Big Head Press

L. Neil Smith's
Number 554, January 21, 2010

"We don't need permission."

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The War on Salt
by Jim Davidson

Special to The Libertarian Enterprise

"Everybody knows the war is over. Everybody knows that the good guys lost. Everybody knows the fight was fixed. The poor stay poor. The rich stay rich. That's how it goes. Everybody knows."
—Leonard Cohen
Everybody Knows

It's a depressing song, pleasantly sung. Terribly true.

The war has been going on for thousands of years. It comes up again and again. It manifests itself as a war on drugs, a war on terror, a global warming crisis. It is the war amongst those who would rule everyone else asserting that they know better how to run your life and it is the war against you. The war on salt is just one aspect of this same, tired, ancient, boring, despicable, and horrid war—a war with billions of casualties, a war against human spirit, a war on possibility. It is the war that doesn't give you a walk-on role in the world, only a lead role in a cage.

What I'm talking about is the war on the future we were promised, with flying cars, much longer lives, colonies in space, hotels in the Moon, terraforming of Mars. It is the war which impoverishes nearly everyone, the war which enriches only the cronies of big government, the war which opposes cheap air travel, cheap space travel, food that tastes good, drugs that relieve pain, a free market, free choices, free love, free thought, free people.

It is the same war that sent armies rampaging across Europe to slaughter Protestants and Catholics, the same war that sent Inquisitors to mock Galileo and thwart scientific reason, the same war that imprisons millions of Americans annually for non-violent non-crimes of possessing or selling or making herbs that God granted (Genesis 1:29) to all mankind to be as meat. Plato declared this war in his rotten book "The Republic" and acknowledged that nobility was a lie, that everyone was basically the same, but by diet, training, education, and preferential treatment, perhaps a race of philosopher kings might be bred, he hoped, to savagely rule, rape, and pillage everyone else.

How do I know that Mayor Bloomberg's war on salt is the same war that has been fought time and time again? I remember an album cover from 1972 for the Steeleye Span album Below the Salt. An old and excellent teacher of mine explained that the phrase "below the salt" represented the caste system in England.

"At that time the nobility sat at the 'high table' and their commoner servants at lower trestle tables. Salt was placed in the centre of the high table. Only those of rank had access to it. Those less favoured on the lower tables were below (or beneath) the salt," Gary Martin writes. Until the 1600s when salt was mined near Cheshire, the objective of the wealthy classes was to deprive the poor of good tasting food and also deny them an essential nutrient for physical labor.

Why? One would think that better tasting food and necessary nutrients would have motivated more and better work. But it is exactly the same sort of reasoning that one gets from these class system brutes—the "reasoning" applied to depriving people of laudanum, opium, morphine, and other herb derivatives, the "reasoning" used to excuse depriving people of the pain relieving and pleasure giving properties of hemp, the "reasoning" used to claim a false and vindictive "authority" to spy on every telephone conversation in the world simultaneously.

In the death camps in Germany the answer was always the same. "Hier ist kine warum." Here there is no why.

No, it isn't reasonable for Mayor Bloomberg to announce that restaurants have to cut back on the amount of salt they use in the dishes they serve. It is not reason. It is power madness. He has been told, perhaps, that salt is bad for people. Of course, restaurants use salt, and offer it to their customers on the table, because it makes food taste better. It makes food taste good, just as fat, butter, sugar, and many other ingredients are savory, precisely because the body needs it as an essential nutrient.

Deny salt to people who engage in physical labor, whether gardening, shoveling, walking, running, or "working out" in a gym, and you can kill them. Which is precisely Mayor Bloomberg's objective. He represents the wealthy, the powerful, those above the salt, those who sit at high table. And, of course, he's "educated" by elitists at Johns Hopkins and Harvard to believe that he knows better than everyone else how to live, what to eat, what is good for and bad for others. He's one of the richest men in the world with a net worth of $16 billion.

He made his first golden parachute of $10 million being fired from Salomon Brothers, a Wall Street firm where he was involved in equity trading and systems development. Then he developed systems that are used, today, by traders around the globe. Don't suppose that his fortune is a free market one, though, as the sources of data from the markets and the regulatory environment of those markets are part of what makes his business possible. Nor is he a nice guy in business, having been repeatedly accused of sexually harrassing male and female employees. He's been sued over saying "kill it" about a pregnant woman's baby, he's been sued by the EEOC on behalf of three women, and apparently on behalf of 72 plaintiffs who took maternity leave.

He's been a Republican, a Democrat, and an "independent" at various times in his political career. The evidence against his having any libertarian inclinations include his brutal treatment of subordinates in his company, his vicious attacks on out-of-state gun shops, his involvement as head of one of the largest bureaucracies in any city in the world, and his current fetish war on salt. His city government is as involved as any in the war on terror, routinely violating the privacy and civil liberties of individuals in many parts of the world.

But he isn't exactly the poster boy for the worst evil of the war on salt. Remember, the war on salt is the war over who gets to run your life: you or those who claim to know better.

I say the war on drugs is the same war. The war on terror is the same war. So the war in Southeast Asia and the current wars in Southwest Asia are the same war, too. It is all one long ghastly war that has been going on for thousands of years, that went on between cavaliers and round-heads until a king lost his head in 1649, that went on between Scots and English until the Bruce led free men to victory, that went on all through the Renaissance as different ideas began to challenge received doctrine from the Catholic church, that goes back to Roman times when men and women were forced to treat the emperor as a god, that goes back through the distant past into the hydraulic empires where to challenge the priest class was to risk drought for your community.

It is the same war that has been funded by fraud, lies, and deceit ever since the priests of the temple of the pyramid completed their first survey of the Nile valley and stated each property as 10% larger both east-West and north-South than it really was, in order to collect 21% more taxes every year. (We found that out when historians looked at the excellent calculation of Aristarchus of Samos based on those tax records to measure the distance between Cyene and Alexandria for his base line in order to use trigonometry to calculate the circumference of the Earth. His math was perfect, his data was faulty, so his result was 10% too high.)

It is the same war that, although opening the West to homesteading provided a real outlet for millions of families to get out from under the thumb of bureau-rats and politicians, also meant constantly fighting and betraying the agreements with native American Indians. E I duPont wanted lots of gun powder to be sold to the Army, which meant financing—so he had a seat on the board of directors of the Second Bank of the United States in 1819. And it meant war, even though war was rarely in the interests of settlers. (Historical note: the open frontier could have moved to Antarctica, so they closed that possibility with the 1957 treaty; to the high seas and deep sea beds, so they closed that off with a treaty in 1982; or to space, which was closed to settlement by treaty in 1967. David Rockefeller and the would-be masters of the world don't want you to have the freedom of any frontier. Sad, desperate, power-mad monsters.)

How do you panic people into funding a war in Iraq when the only available intelligence suggests that the master mind of the 11 September 2001 attacks is hiding out in Afghanistan (where the local government has agreed to turn him over if only they can be shown some evidence that he committed the crime)? Why you tell them that Iraq has weapons of mass destruction, and you lie about Niger yellow cake uranium sales, and when that lie is exposed, you trash the career of a CIA agent.

How do you panic people into funding a war in Vietnam when there is no evidence that North Vietnam wants a war with the USA? Why, you simply invent a Gulf of Tonkin incident and tell the lie over and over and over.

How do you panic people into funding a massive weapons build up in peace time? Why you lie about a missile gap of 500 nuclear tipped Russian rockets when there were at most six, and you knew it.

But why stop there? Lie about everything. Steal elections. Assassinate dissidents. Imprison anyone who argues. The government knows better, you see, because they have scientists who can tell artful lies about global warming. They know more than you about what should be the price of gold, they stole so much of it before World War 2 to fund FDR's schemes, and they stole so much of it during WW2 which had conveniently been pulled out of Manchurian and Korean and Hong Kong and Singapore and Malaysian temples, banks, and homes by the Japanese imperial army. They know more than you about everything, they will assure you, so it is for the best of reasons that they rule, that you be a slave, and when you argue that your interests aren't very well served by their policies, that you not only shut the fuck up, but die if you persist in talking.

Here's another one of their lies: the typical family of four owe about $130,000 on a national debt and other unfunded obligations to senior citizens and welfare recipients of one hundred trillion dollars. You owe this debt although you never agreed to stand as surety for it, you never signed any papers about it, and you haven't gained any benefit from it—all that benefit went to the death merchant defense contractors, the corrupt highway contractors, the special interests, the big banking gangsters, and the other cronies.

So, okay, the heads of Halliburton, Kellogg Brown and Root, Citibank, Gold Mansacks, JP Morgan Chase, Merck, Pfizer, and dozens of other huge businesses benefit a great deal from government policies. They benefit from the war. They benefit from the lies about swine flu that panic millions into getting unnecessary vaccines for a flu that less than 1% of reported flu cases proves to be. Gosh. Okay, you've been scammed.

What to do about it? Well, most Americans, by about 57%, don't vote, don't file tax forms, don't participate in the system more than they must. That's an excellent start.

Some Americans might want to focus on doing the important work of Stanford and Madoff—scamming the very rich cronies of big government out of billions of dollars. Others might want to organise political parties to win elections and have the government seize the fortunes of the death merchant defense contractors, banking gangsters, and other cronies. And these are understandable temptations.

It seems to me, though, that the only thing that makes sense to do is to focus on getting wealthy and getting off this rock. There's no reason to suppose that people cannot do well by setting off into the frontier. We don't need NASA. If NASA has any of the data we need, we should steal it, since we are supposed to have paid for it. We don't need permission.

What we need is distance from these bureau-rats and politicians and their cronies. And we might as well seize the high ground in case a few crowbars need to be sent at 17,000 miles an hour into certain buildings.

The country is not the government, it is the people. And the country is fine. The people are intelligent, innovative, sensible, humble, pleasant in many cases, and worth knowing. The government is a crock of festering shit, a den of iniquity, and a snare for our feet. It is an impediment to getting where we want to go, true, but not an insurmountable one. We don't need their approval, their licenses, their permits, and if we wanted such things we wouldn't get them.

Dude, get your ass to Mars. Or the Moon. Or the asteroids, near Earth or Belt. Decide on your own if Jupiter is a planet, even though it hasn't cleared its orbit (which it shares with Trojan asteroids) or buy Pluto and get away from it all.

Stop waiting for someone to be elected to open the space frontier. If you've been watching, or seen the film The Watchmen you can tell that the slimy dogs who become president are all the same as Richard Nixon—liars, thieves, reprobates, willing to do anything for the cronies who put them in power.

Stop waiting for someone to do the work for you—the technologies have been developed, the mechanisms are all in existence, if Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin could land on the Moon with less computing power than your pocket calculator, using technology from over 40 years ago, why can't you?

What if there were a million astronaut farmers like in the film Astronaut Farmer?

What if there were a hundred thousand student groups building secret rocket projects and ten thousand entrepreneurs building space stations to launch directly to orbit, as in Victor Koman's brilliant Kings of the High Frontier?

Do you need business plans? I have written dozens of them. Do you need money? Lots of people have money. (And there are all those cronies who so clearly need to be bilked of their wealth the same way they've screwed us over all these years.) Do you need talent? There is a global economic depression going on, and lots of talent is available for hire. I've been designing a little company to collect talent and market it, not the way temp agencies and management consulting firms do (by hiring for peanuts and billing for big bux) but instead charging a booking fee for each engagement, maybe 20% depending on the industry and deal.

So, you have talent, and you might like to be booked, why do you want to get hired? Form a business or, better, a non-profit entity (I can show you how, it's easy) and keep what you earn. If you want to be hired, you must want to pay payroll taxes, make your employer pay payroll taxes to match, have income taxes withheld, and thereby fund the machine that makes you miserable. Ever wonder why so many rich people have charities and foundations all around them? It is a great tax deal.

Every step of the way, figure out how not to contribute to the people who are oppressing you. That might mean buying lightbulbs from Furb who has old fashioned designs and new made bulbs without all that General Electric bailout money and defense contracting and swirly fluourescent patent pilfering. That might mean working for the benefit of a non-profit, and not having cars and houses in your name, but in the name of an accepted charity that lets you use them (because you control it) while not paying property taxes because, well, it is a charity. (Are churches taxed in your county? Depends on the county, or parish.)

And these are only my ideas, a poor subset of the many ideas needed to win this war.

It is time to stop reforming things around the edges and focus my energy on the future that I was promised, that I've always wanted, and that I say I deserve. What about you?

Jim Davidson is an author, entrepreneur, and anti-war activist. His 1990 venture to offer a sweepstakes trip into space was destroyed by government action as was his free port and prospective space port in Somalia in 2001. His 2002-2007 venture in free market money and private stock exchange was destroyed by government action in 2007. He's going to Mars if he has to walk. His second book, Being Sovereign is now availble from Lulu and is expected within a few weeks to be available at Amazon. His third book Sovereign Self-Defense will be released for Kindle next week. His fourth book Being Libertarian will be available for free download as a .pdf, being a compilation of all his essays and letters in The Libertarian Enterprise since 1995. Contact him at or


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