Tuesday, September 13, 2005

For you anti-government folks

Via Monastro at Xanga comes this tidbit:

Comparison: USA v. USSR
Is life today in the USA like life yesterday in the USSR?
Part 1 and Part 2

[Note: all bolds are mine]

The article began well enough but I didn't get very far before I hit the libertarian streak when I read this:
In the event that tax revenues become insufficient to pay these salaries, federal judges decided in Kelo v. City of New London that private property can be grabbed and sold in order to generate more taxes.

Many would agree that the federal government has an essentially parasitic nature.
In the first place, Kelo v. New London is not about the federal government getting to increase its tax revenue. It's the use of government and the judiciary by thieves to steal it from those who live there and then NOT paying any taxes through the instruments of tax increment financing or tax abatements. It's not government that's bad, but the people in it and who own it that use government for their own profit-seeking ends that are bad. But let's not get ahead of ourselves.

They also have this article at their website which opens with:
In these final years of Federal Empire, the classic financial crimes of bribery, usury and monopoly have become rampant. Indeed, they are so prevalent it could be said that we are governed by criminals: a kakourgocracy, if you will.
Most of us just call it "kleptocracy" since theft is itself a criminal act. More importantly, it is an immoral act since it does not require a "law" to know that taking what is not given is a fundamental injustice violating the basic notion of fairness. But I digress.

In the first quote above the argument goes that the federal government is stealing money from its citizens and are therefore parasitic on the body politic. In the second quote the argument goes that criminals populate the federal government and thus America is governed by criminals. However, the argument is not against government per se but only the "federal" government as stated in Part 2 as follows:
The National Guard’s deployment to the Middle East has rendered it less capable of protecting our country’s borders or responding promptly to a natural disaster. The National Guard is part of the organized Militia of the Several States, but the federal government has usurped its Constitutional mission, which is “to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions.” U.S. Constitution Article 1, Section 8.

In the face of these domestic calamities, Bush II and the Republicrats remain fixated on foreign countries. They are telling U.S. citizens to “stay the course” on federal government’s military occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan.
One question that pops up is: If the federal government is run by criminals, what makes state and local government any less susceptible, especially when you consider that many state governors go on to become President of the United States or that many state legislators get elected to the federal capitol? Doesn't the argument made for "kakourgocracy" indicate that no level of government from the federal down to city government is exempt from this assertion? If this is the claim, then the natural progression of the argument is that all government is corrupt regardless of level. Their conclusion in Part 2 is:
The domestic failures of totalitarian States eventually cause widespread dissatisfaction in their citizens. Then, the political upheaval involved in dissolving their federal governments will appear to them no more threatening than what they already face - the collapse of public order or the disappearance of their nations’ borders.
The question then becomes, why wouldn't state and local governments also collapse? And, despite what happened in New Orleans with a few folks exercising their "Constitutional right" to own guns, the vast majority of people were far more civilized than they were given credit for given many of the TV news reports (unfortunately not available for streaming) that I personally saw by Shepard Smith and others on all three major news stations (CNN, MSNBC, Fox), and, many personal accounts making the rounds on various blogs. Not to mention it wasn't the "federal" government that prevented people from crossing the bridge but the Jefferson Parish Sheriffs that did that. Nor is it just the federal government that is bloated with parasites. Joe Scarboro said in his newscast yesterday (9/12/05) that he personally witnessed (and experienced himself from the sound of it) the prevention of any help getting to those in need by the Red Cross and other NGOs in some kind of turf war. According to Scarboro unless they, menaing the Red Cross or NGO, got the credit they weren't going to let anyone else help. I don't like Scarboro's attitudes generally but on this I share his anger in the face of this kind of inhumanity.

The real problem in the Libertarian argument is that they have made the federal government to be inherently evil while state and local governments apparently are not. And as Scarboro's newscast indicates, it is not reserved for government alone. Since the article about governance by criminals is also at this site, I consider it only fair to point out that the federal government is no more or less evil than any other level of government whether state or local. But the real elephant here is that no level of government, or any organization whether for-profit or non-profit for that matter, is any more or less evil than the people in it. Just as the argument is often made that "guns don't kill people, people kill people," so too government, including the federal government and all organizations, are merely a tools that can be used for good or ill.

The real failure of arguments against the federal government is that it never addresses the real purpose of any government beyond establishing "law and order" as if people by themselves are incapable of such things. And yet, they want their cake and eat it too by saying "we don't need no stinking federal government" while allowing for more localized forms as if local governments are any less susceptible to criminality. The problem isn't government. The problem is criminality and the use of government to do it under the appearance of legality because under the "rule of law," morality and human decency can be buried in the fine print.

The other biggest problem in their thinking is that as a nation and a society we need to have a way to ensure that there is some consistency across the "Several States." Otherwise the states are not just states within a United States of America but sovereign States unto themselves requiring all the same legal entanglements as if dealing with foreign nations. All activity within a State then becomes a national activity and all cross-border activity between the States becomes inter-national by definition. Which is precisely why the federal government was created with the establishment of the Constitution of the United States of America* superceding the Articles of Confederation.

*Which Libertarians like to quote so much but then like to ignore the very first clause of the Preamble which states, "in order to form a more perfect union."

I believe the energy directed against the "federal" government would be much better spent on making it live up to the Preamble than in trying to get every state in the union to become their own nation. In such a case we'd have to re-start the Indian Wars since they were here first and "possession is 9/10 of the law."

And as I pointed out earlier, it is not the "federal" government that is the problem. It is the criminals in it that is the problem. The only way out of this is to start identifying what is truly meant by "criminal." Because if the gripe is that your money is being "taken" by another then it is not actually the federal government that does that. It is the usurers who do it by convincing people to elect "private-profiteers" to government. This is like electing foxes to guard the hen house and then bitching that we need to get rid of the institution of guarding rather than working to get better guards. As Jefferson put it in the Decl. of Independence:
But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.
So, if I call Libertarians and other anarchists dipshits this is why.