Brian’s Column: Where Can I Do the Most Good? (Part 1 of 2)

Panic attack at a GOP county convention

republican_symbolNovi, Michigan. It came on suddenly, triggered I think by the invocation—in this WASPish crowd, always a nod to the Christian God—that meandered to an end by stating how we should always cherish our great friend, Israel. What?!

First—and I’ve felt this way about virtually all of the Republican meetings I’ve been to since becoming a precinct delegate roughly two years ago—what’s an invocation of faith in ‘God’ doing at a political meeting? This is America, where people’s religious beliefs are their own business so long as, “they neither break my bones or pick my pocket,” as our great sage and secular saint Thomas Jefferson put it.

Second, what is the state of Israel doing in a Christian invocation? Is the speaker trying to ward off accusations of excluding Jews?  If so, why not say, let’s be nice to Jews… not let’s be nice to Israel? Then if we’re invoking kindness toward Jews, why not Muslims, Buddhists, humanists, and Great Pumpkinists? Which leads to the obvious conclusion that it’s best to dispense with religious observances in secular gatherings of this nature. If you want to solemnize the occasion, lead a moment of silence.

Following the invocation comes the Pledge of Allegiance. No need to get into a big deal about that now, too, let’s just say that the Pledge is antilibertarian—as aptly pointed out by Mr. Chris Allman at a recent Oakland County Campaign for Liberty (C4L) Meeting. For one thing, its writer was an ardent socialist advocating sacrifice of the individual to the collective; another: the words ‘under God’ were added during the communist scare of the 1950s to enforce the notion that ours is a God-fearing nation, and conformity is patriotic.[1]

Let’s get rid of the Pledge, too. What I propose instead is to recite the paragraph from the Declaration of Independence that establishes the First Principles of our country:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.
[Emphasis mine. Any decent pledge for Americans, young or old, rich or poor, should stress the individual throwing off the inhuman collective, not bowing down or singing hosannas to it.]

So this whole invocation and Pledge thing now has me wandering off on turmoil-filled line of thought… instead of focusing on what I need to do: stay cool and help elect the ‘liberty slate’ of officers and executive committee members of the Oakland County party organization.

I’ve been down this road of reasoning before: why is it so simple and natural to make a market choice—select a sandwich from a menu, pick the Rockport shoe instead of the cheap imitation, Budweiser vs. Miller, etc.—and so unnatural to make a political choice (off a very limited menu, I might add), where a person can spend hours and hours to get a majority to select the lesser of evils that you want. And many times, even if your candidate wins, you don’t really know him and he turns sour long before his integrity-expiration date.

“You know,” I tell myself, “this whole process of picking public officials (or even party officials who have a hand in determining public officials) is demented.” [Who died and made any of them king? School board members? Why does government have any role in education whatsoever? Mayor and city council? Governor and state legislature? President and Congress? I’m honestly trying to think on what planet any of these people do honest individuals any good whatsoever, or for which we have any genuine human need.]

I have to go now. [Not really a panic attack, I just have to get some air and leave these chambers behind. With that, I’m out the door of the Suburban Collection center, without even saying good-bye to my C4L and liberty Republican friends. I just skate. No, I’m not proud. I told my district lady that I’d show up. And I did. But I know she meant to help elect the liberty slate in our locality over the entrenched establishment Republicans.

I start to think the sacrilege of what difference does it make. What good will it do to throw off some established Republican office holders from the party’s central committee for our people’s slate? I don’t really know most of the liberty slate’s candidates, but my district lady herself is running, and I’ve hooked horns with her before on social media… over religion. Compared to her, Cotton Mather was a piker. And there you go again. So long as you have coercive government (and embedded political parties), nothing changes; elections just turn the wheel to grind down another set of individuals… until everyone becomes fine dust.

Freedom of Choice in Government—Panarchy

Remember that skit on Saturday Night Live years ago starring Steve Martin, where he plays a 12th-century judge, Theodoric of York. He’s judged three people and all of them were punished; the mother (Jane Curtin) of the woman (Laraine Newman) who was drowned to determine if she was a witch, protests that this isn’t justice at all and you are all a bunch of primitive idiots who don’t know what you’re doing. Theodoric replies:

“Wait a minute – perhaps she’s right. Maybe the King doesn’t have a monopoly on the truth. Maybe a person should be judged by his peers. Oh! A jury! A jury of his peers. Of six good men! No wait! Eight good men! No!! Ten good men!! No, that’s not enough… 18 good men!! No, that’s TOO MANY. Let’s see… 11 good men! Wait! 13 good men! No… 11, 13, 11, 13… it doesn’t matter. Okay. But everyone should be tried by a jury of their peers and be equal before the law. And perhaps, every person should be free from cruel and unusual punishment.”

For a moment, everyone looks at one another, and the judge looks at all of them, then in unison they say:

Nah!!”

Substitute ‘freedom of choice in government’ for ‘jury trial and no cruel punishments’ and we see the same reaction from most people today. It’s just easier for most of us to keep doing what we’ve always done than to even consider a more enlightened way. But now as coercive government reaches the end of its rope, let’s try a different approach:

First, Government Should Be Doing Jack

… in the Grand Scheme of the Cosmos, micro-government follows from First Principles of the Declaration:

“That to secure these rights [life, liberty, property], Governments are instituted among Men…”

[Solely] protecting individual rights is the job description. Important, but it requires minimal resources and power. The US Constitution is notable for spelling out the vast number of areas where the feds have absolutely NO legal authority, sealed by the 9th Amendment and the 10th Amendment as follows:

  • 9th: Anything we failed to spell out as a right of the people is a right of the people.
  • 10th: Unless explicitly authorized herein, the feds don’t have the authority.

Even if you consider that our free country may be surrounded by aggressors and thus we need a sustained, expansive federal military. For one thing, we would have Constitutional militia to be the mainstay of homeland defense—no standing army. If you need to go on the offensive outside our borders, you can quickly raise an adequate mass force from citizen soldiers… also to augment air or naval forces.[2]

The point here is that without direct taxes—or without the subterfuge that the people owe nonapportioned direct taxes—the federal government would function quite adequately and Constitutionally on about 1% of the amount currently budgeted. [IOW, ~$38 billion vs. $3.8 trillion for fiscal year 2015. Let’s round up and call it $50 billion per year, which is not quite the amount of money spent this year by the state of Michigan.][3]

Transition to Government by Contract

Here I’m going to lead in to my subsequent column where I discuss a scenario for moving from coercive (mandatory, singular) government to a system where we the people become customers for services previously usurped or legitimately performed by ‘government.’ Several months ago as I was envisioning a Truth (Toto) Project I put together a graphic as follows:

Simplified_Diag_w_TotoOver on the right hand side, you can see some new terminology. I’m calling the companies or consortia who perform/bundle traditionally government provided public services—police, fire, judicial, property disposition, transportation, library, schools—public service agencies (PSAs). I’m only showing the Libertarian box in the graphic. But in rollout you might have half a dozen PSAs: socialist, middle of the road, green, religious, counterculture. Or in America break down the options according to existing political parties.

In practice, you as a customer would contract with the PSA of your choice. For example, a more collectivist PSA would supply K-12 schools, where the Liberty PSA would certainly leave education to the parents and children. Of course, that would make, say, the Demo- crat PSA more expensive and reduce its appeal to customers unless it could demonstrate that its services were first rate. All the PSAs for a community—or ‘state’ or ‘nation’ level— would abide by a simple set of nonaggression standards, which I have called the Universal Nonaggression Protocol.

Note: Many of my ideas of how individually contracted government would work I derived from Dwight Johnson and his site, thecantonmovement.com; I kept his mechanics of the canton system in mind as I developed my own thinking on how we can actually launch a system of voluntary governments into operation.

Several issues emerge when you enable individuals to determine who shall provide their own bundle of public services. The Liberty PSA clearly becomes the gold standard for PSAs, because it is going to leave the maximum number of functions to individuals themselves, and be the least expensive.

To give you an idea, my current property tax payment for my small condo in the city of Novi, Michigan, runs to roughly $1700 per year and at least half of that is government-school-payment related. As a Liberty PSA subscriber, I won’t be paying any more for government schools. Plus with other nonessential services that my Liberty PSA will not be performing, my local ‘government’ (PSA) annual subscription fee I expect will amount to ~10% of the $1700 tax bite, or $150 to $170 per year.

Plus, I’ll get much better services because of the competition factor.

[Please go to Part 2.]

[1] Check out the excellent discussion of the Pledge in this article from the Freedom from Religion Foundation.

[2] It should be noted that the notion that we the United States has to dominate every corner of the world with military hardware and projection of imperial power is total self- serving bullshit of the global elites who have created the war-and-destruction-for-profit machine. The founders of America, by enabling the people’s institutions of militias and grand juries, set the stage for imminent world peace and freedom and, ultimately, demilitarization of the planet—or at least the nation-states thereof. The end of war as we know it should have occurred early in the 19th century… and would have but for the depredations of the Men of the Power Sickness, especially compulsory central banking and government schools.

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[3] Note: we would need some additional budget to make the transition, say, $500 billion the initial fiscal year, with a sliding scale down to $50 billion in the fourth fiscal year of a Constitutional administration… to enable efficient scuttling and transfer of legitimate functions to the private sector.

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