Friday, July 3, 2020

The libertarian business model

There’s a cynical cartoon that’s been circulating forever on social media that shows a seasoned cancer researcher telling a new recruit, “Yes, finding a cure for cancer would be the greatest thing since sliced bread.  But remember, not finding a cure is how we butter our bread.”

Surely, I thought, researchers don’t seriously adopt that attitude.  A cure even for one of the over 100 types of cancer would immortalize the researchers and likely earn them a Nobel Prize.  Why would they settle for the obscurity of a steady but inconsequential job?  Why would they be so devoid of moral ideals, when that was likely the reason they chose a career in research from the start?

But the cartoon continued to nag me.  Even brilliant people want job security, and under the steady flow of government funding, struggling but never succeeding would guarantee that security.  

Their wish for an uninterrupted revenue stream also explains their hostile and litigious opposition to any claim by alt medicine that, as Bill Sardi argues, we already know how to cure cancer.

If you’re going to drag your feet finding a cure you have to be ready to pounce on someone like Sardi who maintains there already is one.  You have to stage experiments that fail to support the claims of alt medicine that often use treatments found in nature, such as amygdalin and medical marijuana.  Big money can only be made with patented drugs, and that puts a big bulls-eye on the backs of doctors who use treatments not approved by state authorities.

It reminded me of political leaders who conduct endless wars in faraway places not to defeat an enemy but to expand budgets.  The same problem exists with so-called social wars, such as the wars on drugs and poverty.  Spend, spend, spend, and spend some more while seizing the moral high ground.

Libertarians are different?  

In many respects libertarians are like Edmond Dantes in Alexandre Dumas’ The Count of Monte Cristo, unjustly condemned to a horrible dungeon for life and spending years struggling to escape before finally succeeding.  At no time did Dantes consider his efforts an end in themselves, as the state’s various wars are.  He was sustained by the faint hope of escaping — of leaving the dungeon — and working to that end defined his days.

For libertarians their dungeon is the state, but unlike Dantes they have no idea how to escape. They don’t know how to get from here to there. About the closest they come to a plan is writing a bunch of articles and books that end up saying bring the troops home and bring back the original Constitution.  Are they taking up a petition to bring this about?  Not that I’ve seen.  Or if they have a pessimistic outlook, they tell us the world is going to hell and there’s no way to stop it.  

One conspicuous exception to this approach was Congressman Ron Paul, who had a plan to end the Fed and argued for honest money throughout his career.  His confrontations with Greenspan and Bernanke in Congress were models of courage and integrity.  Reforming the Fed was impossible.  It was corrupt from the root.  And he told them so.

With few exceptions libertarians are not like Dr. Paul.  They tell people liberty is the ideal but in this power-mad world there’s no way to reach it.  Maybe after the state collapses but not sooner.  It’s not going to go away with votes cast by the public in state-sponsored elections.  Voting for liberty is never a choice.  By its nature the state is an enemy of liberty, and it is in charge.  

The libertarian business plan is thus similar to that of the state’s.  It keeps readers reading but without a plan of escape.  Reading (or watching or listening) is an end in itself.  

Here are some anonymous examples selected at random.  Each takes a position I fully support — as far as it goes — but as a reader what action should I take to make the position reality?  The writers don’t say . . . except the last one, number 5, and I believe he was saying more than he realized.

1.  We should get rid of the FBI, DEA, ATF, and the rest of the law enforcement alphabet of bureaucratic fiefdoms by repealing the War on Drugs and the rest of the nanny state statutes.

2.  Do you want to be free or not? It’s an important question because if the answer is yes, then a necessary prerequisite of freedom is the dismantling, not the reform, of American socialism, including its crown jewel, Social Security.

3.  [Libertarians] favor liberty, free markets, and a limited-government republic, which not only provide people with economic prosperity and high standards of living but also nurture such values as self-reliance, independence, conscience, courage, and voluntary charity.

4.  We, therefore, need to revive the idea and ideal of a truly free-market-based liberal democracy over any socialist version of democracy that may be offered to us.

5.  The Marxist Communist Movement looked unstoppable.  But it stopped in China in 1979, and it stopped in the Soviet Union in 1991. It is gone. A fat North Korean man with a bad haircut is the last visible trace of it.

There really was a threat. The USSR had nuclear missiles. But the USSR's leaders never used them. The threat then went away quietly. The Russian missiles are still there, but Russian leaders don't want to destroy Western markets by means of nuclear weapons. Their power and their wealth depend on these markets. Once again, the free market solves the problem. [Emphasis mine]

I have proposed that the only government consonant with civil society is the free market.  I think many people are aware of it without actually identifying it as such.  It is capable of supplying all our needs, especially justice and defense.  I believe if people were given a choice to vote on the free market as their full-time government many of them would agree.

I am giving them an opportunity.  See my latest book.

George Ford Smith is the author of nine books, father of twin daughters, and grandfather of an active grandson.  He's also a filmmaker whose short movies are available on Amazon Prime.  His latest book is Do Not Consent: think OUTSIDE the voting booth.

Wednesday, July 1, 2020

The monopoly model of government

I begin with a quote from Tom Woods that I agree with completely:
But as long as we refuse to entertain original thoughts, and instead stay wedded to the monopoly model for police, there will be problems. The predictable results of any monopoly are less satisfactory service at ever-higher prices. There is no reason to expect that security provision to be any different.
Allow me to expand it: As long as we stay wedded to the monopoly model for government, there will be problems.

To those who think it wouldn’t work, keep in mind two considerations:

1.  Does the current monopoly model for government work?
2.  Does the absence of monopoly work in other areas of our life?

Any institution, whether it’s Amazon or the government, needs funding.  Amazon gets it through voluntary trade. Our monopoly-model federal government acquires its revenue not merely through taxes, but with the “accommodative” activities of the central bank, itself a monopoly counterfeiter established by law.  

In today’s liberal media large organizations like Amazon are considered monopolies.  True, they have enormous market influence but a critical distinction still exists.  Bezos and his employees don’t have a police force at hand ready to break down your door and haul you off for failing to buy the latest Prime video offering.  Amazon relies on voluntary trade and advertising (persuasion) to acquire revenue.  You and the rest of the world could shut it down permanently by taking your business elsewhere.  No such option exists for monopoly governments.  If you don’t pay your taxes, you’re either fined, incarcerated, or murdered.

The situation is not one of lily-white businessmen versus evil politicians.  To a large extent both sides conspire against the public.  Historian Gabriel Kolko wrote about this in his landmark study, The Triumph of Conservatism: A Reinterpretation of American History, 1900-1916.  Essentially it refuted the idea that businessmen were predominantly laissez-faire while trenchantly opposing political “reforms.”  In Kolko’s words,

It was never a question of regulation or no regulation, of state control or laissez faire; there were, rather, the questions of what kind of regulation and by whom. . . . 
The federal government was always involved in the economy in various crucial ways . . . laissez faire never existed in an economy where local and federal governments financed the construction of a significant part of the railroad system, and provided lucrative means of obtaining fortunes. . . 
Despite the large number of mergers, and the growth in the absolute size of many corporations, the dominant tendency in the American economy at the beginning of [the 20th] century was toward growing competition. Competition was unacceptable to many key business and financial interests, and the merger movement was to a large extent a reflection of voluntary, unsuccessful business efforts to bring irresistible competitive trends under control. . . . 
Important businessmen did not, on the whole, regard politics as a necessary evil, but as an important part of their larger position in society. Because of their positive theory of the state, key business elements managed to define the basic form and content of the major federal legislation that was enacted. They provided direction to existing opinion for regulation, but in a number of crucial cases they were the first to initiate that sentiment. [All emphasis mine]
For example, those sentimental bankers back then, led by Morgan, Rockefeller, and Kuhn-Loeb, publicly calling for reform of the Money Trust, established the Federal Reserve System, a central bank that feeds the fat cats and their wars while penalizing anyone foolish enough to save its paper/digital product. 

Free markets free the people

Free markets deliver the goods — and you’re not forced to take delivery.  Competition and the drive for profits ensures that consumer satisfaction is the foremost consideration of participating firms and individuals.  And what keeps consumers satisfied?  Low prices and high quality.

But only with a government based on contracts and consent will we have free markets.  For details start with Robert P. Murphy’s Chaos Theory

By contrast you live under an arrangement that was imposed on you at birth.  Did you personally vote for ratification of the 16th amendment?  Did you personally approve the late-December 1913 passage of the Banking Bill, as the media referred to the Federal Reserve Act?  For that matter, did you personally ratify the U.S. Constitution?  Since you didn’t do any of these things, why is it incumbent on you to live under them?  Why, in other words, are you complicit in your own enslavement?  Were you not born free, to make your own choices?  If you’re a Believer, do you think God is in the business of recruiting masters and slaves for monopoly government?

The usual comeback is to say voters can change government if they don’t like it.  Try finding a politician who will vigorously support repeal of government’s theft machines, the income tax and the Fed.  The uber-heroic Ron Paul did try.  He couldn’t do it.  

What about the prospects for the 2020 government election?  Are any of the candidates raising the flag of liberty?

And since none of them are, what will you do?  Vote anyway, knowing you’re underwriting government as it exists?  When will we see monopoly government respect the rights of individual citizens?

If you think the answer is never, I agree.

If you vote in monopoly government’s elections you’re implicitly endorsing it, though admittedly some choices look better than others.

So how can you get your cry for liberty heard?

Trying voting outside the voting booth


George Ford Smith is the author of nine books, father of twin daughters, and grandfather of an active grandson.  He's also a filmmaker whose short movies are available on Amazon Prime.  His latest book is Do Not Consent: think OUTSIDE the voting booth.

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