THE LIBERTARIAN ENTERPRISE
Number 530, August 2, 2009
"They don't read it,
they can't vote on it."
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Russ Longcore does a good job of writing his essay, "Bread and Circuses". I have a number of difficulties with it, though, which I'd like to mention.
It is certainly true that the balance of power among the citizens, the aristocrats, and the military in Roman culture was severely tested by the ways in which emperors used bread and circuses to bribe and awe the masses. But it isn't clear to me that Roman culture was ever anything we would desire.
Roman culture was built on slavery and militarism. The gladiators in the circus were slaves, and they rebelled on more than one occasion. Spartacus was one of the more successful of these rebellions. The Romans raped, pillaged, slaughtered, and copied wherever they went.
Yes, they had at least some appreciation for Greek culture, especially statuary and poetry. Yes, they did add a few bits of technology such as certain types of fast-setting concrete. But they also burned a lot of libraries at Carthage, Alexandria, Syracuse, and elsewhere. They killed Archimedes which set back the study of mathematics by about two thousand years. And wherever they went, the conscripted for their military, they enslaved masses of people to build triumphal arches and other follies, and they imposed debased coinage on trade and commerce. Their end could not come fast enough, for it truly was a darkness spreading across the land.
In contrast, the period which followed with many diverse small land holders thriving, many different rulers in principalities often tiny in comparison, and a thousand years of stable Byzantine and Caliphate coinage provided for enormous advances in technology, the rise of new and better cultures, and the survival in divers libraries in Ireland and Arabia of a great many works of the higher and more ancient Greek culture. The economic stability of sound money for a thousand years clearly laid the foundation for the Italian Renaissance, the scientific revolution, and the Enlightenment which followed. These are not things which the brutal Roman culture could ever build.
The word "Americans" is a difficulty for me in the way Russ uses it. Here's a sentence that emphasises the difficulty. "But by 1860, they were willing to allow Lincoln to make war upon the Southern States and completely ignore the Constitution."
The Southern States were actually called the Confederate States of America, except by certain northern politicians who insisted on calling them states in rebellion. Those states were filled with Americans. And it is the fact that Americans were not willing to allow Lincoln to make war on them, nor ignore the constitution which accounts for about a million and thirty thousand men shedding their blood as casualties (dead or wounded) in that war, with arguably millions of others suffering privation, starvation, disease, death, rape, mutilation, torture, and other difficulties as civilian casualties of war.
In addition to those Americans who fought in Confederate colors, including about 90,000 free men of color from Southern states, there were also many in the north who opposed the war. Consider the Copperheads, including Clement Vallandigham. Many in the north opposed the war, spoke out against it, objected in Congress, and were subjugated by the tyrant Lincoln whose government imprisoned Vallandigham and later exiled him.
Just as Russ simplifies, perhaps from a northern perspective, that Americans allowed Lincoln to make war on the Southern States, his comments like "I believe that Americans have lost the capacity to govern themselves," and "America wants socialism" represent his perspective on who Americans are and what America wants. It is far from clear that Americans generally are satisfied with the government, nor that any majority of them want socialism.
Consider the recent electoral victory for Barack Obama. It is said that he won 69,456,897 votes in the popular election, for about 53% of the vote. But there were 305 million people in the country at the time of his election, according the census bureau of his government, which has a tendency to lie, and to be lazy, and I don't think they are able to count everyone. I suspect that there are easily hundreds of thousands and probably millions of people who are not counted because they don't wish to be.
But relying on their figures, we have 22.8% of the people who voted for Obama. Tens of millions were not "eligible" to vote because of crazy restrictions that say that a 17 year old isn't allowed to vote (I have no idea why not). Millions were refused the vote because they have some prior conviction of a felony, one of the things the legislators keep making more of by arbitrarily assigning non-violent acts such as driving or trading to the category of felony. Tens of millions don't register to vote because they are very aware that it is pointless, that their votes aren't really counted, and nobody in the government represents them. Some are even aware that nobody in government *can* represent them. And of those registered to vote, some don't bother because they actually work for a living on a Tuesday in November, have better things to do, or don't care much about the outcome.
So to say that "Americans elected Obama" is not really very true. The vast majority of Americans did not vote for anyone. Only about 43% voted at all. About 77% didn't vote for Obama. There is no mandate here, except from among the vested economic interests that sleaze trillions of dollars a year from the government.
Given these figures, Russ's conclusions are mistaken. "The majority of American citizens want socialism. They may say that they are against socialism but they continue to elect and re-elect politicians that enact socialistic laws and regulations."
I'm not sure what exactly is meant by a citizen, if it is not someone who is living in the USA. Is this word meant to account for the six million non-military citizens living abroad?
The majority of Americans, 57% either do not vote are are not eligible to vote. So, some elections are held, some small number of the votes cast are actually counted, and some scum-bag politicians are "elected" but this doesn't mean that most Americans agree. Moreover, it doesn't mean that most of those who voted agree.
The history of vote fraud is widespread. I watched "Walter Cronkite Remembers" on Discovery last night. He said that when he was 20 and working in Kansas City, some pigs working for the Pendergast corrupt machine political gang came and rousted him at his place of work. Though Cronkite said he had voted (false, as he was not eligible at that age in that day) he was told by the police that he had not voted and taken to a polling place, given a slip of paper, and told to vote as Alberto Lombardi or something like that. A few years later when the Pendergast machine was destroyed, about 50,000 "ghost voters" were removed from the rolls of voters. William F. Buckley has a funny story about an uncle who was a sheriff in South Texas and voted twice for LBJ for Senate though he had been dead both times. Such a good Democrat.
You are welcome to believe anything you wish to believe. But to suppose that the extensive and credible evidence of vote fraud206 cases in Texas in 1998 presented by the Texas Republican Party, for examplemeans that Americans have ever elected anyone is just silly. Americans don't elect people to offices of power. County vote counters ignore ballots, throw away ballots, fake ballots, have union halls manufacture ballots and present them in lots of a hundred (banded), and otherwise lie, cheat, and steal elections for those the economic vested interests want to serve in office.
And if that weren't bad enough, vile scum like Chris Dodd get $160,000 in campaign "contributions" aka bribes, from a single company (AIG in his case) to change legislation, raise the hurdles for newcomers in the industry, or pay off their buddies with favors. Sure, economically vested interests want corporate fascism in America, with whatever socialist programs keep their cushy deals alive. But that doesn't mean that most Americans support those ideas.
Americans don't storm Washington? That isn't true, Russ. Americans have stormed Washington many time. Million man and million mom marches have taken place for various reasons. Anti-war and anti-draft activists stormed Washingto repeatedly, and ended the Vietnam war, and the immoral involuntary servitude of the military draft. The Revolution March brought tens of thousands to DC, and is not the only evidence of contemporary unrest.
We actually did bring down an entire administration back in 1974. I think it would have been much better for the country to put all his cronies on trial, and to have Nixon stand trial for treason, be convicted, and be executed by firing squad. Executing traitors, especially kings and presidents, is an excellent tradition. Charles the First, Julius Caesar, and Louis XVI got what was coming to them. The American Revolution may not truly end until the Hanoverian usurpation suffers a similar fate. No one should be allowed to be above the law, it is true.
American citizens in some cases may expect that bacon to be brought home, but many states do not get it. In many states, much more money is sent to the nationalist socialist government in taxes than is returned in block grants or any other payments. However, the new trick is to get foreigners, mostly the Chinese, Japanese, and Europeans (and maybe some day sovereign wealth funds from other countries) to buy "national debt" instruments and have their money distributed as cash for clunkers, new home buyer incentives, and other inflationary measures.
Because Americans generally have not voted for these politicians, and because those who bother to vote have been systematically defrauded of their votes, the "national debt" doesn't belong to the American people individually and severally. It belongs to the politicians who voted to approve the national debt (and Gramm Rudman Hollings has required they vote to raise the limit every few months), and the bureau-rat scum filth who work for the government and are paid that money. I never voted for any of those measures, and I don't take any of these "stimulus" payments, so it is clearly no debt of mine. More importantly, I never agreed to any of it, I do not stand as guarantor of the debt by any consent on my part. It may be your debt, but it is definitely not my debt. And I suspect it really isn't your debt, either.
In 2008 and 2009, Americans made a lot more peeps than Russ indicates. I've been to End the Fed rallies at Federal Reserve buildings, including a recent one with a mob wielding pitchforks. I've been to Tea Parties and other rallies. For the first time in almost a hundred years, over 271 Congress critters are co-sponsors on legislation to audit the Federal Reserve, entirely because of Americans peeping.
I don't know this person "America" who forgave George W. Bush for lying the country into the war in Iraq, for torturing prisoners to death, and for sundry other high crimes and misdemeanors. I know that he hasn't been pardoned for any of those crimes. I would support having him and Cheney and Rumsfeld and the other scum in his administration put on trial for treason. I believe the evidence is overwhelming that they are all guilty, and I would like to see them put against walls facing firing squads to be shot to death. I believe doing so is, at this point, the only way to make it clear to Americans and to the world that no one is above the law.
Naturally, I don't expect the sea change in politics that would be necessary for such events to transpire. I certainly regret, though it was no fault of my own, that scum like Robert McNamara got to die of old age instead of similarly being tried for crimes against humanity, convicted, and executed. (I would be reluctant to send such slime to the World Court because many foreign countries don't execute anyone. Besides, if you take responsibility for American politicswhich I think is probably a mistakeit is our country, after a fashion, and we should clean it up.)
Yes, the constitution has been gutted. But many Americans refuse to participate in the scam which is the cartel operating in restraint of trade in the airline industry. I've boycotted the airlines since my last flight in October 2002. My open letter to the chairman emeritus of Southwest Airlines stands as my last word on their idiocy. Judging by their frequent bouts of quarterly losses, many others have acted similarly.
Finally, the evidence is that despite many attempts, the socialisation of health care isn't yet happening. The Democrats don't have enough votes on their side of the aisle to pass it. Americans are objecting in record numbers to the insanity in Obama-care, such as the requirement that the elderly meet frequently with "death with dignity" counselors, and the requirement that no one ever be allowed to buy non-federal health insurance if they are without insurance for even one second.
Americans are not monolithic. We aren't "one nation" but many. We are not indivisible, but visibly divided. America is a many splendored thing, and always will be.
To Which Mr. Longcore Replied:
Jesus, Ken, I'm almost sorry I wrote the "Bread and Circuses" article. Mr. Davidson spent a lot more time on his refutation than I spent on the article itself. But I must comment on some of his protestations.
I wrote that article in the broadest of brush strokes. Mr. Davidson has taken a magnifying glass to the article to defend America's honor...I think. There is an awful lot of splitting hairs in his letter, and I don't think we are well served.
There is an old saying, "Actions speak louder than words." Said another way, if you want to know what's important to a person (or a government), don't listen to what he says... watch what he does.
When I speak of America, I speak of the zeitgeist, not the individual. Individuals are usually smart and reasonable. Crowds are panicky, credulous and stupid. America...as a group, not as individuals...wants socialism. If you get a box of shyt as a Christmas gift, then you bitch about it but you don't dispose of it, looks to me like you wanted it just a little.
I don't care if guys holding pitchforks went to some rally somewhere. Davidson knows as well as I do that the farm tools were not meant as weapons but as stage props. And stage props don't change a government any more than Tea Parties. If the police and government actually considered those fellows armed and dangerous, they would have either been disarmed, arrested or shot. I promise you that the outcomes of those rallies would have been different if the protestors were in camo carrying loaded rifles.
Screw the history lesson about Rome, Byzantium and Ireland. Completely irrelevant.
Screw the history lesson about the CSA. Referring to the CSA as the "Southern States" is apt. The Congress of the North (aka the USA after the secession) could have refused to declare war on the CSA. They didn't. Anytime between 1861 and 1865 Congress could have impeached Lincoln and tried him as a war criminal. They didn't. Period. My point stands. Also, the color of soldiers of either side is completely irrelevant.
There was this good ol' boy rocking on his porch. Next to him was his old coon hound. Every so often, the coon hound would lift his head and howl. That good ol' boy's neighbor noticed this and said, "What's wrong with your dog?" The good ol' boy replied, "The dog is laying on a nail that's stickin' up from one of the boards. It hurts him enough that he'll howl, but it don't hurt him enough to get up and move." Perhaps plenty of Americans are not satisfied with the government, but they're not unsatisfied enough to alter or abolish it. Hell, they seldom get mad enough to fire their favorite Congressman or Senator and get one that will abide by the Constitution.
And unlike at Lake Wobegon, all the children cannot be above average. Some states will get less pork than others. But Wait!! Perhaps with the zillions of greenbacks being printed in DC, everyone CAN get back more than they send in!!
Don't bore me with how many Americans voted or didn't. Don't bore me with voting fraud. In the present system, whoever gamed the system the best got elected. Period. I never mentioned "mandates," that's just political spin. And splitting hairs about the word "citizens?" It's not Uzbekistanians that vote, Mr. Davidson.
Davidson's examples of voter fraud and bribery only bolster my argument. The voters accept this corruption willingly, evidenced by their refusal to change it. They won't move off the nail.
All of the demonstrations since the 60's have been window dressing...gatherings of people redressing their grievances. No problem with that, but they were carefully managed by organizers and cops. I remain unconvinced that the demonstrations had any real affect other than headlines and selling newspapers, though that may be my cynicism showing through.
Who is the "We" that overthrew the Nixon Administration? I was 18 at the time and had nothing to do with it.
In complete agreement with Mr. Davidson about the national debt. The government owes the money, and I'm not the government.
Mr. Davidson's letter does not convince me that I was in error with my article's premise. I have not been dissuaded from my point of view. Quite the contrary. Good try, though.
I won't be continuing any further debate on this issue. I have a business to run.
Carl: you're correct. That phrase (composed and included by my webmistress who designed the FSW SofI) I had forgotten about, not having seen a SofI in nearly two years since I waived the $25 in October 2007. I apologize for the lapse in memory, and the discrepancy of how I recalled the nature of the $25. Nevertheless, the $25 in no way guaranteed FSW Forum usage, as alleged. (In fact, Davidson paid the $25 before the FSW even had its forum.) Finally, Davidson left the forum and the FSW (though he disagreeswith himself!about this).
Davidson: To call somebody a "thief" who has "stolen" funds, when the accuser knew that the subject was unaware (until 11/2008) of any refund request . . . is slander. To publish such is libel. I offered to refund it with the reasonable stipulation of a domestic mailing address. This was refused for eight months, until 26 July. Today (the 27th) the $25 is enroute to Ken Holder. Upon confirmed receipt, I ask that he cease and desist from further false accusations and speculations. An apology also seems appropriate.
Neither the FSW nor myself discriminate on race. This is not only explicit policy: ("The FSW is open to people of all races. Libertarianism is color blind. Hard-working, ethical, non-encroaching people of all races and walks of life are welcome." http://www.freestatewyoming.org/free-state-wyoming-faq.html)it is also my personal practice. To allege otherwise would come to a great surprise to my non-Caucasian friends and FSWers.
Boston T. Party/Kenneth W. Royce
[I received $25 from Mr. Party/Royce on August 1st. Thank you for your donation!Editor]
El Paso, Texas was recently ranked as having a larger population than Boston, Massachusetts. El Paso's murder rate is somewhere between a fifth and a third of Boston's. El Paso is a city sitting next to a drug war that makes our filibusters in Iraq and Afghanistan look like jokes, has a decent sized, if well mannered, gang population and is at the intersection of two cultures that traditionally accept interpersonal violence (Southern and Mexican) as ways to resolve interpersonal problems. El Paso is poor, culturally deprived, considered the least literate city in the US. You can also legally buy a gun here in about twenty minutes, depending on how fast you can fill out the paperwork. Oh yeah, our PD is undermanned and plays very rough.
In spite of all this we have a vastly lower murder rate than Boston. By the standards of New England liberals (and conservatives) we should be butchering each other left and right and require a police presence approaching flat out military occupation. At least we should have gun laws as strict as theirs.
I surely want my home town to get a lot more literate and to get more money. Overcoming cultural deprivation would also be a good thing. However, Boston can keep her gun control laws as they don't seem to work too well.
Take a look at America's most dangerous cities. They all have strict gun laws, either from state or city legislation or local law enforcement policy (New Orleans may one day live down the pictures of a cop tackling a little old lady). All gun control seems to accomplish is to disarm honest people and make life safer for criminals.
Of course, El Paso and Boston do seem to have the same number of crooked politicians. Maybe the people of Boston want to keep their criminals, or at least certain criminals, safer than the people of El Paso do.
The Right Questions
Are there stats available anywhere comparing justifiable homicide rates and successful resistance of criminal assaults comparing the rates of these between jurisdictions with stricter and laxer weapons restriction laws?
What is the difference in crime rates between jurisdictions that respect and those that criminalize resistance to criminal assaults?
Please note that tyranny is a form of predation. Has No one figured out that by weakening people's ability to resist tyranny their ability to resist other forms of predation is also weakened?
Christian allegory aside, shepherds prey on sheep. Why do we continue to tolerate political leaders who view us as prey?
To Which Dennis Wilson Replied:
To Which A.X. Perez Replied
Thank you for answer on where to look up info. Please note that even in company town where government is the company running town such as El Paso a pro self defense attitude seems to contribute to less crime. It is in jurisdictions where people rely on government for protection from crime that crime is an issue, especially where government is hellbent on forcing them to take this attitude.
About twenty four years ago our neighbor across the street shot a burglar who survived and ran. Lacking a phone he asked me to call the police for him, the basic response we got was "What you need us for? You already shot him, call an ambulance?"
I'm pretty sure this of course you defend yourself and we're here to help attitude on the part of the cops has helped El Paso become one of the safest cities in the US.
From time to time I state that victim disarmers want to take our guns, knives, blunt objects, pepper spray, and surly attitudes. This leads to the question, What do I mean by a surly attitude?
I told this story two years or so ago but it is worth repeating. Back in the late Eighties a man tried to rape a woman in Sunset at knife point. The woman is about 4'10" tall and at the time she was taking care of her child. She was scared for the child's well being. She took her assailant's knife away and proceed to carve him up.
That's what I mean by a surly attitude. I submit that without it the rest are just stage props and bluff, with it they are effective tools.
These are available as bumperstickers, shirts, etc. at
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