Monday, May 31, 2010

The Stockholm Syndrome and liberty

The Third Palmetto Republic, a secessionist site based in South Carolina, takes a close look at why even liberty activists will talk about nullification, but flinch at the idea of secession. Because this so clearly explains why many liberty activists are caught in a trap, I am quoting at length.

In psychology, Stockholm syndrome is a term used to describe a paradoxical psychological phenomenon wherein hostages express adulation and have positive feelings towards their captors that appear irrational in light of the danger or risk endured by the victims… The syndrome is named after the Norrmalmstorg robbery of Kreditbanken at Norrmalmstorg in Stockholm, in which the bank robbers held bank employees hostage from August 23 to August 28, 1973. In this case, the victims became emotionally attached to their captors, and even defended them after they were freed from their six-day ordeal. The term “Stockholm Syndrome” was coined by the criminologist and psychiatrist Nils Bejerot, who assisted the police during the robbery, and referred to the syndrome in a news broadcast.

In cases where Stockholm syndrome has occurred, the captive is in a situation where the captor has stripped nearly all forms of independence and gained control of the victim’s life, as well as basic needs for survival. Some experts say that the hostage regresses to, perhaps, a state of infancy; the captive must cry for food, remain silent, and exist in an extreme state of dependence. In contrast, the perpetrator serves as a ‘mother’ figure protecting the ‘child’ from a threatening outside world, including law enforcement’s deadly weapons. The victim then begins a struggle for survival, both relying on and identifying with the captor. Possibly, hostages’ motivation to live outweighs their impulse to hate the person who created their dilemma.

The "mother figure," also known in this country as the "nanny state."

The genius of the federal government, the U.S. Empire, is that they have used indirect and deceiving means for such oppression. They don’t come to your house and hold you at gunpoint to strip you of your independence or gain control of your life, because this would be too obvious, and people would resist it. Instead, they pass federal laws and mandates and regulations and taxes that are all meant to protect you from the threatening outside world, but serve to limit your freedom, steal your property, and control your actions. To add insult to injury, and to complete the circle of enslavement, they literally serve as a mother figure and control the education of your children and have done so for generations, each iteration creating more and more hostages. The same government that supposedly fought to end slavery has instead enslaved us all. (Emphasis added).

The situation is not as bleak as it may sound though, events are taking place that are bringing people back to the ideas of self government and liberty:

A stark example of this is unfolding before our eyes in Arizona, where Governor Jan Brewer is honoring her constituents’ wish to stem the invasion from Mexico. For a long time the federal government has compelled Arizona and other states not only to tolerate this invasion, but to subsidize it, a sickening policy that Arizonans overwhelmingly want to abolish. If the federal government steps in and quashes the people’s will on an issue of this emotional magnitude, it will have gone a long way toward losing the people’s respect and obedience.

The same calculus applies to gun rights in Montana and the drug war in California, both instances where the state government has chosen to pursue a course that deviates from unpopular federal policy. At a critical point, the state may gather enough spine to “interpose” its judgment and formally refuse to observe a federal law. Another term for this is “nullification,” which is a smaller version of secession (i.e., the refusal to observe all federal authority).

If a state indeed nullifies an unpopular federal law, it will have crossed the Rubicon and dared the federal government to enforce its will against that of the people. If the federal government does so, it will lose legitimacy and alienate the people even further; if it does not, it will lose face and encourage people to seek even more of the self-governance being denied them.

In other words, if we show backbone, we put the feds into a lose-lose situation.

This is the nature of the intellectual battle we must wage. Our philosophical enemies who believe in imperialism and government control are strong and their government is growing faster than ever, and our freedom loving allies are weak and have been conditioned into loyalty to their masters. As inspiring as the Tea Party movement has been, uniting people of all political backgrounds against big government, no amount of rallies or demonstrations will improve the lives of Americans so long as we continue to worship the red, white, and blue. We must encourage the nullification efforts being discussed today and we must advocate for the ultimate nullification: secession. The soft tyranny of the United States government has created a country of “free” hostages but we can and will restore liberty if we can somehow break the Stockholm Syndrome of our countrymen.

Memorial Day: what we should be mourning

DumpDC is harsh, but on point. Mr. Longcore respects the honor of those who thought they died for their country and in defense of freedom; but the truth is, the wars they fought did not merit their sacrifice.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

The path to independence

Attorney Wilton Strickland writes in the Liberty Defense League site, how a state can gradually achieve de facto independence without getting creamed by the feds; at the same time chipping away at the legitimacy of the federal government. The method is quite similar to the one successfully used by Kosova to break away from Serbia. (Summary below by Bill Miller at Secession and Nullification News and Information).

[S]ecession will have to become a de facto reality before it graduates into a de jure status of full legal sovereignty, since the federal tendrils run far too broad and deep in modern life to expect an immediate break. … With a good governor and/or legislature in place, the state can begin to resist unlawful federal programs and thereby impress upon the public mind that the federal government is a hostile and disruptive force. This requires a thoughtful strategy of challenging federal power in those particular areas where public opinion already clashes with it. By siding with the public on these “hot button” issues, the state will have increased its legitimacy at the expense of the federal government’s own and paved the way for greater independence in the future. … If a state indeed nullifies an unpopular federal law, it will have crossed the Rubicon and dared the federal government to enforce its will against that of the people. If the federal government does so, it will lose legitimacy and alienate the people even further; if it does not, it will lose face and encourage people to seek even more of the self-governance being denied them. … Apart from outright resistance, state governments should wean themselves from federal funds as soon as possible.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Crying over spilled oil

All of the media attention the last few days has been on the oil spill from the BP deep-sea well in the Gulf of Mexico, which exploded over a month ago. While it is impossible to protect the environment from every accident, it is evident that in the case of Deepsea Horizon, due diligence was not done. Why not?

Capitalism is based on opportunity, therefore the executives or owners of a company will try to identify and exploit opportunities that will result in profits for themselves and their shareholders. As far as the capitalist is concerned, this is their only obligation.

However, in assessing an opportunity, risk must be taken into consideration. The federal government, some years ago, mitigated that risk for BP in the Oil Pollution Act of 1990 by limiting its liability to $75 million "unless gross negligence is proven." While BP has agreed to pay the full cost of cleaning up the spill (currently estimated at $12 billion) and Congress wants to up the limit to $10 billion, the discussion of the cap misses the point.

There should be no limit on liability. If a future oil spill is so costly that it bankrupts BP, then let BP go bankrupt. Not because I'm an extreme environmentalist or anti-capitalist; but because the lack of a liability limit will force management to factor in that risk, when they make the decision to invest in a deep-sea oil well. It will also force management to factor in safety precautions that could be made to prevent oil spills. Failure to do so will be considered gross negligence by the company's own stockholders.

There is another party to this gross negligence -- the federal government. It has responded very slowly to this problem. Its reluctance to act reminds me of its response to Hurricane Katrina.

This space is frequently critical of federal interventions where the federal government has no business intervening; for example, with health care and education; but the federal government does have defined powers within the Constitution. Regulating this oil well is one of them, since this well was drilled 40 miles out to sea, well within the 200 miles of territorial waters of the United States. One can reasonably deduce from Article I, Section 8, of the Constitution, that this oil well deals with interstate, even international, commerce.

So what is the take-home? The feds are so busy trying to take over health care, the auto industry, Wall Street, and other businesses "too big to fail;" so busy robbing American taxpayers to pay their friends, that they are neglecting their core responsibilities in immigration and environmental cleanup outside state lines.

To cover up their failures, they are criticizing Arizona for trying to carry out what should be a federal responsibility; and are expecting Louisiana to somehow scrounge for resources to protect its own wetlands.

If Donald Trump were emperor, you know what he would say to the feds...


Maybe the time has come for the states, as the feds' employer, to say the same thing. If the feds can't even carry out their Constitutional responsibilities, they are incompetent, and deserve to be fired. The method for states to back out of a broken contract is known as secession.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Boycott the boycotter

Columbus Mayor Michael Coleman has come out in support of the boycott against Arizona by forbidding city workers from attending any conferences in Arizona until they repeal their immigration law.

I'd boycott Columbus, but I live here...

Why this Christian became a Libertarian

When I took my ballot last month for the primary, I became a Libertarian. I had been a Republican since I became old enough to vote thirty-nine years ago, and for about a third of that, I was a Republican activist.

In the last few years, I concluded that the GOP is not interested in the same principles that we are. So why are we settling for the "lesser of two evils?" Isn't the lesser of two evils still evil? I see settling for the lesser of two evils as a failure of character. If you believe in the Libertarian philosophy, then become a Libertarian and help Libertarian candidates get elected! If you settle for less, that's what you'll get.

In deference to my friends in the Constitution Party, I did seriously consider joining it. The reason I did not do so was the contradiction I perceived between that party's fidelity to the U.S. Constitution (which is beyond question), and its desire to use government to promote Christian morality. In my opinion, the Founders intended that persons of sound morality should govern a secular system.

I have heard some arguments that the Libertarian Party is "amoral." I do not believe this, and neither should you. It is true that Libertarians favor repealing many of the laws governing the use of drugs in this country, particularly marijuana -- which is an effective pain killer denied to many cancer patients who desperately need it. It is true that Libertarians are tolerant of homosexuals. The issue in these and other cases, however, is not morality. The issue is, what is the appropriate role of government?

Government's role is to protect us from fraud and external force. What you do with (or to) your body is your business and that of the health care professionals you trust.

Further, government has absolutely no business dealing with spiritual issues. This is why we speak of a separation between church and state. Christians say that homosexuality is a sin because it tends to separate the individual from God -- but so do many other things in life: love of money, obesity, laziness, anxiety, and many other sins.

As Martin Luther wrote nearly 500 years ago (in "On Temporal Authority"), in matters of the spirit, the church must persuade. The only thing government does well is to use force. That is why we favor limited government -- so that its force is controlled and directed only where necessary.

One of the sins for which Christians are collectively guilty is the expectation that government will do the Church's work for it; for example, by harsh legislation against drug use, and by attempting to govern the relationships of homosexuals. The result is that the church has lost its evangelical fire and most of its credibility as an institution. Many of us have lost the spiritual benefits of charity because we choose to pay high taxes, rather than to give of our own money to help others.

And then we wonder why we seem to live in a spiritual wilderness...

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Prophecy of the day

Read it and weep:

The most ominous political sign in the United States today is the growing complacency with corruption. Many believe there is no honest person in public office; or worse, that if there were one, he or she would be a fool not to seize the opportunities. The people themselves are becoming corrupted. Our democratic government is running the course it must inevitably follow under conditions producing unequal distribution of wealth.

Where this will lead is clear. Contempt for the law develops, and reform becomes hopeless. Volcanic forces festering among the masses will explode when some accident gives them vent...

Invention marches on, our cities expand. Yet civilization has begun to wane when, in proportion to population, we have more prisons, more welfare, more mental illness. Society does not die from top to bottom; it dies from bottom to top.

-- Henry George, Progress and Poverty (1880), ed. Bob Drake (2006), pp. 291-293

Henry George has been called a socialist, and in Progress and Poverty, he states that his one simple reform, a single tax on land value (excluding improvements on the land), advances to the ideal of socialism. But Henry George was not a socialist. He was not even a statist, as we in the liberty movement understand that term. He believed strongly in personal responsibility. He did not advocate governmental control of private enterprise, nor did he suggest that government seize anything -- only that it redirect taxation in a way that promotes true equality of opportunity.

I am in the midst of reading the book, and I confess that his ideas are highly provocative and contain a certain appeal. I shall have more to write in future posts.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

A tough decision we all have to make

I see many well-meaning people stressing loyalty to the United States flag, and it reminds me just how deeply engrained that is in our culture. However, we live in perilous times, when the conventions that have made us comfortable in the past could support efforts to enslave us.

Examples are legion: forced health care, a Senate bill that would regulate growing one's own food, post-9/11 "homeland security", cap-and-trade, a UN treaty regulating ownership of small arms, "stimulus" money to bail out Wall Street, uncontrolled immigration...

I am not promoting secession, except as a last resort that we have not yet reached, but we all have to decide at what point loyalty to the nation and its flag becomes loyalty to the tyrants who control the government of the United States of America.

I do not fly any flag at home (marital compromise), but if I did, it would be the Burgee alone.* I encourage others to consider substituting the Burgee for the United States flag, since it is based on the same founding principles. Its solo display can be a quiet reminder that we must return to freedom... one way or the other.

* A stronger statement could be made with my proposed independence flag which removes the 17 stars (left), but the regular Ohio flag will do just fine, too.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Former U.S. spy calls federal government "stupid"

... and calls on years of experience to prove it. He also says it can't last. Watch the video all the way to the end!

Virtual buckeye to Vermont Commons.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Support the Ohio Health Care Freedom Petition

I have been a little slow to jump on this bandwagon, because I wanted to see the legal issues resolved. Those issues were resolved last week, and now it is time for all liberty-minded Ohioans to circulate and sign this petition, which will amend the Ohio Constitution to ensure that we will never be forced to accept a federal health care plan.

This is an example of nullification. While nullification is usually done by state legislatures, there is no reason it cannot be done by the people directly through the initiative and referendum.

The Ohio Project site contains excellent instructional videos on how to properly circulate the petitions, to minimize the likelihood of challenge.

The petition will require more than 400,000 signatures to appear on the November ballot. I have registered as a circulator, and I hope you will too.

On "American exceptionalism"

There is nothing "exceptional" about Americans. We are human -- and being human, we are just as generous and greedy, wise and stupid, intelligent and ignorant, virtuous and venal, diligent and lazy, as anyone else.

"American exceptionalism" is nothing more than a convenient sophistry used by the builders of empire to persuade good people to allow them to pursue their evil designs.

We cannot save our country until we understand and accept these truths.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

The only thing we have to fear is fear itself!

Oklahoma proves it, as Chuck White pointed out to the Ohio Freedom Alliance forum. In the last few months, the Oklahoma legislature:

  • Enacted a state sovereignty resolution
  • Placed the Ten Commandments on the front entrance to the state capitol
  • Passed a law to incarcerate illegal aliens and send them back to their home country
  • Include DNA samples from illegal aliens in a database (Nancy Pelosi said that was unconstitutional. Given her track record with the Constitution, I'd be inclined to do the reverse of what she suggests...)
  • Confirmed that Oklahomans have the right to bear arms and transport them in their vehicles
  • Require that driver's licenses and driver's examinations be printed in English, and only in English.

(Supporting links appear with the post).

All of these actions are politically incorrect, but all of them are Constitutional -- even the ones relating to illegal aliens. The Constitution says that federal law may trump state law on immigration -- but if the feds do not enforce their law, the states have the right to enforce theirs (see Article I, Section 8, clause 4 of the U.S. Constitution). To date the feds have taken no action against Oklahoma.

So why is Ohio not following Oklahoma's lead?

That's a good question for you to ask your candidates for Governor and Ohio General Assembly.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Now protesters are a "threat to our national security"

This is hysterical ... literally:

hysterical, from hysteria:

: a psychoneurosis marked by emotional excitability and disturbances of the psychic, sensory, vasomotor, and visceral functions

2 : behavior exhibiting overwhelming or unmanageable fear or emotional excess

-- Merriam Webster Dictionary

As reported in Andrew Breitbart's Big Government site:

When Rep. Carson gathered reporters around him to spread the myth of racial slurs being hurled “fifteen times” he painted the protesters not just as racists, but as a terrorist threat.

KERRY PICKET (Washington Times): Do you think the people outside are generally dangerous or no?

REP. CARSON: Oh absolutely. I worked in homeland security. I’m from intelligence, and I’ll tell you, one of the largest threats to our internal security…I mean terrorism has an Islamic face, but it really comes from racial supremacist groups. (inaudible) Its the kind of thing we keep a threat assessment on record [for].

PICKET: From groups like this?

REP. CARSON: Oh absolutely.

And we can now see this two pronged message continuing in the narrative from Democratic politicians and the media: The Tea Party protests are really about white rage and they are sowing the seeds for domestic terrorism. This was the message delivered by Rep. Carson that afternoon and that is the message the media has run with.

An African-American commenter to this post thinks that Rep. Carson needs a psychological examination. The American people are being fed the big lie by the state-run media. The question is, are they buying it?

These are the times that try everyone's souls...

Virtual buckeye to Mike McCool.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Government is a necessary evil

Government is both necessary and is evil. It is necessary, because it is human nature to be selfish. Those who are not educated (or educable) to appropriate behavior in society will attempt to cheat and steal to get what they want. The force of government, therefore, is needed to restrain such people from harming us. This applies as much to the foreign and terrorist army as it does to the common criminal. Martin Luther wrote that if everyone be a practicing Christian, there would be no need for government. However, we all know this is not so.

However, those who wield the powers of government are capable of great evil, as we are seeing more clearly every day.

The statist sees government as necessary, but not evil.
The anarchist sees government as evil, and not necessary.

I suggest that the most appropriate approach is that suggested by our Founding Fathers. Keep government as small and as local as possible (decentralism), bound as tightly as possible to a set of rules (the Constitution) and to representatives who are conscientious in carrrying out the will of the people. This way, government is strong enough to do what is necessary, and restrained from doing what is evil.