never has and never will work: get over it.  Liberty itself is based on an individual paradigm.  I suggest studying logic and some Austrian economics before rambling on about how great socialism could be if only we had the “Progressives” running the machine of state.

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By Hostile Elder, July 19, 2007 at 11:42 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

“Atlas Shrugged” revisited.

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By tgambill, July 18, 2007 at 4:07 pm Link to this comment

It is now becoming common knowledge that the Military Industrial Complex has basically owned and controlled our government since WWI and even before.  This is a fact that cannot be disputed.  Congress has won a few battles, for example when the League of Nations was voted down and eliminated.  However, the despotic and corrupt United Nations took its’ place and continued it’s sinister agenda.  I have seen this first hand in Kosovo from 1999 to 2004 while I worked there.  We lied our way into the Balkans starting with Clinton, supported by Bush later.  Einsenhower tried to warn us and JFK about the threat of the Military Industrial Complex in 1960 in his last speech to the American Public.  This can be heard on UTube should anyone want to hear it.  The international Bankers and Industrialist who are specifically named, have been responsible for every assassination of our presidents since there has been a president and every attempt.  The president in almost every case save a few, are not what we envison an American president to be.  They are molded or recruited into this agenda to forment a one world government that has taken shape for a very long time.  They are now coming close to making this happen by giving Bush the powers or Martial law, formation of the Patriot Act which has further reaching powers than people realize.  These are the facts….......not opinions.  We are in the final objectives for the one world government to take shape.

This premises can all be substantiated by further research and it is a consolidated version.

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By bill payne, July 18, 2007 at 8:45 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Rights of citizen are being taken away by the legal profession when a court issued a voidable judgment and an attorney does not move to vacate that judgment as void.

So a voidable judgment become case law when it shouldn’t.

Right to trial by jury is one example.

We’re trying to do something about this.

http://www.prosefights.org/nmlegal/dcvoid/dcvoid.htm#motion

UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA
Arthur R Morales,
William H Payne

Petitioners

v                                                   No ______________________

Julie Altwies,
M Christina Armijo,
Dee Vance Benson,
George P. Eichwald for Kenneth G Brown,
John Edwards Conway,
William F Downes,
Lozenzo F Garcia,
C Leroy Hansen,
Christina Jaramillo,
John G Roberts, Jr,
Robert H Scott,
Denise Shepherd,
Don J Svet,


Respondents                                         Federal Rule of Civ. P. 60(b)(4)


MOTION TO VACATE JUDGMENTS FOR LACK OF JURISDICTION

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By Dave Swinington, July 18, 2007 at 6:30 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Higgs is a nutcase ... his conclusions regarding opportunists taking advantage of power and resourses are so obvious .. and it’s exactly why we need democratic, representative government. We ARE the government .. it is not some separate entity that oppresses us .. it’s what allows us to live with some degree of peace, justice and relative sharing of resources. His opinion that we should do away with government and have a “volunteeristic” society is supernatural .. it’s crazy. If we don’t delegate violence to the government/police, we will all have to use it everyday to protect ourselves and our families .. that’s the way it was for most of human history .. and in many places on the planet today.  We can’t have civilization without this handing off of violence to a regulated government agency. Everyday we all make decisions that either benefit ourselves OR benefit the group .. and if possible, both.  There will always be folks who have no sense that they are part of a whole and will “volunteer” to take & take no matter how it affects other individuals or the group as a whole .. “opportunists”. Unrestrained by government, these folks will have all the resources and power and the masses will suffer.  We see it all thru history and in many societies today.  The Progressive Movement comes from folks who understand that we are really all inter-connected and inter-dependent. Progressives continue to struggle to improve our society for ALL.  As growing, maturing individuals, we all have to “struggle” to be just .. to share .. to make decisions that don’t just benefit ourselves .. but benefit our partners, our children, our neighbors, our community .. we have to “govern” ourselves as individuals for this to happen.  It’s the same for us as a society .. we must govern ourselves to overcome our selfish tendencies (selfish individuals, opportunists) for the benefit of the group as a whole.  Government can be a very good thing .. we progressives need to keep struggling to counter-balance the forces of individualism .. selfishness.  I believe Higgs is also wrong about Socialism.  Yes, in more socialistic societies the economy is such that folks can’t get obscenely rich, but the people benefit by a more just sharing of resources and services .. they have health services, just labor laws/working conditions, fair wages, lower crime rates, etc.  The group as whole is better off than in a more individualistic society where a minority holds most of the resources and the majority suffers.  Higgs is a nutcase …

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