Big Head Press

L. Neil Smith's
Number 519, May 17, 2009

"The establishment media and the
establishment government are criminals."

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A New Freedom Manifesto,
I've Got Your Ten Planks Right Here, Buddy

by Abe Clark

Attribute to The Libertarian Enterprise

Conservatives have noted with alarm that all ten planks of the Communist Manifesto have been largely implemented in the United States, despite our supposed status as a free country. When not actively contributing to this outcome through their elected representatives, they have offered little in the way of effective resistance to this slide toward totalitarianism, or toward the creation of alternate goals that might inspire such resistance. It occurs to me that the freedom movement could benefit from the creation and enumeration of its own set of planks, each clearly defined and worthy of adoption in its own right, and each contributing to the overall goal of advancing the cause of freedom.

Some freedom loving Americans may object, countering that we don't need a long list of goals, we just need one or two big goals such as Bill of Rights Enforcement or widespread adoption of the Zero Aggression Principle. Both are worthwhile endeavors of course, and entirely compatible with promoting a more detailed list of smaller goals. Think of this Freedom Manifesto as a series of signposts along the way, marking our progress toward a freer society.

1. Abolish the Death Tax. In a federal budget measured by the trillions, protecting the billions seized by estate taxes might seem like a symbolic gesture, and that is exactly what it is—a one-fingered symbolic gesture in the general direction of everyone who wants to claim collective ownership over whatever meager wealth a productive individual is able to accumulate, despite a lifetime of paying income, sales, and property taxes.

2. End draft registration. A free society and slavery cannot coexist, and military conscription is little more than glorified slavery, putting the lives and careers of young men and women at the disposal of potentially power-mad rulers. Even in today's society, instituting a military draft would be politically problematic—why keep the collectivist relic of draft registration around?

3. Respect freedom of emigration. A clear measure of your freedom in any situation is your freedom to leave if you wish. A country that builds a Berlin-style wall around itself is clearly violating that freedom, but taxes on expatriate income or expatriated wealth are just another version of the same misbegotten philosophy.

4. End Drug Prohibition. Alcohol Prohibition created a nationwide crime wave, generated widespread police corruption, and did little to reduce the behavior it aimed to eliminate.. Drug Prohibition has been even more disastrous, and has given government goons new excuses to invade our financial privacy and to regulate firearms ownership.

5. Abolish the income tax. There is no greater affront to the principle of individual liberty than the idea that a ruling class should be entitled to extract the first part of a person's gainful endeavors for itself, determining what portion of an individual's productive output to allow that individual to keep. On first principles alone the income tax is untenable; when we consider the terrible growth of government that it has enabled, it is clearly long past time to end it forever.

6. Close the Department of Homeland Security. Americans survived and prospered for two centuries without it, and no free society should be burdened with such a paranoid, overarching, and over-reaching bureaucracy. The name alone evokes an imperial and collectivist mindset, one not befitting a free people.

7. Abolish the Social Security Administration. End the world's biggest Ponzi scheme, and stop numbering our children. Social Security impoverishes young working families for the purpose of making the elderly dependent wards of the state and dependable voters for the continuation and extension of massive government.

8. Shut down the Federal Reserve. Even if the Fed didn't reduce our freedom by fostering the growth of government and enabling incompetent bankers to loot current and future generations of American taxpayers, it should be abolished for having repeatedly and completely failed its stated mission to stabilize the economy. A free country doesn't need a central bank, and no country needs repeated economic depressions and mass inflation.

9. Bring all American troops home. An imperial army and a free country are fundamentally inconsistent, and it is well past time to choose the latter. World War II and the Korean War are long since over, yet tens of thousands of American troops are still stationed in Germany, Japan, and Korea. Occupying armies in Iraq and Afghanistan help to create the resentment and blowback used to justify freedom-eroding policies here at home, and are unnecessary for our defense.

10. End all government involvement in education. The sad results of the forced institutionalization of American children in government-run schools becomes more apparent every year. Government-mandated home schooling curricula and conditional vouchers for private schooling are pale substitutes for real education freedom. If we want to teach our children to love freedom and learning, to question arbitrary authority, and to become productive, well-adjusted adults, we have to teach them ourselves, or exercise direct financial control over those who do.

Despite the long decline of freedom in America, there is hope for a freer future. Some items in this Freedom Manifesto already have significant support, while others may be a distant dream. Yet not one item is as radical as its collectivist opponents will undoubtedly claim it to be. America has grown and prospered under these exact conditions for much of its history, with the worst assaults on our freedom coming in the past century, and some in just the past ten years. By boldly staking out specific goals for a free society, we can cast off the collectivist mistakes of the past and look forward to a rebirth of freedom.


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