Friday, June 29, 2012

Miller: Children without Domination

"We don't yet know, above all, what the world might be like if children were to grow up without being subjected to humiliation, if parents would respect them and take them seriously as people."
Alice Miller

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Property as Theft

If "property is theft" then there is no possibility for legitimate property and therefore there can be no possibility for illegitimate theft.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012


If, as you say, "the people" give "legitimacy" to the "government", and (I'm presuming here, please correct me if I'm wrong in this presumption) that you mean, that "the people" consent or give legitimacy to the "Constitution", and the "Constitution" provides for "representatives" and, for the moment, I'll assume by "lawmakers" you mean "representatives" for if "the people" give "legitimacy" to the "government" then it would seem that "the people" are the "lawmakers", then if those "representatives" have passed "unConstitutional" laws, then are not either-way therefore "the people" giving legitimacy to those "unConstitutional" laws?

Fields arranged by purity of concept

Monday, June 25, 2012

Property or Posessions

[This essay is currently "in process" but I submit it now, because I'm quite tired and would like to retire for the evening. Perhaps I'll pick this up tomorrow, or else ruminate on it for a while...]

Call this material "stuff" which a person has transformed, whatever you like: "property" or "private-property" or "possessions", the semantic terminology will change little of relevance in the context of the argument provided here.  What ever this material "stuff" is, for the sake of ease, I will call it "property" as the language I employ (English) permits this signifier to describe the meaning I intend to convey but by all means substitute the word you feel most suitable; I believe that the issue of "property versus possessions" hinges upon the error in many propertarians is that they adhere their philosophical ideas of "property" to the material "stuff" itself while the essential theory of "property" need not adhere to the material "stuff" itself, but essentially applies to the transformation of this "stuff" which is "mixed" or inseparable from the material stuff.  I believe it is an important strength of the anti-propertarian argument, that the arbitrary-claim to the "ownership" of material-stuff, is necessarily, arbitrary; the anti-propertarians will often reserve a kind-of "property" which is generally referred to as "possessions" which is not posessed by arbitrary claim, but by something like "use" or "possession".

I intend to argue, that if the propertarian would not make the error of philosophically affixing the concept of property on the material "stuff" itself (which will suffer from the weakness of the "arbitrary" critique), but instead on transformation (which is an implicit essential feature in Lockean/Rothbardian property theory), then it is possible to reconcile a property-theory with the strength of the critique of the anti-propertarian:

If "property" is not matter or material "stuff" as such, strictly speaking, its particular "matter" matters not, but what I refer to as "property" is rather the extension of the mind into the world as labor to transform it for the satisfaction of human need/value/preference/utility.  Without minds, there can be no labor, and without labor, there can be no "property"; an asteroid four million light-years from this earth can be rightfully claimed as "property" by no one, not its first discoverer or any other, it sits out in the blackness of the deep-vacuum untouchable by the action of the mind (this of course assumes that there are no other minds but those on this particular sphere, and must be as a proposition, contingent upon conditions/advances-in-technology in the future).

It would be in error to say that "property" comes from labor itself, because without a mind to direct it, "labor" is not possible; the mind is conceptually prior to, or said another way, more fundamental than, the actions directed by the mind.  The mind is the originator/director of action and those actions which are a dis-utility in the present but are acted in the expectation as to reap greater satisfaction/utility in the future are "labors".  Labors are distinct in this way from "recreations", which are a satisfaction in and of themselves.  If any person claims that his employment/work/labor is a thing of joy, then to prove her statement, she need only refuse all compensation/remuneration for her services; if she continues indefinitely, we may certainly take her at her word, if she at all decreases her "productivity" then we may know that what she meant to say that her labors provide her with a very-low dis-utility.

"Property" therefore is in the essence of its meaning, is a function of the mind, to direct actions in the way of "labors" to transform that part of the world, which no other person has transformed, or by which the other(s) transforming minds have granted their permission, to transfer or permit an easement of their transformation, either permanently as in a "property" exchange, or temporarily (rent), or conditionally (lease) or in common/concert (communally).

That which has never been transformed, like our asteroid or some forgotten corner of the world, cannot be claimed as "property"; the material "stuff" itself is not the true essence (the material "stuff" is merely its representation) of the claim of "property" but rather, it is the transformation as the extension of the mind through action, that can be claimed only; when that "transformation" is marginal, indeterminate or abandoned, rational persons generally wishing to minimize potential for conflict, will negotiate these conditions in advance but under certain conditions ("owner" of current state of transformation unknown/unclaimed/seemingly-abandoned) some may choose to over-ride the current transformation and add transformation of their own.  If the "owner" or "occupier" of the previous transformation finds this an unsatisfactory enjoinment of transformation, a conflict is likely to result, requiring negotiations and likely arbitration or else tragically resorting to violence; and this is for no meager cause!  If "property" is not the "stuff" itself, but the extension of the mind to transform, that which has been "invaded" by an aggressor wishing to expropriate another's transformation, is nothing other than the extension/manifestation of the other person's mind itself! 

  Therefore, "property" as an extension of the mind itself to transform some part of the world for human-need/value/satisfaction/preference it is as inviolable as the mind/consciousness of that person itself, if one is willing to grant that such a things as "rationality" or "minds" themselves.  The act of "theft" when it occurs, is akin to the act of rape of the mind; a forcing/domination/invasion of one person's will/mind upon another's will/mind; therefore there is rational cause for "self-defense" in this invasion, just as there is rational cause to defend one's self/body from rape or murder if the invasion of the mind continues to not be respected or recognized.  The act of "self-defense" is not, in itself "violence" as violence is an invasion of its own kind; rather "self-defense" is the assertion of one's rational mind against irrational-forces.  The act of defending one's self from the "assault" of a storm, or against the wild-beast; indeed, the invader, though in all seeming respects may appear rational, the act of invasion constitutes either a self-repudiation of the invader's rationality/mind or the invaded's rationality/mind.  The invader, in his act of invasion, either himself assumes the aspect of the wild-beast or presumes that the invaded is nothing but a wild-beast; under these conditions, no negotiation is possible without a meeting of the minds and since the invader either denies his own mind or the mind of she who he invades, the aspect of "violence" is the inevitable result.  The defender of herself must assert her own mind against this invasion with whatever force is necessary to repeal the assault/invasion but if she still wishes to do so rationally, she may not use such force that would also incur the additional invasion of other minds/third-parties.

This is why the "initiation of force" is considered by so many to be the determinate of the aggressor/invader; if a legitimate dispute/conflict arises in which two rational minds believe themselves to have legitimate claim to the particular transformation of "stuff" by their minds, both recognizing the prohibitively high-costs of violence, will see it as in the interest of both parties to negotiate/arbitrate some peaceful settlement which will extricate/separate their claims, allowing both to live in peace.  When both parties to this dispute believe themselves to be so incurably invaded and neither are willing to negotiate or submit to arbitration, then it is a foolish thing given the costs of violence but neither willing to negotiate, one or both parties must either deny their own rationality, or the rationality of the other and will act so as to "initiate" aggression; it is not this "initiation" itself which is error, the initiation is fundamentally an irrational extension of the mind.  In such a case in which no other recourse being available, one or both together must both resort to the real or perceived invasions with the force necessary to repel it.

The "initiation of aggression" as well as its concurrent necessity of this "self-defense" are both tragedies; for a person may temporarily deny their own mind through their actions but it is a common occurrence that when the emotional turmoil that usually precedes this irrationality subsides, the invader will most often resume his previous rational/social existence.  It is universally preferable that no violence take place and accordingly that "self-defense" would not be made necessary to the mind that wishes to assert "self-ownership".  I think it appropriate that we be in tears when a normally rational/social person that would normally assert their own mind and respect the minds of others in a non-contradictory manner, would choose to make an irrational choice to deny either his own mind or the mind of some other but that some-other, can in no way be considered to have a duty to "submit" to that invasion and thereby deny her own right to exist.

Charlie Chapman's "great" speech:

Mencken: Last Words

I have alluded somewhat vaguely to the merits of democracy. One of them is quite obvious: it is, perhaps, the most charming form of government ever devised by man. The reason is not far to seek. It is based upon propositions that are palpably not true and what is not true, as everyone knows, is always immensely more fascinating and satisfying to the vast majority of men than what is true. Truth has a harshness that alarms them, and an air of finality that collides with their incurable romanticism. They turn, in all the great emergencies of life, to the ancient promises, transparently false but immensely comforting, and of all those ancient promises there is none more comforting than the one to the effect that the lowly shall inherit the earth. It is at the bottom of the dominant religious system of the modern world, and it is at the bottom of the dominant political system. The latter, which is democracy, gives it an even higher credit and authority than the former, which is Christianity. More, democracy gives it a certain appearance of objective and demonstrable truth. The mob man, functioning as citizen, gets a feeling that he is really important to the world - that he is genuinely running things. Out of his maudlin herding after rogues and mountebanks there comes to him a sense of vast and mysterious power—which is what makes archbishops, police sergeants, the grand goblins of the Ku Klux and other such magnificoes happy. And out of it there comes, too, a conviction that he is somehow wise, that his views are taken seriously by his betters - which is what makes United States Senators, fortune tellers and Young Intellectuals happy. Finally, there comes out of it a glowing consciousness of a high duty triumphantly done which is what makes hangmen and husbands happy.

All these forms of happiness, of course, are illusory. They don't last. The democrat, leaping into the air to flap his wings and praise God, is for ever coming down with a thump. The seeds of his disaster, as I have shown, lie in his own stupidity: he can never get rid of the naive delusion - so beautifully Christian - that happiness is something to be got by taking it away from the other fellow. But there are seeds, too, in the very nature of things: a promise, after all, is only a promise, even when it is supported by divine revelation, and the chances against its fulfillment may be put into a depressing mathematical formula. Here the irony that lies under all human aspiration shows itself: the quest for happiness, as always, brings only unhappiness in the end. But saying that is merely saying that the true charm of democracy is not for the democrat but for the spectator. That spectator, it seems to me, is favoured with a show of the first cut and calibre. Try to imagine anything more heroically absurd! What grotesque false pretenses! What a parade of obvious imbecilities! What a welter of fraud! But is fraud unamusing? Then I retire forthwith as a psychologist. The fraud of democracy, I contend, is more amusing than any other, more amusing even, and by miles, than the fraud of religion. Go into your praying-chamber and give sober thought to any of the more characteristic democratic inventions: say, Law Enforcement. Or to any of the typical democratic prophets: say, the late Archangel Bryan. If you don't come out paled and palsied by mirth then you will not laugh on the Last Day itself, when Presbyterians step out of the grave like chicks from the egg, and wings blossom from their scapulae, and they leap into interstellar space with roars of joy.

I have spoken hitherto of the possibility that democracy may be a self-limiting disease, like measles. It is, perhaps, something more: it is self-devouring. One cannot observe it objectively without being impressed by its curious distrust of itself—its apparently ineradicable tendency to abandon its whole philosophy at the first sign of strain. I need not point to what happens invariably in democratic states when the national safety is menaced. All the great tribunes of democracy, on such occasions, convert themselves, by a process as simple as taking a deep breath, into despots of an almost fabulous ferocity. Lincoln, Roosevelt and Wilson come instantly to mind: Jackson and Cleveland are in the background, waiting to be recalled. Nor is this process confined to times of alarm and terror: it is going on day in and day out. Democracy always seems bent upon killing the thing it theoretically loves. I have rehearsed some of its operations against liberty, the very cornerstone of its political metaphysic. It not only wars upon the thing itself; it even wars upon mere academic advocacy of it. I offer the spectacle of Americans jailed for reading the Bill of Rights as perhaps the most gaudily humorous ever witnessed in the modern world. Try to imagine monarchy jailing subjects for maintaining the divine right of Kings! Or Christianity damning a believer for arguing that Jesus Christ was the Son of God! This last, perhaps, has been done: anything is possible in that direction. But under democracy the remotest and most fantastic possibility is a common-place of every day. All the axioms resolve themselves into thundering paradoxes, many amounting to downright contradictions in terms. The mob is competent to rule the rest of us—but it must be rigorously policed itself. There is a government, not of men, but of laws - but men are set upon benches to decide finally what the law is and may be. The highest function of the citizen is to serve the state - but the first assumption that meets him, when he essays to discharge it, is an assumption of his disingenuousness and dishonour. Is that assumption commonly sound? Then the farce only grows the more glorious.

I confess, for my part, that it greatly delights me. I enjoy democracy immensely. It is incomparably idiotic, and hence incomparably amusing. Does it exalt dunderheads, cowards, trimmers, frauds, cads? Then the pain of seeing them go up is balanced and obliterated by the joy of seeing them come down. Is it inordinately wasteful, extravagant, dishonest? Then so is every other form of government: all alike are enemies to laborious and virtuous men. Is rascality at the very heart of it? Well, we have borne that rascality since 1776, and continue to survive. In the long run, it may turn out that rascality is necessary to human government, and even to civilization itself - that civilization, at bottom, is nothing but a colossal swindle. I do not know: I report only that when the suckers are running well the spectacle is infinitely exhilarating. But I am, it may be, a somewhat malicious man: my sympathies, when it comes to suckers, tend to be coy. What I can't make out is how any man can believe in democracy who feels for and with them, and is pained when they are debauched and made a show of. How can any man be a democrat who is sincerely a democrat?

~H.L. Mencken

Mises: Historicism

"The ideas of historicism can be understood only if one takes into account that they sought exclusively one end: to negate everything that rationalist social philosophy and economics had established....To the statement of the economists, that there is an inevitable scarcity of nature-given factors upon which human well-being depends, they opposed the fantastic assertion that there is abundance and plenty. What brings about poverty and want, they say, is the inadequacy of social institutions."

--Ludwig von Mises. Theory and History

Robert Howard: Cities & Civilization

“I think the real reason so many youngsters are clamoring for freedom of some vague sort, is because of unrest and dissatisfaction with present conditions; I don't believe this machine age gives full satisfaction in a spiritual way, if the term may be allowed. ”
~ Robert Howard

“Barbarianism is the natural state of mankind. Civilization is unnatural. It is the whim of circumstance. And barbarianism must ultimately triumph”
~Robert Howard

“The more I see of what you call civilization, the more highly I think of what you call savagery!”
― Robert E. Howard, King Kull 


“I have known many gods. He who denies them is as blind as he who trusts them too deeply. I seek not beyond death. It may be the blackness averred by the Nemedian skeptics, or Crom's realm of ice and cloud, or the snowy plains and vaulted halls of the Nordheimer's Valhalla. I know not, nor do I care. Let me live deep while I live; let me know the rich juices of red meat and stinging wine on my palate, the hot embrace of white arms, the mad exultation of battle when the blue blades flame and crimson, and I am content. Let teachers and philosophers brood over questions of reality and illusion. I know this: if life is illusion, then I am no less an illusion, and being thus, the illusion is real to me. I live, I burn with life, I love, I slay, and am content.”

― Robert E. Howard (Conan)

Rothbard: Utilitarians

Utilitarians, like economists like to think of themselves as "scientific" and "value-free," and their doctrine supposedly permits them to adopt a virtually value-free stance; for they are presumably not imposing their own values, but simply recommending the greatest possible satisfaction of the desires and wants of the mass of the population. But this doctrine is hardly scientific and by no means value-free. For one thing, why the "greatest number"? Why is it ethically better to follow the wishes of the greater as against the lesser number? What's so good about the "greatest number"?

--Murray N. Rothbard. The Ethics of Liberty

Chesterton: Once abolish the God, and the government becomes the God

"Once abolish the God, and the government becomes the God. That fact is written all across human history; but it is written most plainly across that recent history of Russia; which was created by Lenin. There the Government is the God, and all the more the God, because it proclaims aloud in accents of thunder, like every other God worth worshipping, the one essential commandment: 'Thou shalt have no other gods but Me.' "
—G.K. Chesterton

Mises: genuine liberalism

Nothing is more important today than to enlighten public opinion about the basic differences between genuine liberalism, which advocates the free market economy, and the various interventionist parties which are advocating government interference with prices, wages, the rate of interest, profits and investment, confiscatory taxation, tariffs and other protectionist measures, huge government spending, and finally, inflation.

--Ludwig von Mises. Economic Freedom in the Present-Day World

Tucker: Government is invasion

"Government is invasion, and the State is the embodiment of invasion in an individual, or band of individuals, assuming to act as representatives or masters of the entire people within a given area."

--Benjamin Tucker. Liberty and Organization

Richard Overton: An Arrow Against all Tyrants

'An arrow against all tyrants'
[Richard Overton, 12 October 1646]
An arrow against all tyrants and tyranny, shot from the prison of Newgate into the prerogative bowels of the arbitrary House of Lords and all other usurpers and tyrants whatsoever. Wherein the original, rise, extent, and end of magisterial power, the natural and national rights, freedoms and properties of mankind are discovered and undeniably maintained; the late oppressions and encroachments of the Lords over the commons legally (by the fundamental laws and statutes of this realm, as also by a memorable extract out of the records of the Tower of London) condemned; the late Presbyterian ordinance (invented and contrived by the diviners, and by the motion of Mr Bacon and Mr Tate read in the House of Commons) examined, refuted, and exploded, as most inhumane, tyrannical and barbarous
By Richard Overton
Prerogative archer to the arbitrary House of Lords, their prisoner in Newgate, for the just and legal properties, rights and freedoms of the commons of England. Sent by way of a letter from him, to Mr Henry Marten, a member of the House of Commons
Imprimatur Rectat Justitia
Printed at the backside of the Cyclopian Mountains, by Martin Claw-Clergy, printer to the reverend Assembly of Divines, and are to be sold at the sign of the Subject's Liberty, right opposite to Persecuting Court. 1646

An arrow against all tyrants and tyranny, shot from the prison of Newgate into the prerogative bowels of the arbitrary House of Lords, and all other usurpers and tyrants whatsoever
To every individual in nature is given an individual property by nature not to be invaded or usurped by any. For every one, as he is himself, so he has a self-propriety, else could he not be himself; and of this no second may presume to deprive any of without manifest violation and affront to the very principles of nature and of the rules of equity and justice between man and man. Mine and thine cannot be, except this be. No man has power over my rights and liberties, and I over no man's. I may be but an individual, enjoy my self and my self-propriety and may right myself no more than my self, or presume any further; if I do, I am an encroacher and an invader upon another man's right — to which I have no right. For by natural birth all men are equally and alike born to like propriety, liberty and freedom; and as we are delivered of God by the hand of nature into this world, every one with a natural, innate freedom and propriety — as it were writ in the table of every man's heart, never to be obliterated — even so are we to live, everyone equally and alike to enjoy his birthright and privilege; even all whereof God by nature has made him free.
And this by nature everyone's desire aims at and requires; for no man naturally would be befooled of his liberty by his neighbour's craft or enslaved by his neighbour's might. For it is nature's instinct to preserve itself from all things hurtful and obnoxious; and this in nature is granted of all to be most reasonable, equal and just: not to be rooted out of the kind, even of equal duration with the creature. And from this fountain or root all just human powers take their original — not immediately from God (as kings usually plead their prerogative) but mediately by the hand of nature, as from the represented to the representers. For originally God has implanted them in the creature, and from the creature those powers immediately proceed and no further. And no more may be communicated than stands for the better being, weal, or safety thereof. And this is man's prerogative and no further; so much and no more may be given or received thereof: even so much as is conducent to a better being, more safety and freedom, and no more. He that gives more, sins against his own flesh; and he that takes more is thief and robber to his kind — every man by nature being a king, priest and prophet in his own natural circuit and compass, whereof no second may partake but by deputation, commission, and free consent from him whose natural right and freedom it is.
And thus sir and no otherwise are you instated into your sovereign capacity for the free people of this nation. For their better being, discipline, government, propriety and safety have each of them communicated so much unto you (their chosen ones) of their natural rights and powers, that you might thereby become their absolute commissioners and lawful deputies. But no more: that by contraction of those their several individual communications conferred upon and united in you, you alone might become their own natural, proper, sovereign power, therewith singly and only empowered for their several weals, safeties and freedoms, and no otherwise. For as by nature no man may abuse, beat, torment, or afflict himself, so by nature no man may give that power to another, seeing he may not do it himself; for no more can be communicated from the general than is included in the particulars whereof the general is compounded.
So that such, so deputed, are to the general no otherwise than as a school-master to a particular — to this or that man's family. For as such an one's mastership, ordering and regulating power is but by deputation — and that ad bene placitum and may be removed at the parents' or headmaster's pleasure upon neglect or abuse thereof, and be conferred upon another (no parents ever giving such an absolute unlimited power to such over their children as to do to them as they list, and not to be retracted, controlled, or restrained in their exorbitances) — even so and no otherwise is it with you our deputies in respect of the general. It is in vain for you to think you have power over us to save us or destroy us at your pleasure, to do with us as you list, be it for our weal or be it for our woe, and not be enjoined in mercy to the one or questioned in justice for the other. For the edge of your own arguments against the king in this kind may be turned upon yourselves. For if for the safety of the people he might in equity be opposed by you in his tyrannies, oppressions and cruelties, even so may you by the same rule of right reason be opposed by the people in general in the like cases of destruction and ruin by you upon them; for the safety of the people is the sovereign law, to which all must become subject, and for the which all powers human are ordained by them; for tyranny, oppression and cruelty whatsoever, and in whomsoever, is in itself unnatural, illegal, yea absolutely anti-magisterial; for it is even destructive to all human civil society, and therefore resistible.
Now sir, the commons of this nation, having empowered their body representative (whereof you are one) with their own absolute sovereignty, thereby authoritatively and legally to remove from amongst them all oppressions and tyrannies, oppressors and tyrants — how great soever in name, place, or dignity — and to protect, safeguard and defend them from all such unnatural monsters, vipers and pests, bred of corruption or which are intruded amongst them; and as much as in them lies to prevent all such for the future. And to that end you have been assisted with our lives and fortunes most liberally and freely with most victorious and happy success, whereby your arms are strengthened with our might, that now you may make us all happy within the confines of this nation if you please. And therefore sir, in reason, equity and justice we deserve no less at your hands.
And (sir) let it not seem strange unto you that we are thus bold with you for our own. For by nature we are the sons of Adam, and from him have legitimately derived a natural propriety, right and freedom, which only we require. And how in equity you can deny us we cannot see. It is but the just rights and prerogative of mankind (whereunto the people of England are heirs apparent as well as other nations) which we desire; and sure you will not deny it us, that we may be men and live like men. If you do, it will be as little safe for yourselves and posterity as for us and our posterity. For sir, look: what bondage, thraldom, or tyranny soever you settle upon us, you certainly, or your posterity will taste of the dregs. If by your present policy and (abused) might, you chance to ward it from yourselves in particular, yet your posterity — do what you can — will be liable to the hazard thereof.
And therefore sir we desire your help for your own sakes as well as for ourselves, chiefly for the removal of two most insufferable evils daily encroaching and increasing upon us, portending and threatening inevitable destruction and confusion of yourselves, of us, and of all our posterities: namely the encroachments and usurpations of the House of Lords over the commons' liberties and freedoms, together with the barbarous, inhuman, blood-thirsty desires and endeavours of the Presbyterian clergy.
For the first, namely the exorbitances of the Lords: they are to such an height aspired, that contrary to all precedents, the free commoners of England are imprisoned, fined and condemned by them (their incompetent, illegal, unequal, improper judges) against the express letter of Magna Carta chapter 29 (so often urged and used): that no free man of England 'shall be passed upon, tried, or condemned, but by the lawful judgement of his equals, or by the law of the land', which, as says Sir Edward Coke in his exposition of Magna Carta, p. 28, last line, is tper pares, by his peers, that is, by his equals'. And page 46, branches 1, 2 and 5, in these words:
1. That no man be taken or imprisoned, but per legem terrae, that is by the common law, statute law, or custom of England. For these words, per legem terrae being towards the end of this chapter, do refer to all the pretended matters in this chapter; and this has the first place, because the liberty of a man's person is more precious to him than all the rest that follow; and therefore it is great reason that he should by law be relieved therein, if he be wronged, as hereafter shall be showed.
2. No man shall be disseised, that is, put out of seisin, or dispossessed of his freehold (that is, lands or livelihood) or of his liberties or free customs (that is, of such franchises and freedoms, and free customs, as belong to him by his free birthright) unless it be by the lawful judgement, that is verdict of his equals (that is of men of his own condition) or by the law of the land (that is, to speak it once for all) by the due course and processes of law.
3. No man shall be in any sort destroyed unless it be by the verdict of his equals or according to the law of the land.
And, chapter 29 of Magna Carta, it is said, 'secundum legem et consuetudinem Angliae' (after the law and custom of England) 'non regis Angliae' (not of the king of England) — 'lest it might be thought to bind the king only, nec populi Angliae, not the people of England; 'but that the law might tend to all, it is said, per legem terra, by the law of the land'.
'Against this ancient and fundamental law, and in the very face thereof, says Sir Edward Coke, he found an act of the parliament made in the 11 Hen. VII cap. 3: that as well Justices of the Peace, without any finding or presentment by the verdict of twelve men, upon the bare information for the king before them — should have full power and authority by their discretions to hear and determine all offences and contempts committed or done by any person or persons against the form, ordinance, and effect of any statute made and not repealed. By colour of which act, shaking this fundamental law, it is not credible (says he) what horrible oppressions and exactions — to the undoing of infinite numbers of people — were committed by Sir Richard Empson, Knight, and Edmund Dudley, being Justices of the Peace through England; and upon this unjust and injurious act (as commonly in the like cases it falls out) a new office was erected, and they made Masters of the King's Forfeitures.
But at the parliament held in 1 Hen. VIII (cap. 6), this Act of Henry VII is recited, made void and repealed; and the reason thereof is yielded: for that by force of the said act it was manifestly known that many sinister, crafty, and forged informations had been pursued against divers of the king's subjects, to their great damage and unspeakable vexation — a thing most frequent and usual at this day and in these times — the ill success whereof, together with the most fearful end of these great oppressors, should deter others from committing the like and should admonish parliaments in the future, that instead of this ordinary and precious trial per legem terra they bring not in an absolute and partial trial by discretion.
And to this end the judgement upon Simon de Beresford, a commoner, in the fourth year of Edward III's reign, is an excellent precedent for these times (as is to be seen upon record in the Tower in the second roll of parliament held the same year of the said king and delivered into the Chancery by Henry de Edenston, Clerk of the Parliament) — for that the said Simon de Beresford having counselled, aided and assisted Roger de Mortimer to the murder of the father of the said king, the king commanded the earls and barons in the said parliament assembled to give right and lawful judgement unto the said Simon de Beresford. But the earls, barons and peers came before the lord the king in the same parliament and said with one voice that the aforesaid Simon was not their peer or equal, wherefore they were not bound to judge him as a peer of the land. Yet notwithstanding all this, the earls, barons and peers (being over-swayed by the king) did award and adjudge (as judges of parliament, by the assent of the king in the said parliament) that the said Simon as a traitor and enemy of the realm should be hanged and drawn; and execution accordingly was done. But as by the said roll appears, it was by full parliament condemned and adjudged as illegal, and as a precedent not to be drawn into example. The words of the said roll are these, viz.
And it is assented and agreed by our lord the king and all the grandees in full parliament: that albeit the said peers as judges in full parliament took upon them in presence of our lord the king to make and give the said judgement by the assent of the king upon some of them that were not their peers (to wit commoners) by reason of the power of the liege lord, and destruction of him which was so near of the blood royal and the king's father; that therefore the said peers which now are, or the peers which shall be for the time to come, be not bound or charged to give judgement upon others than upon their peers, nor shall do it; but of that for ever be discharged and acquitted; and that the aforesaid judgement now given be not drawn into example or consequent for the time to come, by which the said peers may be charged hereafter to judge others than their peers, being against the law of the land, if any such case happen, which God defend.
Agrees with the Record. William Collet.
But notwithstanding all this our lords in parliament take upon them as judges in parliament to pass judgement and sentence (even of themselves) upon the commoners which are not their peers — and that to fining, imprisonment, etc. And this doth not only content them, but they even send forth their armed men, and beset, invade, assault their houses and persons in a warlike manner and take what plunder they please, before so much as any of their pretended, illegal warrants be showed — as was lately upon 11 August 1646 perpetrated against me and mine, which was more than the king himself by his legal prerogative ever could do. For neither by verbal commands or commissions under the Great Seal of England could he ever give any lawful authority to any general, captain or person whatsoever, without legal trial and conviction, forcibly to assault, rob, spoil or imprison any of the free commoners of England. And in case any free commoner by such his illegal commissions, orders or warrants, before they be lawfully convicted, should be assaulted, spoiled, plundered, imprisoned, etc., in such cases his agents and ministers ought to be proceeded against, resisted, apprehended, indicted and condemned (notwithstanding such commissions) as trespassers, thieves, burglars, felons, murderers, both by statute and common law, as is enacted and resolved by Magna Carta, cap. 29; 15 Eliz. 3 stat. 1. caps. 1, 2, 3; 42 Eliz. 5 cap. 1, 13; 28 Eliz. 1 Artic. sup. chartas, cap. 2; 4 Eliz. 3 cap. 4; 5 Eliz. 3 cap. 2; 24 Eliz. 3 cap. 1; 2 Rich II cap. 7; 5 Rich. II cap. 5; 1 Hen V cap. 6; 11 Hen II caps. 1-6; 24 Hen. VIII cap. 5; 21 Jacob. cap. 3.
And if the king himself have not this arbitrary power, much less may his peers or companions, the lords, over the free commons of England. And therefore notwithstanding such illegal censures and warrants either of king or of Lords (no legal conviction being made) the persons invaded and assaulted by such open force of arms may lawfully arm themselves, fortify their houses (which are their castles in the judgement of the law) against them; yea, disarm, beat, wound, repress and kill them in their just necessary defence of their own persons, houses, goods, wives and families, and not be guilty of the least offence — as is expressly resolved by the Statute of 21 Edw. de malefactoribus in parcis; by 24 Hen. VIII cap. 5; 11 Hen. VI cap. 16; 14 Hen. VI cap. 24; 35 Hen. VI cap. 12; Edward IV cap. 6.
And therefore (sir) as even by nature and by the law of the land I was bound, I denied subjection to these lords and their arbitrary creatures thus by open force invading and assaulting my house, person, etc. — no legal conviction preceding, or warrant then shown. But and if they had brought and shown a thousand such warrants, they had all been illegal, antimagisterial and void in this case; for they have no legal power in that kind, no more than the king, but such their actions are utterly condemned and expressly forbidden by the law. Why therefore should you of the representative body sit still and suffer these lords thus to devour both us and our laws?
Be awakened, arise and consider their oppressions and encroachments and stop their lordships in their ambitious career. For they do not cease only here, but they soar higher and higher and now they are become arrogators to themselves of the natural sovereignty the represented have conveyed and issued to their proper representers. They even challenge to themselves the title of the supremest court of judicature in the land — as was claimed by the Lord Hunsden when I was before them, which you may see more at large in a printed letter published under my name, entitled A defiance against all arbitrary usurpations — which challenge of his (I think I may be bold to assert) was a most illegal, anti-parliamentary, audacious presumption, and might better be pleaded and challenged by the king singly than by all those lords in a distinction from the Commons. But it is more than may be granted to the king himself; for the parliament, and the whole kingdom whom it represents, is truly and properly the highest supreme power of all others — yea above the king himself.
And therefore much more above the Lords. For they can question, cancel, disannul and utterly revoke the king's own royal charters, writs, commissions, patents, etc., though ratified with the Great Seal — even against his personal will, as is evident by their late abrogation of sundry patents, commissions, writs, charters, loan, ship-money etc. Yea the body representative have power to enlarge or retract the very prerogative of the king, as the Statute de prerog. Reg. and the parliament roll of 1 Hen. IV, num. 18. doth evidence; and therefore their power is larger and higher than the king's; and if above the king's, much more above the Lords', who are subordinate to the king. And if the king's writs, charters, etc. which entrench upon the weal of the people may be abrogated, nulled and made void by the parliament — the representative body of the land — and his very prerogatives bounded, restrained and limited by them, much more may the orders, warrants, commitments etc. of the Lords, with their usurped prerogatives over the Commons and people of England be restrained, nulled and made void by them. And therefore these lords must needs be inferior to them.
Further, the legislative power is not in the king himself but only in the kingdom and body representative, who has power to make or to abrogate laws, statutes etc. even without the king's consent. For by law he has not a negative voice either in making or reversing, but by his own coronation oath he is sworn to 'grant, fulfil, and defend all rightful laws, which the commons of the realm shall choose, and to strengthen and maintain them after his power'; by which clause of the oath is evident that the Commons (not the king or Lords) have power to choose what laws themselves shall judge meetest, and thereto of necessity the king must assent. And this is evident by most of our former kings and parliaments, and especially by the reigns of the Edwards I to IV, Richard II and the Henrys IV to VI. So that it cannot be denied but that the king is subordinate and inferior to the whole kingdom and body representative. Therefore if the king, much more must the lords veil their bonnets to the Commons and may not be esteemed the Upper House, or supreme court of judicature of the land.
So that seeing the sovereign power is not originally in the king, or personally terminated in him, then the king at most can be but chief officer or supreme executioner of the laws, under whom all other legal executioners, their several executions, functions and offices are subordinate; for indeed the representers (in whom that power is inherent and from whence it takes its original) can only make conveyance thereof to their representers, vicegerents or deputies, and cannot possibly further extend it. For so they should go beyond themselves, which is impossible, for ultra posse non est esse: there is no being beyond the power of being. That which goes beyond the substance and shadow of a thing cannot possibly be the thing itself either substantially or virtually; for that which is beyond the representers is not representative, and so not the kingdom's or people's, either so much as in shadow or substance.
Therefore the sovereign power, extending no further than from the represented to the representers — all this kind of sovereignty challenged by any (whether of king, Lords or others) is usurpation, illegitimate and illegal, and none of the kingdom's or people's. Neither are the people thereto obliged. Thus (sir) seeing the sovereign or legislative power is only from the represented to the representers, and cannot possibly legally further extend, the power of the king cannot be legislative but only executive, and he can communicate no more than he has himself. And the sovereign power not being inherent in him, it cannot be conveyed by or derived from him to any; for could he, he would have carried it away with him when he left the parliament. So that his mere prerogative creatures cannot have that which their lord and creator never had, has, or can have: namely, the legislative power. For it is a standing rule in nature, omne simile generas simile: every like begets its like.
And indeed they are as like him as if they were spit out of his mouth. For their proper station will not content them, but they must make incursions and inroads upon the people's rights and freedoms and extend their prerogative patent beyond their master's compass. Indeed all other courts might as well challenge that prerogative of sovereignty, yea better, than this court of lords. But and if any court or courts in this kingdom should arrogate to themselves that dignity to be the supreme court of judicatory of the land, it would be judged no less than high treason, to wit, for an inferior subordinate power to advance and exalt itself above the power of the parliament.
And (sir) the oppressions, usurpations, and miseries from this prerogative head are not the sole cause of our grievance and complaint, but in especial, the most unnatural, tyrannical, blood-thirsty desires and continual endeavours of the clergy against the contrary-minded in matters of conscience — which have been so veiled, gilded and covered over with such various, fair and specious pretences that by the common discernings such wolfish, cannibal, inhuman intents against their neighbours, kindred, friends and countrymen, as is now clearly discovered was little suspected (and less deserved) at their hands. But now I suppose they will scarce hereafter be so hard of belief. For now in plain terms and with open face, the clergy here discover themselves in their kind, and show plainly that inwardly they are no other but ravening wolves, even as roaring lions wanting their prey, going up and down, seeking whom they may devour.
For (sir) it seems these cruel minded men to their brethren, have, by the powerful agitation of Mr Tate and Mr Bacon (two members of the House) procured a most Romish inquisition ordinance to obtain an admission into the House, there to be twice read, and to be referred to a committee, which is of such a nature, if it should be but confirmed, enacted and established, as would draw all the innocent blood of the saints from righteous Abel unto this present upon this nation and fill the land with more martyrdoms, tyrannies, cruelties and oppressions than ever was in the bloody days of Queen Mary, yea or ever before, or since. For I may boldly say that the people of this nation never heard of such a diabolical, murdering, devouring ordinance, order, edict or law in their land as is that.
So that it may be truly said unto England: 'Woe to the inhabitants thereof, for the devil is come down unto you (in the shape of the letter B.) having great wrath, because he knows he has but a short time.'  For never before was the like heard of in England. The cruel, villainous, barbarous martyrdoms, murders and butcheries of God's people under the papal and episcopal clergy were not perpetrated or acted by any law so devilish, cruel and inhumane as this. Therefore what may the free people of England expect at the hands of their Presbyterian clergy, who thus discover themselves more fierce and cruel than their fellows? Nothing but hanging, burning, branding, imprisoning, etc. is like to be the reward of the most faithful friends to the kingdom and parliament if the clergy may be the disposers — notwithstanding their constant magnanimity, fidelity and good service both in the field and at home, for them and the state.
But sure this ordinance was never intended to pay the soldiers their arrears. If it be, the Independents are like to have the best share, let them take that for their comfort.  But I believe there was more tithe-providence than state-thrift in the matter; for if the Independents, Anabaptists, and Brownists were but sincerely addicted to the due payment of tithes, it would be better to them in this case than two-subsidy-men to acquit them of felony.
For were it not for the loss of their trade and spoiling their custom, an Anabaptist, Brownist, Independent and presbyter were all one to them; then might they without doubt have the mercy of the clergy; then would they not have been entered into their Spanish Inquisition Calendar for absolute felons, or need they have feared the popish soul-murdering, antiChristian Oath of Abjuration, or branding in the left cheek with the letter B — the new Presbyterian mark of the beast: for you see the devil is now again entered amongst us in a new shape, not like an angel of light (as both he and his servants can transform themselves when they please) but even in the shape of the letter B. From the power of which Presbyterian Beelzebub, good Lord deliver us all and let all the people say Amen. Then needed they not to have feared their prisons, their fire and faggot, their gallows and halters, etc. (the strongest texts in all the Presbyterian new model of clergy divinity for the maintenance and reverence of their cloth, and confutation of errors). For he that doth but so much as question that priest-fattening ordinance for tithes, oblations, obventions, etc. doth flatly deny the fundamentals of presbyters, for it was the first stone they laid in their building; and the second stone was the prohibition of all to teach God's word but themselves — and so are ipso facto all felons etc.
By this (sir) you may see what bloody-minded men those of the black presbytery be: what little love, patience, meekness, longsuffering and forbearance they have to their brethren. Neither do they as they would be done to or do to others as is done to them. For they would not be so served themselves of the Independents, neither have the Independents ever sought or desired any such things upon them, but would bear with them in all brotherly love if they would be but contented to live peaceably and neighbourly by them, and not thus to brand, hang, judge and condemn all for felons that are not like themselves. Sure (sir) you cannot take this murdering, bloody, disposition of theirs for the spirit of Christianity; for Christian charity 'suffers long, is kind, envieth not, exalteth not itself, seeketh not its own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things'. But these their desires and endeavours are directly contrary.
Therefore (sir) if you should suffer this bloody inroad of martyrdom, cruelties and tyrannies upon the free commoners of England with whose weal you are betrusted; if you should be so inhumane, undutiful, yea and unnatural unto us, our innocent blood will be upon you, and all the blood of the righteous that shall be shed by this ordinance, and you will be branded to future generations for England's Bloody Parliament.
If you will not think upon us, think upon your posterities. For I cannot suppose that any one of you would have your children hanged in case they should prove Independents, Anabaptists, Brownists — I cannot judge you so unnatural and inhumane to your own children. Therefore (sir) if for our own sakes we shall not be protected, save us for your children's sakes (though you think yourselves secure). For ye may be assured their and our interest is interwoven in one; if we perish, they must not think to escape. And (sir) consider that the cruelties, tyrannies and martyrdoms of the papal and episcopal clergy was one of the greatest instigations to this most unnatural war; and think you, if you settle a worse foundation of cruelty, that future generations will not taste of the dregs of that bitter cup?
Therefore now step in or never, and discharge your duties to God and to us and tell us no longer that 'such motions are not yet seasonable' and we must still wait; for have we not waited on your pleasures many fair seasons and precious occasions and opportunities these six years, even till the halters are ready to be tied to the gallows, and now must we hold our peace and wait till we be all imprisoned, hanged, burnt and confounded?
Blame us not (sir) if we complain against you — speak, write and plead thus — with might and main for our lives, laws and liberties; for they are our earthly summum bonum, wherewith you are chiefly betrusted, and whereof we desire a faithful discharge at your hands in especial. Therefore be not you the men that shall betray the blood of us and our posterities into the hands of those bloody black executioners. For God is just and will avenge our blood at your hands. And let heaven and earth bear witness against you, that for this end, that we might be preserved and restored, we have discharged our duties to you — both of love, fidelity and assistance and in what else ye could demand or devise in all your several needs, necessities and extremities — not thinking our lives, estates, nor anything too precious to sacrifice for you and the kingdom's safety. And shall we now be thus unfaithfully, undutifully and ungratefully rewarded? For shame. Let never such things be spoken, far less recorded, to future generations.
Thus sir, I have so far emboldened myself with you, hoping you will let grievances be uttered (that if God see it good they may be redressed), and give losers leave to speak without offence as I am forced to at this time, not only in the discharge of my duty to myself in particular but to yourselves and to our whole country in general for the present and for our several posterities for the future. And the Lord give you grace to take this timely advice from so mean and unworthy an instrument.
One thing more (sir) I shall be bold to crave at your hands: that you would be pleased to present my appeal, here enclosed, to your honourable House. Perchance the manner of it may beget a disaffection in you or at least a suspicion of disfavour from the House. But howsoever I beseech you that you would make presentation thereof, and if any hazard and danger ensue let it fall upon me; for I have cast up mine accounts. I know the most that it can cost me is but the dissolution of this fading mortality, which once must be dissolved; but after — blessed be God — comes righteous judgement.
Thus (sir) hoping my earnest and fervent desires after the universal freedoms and properties of this nation in general, and especially of the most godly and faithful in their consciences, persons and estates, will be a sufficient excuse with you for this my tedious presumption upon your patience, I shall commit the premises to your deliberate thoughts — and the issue thereof unto God, expecting and praying for His blessing upon all your faithful and honest endeavours in the prosecution thereof. And rest,
From the most contemptuous gaol of Newgate (the Lords' benediction)
25 September 1646
In bonds for the just rights and freedoms of the commons of England, theirs and your faithful friend and servant, Richard Overton
To the high and mighty states, the knights, citizens and burgesses in parliament assembled (England's legal sovereign power). The humble appeal and supplication of Richard Overton, prisoner in the most contemptible gaol of Newgate.
Humbly shows,
That whereas your petitioner, under the pretence of a criminal fact being in a warlike manner brought before the House of Lords to be tried, and by them put to answer to interrogatories concerning himself — both which your petitioner humbly conceives to be illegal, and contrary to the natural rights, freedoms and properties of the free commoners of England (confirmed to them by Magna Carta, the Petition of Right and the Act for the abolishment of the Star Chamber) — he therefore was emboldened to refuse subjection to the said House both in the one and the other, expressing his resolution before them that he would not infringe the private rights and properties of himself or of any one commoner in particular, or the common rights and properties of this nation in general. For which your petitioner was by them adjudged contemptuous, and by an order from the said House was therefore committed to the gaol of Newgate, where, from the 11 of August 1646 to this present he has lain, and there commanded to be kept till their pleasures shall be further signified (as a copy of the said order hereunto annexed doth declare) which may be perpetual if they please, and may have their wills. For your petitioner humbly conceives as hereby he is made a prisoner to their wills, not to the law — except their wills may be a law.
Wherefore your liege petitioner doth make his humble appeal unto this most sovereign House (as to the highest court of judicatory in the land, wherein all the appeals thereof are to centre and beyond which none can legally be made) humbly craving (both in testimony of his acknowledgement of its legal regality and of his due submission thereunto) that your honours therein assembled would take his cause (and in his, the cause of all the free commoners of England, whom you represent and for whom you sit) into your serious consideration and legal determination, that he may either by the mercy of the law be repossessed of his just liberty and freedoms — and thereby the whole commons of England of theirs, thus unjustly (as he humbly conceives) usurped and invaded by the House of Lords — with due reparations of all such damages to sustained, or else that he may undergo what penalty shall in equity by the impartial severity of the law be adjudged against him by this honourable House in case by them he shall be legally found a transgressor herein.
And your petitioner (as in duty bound) shall ever pray, etc.
Die martis 11 Augusti, 1646
It is this day ordered by the Lords in parliament assembled, that Overton, brought before a committee of this House for printing scandalous things against this House,is hereby committed to the prison of Newgate for his high contempt offered to this House and to the said committee by his contemptuous words and gesture, and refusing to answer unto the Speaker. And that the said Overton shall be kept in safe custody by the Keeper of Newgate or his deputy until the pleasure of the House be further signified.
To the Gentleman Usher attending this House, or his deputy, to be delivered to the Keeper of Newgate or his deputy John Brown Cleric. Parl. Examinat. per Ra. Brisco Clericu. de Newgate
Your unseasonable absence from the House, chiefly while Mistress Lilburne's petition should have been read (you having a report to make in her husband's behalf) whereby the hearing thereof was deferred and retarded did possess my mind with strong jealousies and fears of you that you either preferred your own pleasure or private interest before the execution of justice and judgement, or else withdrew yourself on set purpose (through the strong instigation of the Lords) to evade the discharge of your trust to God and to your country. But at your return, understanding that you honestly and faithfully did redeem your absent time, I was dispossessed of those fears and jealousies. So that for my over-hasty censorious esteem of you I humbly crave your excuse, hoping you will rather impute it to the fervency of my faithful zeal to the common good than to any malignant disposition or disaffection in me towards you. Yet (sir) in this my suspicion I was not single, for it was even become a general surmise.
Wherefore (sir) for the awarding your innocency for the future from the tincture of such unjust and calumnious suspicions, be you diligent and faithful, instant in season and out of season; omit no opportunity (though with never so much hazard to your person, estate or family) to discharge the great trust in you reposed, with the rest of your fellow members, for the redemption of your native country from the arbitrary domination and usurpations, either of the House of Lords or any other.
And since by the divine providence of God it has pleased that honourable assembly whereof you are a member to select and sever you out from amongst themselves to be of that committee which they have ordained to receive the commoners' complaints against the House of Lords granted upon the foresaid most honourable petition, be you therefore impartial and just, active and resolute, care neither for favours nor smiles, and be no respecter of persons.  Let not the greatest peers in the land be more respected with you than so many old bellows-menders, broom-men, cobblers, tinkers, or chimney-sweepers, who are all equally freeborn with the hugest men and loftiest Anakims in the land.  Do nothing for favour of the one or fear of the other. And have a care of the temporary sagacity of the new sect of opportunity politicians, whereof we have got at least two or three too many. For delays and demurrers of justice are of more deceitful and dangerous consequence than the flat and open denial of its execution; for the one keeps in suspense, makes negligent and remiss, the other provokes to speedy defence, makes active and resolute. Therefore be wise, quick, stout and impartial: neither spare, favour, or connive at friend or foe, high or low, rich or poor, lord or commoner.
And let even the saying of the Lord, with which I will close this present discourse, close with your heart and be with you to the death. Leviticus 19:15. 'Ye shall do no unrighteousness in judgement: thou shall not respect the person of the poor, nor honour the person of the mighty, but in righteousness shalt thou judge thy neighbour.'
12 October 1646

Voltairine de Cleyre: By No Possible Jugglery of Logic

"[A] body of voters can not give into your charge any rights but their own; by no possible jugglery of logic can they delegate the exercise of any function which they themselves do not control. If any individual on earth has a right to delegate his powers to whomsoever he chooses, then every other individual has an equal right; and if each has an equal right, then none can choose an agent for another, without that other's consent. Therefore, if the power of government resides in the whole people, and out of that whole all but one elected you as their agent, you would still have no authority whatever to act for the one. The individuals composing the minority who did not appoint you have just the same rights and powers as those composing the majority who did; and if they prefer not to delegate them at all, then neither you, nor any one, has any authority whatever to coerce them into accepting you, or any one, as their agent ...."

~ Voltairine de Cleyre

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Abbott: The Cause and Cure of Anarchism

    "Anarchism...rests upon the doctrine that no man has a right to control by force the action of any other man. Anarchism is defended on historic grounds: the evils are recited which have been wrought in human history by the employment of force compelling obedience by one will to another will, as they are seen in political and religious despotism, in the subjugation of women, in every form of brigandage from that of the Italian bands to that of the Napoleonic armies. It is conceded that evils might grow out of the abolition of all government; but it is insisted that they would be insignificant in comparison with the wrongs which have been perpetrated on mankind by the authority of government. Anarchism is defended on religious grounds. Jesus Christ is cited as the first of anarchists; for did he not say, 'Resist not evil: if one take away thy coat, give him thy cloak also; and if one smite thee upon the one cheek, turn to him the other also?' What is this, we are asked, but a denial of the right to use force even in defense of one's simplest and plainest rights?"

    Lyman Abbott, "The Cause and Cure of Anarchism" in The Outlook, Volume 70 (February 1902)

    Legal Nonsense transposed upon normal interactions

    "Imagine going to a store and you go to the checkout counter with a box of raisins marked $2.99.  The cashier tells you the raisins are $150 plus administrative costs for his having to ring you up.  You tell him the raisins are marked $2.99 and that's all you're going to pay for them, and only an imbecile would pay $150 for a little box of raisins.  The cashier gets angry and says, 'It's my register, you're in my line, it's my store and you are going to pay $150!'  You tell him that's not how you understand it; the box is clearly marked $2.99.  He says that's 'your interpretation,' it costs what he says it costs and if you don't like it, hire another grocer to explain it to you.  You refuse, give the raisins back and start leaving so you can buy raisins from a normal person.  The cashier then snaps at you that you're now in contempt of store and you have to pay not only the $150 to be released from the store, but you also must pay the costs of 'keeping you there.'  If you don't like it, you can 'appeal' it to the store's manager after you've paid this new bill.  If you somehow manage to get away from this nutcase, he might then 'issue a warrant' and give it to store 'security' who would then be 'authorized' to use deadly force to 'arrest' you and bring you back to 'his store.'  And if you that's not bad enough, the cashier has no personal liability for his actions because cashiers must be free and independent.  Would anyone accept such behavior from a cashier?  If not, then why do they accept it from a pack of lawyers?  What separates cashiers from lawyers; why are lawyers able to foist this madness on others while cashiers can not?  Cashiers do not provide their services at the barrel of a gun."  ~ Marc Stevens

    Friday, June 22, 2012

    Tallack: Punishment

    "It was chiefly owing to the violent greed of feudal barons and medieval ecclesiastical powers that the rights of the injured party were gradually infringed upon, and finally, to a large extent, appropriated by these authorities, who exacted a double vengeance, indeed, upon the offender, by forfeiting his property to themselves instead of to his victim, and then punishing him by the dungeon, the torture, the stake or the gibbet. But the original victim of wrong was practically ignored."

    William Tallack

    Rothbard: Left & Right

    "[T]here developed in Western Europe two great political ideologies … one was liberalism, the party of hope, of radicalism, of liberty, of the Industrial Revolution, of progress, of humanity; the other was conservatism, the party of reaction, the party that longed to restore the hierarchy, statism, theocracy, serfdom, and class exploitation of the Old Order…. Political ideologies were polarized, with liberalism on the extreme "left," and conservatism on the extreme "right," of the ideological spectrum."
     ~ Rothbard

    "Thus, with Liberalism abandoned from within, there was no longer a Party of Hope in the Western world, no longer a 'Left' movement to lead a struggle against the State and against the unbreached remainder of the Old Order. Into this gap, into this void created by the drying up of radical liberalism, there stepped a new movement: Socialism. Libertarians of the present day are accustomed to think of socialism as the polar opposite of the libertarian creed. But this is a grave mistake, responsible for a severe ideological disorientation of libertarians in the present world.  As we have seen, Conservatism was the polar opposite of liberty; and socialism, while to the 'left' of conservatism, was essentially a
    confused, middle-of-the-road movement. It was, and still is, middle-of-the-road because it tries to achieve Liberal ends by the use of Conservative means.  Socialism, like liberalism and against conservatism, accepted the industrial system and the liberal goals of freedom, reason, mobility, progress, higher living standards for the masses, and an end to theocracy and war; but it tried to achieve these ends by the use of incompatible, conservative means: statism, central planning, communitarianism, etc."
     ~ Rothbard

    "[T]he libertarians, especially in their sense of where they stood in the ideological spectrum, fused with the older Conservatives who were forced to adopt libertarian phraseology (but with no real libertarian content) in opposing a Roosevelt administration that had become too collectivistic for them…. By the end of World War II, it was second nature for libertarians to consider themselves at an "extreme right-wing" pole…."
     ~ Rothbard

    "Every element in the New Deal program: central planning, creation of a network of compulsory cartels for industry and agriculture, inflation and credit expansion, artificial raising of wage rates and promotion of unions within the overall monopoly structure, government regulation and ownership, all this had been anticipated and adumbrated during the previous two decades. And this program, with its privileging of various big business interests at the top of the collectivist heap, was in no sense reminiscent of socialism or leftism; there was nothing smacking of the egalitarian or the proletarian here. No, the kinship of this burgeoning collectivism was not at all with socialism-communism but with fascism, or socialism-of-the-right, a kinship which many big businessmen of the twenties expressed openly in their yearning for abandonment of a quasi-laissez-faire system for a collectivism which they could control…. Both left and right have been persistently misled by the notion that intervention by the government is ipso facto leftish and antibusiness. "
     ~ Rothbard

    Thursday, June 21, 2012

    Herbert Spencer: How Liberalism Lost its Way

    "How is it that Liberalism, getting more and more into power, has grown more and more coercive in its legislation? … How are we to explain this spreading confusion of thought which has led it, in pursuit of what appears to be public good, to invert the method by which in earlier days it achieved public good? … [W]e may understand the kind of confusion in which Liberalism has lost itself: and the origin of those mistaken classings of political measures which have misled it — classings, as we shall see, by conspicuous external traits instead of by internal natures. For what, in the popular apprehension and in the apprehension of those who effected them, were the changes made by Liberals in the past? They were abolitions of grievances suffered by the people…. [T]his was the common trait they had which most impressed itself on men's minds…. [T]he welfare of the many came to be conceived alike by Liberal statesmen and Liberal voters as the aim of Liberalism. Hence the confusion. The gaining of a popular good, being the external conspicuous trait common to Liberal measures in earlier days (then in each case gained by a relaxation of restraints), it has happened that popular good has come to be sought by Liberals, not as an end to be indirectly gained by relaxations of restraints, but as the end to be directly gained. And seeking to gain it directly, they have used methods intrinsically opposed to those originally used"

    ~Herbert Spencer

    "In short, Spencer's analysis is that liberals came to conceptualize liberalism in terms of its easily identifiable effects (benefits for the masses) rather than in terms of its essential nature (laissez-faire), and so began to think that any measure aimed at the end of benefits for the masses must count as liberal, whether pursued by the traditional liberal means of laissez-faire or by its opposite, the traditional Tory means of governmental compulsion. In short, liberalism became the pursuit of liberal ends by Tory means." ~ Roderick T. Long

    A Question posed to @thepopularfront


    I have noticed that on two occasions that I have made note of, you have expressed a dislike for the thoughts/ideas of Murray Rothbard; I can definitely understand how, from your position/perspective, Rothbard might seem as if decidedly coming from the "right-libertarian" perspective but if you would indulge this request, I would like to know your thoughts/response to the piece in The Libertarian Forum from both Hess and Rothbard in 1969.  I would suggest, that this may be a side of Rothbard's thought that "right-libertarians" rarely emphasize:

    I guess the question would be: "How does this side of Rothbard in contrast and/or similarity, to your own perspective?"

    Letter From Washington

    By Karl Hess

    Where Are The Specifics?

    Libertarianism is clearly the most, perhaps the only trulyradical movement in America. It grasps the problems ofsociety by the roots. It is not reformist in any sense. It isrevolutionary in every sense.
    Because so many of its people, however, have come fromthe right there remains about it at least an aura or, perhaps,miasma of defensiveness, as though its interests reallycenter in, for instance, defending private property. Thetruth, of course, is that libertarianism wants to advanceprinciples of property but that it in no way wishes to defend,willy nilly, all property which now is called private.
    Much of that property is stolen. Much is of dubious title.All of it is deeply intertwined with an immoral, coercivestate system which has condoned, built on, and profited fromslavery; has expanded through and exploited a brutal andaggressive imperial and colonial foreign policy, and continuesto hold the people in a roughly serf-master relationshipto political-economic power concentrations.
    Libertarians are concerned, first and foremost, with thatmost valuable of properties, the life of each individual. Thatis the property most brutally and constantly abused by statesystems whether they are of the right or left. Propertyrights pertaining to material objects are seen by libertariansas stemming from and as importantly secondary to the rightto own, direct, and enjoy one's own life and those appurtenancesthereto which may be acquired without coercion.
    Libertarians, in short, simply do not believe that theft isproper whether it is committed in the name of a state, aclass, a crises, a credo, or a cliche.
    This is a far cry from sharing common ground with thosewho want to create a society in which super capitalists arefree to amass vast holdings and who say that that is ultimatelythe most important purpose of freedom. This is proto-heroicnonsense.
    Libertarianism is a people's movement and a liberationmovement. It seeks the sort of open, non-coercive societyin which the people, the living, free, distinct people mayvoluntarily associate, dis-associate, and, as they see fit,participate in the decisions affecting their lives. Thismeans a truly free market in everything from ideas toidiosyncrasies. It means people free collectively to organizethe resources of their immediate community or individualisticallyto organize them; it means the freedom to have acommunity-based and supported judiciary where wanted,none where not, or private arbitration services where thatis seen as most desirable. The same with police. The samewith schools, hospitals, factories, farms, laboratories,parks, and pensions. Liberty means the right to shape yourown institutions. It opposes the right of those institutionsto shape you simply because of accreted power or gerontologicalstatus.
    For many, however, these root principles of radicallibertarianism will remain mere abstractions, and evensuspect, until they are developed into aggressive, specificproposals.
    There is scarcely anything radical about, for instance,those who say that the poor should have a larger share ofthe Federal budget. That is reactionary, asking that theinstitution of state theft be made merely more palatable bydistributing its loot to more sympathetic persons. Perhapsno one of sound mind could object more to giving Federalfunds to poor people than to spending the money on theslaughter of Vietnamese peasant fighters. But to argue suchrelative merits must end being simply reformist and notrevolutionary.
    Libertarians could and should propose specific revolutionarytactics and goals which would have specific meaningto poor people and to all people; to analyze in depth and todemonstrate in example the meaning of liberty, revolutionaryliberty to them.
    I, for one, earnestly beseech such thinking from mycomrades.
    The proposals should take into account the revolutionarytreatment of stolen 'private' and 'public' property in libertarian,radical, and revolutionary terms; the factors whichhave oppressed people so far, and so forth. Murray Rothbardand others have done much theoretical work alongthese lines but it can never be enough for just a few toshoulder so much of the burden.
    Let me propose just a few examples of the sort of specific,revolutionary and radical questions to which members ofour Movement might well address themselves.
    —Land ownership and/or usage in a situation of decliningstate power. The Tijerina situation suggests one approach.There must be many others. And what about (realistically,not romantically) water and air pollution liability and prevention?
    —Worker, share-owner, community roles or rights inproductive facilities in terms of libertarian analysis and asspecific proposals in a radical and revolutionary context.What, for instance, might or should happen to GeneralMotors in a liberated society?
    Of particular interest, to me at any rate, is focusinglibertarian analysis and ingenuity on finishing the greatunfinished business of the abolition of slavery. Simply settingslaves free, in a world still owned by their masters,obviously was an historic inequity. (Libertarians hold thatthe South should have been permitted to secede so that theslaves themselves, along with their Northern friends, couldhave built a revolutionary liberation movement, overthrownthe masters, and thus shaped the reparations of revolution.)Thoughts of reparations today are clouded by concern thatit would be taken out against innocent persons who in no waycould be connected to former oppression. There is an areawhere that could be avoided: in the use of government-'owned'lands and facilities as items of exchange in compensatingthe descendants of slaves and making it possiblefor them to participate in the communities of the land,finally, as equals and not wards.
    Somewhere, I must assume, there is a libertarian who,sharing the idea, might work out a good and consistentproposal for justice in that area.
    Obviously the list is endless. But the point is finite andfinely focused.
    With libertarianism now developing as a Movement, itearnestly and urgently requires innovative proposals, radicaland specific goals, and a revolutionary agenda which cantranslate its great and enduring principles into timely andcommanding courses of possible and even practical action.

    "What country can preserve its liberties if their rulers arenot warned from time to time that their people preserve thespirit of resistance? Let them take arms."
    —Thomas Jefferson, 1787

    The Libertarian Forum, June 15, 19693


    Murray Rothbard

    Karl Hess's brilliant and challenging article in this issueraises a problem of specifics that ranges further than thelibertarian movement. For example, there must be hundredsof thousands of "professional" anti-Communists in thiscountry. Yet not one of these gentry, in the course of theirfulminations, has come up with a specific plan for de-Communization.Suppose, for example, that Messers. Brezhnevand Co. become converted to the principles of a freesociety; they than [sic] ask our anti-Communists, all right, howdo we go about de-socializing? What could our anti-Communistsoffer them?
    This question has been essentially answered by theexciting developments of Tito's Yugoslavia. Beginning in1952, Yugoslavia has been de-socializing at a remarkablerate. The principle the Yugoslavs have used is the libertarian"homesteading" one: the state-owned factories to theworkers that work in them! The nationalized plants in the"public" sector have all been transferred in virtual ownershipto the specific workers who work in the particularplants, thus making them producers' coops, and movingrapidly in the direction of individual shares of virtualownership to the individual worker. What other practicableroute toward destatization could there be? The principle inthe Communist countries should be: land to the peasants andthe factories to the workers, thereby getting the propertyout of the hands of the State and into private, homesteadinghands.
    The homesteading principle means that the way thatunowned property gets into private ownership is by theprinciple that this property justly belongs to the person whofinds, occupies, and transforms it by his labor. This is clearin the case of the pioneer and virgin land. But what of thecase of stolen property?
    Suppose, for example, that A steals B's horse. Then Ccomes along and takes the horse from A. Can C be calleda thief? Certainly not, for we cannot call a man a criminalfor stealing goods from a thief. On the contrary, C is performinga virtuous act of confiscation, for he is deprivingthief A of the fruits of his crime of aggression, and he is atleast returning the horse to the innocent "private" sectorand out of the "criminal" sector. C has done a noble act andshould be applauded. Of course, it would be still better if hereturned the horse to B, the original victim. But even if hedoes not, the horse is far more justly in C's hands than it isin the hands of A, the thief and criminal.
    Let us now apply our libertarian theory of property to thecase of property in the hands of, or derived from, the Stateapparatus. The libertarian sees the State as a giant gang oforganized criminals, who live off the theft called "taxation"and use the proceeds to kill, enslave, and generally pushpeople around. Therefore, any property in the hands of theState is in the hands of thieves, and should be liberated asquickly as possible. Any person or group who liberates suchproperty, who confiscates or appropriates it from the State,is performing a virtuous act and a signal service to thecause of liberty. In the case of the State, furthermore, thevictim is not readily identifiable as B, the horse-owner. Alltaxpayers, all draftees, all victims of the State have beenmulcted. How to go about returning all this property to thetaxpayers? What proportions should be used in this terrifictangle of robbery and injustice that we have all suffered atthe hands of the State? Often, the most practical method ofde-statizing is simply to grant the moral right of ownershipon the person or group who seizes the property from theState. Of this group, the most morally deserving are theones who are already using the property but who have nomoral complicity in the State's act of aggression. Thesepeople then become the "homesteaders" of the stolenproperty and hence the rightful owners.
    Take, for example, the State universities. This is propertybuilt on funds stolen from the taxpayers. Since the State hasnot found or put into effect a way of returning ownership ofthis property to the taxpaying public, the proper owners ofthis university are the "homesteaders", those who havealready been using and therefore "mixing their labor" withthe facilities. The prime consideration is to deprive thethief, in this case the State, as quickly as possible of theownership and control of its ill-gotten gains, to return theproperty to the innocent, private sector. This means studentand/or faculty ownership of the universities.
    As between the two groups, the students have a prior claim,for the students have been paying at least some amount tosupport the university whereas the faculty suffer from themoral taint of living off State funds and thereby becoming tosome extent a part of the State apparatus.

    The same principle applies to nominally "private" propertywhich really comes from the State as a result of zealouslobbying on behalf of the recipient. Columbia University, forexample, which receives nearly two-thirds of its incomefrom government, is only a "private" college in the mostironic sense. It deserves a similar fate of virtuous homesteadingconfiscation.
    But if Columbia University, what of General Dynamics?What of the myriad of corporations which are integral partsof the military-industrial complex, which not only get overhalf or sometimes virtually all their revenue from thegovernment but also participate in mass murder? What aretheir credentials to "private" property? Surely less thanzero. As eager lobbyists for these contracts and subsidies,as co-founders of the garrison state, they deserve confiscationand reversion of their property to the genuine privatesector as rapidly as possible. To say that their "private"property must be respected is to say that the propertystolen by the horsethief and the murdered [sic] must be"respected".

    But how then do we go about destatizing the entire mass ofgovernment property, as well as the "private property" ofGeneral Dynamics? All this needs detailed thought and inquiryon the part of libertarians. One method would be to turn overownership to the homesteading workers in the particularplants; another to turn over pro-rata ownership to theindividual taxpayers. But we must face the fact that it mightprove the most practical route to first nationalize theproperty as a prelude to redistribution. Thus, how could theownership of General Dynamics be transferred to thedeserving taxpayers without first being nationalized enroute?And, further more, even if the government should decide tonationalize General Dynamics—without compensation, ofcourse—per se and not as a prelude to redistribution to thetaxpayers, this is not immoral or something to be combatted.For it would only mean that one gang of thieves—the government—wouldbe confiscating property from another previouslycooperating gang, the corporation that has lived offthe government. I do not often agree with John KennethGalbraith, but his recent suggestion to nationalize businesseswhich get more than 75% of their revenue from government,or from the military, has considerable merit. Certainly itdoes not mean aggression against private property, and,furthermore, we could expect a considerable diminution ofzeal from the military-industrial complex if much of theprofits were taken out of war and plunder. And besides, itwould make the American military machine less efficient,being governmental, and that is surely all to the good. Butwhy stop at 75%? Fifty per cent seems to be a reasonable

    (Continued on page 4)

    4The Libertarian Forum, June 15, 1969

    CONFISCATION(Continued from page 3)
    cutoff point on whether an organization is largely public orlargely private.
    And there is another consideration. Dow Chemical, forexample, has been heavily criticized for making napalm forthe U.S. military machine. The percentage of its salescoming from napalm is undoubtedly small, so that on apercentage basis the company may not seem very guilty; butnapalm is and can only be an instrument of mass murder,and therefore Dow Chemical is heavily up to its neck in beingan accessory and hence a co-partner in the mass murder inVietnam. No percentage of sales, however small, can absolveits guilt.
    This brings us to Karl's point about slaves. One of thetragic aspects of the emancipation of the serfs in Russia in1861 was that while the serfs gained their personal freedom,the land—their means of production and of life, their landwas retained under the ownership of their feudal masters.The land should have gone to the serfs themselves, forunder the homestead principle they had tilled the land anddeserved its title. Furthermore, the serfs were entitled to ahost of reparations from their masters for the centuries ofoppression and exploitation. The fact that the land remainedin the hands of the lords paved the way inexorably for theBolshevik Revolution, since the revolution that had freed theserfs remained unfinished.
    The same is true of the abolition of slavery in the UnitedStates. The slaves gained their freedom, it is true, but theland, the plantations that they had tilled and thereforedeserved to own under the homestead principle, remained inthe hands of their former masters. Furthermore, noreparations were granted the slaves for their oppressionout of the hides of their masters. Hence the abolition ofslavery remained unfinished, and the seeds of a new revolthave remained to intensify to the present day. Hence, thegreat importance of the shift in Negro demands from greaterwelfare handouts to "reparations", reparations for the yearsof slavery and exploitation and for the failure to grant theNegroes their land, the failure to heed the Radical abolitionist'scall for "40 acres and a mule" to the former slaves. Inmany cases, moreover, the old plantations and the heirs anddescendants of the former slaves can be identified, and thereparations can become highly specific indeed.
    Alan Milchman, in the days when he was a brilliant younglibertarian activist, first pointed out that libertarians hadmisled themselves by making their main dichotomy "government"vs. "private" with the former bad and the lattergood. Government, he pointed out, is after all not a mysticalentity but a group of individuals, "private" individuals if youwill, acting in the manner of an organized criminal gang.But this means that there may also be "private" criminalsas well as people directly affiliated with the government.What we libertarians object to, then, is not governmentper se but crime, what we object to is unjust or criminalproperty titles; what we are for is not "private" propertyper se but just, innocent, non-criminal private property.It is justice vs. injustice, innocence vs. criminality thatmust be our major libertarian focus.

    [Further reading if you are interested:]

    Voltairine de Cleyre: Government is as unreal, as intangible, as unapproachable as God

    "Government is as unreal, as intangible, as unapproachable as God. Try it, if you don't believe it. Seek through the legislative halls of America and find, if you can, the Government. In the end you will be doomed to confer with the agent, as before."

    Voltairine de Cleyre

    Wednesday, June 20, 2012

    Begging the Question: If you don't like it, leave!

    The suggestion that, "If you don't like the rules here, then you can always leave!" appears to begs the question, or "reason in a circle"; which is to say, it must assume from the start that the "rules" are legitimate in the first place, which is the very proposition which is in dispute.

     If the question being asked is, "Are the rules legitimate?" or alternatively, if the assertion is made, "The rules are not legitimate," the response of, "If you don't like the rules, then you can leave." ignores that the question which is being asked is questioning the very premise that the suggestion/imperative of, "If you don't like the rules here, then you can always leave!" must assume to make the statement.

    Therefore, the only logical response to someone uncomfortable with the question, or in disagreement with the assertion, is to rationally justify why the "rules" are legitimate.

    For, if the "rules" are illegitimate, then why does the person who is violated by those "rules", have to leave, and not the 'rule-maker'/violator?

    Wednesday, June 13, 2012

    Frederick Douglass: Contented & Thoughless Slave

    "I have found that, to make a contented slave, it is necessary to make a thoughtless one. It is necessary to darken his moral and mental vision, and, as far as possible, to annihilate the power of reason. He must be able to detect no inconsistencies in slavery; he must be made to feel that slavery is right; and he can be brought to that only when he ceases to be a man."

    ~Frederick Douglass

    Tuesday, June 12, 2012

    Mises: Peaceful Cooperation

    "What makes the existence and the evolution of society possible is precisely the fact that peaceful cooperation under the social division of labor in the long run best serves the selfish concerns of all individuals. The eminence of the market society is that its whole functioning and operation is the consummation of this principle."

    --Ludwig von Mises. Human Action: A Treatise on Economics

    The Fatal Flaw of the Common Ownership of the Means of Production

    I reason that there is a contradiction of "anarchists" who advocate for the "common ownership" of the "means of production.

    The "means of production" being the means by which products are produced; "common ownership" being ownership in common of all individuals of a given material by which products are produced.

    For, is not the human-body and its attendant labors, also a "means of production"?  Indeed, I think that one advocating the "common ownership of the means of production" does so advocate because of the premise that the laborers upon the "means of production" have greater claim to the product of the "means of production" than the "capitalist" or "illegitimate owner of the means of production".

    If the human-body is indeed, the (primary) "means of production" then therefore, given the assertion that the means-of-production must be commonly 'owned', each human-body must be considered to be held in "common ownership" [of course, this would also have the interesting implication that every laborer, is a capitalist, as the 'owner' of the "means of production"].

    Generally, when one person, does not own themselves, but it owned by another person, or conglomeration of persons, this state or condition, is commonly referred to as a condition of slavery.

    Which is to say, that those who advocate the "common ownership" of the "means of production" are advocating a theory in which no person owns themselves, but is owned in common with all others, and that same individual, in her turn, has common ownership of all other persons.

    This theory then, implies a condition of perfect slavery of all individual persons; and one might think that this proposition of universal slavery of all persons is not appropriate to anyone claiming the denomination of "anarchist", for that denomination would only be a rebellion of domination that implies the enslavement of all.