What is a Rogue State?

A few days ago, I was flipping through the TV channels looking for something interesting to watch between football games.  Golf just doesn’t do it for me.  I zoomed past C-SPAN, which can be interesting at times, even if it’s also annoying.  I was on this channel long enough to hear some Republican congressman whipper-snapper use the term “rogue state.”

“What is a rogue state?” I thought to myself.  In the eyes of the U.S. government, a rogue state is a government that enjoys a monopoly on violence which refuses to do the bidding of America.  Certain governments are not allowed to do what all governments naturally do:  make weapons, enforce monopolies, engage in conquest, etc.  These governments are referred to as rogue states by the arrogant quacks who run the American machine.

In essence, however, the “good governments” are no worse than the bad ones.  They use the same monopoly on violence to drive weaker nations and peoples into submission.  A rogue state has simply suffered the misfortune of getting on the bad side of the sanctimonious oligarchs in Washington, DC.  Many of these “rogue states” were victims of American baiting and switching.  Saddam Hussein, were he still alive, would be able to testify to this.

A more basic question, however, is, What is a rogue?  A rogue is a criminal, a thief, gangster, mobster, murderer, etc.  So are all governments.  They steal the money of innocent civilians under threat of penalty as if the fruits of a man’s labor are not his own; force young men into military service as if the bodies of the citizenry are owned by the state; erode private property rights almost to the point of meaninglessness; go on conquest to enforce oil monopolies; and install puppet governments in far away lands against the consent of the people who live there.

In other words, all states are rogue states.  To use this term is redundant; it is like saying “yellow canary” or “red cardinal.”  The politicians get away with it, however, because most of us are unwilling to re-examine the assumptions that were taught to us in school.  Recently Sen.Harry Reid claimed that taxation is “voluntary.”  There should have been protests everywhere, but the remark went nearly unnoticed.  If memory serves, not even Matt Drudge took note of it.

The sad part of this whole story of “man’s inhumanity to man,” as Ronald Reagan called it, is that this kind of violence reigns on the throne of human ignorance and indifference.  If even a tithe of the citizenry were wide awake, most of the awfulness we see today wouldn’t be happening.  This leads to the most sobering lesson of all:  Most countries end up with the government they deserve.

Rubbish from the Philadelphia DA’s office

A little more than a year ago a mob of Philadelphia police beat three men whom they suspected of committing a shooting.  The grand jury investigation of this incident was released yesterday.  The grand jury, of course, found that the police acted appropriately.

Ironic, that.  After all, in the days after the beating, police commissioner Charles Ramsey fired several of the officers.  A cop thought some of his own deserved to be fired, but a grand jury finds that they acted appropriately.  Something is fishy here.  For his part, Ramsey is standing by his original decision, and good for him.  Also interesting is the fact that one of the suspects was hit or stepped on in the head after he was handcuffed.  I guess the “heroes” with the night sticks were still afraid of him.

The Fraternal Disorder of Police, as you might guess, in light of this verdict, is trying to get all the fired officers re-instated and compensated for all their lost pay.  This sinister organization combines the folly of labor unions with the diabolical love of violence.  They are also campaigning against local Judge Craig Washington because at one time or another this year he refused to do the bidding of the Blue Wall of Thugs.

The government schools, have, of course, done their part in all of this in order to make useful idiots for the “justice” system’s juries.  No one is taught to ask any fundamental questions, and people sure as hell don’t know about jury nullification (which would not, admittedly, obtain in this case).

There is another issue here, one which I hesitate to mention:  race.  But in this case, it would seem to be worth mentioning.  What was the racial composition of the grand jury?  What exactly were the racial makeups of the police squad and the suspects on the night of the beating?  Philadelphia has an appalling amount of racial tension—just the other day a city worker filed suit alleging that the bathrooms in his facility are segregated—and I wouldn’t be surprised to find out that it was a factor in this case.  I do think that race can be overstated, but I’m not stupid enough to think that it has no impact whatsoever.

There are signs that various members of the booboisie have hung in their windows and on their cars in this city which say, “I support the Philadelphia Police.”  These poor people don’t realize that the police are not their friends, that they will harass them, too, the first chance they get.  For my part, I support peace and non-violence and cooperation; how then could I possibly support the police?

Virginia police over-step authority

These kinds of stories are becoming so common as to hardly merit specific mention anymore, at least as “news.”  At this point the more crucial matter is taking account of the erosion of freedoms in this country.  In a kind of sequel to the Professor Gates outrage, in which Boston police harassed him long after it was obvious that he was indeed the owner of the house, local Virginia police tased a cooperative grandfather and a pregnant woman at, of all things, a baptismal party.  Read about it here and here.  (Recall that tasing can be life threatening, and that it was originally conceived as a possible substitute for deadly force, but only in those situations which would call for the use of deadly force.  In other words, not a baptismal party.)

In both cases, the outdated “disorderly conduct” law was cited as cause to arrest these citizens who were minding their own business.  This is a law that was created to give cops the authority to tamp down race riots over labor conflicts that occurred in the early 20th century between various immigrant groups.  In both states concerned, the law specifically says that the alleged disorderly conduct must have occurred in public in order to be considered a violation of the code; in both these cases, the arrests were made on private property.  Let this be another lesson that the government never follows its own rules.  Keep this in mind when they try to allay your fears about this or that proposal.

Many people have commented unfavorably on my principled dislike of the police, but how else am I to feel about an organization which uses its monopoly on violence to harass peaceful citizens?  These men are considered “heroes” by many, but heroes don’t shoot black labs and claim that they felt threatened; they don’t invoke war zone-like rules of engagement, treating fleeing potential suspects as definite aggressors, as a proposal in Chicago would have it; and heroes don’t tase dudes that just want to ask Sen. John Kerry a question, man.  These acts are not heroic; they are cowardly.  The cops want you to think that they risk their lives for you, but this is not true to the extent that they lead us to believe.  The fact is that they are far more willing to engage in pre-emptive self-defense than they will ever admit.

Worse than the cops, however, might well be the citizens who defend this tyrannical behavior.  These reflexive traditionalists don’t seem to realize that some day they could be the victim of police brutality; that it might be their relative in the ambulance that gets pulled over and medical care delayed (a misdemeanor, btw) because of some power-hungry cop; that it might be they who are harassed by the TSA when they inquire as to whether or not they’re legally compelled to answer questions.  Et cetera.  We call these kinds of incidents “harassment” precisely because the people on the wrong side of luck in these cases did nothing wrong.  So what is going to prevent something like this from happening to you?

The reflexive traditionalists, and some of the thoughtful ones, too, will answer that the police guard the tranquil order.  I suppose that in a State in which the police take appropriate action against violators of the rights to life, self, and property, this argument can be made.  But today the police are, if anything,  disturbers of the ordo tranquilitatis, and our sick willingness to look the other way until it affects ourselves enables them to perpetuate this errand of hostility.

Jury acquits cop of shooting defenseless woman and boy

From LRC we have this story.  William Grigg has said everything that needs to be said, so I’ll only add that my dislike for the police is now principled.  There have been too many incidents like this, and the only time MSNBCCNNFOX seem to take any notice is when the story has the potential to stir up wider-ranging strife, such as when race is a factor.  Other than that, they have no interest in whether or not the cops are actually respecting the rights of the citizens.

Local Polizei kill man

Police in a Philadelphia suburb killed a man on Friday night.  Admittedly, the deceased was being a violent maniac, but this doesn’t seem to add up to me.  The suspect viciously attacked a woman.  The Polizei pursued, and when the aggressor brandished a brick, they shot him three times.  Thrice.

Now, while, in my Weltanschauung, the Polizei have no actual authority, it would seem that they nevertheless have the right to protect their own persons from aggression, just as each of us has a right to do this.  All the same, one has to wonder about this situation.  News reports are always sketchy and always to be taken with a grain of salt.  But a brick vs. a gun?  Three shots?  Come on.  Honestly, this strikes me as excessive.  

Yes, I know bricks can do damage, but where is the bravery that these kops are said to have?  It seems to me that they are often quite quick to shoot.  And then bureaucrats have the guts and/or stupidity to wonder aloud why there has been a rash of incidents in which citizens kill a member of the Polizei.  I am not advocating violence against the police; I am only saying that one must take stock of all the dynamics surrounding a situation.  Police violence against the citizenry is one of them.  Philadelphia has the additional ignominy of being a city which firebombed one of its own neighborhoods.  The old-timers tell me that this event created a stifling level of racial tension.  So much for the idea that authority creates peace!

It sounds like the suspect in question in this recent incident was a dangerous man and potentially mentally disturbed as well.  But was it necessary to kill him?  Maybe it was, but situations like this deserve better than the usual banal press releases from attorney generals’ offices.

Theft, Violence, and Propaganda

Thanks to LRC, I just had the pleasure (?) of watching this American tax propaganda video from the World War II era:

We hear the usual claptrap in this clip, words like “duty” and “sacrifice.”  The interesting thing about “sacrifice,” however, is that it is a lie:  When a thief breaks into your home and takes your most treasured possessions, that is not a sacrifice.  The divestment of your materials was not voluntary, so how could there be any giving or sacrifice?  In the Jewish and Christian traditions, sacrifice is voluntary.  I suppose that this means that the State is more like primordial religions, in which even human sacrifice was conducted without the consent of those whom it, well, impacted the most, if you catch my drift.

Another interesting feature of this excrement is that it glorifies violence and serving the State in the military.  What else are all those salutes and “Yes Sirs” meant to convey?  Couple this with the surprise when the talking radio reveals he’s actually discussing the income tax.  This seems to re-enforce the idea that military service is assumed to be good.  

Interestingly, however, one does wonder why the government, through its shills at Disney, felt the need to make this cartoon.  At the time the federal income tax was not a very old thing; many would have remembered much more peaceful times when they kept much more of their money.  Was there some resistance still?  How did the government prevail?  Were people as gullible then as they are now?  It would seem that tyranny benefits, if you’ll pardon my constantly bringing up this idea, from fragmentation and obsession, as Weaver called it.  This is the myopic fetish with detail that humanity has developed after it has lost sight of civilization’s founding principles.  The most obvious symptom of this is naked hostility to philosophy, most often seen in the neo-conservatives.  But the salient point here is that fragmentation and obsession keeps us from seeing the essential characteristics of a thing.  Indeed, to point out the relationship between theft and taxation is to waste one’s breath even in conversations with the “fiscally conservative.”  The government benefits from this because of the consequent stupidity which makes people more pliable to the idea that paying taxes is “different” from being robbed at gunpoint.

There is one tiny, tiny redeeming piece of this video, however.  It would seem that it shows how the tax system worked before the withholding racket got its start.  Would that each of us, every April 15, had to write a check for every cent in tax that we “owe” for the previous year.  That is to say, abolish the withholding system.  It is a nice trick the government uses, and it keeps most people, who are asleep in general as it is, from realizing just how much tax they pay every year.  It was sold to the gullible as a “convenience” but it is really a weapon:  Employers are required to withhold the money, and there is no chance for people to say to the government, “You’re not getting it.”  It makes any kind of tax revolt well impossible, doesn’t it?

For my part, I continue to pay my taxes honestly, if only out of a sense of prudence.  I value my ability to live freely over my natural right to keep the fruits of my labor.  I am like the coward who, when confronted with a gun-wielding mugger, hands over his wallet without even thinking.  Perhaps, however, the point should not be my cowardice, but rather that the government—that evil, parasitical pile of excrement in Washington—relies on such conundrums for its survival.

Remember that the next time some sports announcer asks you to stand up for the State Song.  “Deutschland ueber Alles…”  Ooops.  Wrong soundtrack.  Well, they’re all the same, though, aren’t they?

Why Freedom?

Sometime during the late 80′s or early 90′s, George H.W. Bush delivered a speech in which he waxed eloquent about what is generally called the fall of communism, the wave of revolution that swept Eastern Europe at the end of the Cold War.  In this allocution he said that tyranny fell “not to the force of arms, but to the force of an idea:  Freedom works.”

Freedom works.  This is the line of thinking that has been used by many in the political discourse.  Does freedom work?  Currently we’re in a time when many claim that it has not worked, and thanks both to the verbal jujitsu of the Republican Party and the stupidity of Boobus, this is widely accepted wisdom.  Never mind the fact that what the GOP calls a free economy is riddled with aspects of Fascism.  Our current situation, despite the popular perception, is not proof of the failure of freedom, and we should not feel obligated to give in to the Keynesian orgy presently taking place.  Wherever freedom has been tried, it has worked.  

But we need not belabor the point, for this utilitarian angle is not only useless, it is dangerous.  More on the danger in a bit.

If the “freedom works” argument is irrelevant, what is?  I would argue that the argument for freedom is found in the concept of natural rights—the right of self-determination, the right not to be robbed or shot by anyone, including the State.  From this perspective, it really doesn’t matter if freedom “works.”  The salient point is that freedom—a system of voluntary mutual exchange, one that respects individual rights and private property rights—preserves each man’s natural rights.  Period.  End of story.

Now let us return to this “Freedom works” utilitarian claptrap.  The contemporary Right, and even figures like Ludwig von Mises, have enthroned so many of their arguments on this premise.  Its danger lies not in its untruth; indeed the truth of the matter is not what I intend to dispute.  The problem is that this line of thought presents a beautifully engraved invitation to those who are unfriendly to laissez-faire capitalism:  The minute something goes wrong, they can blame freedom (they usually say “capitalism” to try to make it sound evil, a la Karl Marx) and say that we can no longer tolerate this irresponsible freedom.  

And so it’s time for the real friends of laissez-faire capitalism to stand up and say that this is truly the system that best preserves the rights that belong to us and cannot be taken away.

This is an age-old battle, really, one that started during the Exodus, when the wandering Israelites begged for a return to slavery because it was so much easier than their new-found freedom.  But nothing in life that’s worth a damn is easy, and some things are worth any price.  Freedom—from violence, theft, coercion, and other hobbies of the State—is one of them.

From one kind of murder to another

Barack Obama may be predisposed to commit fewer war crimes than his predecessor, though we must express such hopes with due caution if not downright skepticism, but one area on which he has turned the tables in the Murder-by-State department is abortion.

Obama has promised to push for the passage of FOCA, the Freedom of Choice Act, which among other things would force many healthcare providers to face the choice between performing procedures they find morally reprehensible, or shutting their doors.  So much for freedom.  This sounds to me like coercion, and, as usual, it is brought to you by the State.

But it doesn’t stop here.  Obama has already reversed the Mexico City policy, which under the W. Administration prohibited U.S. funds from going overseas to assist in the procurement of abortions.  Bush’s policy would seem to be the sensible one, for why should my tax dollars provide for a procedure which I find to be abhorent, either in a foreign country, or here at home?  Why should tax dollars support any ill-advised jaunt (such as the invasion of Iraq) that is morally controversial?  (Moreover, why should there be taxes, or the State, period….but I digress…)

Many would perhaps not want to admit it, but the key issue here is one of forcing American citizens to violate their consciences.  Perhaps this is a good sword to fall on, just the place to begin in the long battle against tyranny, for Ron Paul warned a year ago already that many of us would soon be facing tough choices and would have to decide if we were willing to commit civil disobedience.

The issue of abortion is a difficult one.  By saying that I do not mean to imply that I think the morality of it is hard to sort out.  It is difficult because it is hot, and sound reason is getting lost in the heat.   When I was a Statist (God forgive me!), I used to advocate a Constitutionalist approach:  Simply have Congress revoke this issue from the jurisdiction of the U.S. Supreme Court under Article III, Section 2 of the Constitution.  In all the years of Republican control of Congress, this option was never taken seriously, in spite of the fact that such bills were introduced.  This is one of the reasons that I don’t take the GOP seriously on this issue.

Many more, however, advocate a change in the make-up of the Supreme Court.  Good luck with that.  This is impossible to predict, and even with a pro-life president, even the best nominee is no better than a roll of the dice.  Besides, Article III, Section 2, and all that.

The real problem with trying to solve this through Constitutional means is that the Constitution really doesn’t matter anyway.  If it is true that the Lone Ranger President actually called it “just a G*ddamn piece of paper,” then, well, he’s right, and history proves him right.  The government has massaged, and even rended, the Constitution to get whatever it wants.  Why should it be any different with this issue?

The problem with the issue of abortion is that it would seem that civil law would be ineffective at truly preventing it from happening—as is the case with civil law so much of the time.  Yet, if there were to be no secular protection for the life of the unborn, who would be the defenders of the victims of abortion?  The best solution in the Statist milieu, it would seem, would be local laws that were enforceable.  Repeat:  this is within the Statist milieu.  (I’m dealing with present realities, for a change, but only for one paragraph.  You needn’t worry.)

Would it be better, however, for various religious institutions to institute their own penalties for this crime?  That has its own problems, not the least of which is that someone without religious affiliation would be unaccountable to anyone. Maybe the private common law courts that would be used in the anarcho-capitalist system envisioned by Murray Rothbard could be used to avenge the killing of the unborn.

Incidendentally, I do not accept Rothbard’s idea that the unborn child, being a parasite of its mother, does not have any rights.  It is the foetus’ parasitical nature which leads Rothbard to this conclusion that the unborn is really just property of the mother.  The implications of this, however, are ghastly.  What, then, about the nursing infant?  What about the mentally handicapped or deranged young adult?  What about the elderly, and those considered to be in “vegetative states”?  If being “parasitical” voids one’s rights, then most of our lives would be in danger at one point or another.

What is more, Rothbard really didn’t need to view the unborn as a parasite in order to keep his ethic of liberty consistent.  All one need do is define the unborn life as one belonging to itself, with all the rights that the rest of us have, and there is no problem of consistency.

Of course, that’s ultimately the rub, isn’t it?  In the final analysis, one’s views on abortion are not so much influenced by what one thinks the Constitution does or does not say, or by whether or not one is a Democan, Republikrat, libertarian, or anarchist.  It comes down to what one thinks a foetus is.  After all, if one believes that it is a life, then consistency requires that we stand up for its rights, and if one believes that it is not its own life, then that opens the door to toleration of, or even downright acceptance of, abortion.

We won’t all agree on this subject, and we might even disagree vehemently.  And that is the number one reason why the State should keep its grubby mitts out of the abortion industry.

Help to put an end to abortion by putting an end to the State.

Two LRC podcasts to drive the Anti-Saloon League batty

Seventy five years ago yesterday, Prohibition was repealed.  It would figure, of course, that this was not motivated by common sense, but rather by political greed.  Lew Rockwell talks to Mark Thornton about all this.

Be sure also to listen to the interview with Thornton about the drug war.

It’s interesting to me that, with respect both to alcohol and drugs, they became more dangerous after they were banned–so that whole bit about banning stuff for our own good is probably complete garbage.

Nonetheless, if you can find more than five people that you know who are capable of having a reasonable conversation about these substances, you are doing better than I am.  Americans love to find the faults of others and to correct them, even if it means ruining lives in the process.  Mencken said that most citizens love the law the most when it is established in order to protect them from themselves.

Everyone knows that the drug war has been an abysmal failure, but its status as a quasi-religion (a false one, to boot), with Nancy Reagan as its heavenly queen, pretty much prohibits reasoned discussion about the subject, let alone a sane recognition of the principles of non-aggression and personal responsibility.

U.S. Catholic Bishops take on Bush Administration’s immigration raids

From Rocco comes this story:

For over a year now, DHS has targeted employers who hire unauthorized workers by using force to enter worksites and arrest immigrant workers. During the process of these raids, U.S.-citizen children have been separated from their parents for days, if not longer; immigrants arrested have not been afforded the rights of due process; and local communities, including legal permanent residents and U.S. citizens, have been disrupted and dislocated. The sweeping nature of these raids—which often involve hundreds of law enforcement personnel with weapons—strike fear in immigrant communities and make it difficult for those arrested to secure basic due process protections, including legal counsel.

I used to be staunchly against illegal immigration, but the inconvenient facts of the matter show that this mess can hardly be laid entirely at the feet of the immigrants, or even at the feet of their employers. Our nation was founded upon the philosophical idea of the natural rights of man, but somehow this doesn’t obtain anymore when it’s inconvenient for the government or for bourgeois WASP culture. The present immigration laws are ridiculous, with many hoops for people to jump through in order to become citizens. The U.S. government even harasses students who come here to study, then want to stay. These are people who without doubt want to contribute to our society, and the government makes them pay outrageous fees and play a kind of lottery even to stand a chance of winning citizenship.

It may be a bad idea to have no immigration policy whatsoever, but the one we have now is unjust, and moreover, hardly beneficial to our culture. So, keep talking, Catholic bishops. This is one area in which you actually don’t drive me completely nuts.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.