Thursday, June 30, 2022

It's the root that's killing us


“If we look beneath the surface of our public affairs, we can discern one fundamental fact, namely: a great redistribution of power between society and the State. This is the fact that interests the student of civilization. He has only a secondary or derived interest in matters like price-fixing, wage-fixing, inflation, political banking, “agricultural adjustment,” and similar items of State policy that fill the pages of newspapers and the mouths of publicists and politicians. All these can be run up under one head. They have an immediate and temporary importance, and for this reason they monopolize public attention, but they all come to the same thing; which is, an increase of State power and a corresponding decrease of social power.

— Albert Jay Nock, Our Enemy, The State


Those who write about current events typically expose some problem that is egregious and needs to be fixed.  And where do these problems come from?  Depending on what mental resources they bring to the problem, and the problem itself, they might lay the blame on the CDC, Russia, the Federal Reserve, gun-free government schools, the Democrats, Trump, Biden, Fauci, Gates, the Court, Big Tech, Big Pharma, etc..  

For instance, a recent article about the federal reserve and its effort to tame price inflation criticizes the Fed for tinkering with a problem that requires a Paul Volcker approach.  The  article is on-target as far as it goes, but makes no mention of the Fed’s character as a legal counterfeiter, as a creator of money out of nothing to benefit the well-connected, yet it is beyond doubt the author is well-aware of this fact.  

Instead of pushing for a Paul Volcker approach why not at least call for a Ron Paul solution?  Too radical?  Not practical?

One surmises that repeating the nature of central banking is unnecessary for the Misesian audience he addresses.  But is this his only audience?  Perhaps the majority of readers are well-versed in the Fed’s corrupt nature and history, but preaching to the choir will not win many new converts.  And certainly no choir has a slip-proof memory.   

When I ask people what they know about the federal reserve the answer is invariably: “What the devil are you talking about?”  They’ve never heard of it.   If I say it’s an agency in charge of the country’s money supply, a few of them will equate it with the Treasury but most will lose all interest in the subject.  If I add that it funds a significant share of the government’s wars, the responses I get, if any, are something like, “Well, someone has to pay for them.”

The idea that we could have peace and prosperity without the Fed never occurs to them.  

There are a few — very few — who recall their government schooling and reply, “Wait a minute — wasn’t the Fed created to put an end to the Panics of long ago?”  When I ask them if they think that was a good idea, they wander in no-man’s land.  “Well, the government had to do something, right?  It might not be perfect but the economy was at risk.  I guess we’re learning by experience.”

Banking and money doesn’t interest the general public, even if I tell them they’re getting shafted.  Even if I make a case that we would have had a far better world if the Fed had never been imposed on us.

And take note: It had to be imposed.  No central bank is ever a free market entity.

The brilliant David Stockman in his bestselling The Great Deformation justifiably lambastes the Fed for all kinds of sins but has a soft spot for its original charter.  In other words, he apparently believes it was once a good idea but has since become an instrument of exploitation and destruction.

Many limited-government libertarians reason the same way.  We once had a government we could live with, that respected our rights, but has since grown into a monster.  Their goal is to trim it down but keep the very part of it that allowed it to grow without restraint.

As with ordinary weeds, without getting rid of the root the problems will only grow back again.  

The root is the State with its citizen-approved monopoly of violence.  Eliminate that, and we have arrived not at anarchy but at free market government.

In our country we occasionally have had people in positions of power who were to a large degree honorable.  Grover Cleveland comes to mind.  But such is the nature of the State that, as Nock writes,“the machine they are running will run on rails which are laid only one way, which is from crime to crime.” 

This is what the public doesn’t understand and this is what they must learn.

George Ford Smith is a former mainframe and PC programmer and technology instructor, the author of eight books including a novel about a renegade Fed chairman (Flight of the Barbarous Relic), a filmmaker (Do Not Consent), and an advocate of stateless market government.  He eagerly welcomes speaking engagements and can be reached at


Monday, June 27, 2022

Let’s save civilization!

On June 28, 1914 two assassinations in Sarajevo triggered the beginning of the Great War in Europe a month later.  Libertarian writers, including me, have pointed out that the incredible slaughter of that war, and the disastrous events that followed it such as WW II, could not have happened if the belligerent nations hadn’t suspended gold convertibility.   Writing in The Quarterly review in 1915, author J. S. Nicholson tells us:  

The two principal forms assumed by the abandonment were the Moratorium and Inconvertibility. The two forms are in essence the same. Inconvertibility is generally applied to bank notes; it means that the bankers are authorised to refuse to meet their promises to pay in gold on demand. . . A moratorium means that all debtors (not specially excluded) are authorised to postpone the fulfillment of their monetary obligations. 

Germany adopted at once the method of inconvertibility, and prided itself on not being obliged to adopt the moratorium; but inconvertible notes were issued on such terms and to such an extent that a moratorium was not needed. France adopted both methods. The United Kingdom adopted openly the method of moratorium, and in a disguised manner the method of inconvertibility. 

English people will long remember the beginnings of the Great War, when some of the London banks refused to give gold for Bank of England notes and people were forced (or delighted) to receive postal orders as legal tender. They will long remember also the advent of the new sin of hoarding gold and the new virtue of turning it out of their pockets into the banks. 

With the war the whole duty of the private man as regards gold was declared to be total abstinence; the proper place for gold (so it was preached) was a bank; and the proper business of the bank was to hoard it.  

With paper replacing gold, governments would not be restrained from continuing the war for lack of funds, and the killing and destruction thus continued unabated reaching astronomical levels.

The “neutral” US was already deeply into the war unofficially with the House of Morgan arranging the sale of British and French IOUs here in the states, as well as serving as a purchasing agent for allied war materials.  It was a lucrative racket but contingent on Britain and France winning the war against Germany.  

And that became a real problem.  Victory seemed increasingly unlikely as German submarine attacks were destroying Allied shipping at the rate of 300,000 tons per week, threatening to force a negotiated treaty and bringing the roof down on Morgan’s empire.  Previously-sold bonds would go into default, and the cash flow for war materials would dry up.  Woodrow Wilson, who in 1916 had been re-elected on the grounds that “he kept us out of war,” called on Congress for a declaration of war against Germany on April 6, 1917.  

Among young men enthusiasm for dying in the trenches didn’t match the government’s enthusiasm for sending them there.  But this was no problem for our beloved monopoly of violence:

With the country’s youth showing no interest in dying or killing for corrupt politicians, Wilson decided to bring out the bayonets. On May 18, 1917 he signed the Selective Service Act to register over ten million men, from which over 2.8 million were drafted. In an apparent bid to make himself and his administration the inspiration for Big Brother, Wilson added that the draft was “in no sense a conscription of the unwilling; it is, rather, selection from a nation which has volunteered in mass.”  “Volunteers” who didn’t register got a year in prison, and anyone found obstructing the conscripting process was subject to a $10,000 fine and 20 years in prison.  [Ch. 14]

The US was already prepared to fund the war with the enactment of the Income Tax and the passage of Federal Reserve Act of 1913, both under Wilson’s watch.  Americans have no trouble seeing the connection between higher taxes and war, but the role of the Fed has always been obscure, and deliberately so.  The war helped clarify the Fed’s nature as a lender of money it didn’t have.  According to Phil Davies, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, 

Congress created the Fed as an independent central bank to isolate it from political pressure, but during the war monetary policy was beholden to the needs of the Treasury. “Independence was sacrificed to maintain interest rates that lowered the Treasury’s cost of debt finance,”  [Alan] Meltzer (2003) writes [in his A History of the Federal Reserve.]

Although the Fed focused on war finance at the expense of inflation during World War I, it emerged as a major player on the world stage after the war as it developed into a full-fledged central bank.

Ask almost any economist and he will tell you that inflation is a general rise in prices.  Ask an Austrian economist and he will tell you inflation is an increase in the money supply that often results in higher prices.  How does the Fed increase the money supply without digging gold out of the ground?  By having the government prohibit convertibility or outlaw gold altogether and printing irredeemable paper “dollars” instead, then forcing us to use them (legal tender laws).  Government has taken a serious crime, counterfeiting, and made it legal only when the Fed engages in it.

What exactly did the Fed and its buddy the government accomplish with their policies?  The US war dead is estimated at 117,000 with another 204,000 wounded.  Too bad we can’t meet them one at a time.  We can toss in a few thousand other results, such as the rise of Hitler, Stalin, the Great Depression, WW II, the National Security State with its penchant for assassinations, coups, and torture, the progressive destruction of the currency, etc., etc., etc. leading to the point where today the reality of nuclear war is once again hovering over us and the dollar is approaching worthlessness as Americans struggle to survive. 

When Ron Paul and a few others call for ending the Fed, they’re calling for putting a stop to a major destroyer of civilization.  But let’s not forget that it took an act of government to give the Fed the power it has.  How can we remove government’s violent power?  See this and this for more information.  

George Ford Smith is a former mainframe and PC programmer and technology instructor, the author of eight books including a novel about a renegade Fed chairman (Flight of the Barbarous Relic), a filmmaker (Do Not Consent), and an advocate of stateless market government.  He welcomes speaking engagements and can be reached at



Thursday, June 23, 2022

Murray Rothbard on the Free Market

For the average genius Murray Rothbard's body of work could consume most of one's lifetime just to read, let alone comprehend, even as he makes it easy for the reader with wit, exactitude, and clarity of style.  For me, reading Rothbard's What Has Government Done to Our Money? was like discovering gold in my backyard.  I followed that with The Case Against the Fed, which along with other Fed critiques, especially those by Ron Paul, Gary North, and G. Edward Griffin, led me to write a novel about a renegade Fed chairman.  

It wasn't easy reading Rothbard's claim that the Fed and other central banks were counterfeiters with a grant of monopoly from government.  Counterfeiters?  Counterfeiters are crooks. Surely the public would catch on . . . 

But when I read "helicopter" Ben Bernanke's 2002 speech in which he boasted that "the U.S. government has a technology, called a printing press (or today, its electronic equivalent), that allows it to produce as many U.S. dollars as it wishes at no cost," he became a self-confessed counterfeiter while rubbing it in our faces.  Yet I doubt that Bernanke then or now thought of himself as engaged in a criminal operation, thanks to the Keynesian corruption of the economics profession and the world at large.

Having a counterfeiter determine our fate while hailing it as a savior shows how far we've distanced ourselves from the free market.  How about W's claim in 2008 that "I've abandoned free-market principles to save the free-market system"?  What did that do to the public's understanding of the free market?

Fortunately, Rothbard has made it clear what constitutes a genuinely free market.  I present his lucid summary as a tribute to his wisdom (everything in bold is mine): 

(From Power and Market, Chapter 7 “Conclusion: Economics and Public Policy,” Economics and Social Ethics)

On the free market, every man gains; one man’s gain, in fact, is precisely the consequence of his bringing about the gain of others

When an exchange is coerced, on the other hand—when criminals or governments intervene—one group gains at the expense of others

On the free market, everyone earns according to his productive value in satisfying consumer desires. Under statist distribution, everyone earns in proportion to the amount he can plunder from the producers. 

The market is an interpersonal relation of peace and harmony; statism is a relation of war and caste conflict. 

Not only do earnings on the free market correspond to productivity, but freedom also permits a continually enlarged market, with a wider division of labor, investment to satisfy future wants, and increased living standards. 

Moreover, the market permits the ingenious device of capitalist calculation, a calculation necessary to the efficient and productive allocation of the factors of production. Socialism cannot calculate and hence must either shift to a market economy or revert to a barbaric standard of living after its plunder of the preexisting capital structure has been exhausted. 

And every intermixture of government ownership or interference in the market distorts the allocation of resources and introduces islands of calculational chaos into the economy. 

Government taxation and grants of monopolistic privilege (which take many subtle forms) all hamper market adjustments and lower general living standards. 

Government inflation not only must injure half the population for the benefit of the other half, but may also lead to a business-cycle depression or collapse of the currency.

Suffice it to say that in addition to the praxeological** truth that (1) under a regime of freedom, everyone gains, whereas (2) under statism, some gain (X) at the expense of others (Y), we can say something else. For, in all these cases, X is not a pure gainer. 

The indirect long-run consequences of his statist privilege will redound to what he would generally consider his disadvantage—the lowering of living standards, capital consumption, etc. X’s exploitation gain, in short, is clear and obvious to everyone. His future loss, however, can be comprehended only by praxeological reasoning.

A prime function of the economist is to make this clear to all the potential X’s of the world.

It is certainly conceivable that X’s high time preferences, or his love of power or plunder, will lead him to the path of statist exploitation even when he knows all the consequences. In short, the man who is about to plunder is already familiar with the direct, immediate consequences. When praxeology informs him of the longer-run consequences, this information may often count in the scales against the action. But it may also not be enough to tip the scales. 

Furthermore, some may prefer these long-run consequences. Thus, the OPA director who finds that maximum price controls lead to shortages may (1) say that shortages are bad, and resign; (2) say that shortages are bad, but give more weight to other considerations, e.g., love of power or plunder, or his high time preference; or (3) believe that shortages are good, either out of hatred for others or from an ascetic ethic. And from the standpoint of praxeology, any of these positions may well be adopted without saying him nay.

** Note: Praxeology rests on the fundamental axiom that individual human beings act, that is, on the primordial fact that individuals engage in conscious actions toward chosen goals. This concept of action contrasts to purely reflexive, or knee-jerk, behavior, which is not directed toward goals. The praxeological method spins out by verbal deduction the logical implications of that primordial fact. 

See Rothbard, Praxeology: The Methodology of Austrian Economics

George Ford Smith is a former mainframe and PC programmer and technology instructor, the author of eight books including a novel about a renegade Fed chairman (Flight of the Barbarous Relic), a filmmaker (Do Not Consent), and an advocate of stateless market government.  He welcomes speaking engagements and can be reached at

Wednesday, June 15, 2022

The Triumph of Monetary Fraud

Money is never an object when you have a legal counterfeiting racket at the center of the economy, yet counterfeiting, provided it has monopoly power and conducted by the “best and the brightest,” is virtually unchallenged as necessary for economic growth.  

How did this come about?  First, some basics:

1.  We are all under State rule, meaning under the rule of a monopoly of force that most people cherish in principle as a necessary precondition for civilization, however that might be defined.  Monopoly, meaning “single seller,” meaning no competition allowed, is regarded as wrong by most people.  Yet it is saluted worldwide when it arrives in the form of a State.

What is it that the State alleges to sell?  Protection.  Protection from assaults on us, its citizens.  It kills terrorists overseas so we can sleep better.  To further protect us it has created all manner of agencies that watch our every move, in case some of us turn rogue. 

2.  States extract their funding by force, called taxation.  Since WWII the US has put personal income taxes on a monthly payment plan called withholding.  It’s easier, and less subject to revolt, to pay taxes when the money you earn never reaches your hands and instead goes directly into government coffers.  

3.  State rulers, being relatively small in number, need allies, and it acquires these by dispensing favors or issuing often tacit threats.  Both kinds lock-in the recipient’s obedience, and the State in effect grows.  Corporate media, the primary disseminator of State propaganda, finds the federal trough irresistible

4.  As they expand, States need more funding than they dare collect with taxes, so they legalize a counterfeiting operation and call it a central bank.  The American public was told a central bank was needed to eliminate those embarrassing Panics of the 19th century and the one in 1907.  So we got a central bank under the name “Federal Reserve System,” aka the Fed, and the future looked rosy to some.  

Payoff was almost immediate as it helped finance US entry into Europe’s Great War, on the grounds that there was nothing like massive slaughter of all life forms to ensure lasting peace.  Civilian and military casualties were driven to astronomical levels (around 40 million) by central bank funding of governments.  It takes lots of “money” to kill at that level, “money” no longer being gold but fiat bills that can be produced virtually without limit.  

“Panic” was also abandoned as a word to make way for all the calamities the Fed has created since its inception, though only a small band of economists lay the blame on Fed counterfeiting.  For the big one, the Great Depression, the Fed accepts blame for not counterfeiting enough.

State allies called court economists justify the counterfeiting as necessary for a growing economy.  How the economy grew in the days before the counterfeiting is not a question they’re eager to address.  Nor do they call it counterfeiting, of course; the preferred phrase is “monetary policy.”

The counterfeiter is engaged in the exchange of nothing for something.  But how did this come to be a highly-profitable policy for government and done so in a manner that not “one man in a million” knows or even cares about?  Murray Rothbard provides a compelling narrative in What Has Government Done to Our Money?:

For government to use counterfeiting to add to its revenue, many lengthy steps must be travelled down the road away from the free market. Government could not simply invade a functioning free market and print its own paper tickets. Done so abruptly, few people would accept the government's money. . . 

Until a few centuries ago, there were no banks, and therefore the government could not use the banking engine for massive inflation as it can today. What could it do when only gold and silver circulated?

The first step, taken firmly by every sizable government, was to seize an absolute monopoly of the minting business. That was the indispensable means of getting control of the coinage supply. . . .

Having acquired the mintage monopoly, governments fostered the use of the name of the monetary unit, doing their best to separate the name from its true base in the underlying weight of the coin. This, too, was a highly important step, for it liberated each government from the necessity of abiding by the common money of the world market. Instead of using grains or grams of gold or silver, each State fostered its own national name in the supposed interests of monetary patriotism: dollars, marks, francs, and the like. The shift made possible the preeminent means of governmental counterfeiting of coin: debasement. . . .

Sometimes, the government committed simple fraud, secretly diluting gold with a base alloy, making shortweight coins. More characteristically, the mint melted and recoined all the coins of the realm, giving the subjects back the same number of “pounds” or “marks,” but of a lighter weight. The leftover ounces of gold or silver were pocketed by the King and used to pay his expenses. . . .

The switch from weights of gold to patriotic names drew monetary power away from owners of money.  But since it was patriotic, few complained, and fewer still understood the implications. 

Once such a label replaces the recognized world units of weight, it becomes much easier for governments to manipulate the money unit and give it an apparent life of its own.  The fixed gold-silver ratio, known as bimetallism, accomplished this task very neatly. It did not, however, fulfill its other job of simplifying the nation's currency. . . . {As market ratios change] the fixed bimetallic ratio inevitably becomes obsolete. Change makes either gold or silver overvalued. . . .

Finally, after weary centuries of bimetallic disruption, governments picked one metal as the standard, generally gold. Silver was relegated to “token coin” status, for small denominations, but not at full weight. . . .  Bimetallism created an impossibly difficult situation, which the government could either meet by going back to full monetary freedom (parallel standards) or by picking one of the two metals as money (gold or silver standard). Full monetary freedom, after all this time, was considered absurd and quixotic; and so the gold standard was generally adopted. . . .

With the name of the country's currency now prominent in accounting instead of its actual weight, contracts began to pledge payment in certain amounts of “money.” Legal tender laws dictated what that “money” could be [e.g., dollars, francs] . . . .

Money becomes money substitutes

Governmental control of money could only become absolute, and its counterfeiting unchallenged, as money-substitutes came into prominence in recent centuries. The advent of paper money and bank deposits, an economic boon when backed fully by gold or silver, provided the open sesame for government's road to power over money, and thereby over the entire economic system.

Banks are required to redeem their sworn liabilities on demand.  Yet with the practice of fractional-reserve banking, no bank can fulfill its liabilities.  

Panics arose when the public caught on and started pulling their money out of banks.  If only we had a currency that could be stretched to satisfy demanding clients, bankers complained.  Gold or silver were grossly deficient for this purpose.  Thus, in 1910 big bankers got together with a government official at Jekyll Island, Georgia and concocted a scheme that could provide emergency credit to troubled banks. Not every bank, but at least the biggest ones.  The scheme was a central bank, though it wasn’t called that, and all that was needed to perfect it was to get rid of actual money — the gold — and declare the money substitutes — the paper receipts known as dollars — as the new money.  Gold couldn’t be created at will.  Paper currency could.  It was magical.  It could absolve all sins.  It would be available to fund government wars, handouts, and special favors.  

The Triumph of Monetary Fraud

The new money would be under exclusive control of a closed society known as the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) that would, from time to time, decide how much of it to create or destroy.  Their decision-making is called monetary policy.  As you can imagine this thing called monetary policy is a very complex and challenging process.  

Yet, one of the most astute insights into monetary theory came from Milton Friedman, no friend of gold, who wrote:

If a domestic money consists of a commodity, a pure gold standard or cowrie bead standard, the principles of monetary policy are very simple. There aren’t any. The commodity money takes care of itself.  (Quoted in Salerno)

Imagine that.  If we had a free market-determined money like gold we would be in charge of our economic lives and not the counterfeiters on the FOMC.  

Monetary economists outside the Austrian school believe that economic bliss is price stability.  Small price rises they call inflation are okay, but a general price decline, called deflation, is something to be strictly avoided.  The price declines of the late 19th century, one of the most prosperous periods in human history, is an enigma to these guys.  Yet lower prices are the natural outcome of a free market.  So are the price declines/high profits in high tech since the introduction of the integrated circuit in the 1960s.


Will we ever stop monetary fraud?  The Fed has many powerful allies not least of which is the federal government.  It also has most of the economics profession.  But perhaps its biggest ally is the ignorance of the general public.  They could care less about the Fed.  As a presidential candidate Ron Paul educated the public in the destructiveness of the federal reserve but the public has gone back to sleep.  Or to the extent that it hasn’t they’re concerned about how the Fed will do its duty and fight the inflation we’re now dealing with, where “inflation” is understood as runaway prices.  

The best way to stop the ravages we experience is to undo their source.  A government with its legal monopoly power removed could never get way with creating a monstrosity like the federal reserve. Call it anarchy if you like, but to me such a government is what we’ve known for a long time, an unrestrained free market.

George Ford Smith is a former mainframe and PC programmer and technology instructor, the author of eight books including a novel about a renegade Fed chairman (Flight of the Barbarous Relic), a filmmaker (Do Not Consent), and an advocate of stateless market government.  He welcomes speaking engagements and can be reached at


Monday, June 13, 2022

We love our contradictions to death!

Most of us are taught at an early age to embrace contradictions, which is believing something is both true and not true at the same time.  We know, for example, what life is in some sense, and that all living things eventually die.  But we keep hearing from our elders that if we behave a certain way we really won’t die.  Our bodies will turn to dust but our souls will carry on indefinitely.  Exactly what they mean by “soul” they never tell us.  The basis for their claims lies in the postulates of a certain book they embrace uncritically, at least with regard to fundamentals.  Almost everyone accepts these postulates as true, even if they make no sense.  This act of embracing is called faith.

What are these postulates?  There is a creator of all that exists, and that creator we call God.  In Christianity God long ago mysteriously fathered a Son, and the Son, regarded as a messiah, promised heaven to those who believe in him and hell to those who don’t.  Heaven and hell, as I heard a preacher explain once, have no spatial coordinates, so don’t bother trying to find them.  

For centuries people have embraced these beliefs.  They have been conditioned to accept something for which no evidence has been adduced.  To reject them implies you are disagreeing with billions of believers some of whom are very bright and accomplished, and who know a hell of a lot more than you.

And yet, this only makes the situation more of a mystery.  Why do some of the brightest endorse this metaphysical dualism?  What’s wrong with assuming the universe has always existed and needs no creator?  Positing an incomprehensible god as the creator only begs the question who created god?

But the believers have an edge.  They promise eternal bliss for all who truly believe and eternal hell for those who don’t. The opposition says once you’re dead, you’re dead.  No heaven, no hell, just dead.  Not at all comforting.  

What has this meant for our life on earth?

The connection between religion and politics

It has, in my view, created a tendency to look for some overpowering force to solve our problems, rather than ourselves.  This doesn’t necessarily mean a desire for a Napoleon or a Hitler.   Any sufficiently corrupt State will do. 

This is what people mean when they cry for the government to "do something."

In the US the president along with the legislature and Court, and the virtually countless agencies that make up what we call the federal government, are of a different breed than the rest of American society.  And this is no secret.

Though it’s rarely acknowledged we live under a violent monopoly.  Consider: When the two Steves formed Apple Computer in the 1970s they grew their business through voluntary exchanges with the general public.  If the public didn’t like their computers the company would fail.

This is not true of the monopoly form of government.  When the government fails, as it soon might, we the people suffer from being forced to trust it.

Unlike market enterprises the government doesn’t fund itself through voluntary exchanges.  Its revenue flows from taxation directly and through counterfeiting the monetary unit.  Simply put, it legally has the guns to get away with it.  If Apple or any other company tried to fund itself this way the owners would be facing prison sentences.

While popular sentiment when expressed at the voting booth has had some positive effects on State policies, the snowball of State power keeps rolling out of control.  The State took away your cocktails, but you complained loudly enough and got them back.  Meanwhile, readers of Nicholson Baker’s Human Smoke know that during the same period western states, including the US, were in training for another world war.

In traditional logic when a contradiction is introduced into an argument, any statement can be proven — a result sometimes called deductive explosion.

Should it surprise us that the contradiction of the monopoly State results in the mess we see today?  Peace and prosperity require that all adult relationships be voluntary.  Our relationship with the State is not voluntary.

Security without a state?

The most common argument for tolerating a coercive government is the assumption that only such an organization can provide the security we need.  Security, we’re told, is outside the purview of the market, even though private security has always existed and that all aspects of security are products of the market.


It is here that I see the connection with religion.  We need an omnipotent being to save our souls, however those are understood, and we need a omnipotent government to save us from the world’s bad people.  In truth, neither God nor the State does a very good job.  

Look around.  Take note of the atrocities that flourish here and throughout the world among people who swear allegiance to God and the state under which they live.  Thanks to a bought-and-paid-for media and educational system, the state has powerful propaganda machinery to protect it, as do the religions that indignantly ask who are you, a mere mortal, to question God’s ways?  Neither is much help for people who have seen their families blown up or their children murdered while government police stood around and did nothing and prevented parents from rescuing their kids.


Religion by itself need not be harmful.  To believe is a voluntary act.  Many people are morally and psychologically uplifted by it, and that by itself is a good thing.  It is only the message of religion, that a super being rules us, that can be detrimental to our thinking in political matters.  

It strikes me as odd that in such a crucial area as security people abandon the logic, power, and peace of the market for something originating in the Stone Age.

George Ford Smith is a former mainframe and PC programmer and technology instructor, the author of eight books including a novel about a renegade Fed chairman (Flight of the Barbarous Relic), a filmmaker (Do Not Consent), and an advocate of stateless market government.  He welcomes speaking engagements and can be reached at


Wednesday, June 8, 2022

Who will protect us?

Let’s take a Nancy Pelosi approach to the Constitution and assume for the sake of argument that every privately-owned firearm is confiscated by US government agents.  In other words we now have a public that is largely defenseless against attack from other armed individuals who don’t legally own their weapons but use them under authorization from the government (such as cops or soldiers) or as private individuals using them criminally. 

Would this situation reduce the number of homicides or mass murders?  

By itself it’s very unlikely.  The Supreme Court has ruled that the public has no legal right to depend on the police for protection.  If a cop stops a mass shooting it’s not because he’s required by law to do so.  In Castle Rock v. Gonzales (2005) a 7-2 Court decision ruled “a town and its police department could not be sued under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for failing to enforce a restraining order, which had led to the murder of a woman's three children by her estranged husband.”

The massacre at Marjory Stoneman High School in Parkland, Florida on February 14, 2018 further illustrates the lack of any constitutional duty of the police to protect the public, unless they are “in custody.”  Students attending compulsory state schools are not considered “in custody,” according to U.S. District Judge Beth Bloom, who ruled in the case.  

“As previously stated, for such a duty to exist on the part of defendants, plaintiffs would have to be considered to be in custody” — for example, as prisoners or patients of a mental hospital, she wrote. 

It’s tempting to argue that compulsory school attendance constitutes incarceration, and therefore students would be in custody without a protective custodian, but the Court obviously senses it would be very bad for government indoctrination if their schools were considered prisons. 

Nevertheless, Parkland had taken the extra measure of hiring a deputy, Scot Peterson, to provide security, but “[a] surveillance video of Peterson's movements outside the school . . . showed he took cover and did nothing to confront the gunman” who in a four-minute attack murdered 17 and wounded 17 others. 

In Uvalde we once again saw cops not only failing to protect children but actively preventing parents from trying to do so.  If that doesn’t constitute an obscenity nothing does.

The impossibility of confiscating all civilian guns

According to the Small Arms Survey that estimated the number of civilian-held firearms, 

    • There were approximately 857 million civilian-held firearms in the world at the end of 2017.
    • Roughly 100 million civilian firearms were reported as registered, accounting for some 12 per cent of the global total.

In the US, civilian-held firearms, both legal and illicit, were estimated at 393,300,000 at the end of 2017.  With 88% of civilian guns unregistered, that leaves roughly 346,104,000 guns the government couldn’t locate if it attempted confiscation.  They likely would issue severe threats for anyone possessing a gun and not reporting it, but gun owners tend not to respond well to threats.

We’re from the government . . .

If confiscation is done by government agents coming to the homes of registered gun owners, how do citizens know the agents are legit?  It would be no trouble to forge official-looking IDs, which would almost never be challenged by the gun owner answering the door.  Guns thereby could be peacefully transferred from law-abiding owners to people with criminal intent. 

And what would happen to all the guns the government did confiscate?  Would it declare a major holiday — “Gun free at last!” —  marked by a symbolic few guns being exploded or destroyed?  What about the rest?  Would they be shuttled to a private firm responsible for disposing them?  Would that firm hand them over to terrorists overseas to help create more havoc and “justify” more US military interventions and keep the funding flowing?  Do you think that’s far-fetched?

Leaving expensive and plentiful military gear behind to be scooped by the Taliban as US forces abandoned Afghanistan gives us a hint of what government might do. 

And let’s not forget the $12 billion in $100 bills the government sent to Iraq without proper accountability.  

In the year after the invasion of Iraq in 2003 nearly 281 million notes, weighing 363 tonnes, were sent from New York to Baghdad for disbursement to Iraqi ministries and US contractors. Using C-130 planes, the deliveries took place once or twice a month with the biggest of $2,401,600,000 on June 22 2004, six days before the handover.

Details of the shipments have emerged in a memorandum prepared for the meeting of the House committee on oversight and government reform which is examining Iraqi reconstruction. Its chairman, Henry Waxman, a fierce critic of the war, said the way the cash had been handled was mind-boggling. "The numbers are so large that it doesn't seem possible that they're true. Who in their right mind would send 363 tonnes of cash into a war zone?”

A corrupt government that thrives on perpetual war, Henry. 

Gun ban would be like another program that didn’t work

Under Prohibition people who drank didn’t stop drinking.  Existing small-time street gangs saw an opportunity and profited hugely from it.  The demand for alcoholic beverages was there to be filled, and Al Capone eventually ran a billion-dollar crime syndicate in today’s dollars satisfying that demand.  

Tyranny thrives on defenseless citizens

It’s obvious that any showdown between private gun owners and a heavily-armed and taxpayer-financed federal government would be a gross mismatch.  Thus, the argument of the Second Amendment as a defense against tyrannical government, while valid 240 years ago, would lose all meaning in today’s world of government fighter jets, bombers, drones, tanks, nukes, and other such advanced means of inflicting massive death.

Or would it? 

Let’s not forget recent history.  In 1992 Randy Weaver, a former Green Beret, along with family and friends, defended his estate for 11 days against US Marshalls before Weaver finally surrendered. The massacre at Waco the following year lasted 51 days before Reno ordered tanks to storm the compound.  US forces with all its power didn’t defeat North Vietnam nor did they clean up Afghanistan, a country that had already ousted the Soviets.  In that war the Soviets had little trouble securing control of Kabul and installing their puppet socialist president. 

The Soviets, however, were met with fierce resistance when they ventured out of their strongholds into the countryside. Resistance fighters, called mujahidin, saw the Christian or atheist Soviets controlling Afghanistan as a defilement of Islam as well as of their traditional culture.

The mujahidin employed guerrilla tactics against the Soviets. They would attack or raid quickly, then disappear into the mountains, causing great destruction without pitched battles. The fighters used whatever weapons they could grab from the Soviets or were given by the United States.

Many gun owners take heart from these facts and consider confiscation of their firearms a “defilement” of their natural rights.

Speaking of rights

In 1776 Thomas Jefferson wrote that all men “are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”  Philosopher-novelist Ayn Rand amplified Jefferson’s statement:

A “right” is a moral principle defining and sanctioning a man’s freedom of action in a social context. There is only one fundamental right (all the others are its consequences or corollaries): a man’s right to his own life. Life is a process of self-sustaining and self-generated action; the right to life means the right to engage in self-sustaining and self-generated action—which means: the freedom to take all the actions required by the nature of a rational being for the support, the furtherance, the fulfillment and the enjoyment of his own life. (Such is the meaning of the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.) . . . .

And here:

The necessary consequence of man’s right to life is his right to self-defense. In a civilized society, force may be used only in retaliation and only against those who initiate its use. All the reasons which make the initiation of physical force an evil, make the retaliatory use of physical force a moral imperative. [My emphasis]


The right to self-defense doesn’t mean you have the requisite means or know-how to defend yourself — or others you love.  Learning self-defense is the responsibility of each of us to acquire.  

Who will protect us?  We can only count on ourselves.

George Ford Smith is a former mainframe and PC programmer and technology instructor, the author of eight books including a novel about a renegade Fed chairman (Flight of the Barbarous Relic), a filmmaker (Do Not Consent), and an advocate of stateless market government.  He welcomes speaking engagements and can be reached at

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