With so much happening with the NSA right now, many people are commenting the commonly-misplaced, “I have nothing to hide” logical fallacy. Danah Boyd has some interesting comments regarding that argument. I thought I would add to it quite a bit. using Danah’s context, a tax return audit is so scary because the tax code is so outrageously massive, counter-intuitive, and vague, there is no way for even experienced tax attorneys to know every detail, especially as it changes. For the record, the IRS’s enforceable tax code is about 9 million words. There is no possible way to know if you are compliant, and statistically speaking, you are not. But, you don’t know how you are out of compliance. Your tax attorney can only speculate your compliance (at $300/hr) and along with your accountant (at $150/hr). But don’t worry, the IRS will only take your hard-earned money, plus interest, plus penalties for not knowing the tax code, because ignorance is no excuse.
But the tax code is not the only example of the legal system our of control. Every area has gone crazy, from gun laws, to drug laws, to medical laws you can no longer judge your “legality” by the old method of coercion. You can’t buy cold medication without filling out forms and risking arrest for buying too much. In simpler days, you could simply apply the property rights test and the coercion test (Am I forcing [ or threatening force] somebody to comply with my wishes?) Using this test makes 99% of the situations very clear. But those days are long since gone.
Finally, because you commit 3 felonies a day, you have 3 reasons per day to keep the federal government out of your life. Because so much of our daily lives is illegal, you are literally playing the felony lottery every day when you invite the federal government into your lives. Its incredibly short sited as well. Because while the powers that be may agree with your life choices, the next batch may not be so agreeable. Just in case you thought it won’t happen to you, here is a case of a man arrested for taking pictures at night. While the cops knew it was not illegal to take photos, they did know he WOULD eventually commit a crime because so much is illegal. They simply waited for him to walk down an alley, then arrested him for his offense. They took his equipment and now he gets to fight a legal system stacked against him.
“There’s no way to rule innocent men. The only power any government has is the power to crack down on criminals. Well, when there aren’t enough criminals, one makes them. One declares so many things to be a crime that it becomes impossible for men to live without breaking laws.” – Ayn Rand
A recent Supreme Court ruling changed limits on campaign contributions for corporations. The media is all abuzz regarding this ruling, but are focusing on the wrong part of the issue. The media is focusing on who can contribute and how much can someone contribute? That is an easy answer. As much as they want. Here is the problem: we have created something so valuable, people and corporations are willing to contribute thousands, if not millions of dollars to coerce fellow citizens into their belief systems. These people are investing in a system.
The federal government is too powerful. A politician should not be that valuable. When we reduce the federal government’s power, people will be less willing to invest in politicians. Don’t believe me? How many people contribute millions to city council campaigns? Why? Because its not worth it.
Now that I got your attention – universal health care does have the ability to be aggregately cheap (sum of the parts). Thats because the parts are much fewer than in a self-paying system. Chew on that while watching this video – courtesy of Classically Liberal.
As a libertarian, I am not against rules. I even enforce rules… on my property. I don’t let my son play with exposed electrical wires, that is against one of my rules. The above story makes a great statement.
Now, I’m not saying that we don’t need rules in society. But the question of who makes the rules and on what basis becomes supremely important. Will the rule making flow from the matrix of voluntary exchange based on the ethic of serving others through private enterprise? Or will the rules be made and enforced by people wearing guns and bulletproof vests with a license to shock or kill based on minor annoyances?
I’d rather the former than the latter. Guns are only necessary for making others live the way you do, or defending your lifestyle. The first is coercion, the sole business of government, and the second is self defense.
I have remained speechless regarding Iran’s “election” lately because it still amazes me that this level of (lack of) liberty still prevails in large populations. I remain speechless, hopefully not for long.
That’s the approximate number of people killed by their own governments.
I would consider government the least necessary of all evils.
This is a great summary of the original history of the Left. Its interesting how the government is always used to deny people of their rights and liberties, inherent in the definition of government.
Recently, Walmart opened a store in my home town, Maricopa, AZ. I was discussing the recent opening with my wife, more specifically, why it took so long for Walmart to open a store. She mentioned that *they* should have attracted Walmart sooner. Additionally, *they* should attract other stores like Target, Best Buy, etc. I asked her who was *they*. She responded, the city government. Its this type of thinking that lends itself to large, obtrusive governments at all levels.
While the city may think it attracted Walmart, that is a terrible, shallow description of who attracted Walmart to Maricopa. There is only body that attracted Walmart to Maricopa, the free market. Until recently, it was not worth Walmart’s money to invest in a new building to capture Maricopa’s dollars. Most of Maricopa commutes to the Phoenix Metro area for work, passing at least one Walmart along the way. It was not until recently that Maricopa had a significant enough population to support the volumes necessary to make a Walmart profitable. As Maricopa grows, other stores will come, but not because of the city. Its because of you, the consumer.
Now, there are things a municipality can do to block or encourage businesses to move to Maricopa. Things like zoning requirements, property taxes, and sales taxes all inhibit new business growth. If Maricopa wants more business, we need to reduce and streamline zoning changes, grossly reduce property and sales taxes. To enable this, Maricopa needs to maintain a barebones staff, keeping local regulations to a minimum. Additionally, Maricopa will attract consumers with the same policies, making it a win-win for everyone.
Mises.org has a great article regarding the lies spread by our own government. It also references what sounds like two great reads.
Background: The state of Virginia collects prescription data to detect prescription abuse. Way to protect us, Virginia.
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