Archive for the ‘Freedom’ Category

BRAVO!

Source: Education On The Plate

I recently spoke at the #140edu Conference in NYC on the topic in the title. This is what I said.

How many of you here graduated from high school?

#140edu stage - via digital camera#140edu stage – via digital camera (Photo credit: NJ Tech Teacher)

How many of you liked high school?

Just as I thought. Despite the laws mandating it, despite the ominous predictions of what will happen if you leave it, not everyone should go to high school.

Let me say it again, not everyone should go to high school.

This sounds like heresy, especially coming from a teacher.

But even in a time when it seems like you need a college degree to be an auto mechanic, not everyone should go to high school.

When I dropped out of high school for the first time, yes — I’ve done it twice — dropping out was considered a sure path to economic and social failure.

Not much has changed since 1968. Dropping out of high school is still labeled a sure path to ruin. That there are students dropping out of school is still called a crisis.

It is not a crisis. It is a message.

Thinking of drop outs as a crisis leads to solutions that focus on compliance– things like raising the age at which one can leave school, or more truant officers to track down the education fugitives.

But if we look at students dropping out of schools as a message, drop outs tell us is that school sucks, that it is not reaching them, or that they feel they have no hope for success, in high school or beyond it.

They tell us that they are not being challenged enough, or not being allowed to follow their interests, or just that school doesn’t fit them: it is too big, too small, too cliquey or too dangerous.

The reasons students leave school are as differentiated as the lessons we teachers are being told to teach them.

You have heard, and will continue to hear today and tomorrow, about ways to make school better, more enticing, more encouraging, more engaging and more effective.

All that is good, but it is almost impossible for any modern high school to meet the needs of all students.

This is not for lack of intent or lack of effort. It is a result of an increasingly centrally-mandated standardized world. Now we’re all supposed to hone our lessons to the common core. Really? Does anyone really want to be common?

Instead of focusing on how to make school better or teaching better, I’m going to talk about how to make learning better.

My idea of the perfect school is one in which you can  learn what you want to learn, when you want to learn it, where you want to learn it, and how you want to learn it.

I say, do what teachers have been telling you to do for so long, take charge of your education and don’t let the door hit you in the ass on your way out.

I dropped out of high school twice, and college once, because attending was interfering with my learning. I got tired of teachers calling my questions and observations distracting and disruptive. I got tired of being told what to learn and when to learn it.

I figured out that knowledge doesn’t come in neat little packages called math, science, English Language Arts or social studies. Art is not a subject, neither is music, or health.

Knowledge is a massive, ever growing, completely interconnected all enveloping mass. It is the butterfly effect writ large, where everything we learn, every insight we gain, every understanding we come to, changes EVERYTHING.

So I left.

My parents were not happy about any of it, but I had the biggest, most cultured and most diverse city in the world to explore.

I still got a great education because I asked questions, followed tangents and never stopped being curious.

The real key to making dropping out — or opting out if you prefer– is to do it soon enough. Don’t wait until you’re beaten down by the system and have lost interest and hope. Leave school while you still have curiosity, a hunger to know something, to know anything or everything, and before you have to support yourself financially. It may be after 10th grade or it may be after 8th. You will know when it is right for you.

Now you can sleep a little later, but don’t spend the day in bed, or watching cartoons or talk shows. There is a world to explore.

Today it doesn’t matter if you live in Manhattan, like I did, or in East Nowhere, the whole world is available to you.

Think of the tools you have now that didn’t exist when I dropped out. Computers, the internet, Twitter, Skype, Facebook, and more are all there to help you access the world and learn anything you want.

You don’t need a curriculum, a road map or a plan at all.

Just ask a question and seek an answer.

Then ask another question.

Listen to the answers you get. Follow tangents. Focus like a laser or wander aimlessly. Tinker. Play.

All knowledge is connected and things will all start to make sense as you note commonalities, wonder about discrepancies, make connections and develop insights.

Are you in love with baseball? Study it. You’ll learn about statistics – figuring pitcher’s earned run averages takes complex mathematics — develop strategies, learn the science of the curveball, learn about the history of race relations in America, and more. You’ll learn about why the Dominican Republic produces so many major league shortstops and why Japan doesn’t, but produces pitchers. Follow baseball as far as it will take you…then ask another question.

Do you like to knit? Study it. Learn about different kinds of wool, how they differ and where they come from, how they become shocking chartreuse or majestic magenta. Learn math as you figure out how much you’ll need to make that sweater, the physics of tensile strength.

Into dolls, dogs, drumming or debate? Are you passionate about golf, gardening, guitar, grapes or Greta Garbo? It doesn’t matter what. Take the paths   your interests and passions give you.

Greta Garbo in The Joyless Street. Alexander B...Greta Garbo in The Joyless Street. Alexander Binder (for Atelier Binder) made the portrait during the filming. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

After a while you’ll become an expert, an authority. You’ll wander off one path and discover another one, perhaps the secret of life, the universe and everything.

Just keep asking one more question and you will find many more answers. Each of which will lead to more questions.

Joyce Valenza calls it “a never ending search.”

Here are some things you are likely to discover:

People are eager to talk about what they do and what they know, to someone who is interested in learning.

People are eager to tell you their stories, what they think, what they feel, to someone willing to listen.

Your bullshit meter will develop and become more accurate.

You will find the joy of learning again, the joy of teaching what you learn, and you’ll rediscover the excitement of wondering.

You will learn that all answers lead to more questions, better questions, deeper questions.

Keep asking.

Keep learning.

Do all the things school doesn’t leave you the time to do and you will get a better education than any institution can give you.

Don’t worry about getting into college. Getting into a good college requires standing out from the crowd, somehow distinguishing yourself from the hundreds of thousand other high school seniors.

So while all those other kids are all taking the same classes, cramming for exams and spending every extra minute doing every imaginable community service and extra credit assignment, you’ll be having different experiences.

While they’re being told what to learn, you’ll be deciding what to learn. Their learning will be limited by the curriculum, your learning will be free-range, going as far as your curiosity takes you.

Just think of the application essay you’ll be able to write.

And somewhere in the process of writing that essay, you might begin to wonder whether you really need to go to college.
Once you start becoming a free-range learner it is almost impossible to stop. And that is the best part of it all.

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Source: The Monica Perez Show

Guest Post: END THE FED? IT’S BEEN DONE!
This summer has me running in all directions, so I haven’t been able to post much. My apologies for that, however, as luck would have it, my sister Booie wanted to share some thoughts on Ron Paul’s Audit the Fed Bill recently passed by Congress….

When England tried to place the colonies under the monetary control of the Bank of England, many in America were strongly opposed. This was one of the factors leading to the Revolutionary War. Nevertheless, the First Bank of the United States was chartered in 1791, thanks to the machinations of Alexander Hamilton, in line with Northern mercantile interests. In exchange for support by the agrarian South for the bank, Hamilton agreed to ensure sufficient support to have the federal capitol moved from its temporary Northern location, New York, to a Southern location on the Potomac.

Happily, the First Bank’s charter expired in 1811 without being renewed. Sadly, “the next several years witnessed the proliferation of federally issued Treasury Notes…to finance the War of 1812” leading to runaway inflation. The Second Bank of the U.S. was chartered in 1816 in the hopes that it would end the inflation. Ron Paul has pointed out that this “aided and abetted ever more [monetary] expansion and the creation of a boom-bust cycle.”

Andrew Jackson denounced the central bank as an engine of corruption, referring to it as “The Great Whore of Babylon.” He felt that “the bank, by controlling the nation’s money supply, had great power over the economy, gave its wealthy owners a large return with very little risk, and was involved in corruption, such as bribing government officials.” This was a major political issue of the 1830s. Therefore, when he was president (1829-1837), he withdrew federal deposits from the Second Bank of the U.S. and it closed in 1836.

(An interesting side note and my favorite thing about the Jackson presidency is that he is the only president ever to eliminate the national debt. No wonder he’s on the $20 bill!)

So, history has shown that it’s possible to get rid of a central bank. And the passage of Ron Paul’s “Audit the Fed” bill (HR 459) in the House this week is very encouraging. Next stop, the Senate!

When Americans Understood the Declaration of Independence

by Thomas J. DiLorenzo

Source: LewRockwell.com

 

The Fourth of July was not always a national celebration of the militarization of American society and of the federal government’s never-ending quest for world domination (disguised as “defending our interests abroad”). Americans did not always attend church services on the Sunday before the Fourth of July to “honor” their “military heroes” and pray that they may kill many more human beings in other countries that have done them no harm. Americans once actually read and understood the Declaration of Independence for what it was: a declaration of secession from the British empire and a roadmap for opposing a highly centralized, militaristic empire of the sort the U.S. government has become.

The Declaration of Independence was the ultimate secessionist or states’ rights document. “Governments are instituted among men,” Thomas Jefferson wrote, for the sole purpose of securing God-given, “unalienable” rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Moreover, governments derive “their just powers from the consent of the governed” and nowhere else. And “whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government . . .”

The way in which “the People” were to express their consent (or lack thereof) was through state and local political organizations. Hence, in the final paragraph of the Declaration of Independence Jefferson wrote that: “We . . . the Representatives of the united States of America . . . are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States, that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do.”

It is important to note that the word “united” is not capitalized but “States” is, and that the individual states are described as “Free and Independent.” Thus, the free, independent, and sovereign states were united in the cause of secession from the British empire. The phrase “united States” did not mean, and does not mean in any of the founding documents, the “United States government,” as is commonly believed today. It is always in the plural to signify that the free and independent states are united in their common cause of protecting life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. To Jefferson and the other signers of the Declaration of Independence, each American state was sovereign in the same sense that Great Britain, France, and Spain were sovereign states. It was through “representatives of the united States” that the consent of the people was to be expressed (or not).

It was Abraham Lincoln, who Murray Rothbard once described as a masterful “liar, conniver, and manipulator,” whose rhetoric began to fog the understanding of Americans of their Declaration of Independence. Lincoln’s twisted language in The Gettysburg Address that focused solely on the words “all men are created equal” in the Declaration, were designed to reinterpret the preeminent secessionist document as an anti-secessionist document. It was an attempt to fool Northern voters into believing in the absurd notion that he was a Jeffersonian.

Not that Lincoln ever believed that all men were – or should be considered to be – equal in any sense. As he stated in the September 18, 1858 debate with Stephen Douglas: “I will say than that I am not, nor ever have been in favor of bringing about in any way the social and political equality of the white and black races, that I am not nor ever have been in favor of making voters or jurors of negroes, nor of qualifying them to hold office, nor to intermarry with white people; and I will say in addition to this that here is a physical difference between the white and black races which I believe will forever forbid the two races living together on terms of social and political equality. And inasmuch as they cannot so live, while they do remain together there must be the position of superior and inferior, and I as much as any man am in favor of having the superior position assigned to the white race” (emphasis added).

In his first inaugural address Lincoln strongly supported the Fugitive Slave Act and the proposed “Corwin Amendment” to the Constitution, which had already passed the House and Senate, which would have prohibited the federal government from ever interfering with Southern slavery. Thus, it was his position that slavery should be explicitly enshrined in the Constitution, made “express and irrevocable” to use his exact words, which is hardly the position one who believes that “all men are created equal” would take. It was empty political rhetoric at its worst.

At the time, nearly everyone else in the Northern states understood the actual meaning of the Declaration of Independence, as opposed to Lincoln’s attempt at the rhetorical bastardization of the document. This point is documented in a two-volume work entitled Northern Editorials on Secession, edited by Howard Cecil Perkins. It is a collection of 495 Northern newspaper editorials from September 1860 through June 1861 on the issue of secession. The majority of Northern newspaper editorials, writes Perkins, favored peaceful secession because Northern editorialists generally believed in the Jeffersonian dictum that governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed. The Southern states no longer consented to being governed by Washington, D.C., they reasoned, therefore, they should be allowed to go in peace, however misguided their reasons for secession might have been. “During the weeks following the election [of Lincoln], Perkins writes, “[Northern] editors . . . assumed that secession as a constitutional right was not in question . . . . On the contrary, the southern claim to a right of peaceable withdrawal was countenanced out of reverence for the natural law principle of government by consent of the governed.”

Perkins highlights what he calls “a classic statement” of this position, written by New York Tribune editor Horace Greeley on November 9, 1860: “We hope never to live in a republic whereof one section is pinned to the residue by bayonets.” At the time, the New York Tribune was the most influential newspaper in America. There are dozens of other statements to that effect from newspapers all over the Northern states. On December 17, 1860, the New York Tribune further editorialized that if “Mr. Jefferson’s statement in the Declaration of Independence that governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed” is accepted, and “if it justified the secession from the British Empire of Three Millions of colonists in 1776, we do not see why it would not justify the secession of Five Millions of Southrons from the Federal Union in 1861.”

This view of the Declaration of Independence, the pro-Lincoln Indianapolis Daily Journal wrote on December 22, 1860, “shows us the course to be pursued towards South Carolina. It is to let her go freely and entirely . . . without resistance.” On January 11, 1861, the Kenosha, Wisconsin Democrat added that “the very freedom claimed by every individual citizen, precludes the idea of compulsory association, as individuals, as communities, or as States . . . . The right of secession adheres to the people of every sovereign state.” “The founders of our government,” moreover, “were constant secessionists . . . not only in theory, but in practice,” the Wisconsin paper reminded its readers.

“[I]f disunion must come, let it come without war,” wrote the Albany, New York Atlas and Argus on January 12, 1861. For war would mean “the ruin of business, the destruction of property, oppressive debt, grinding taxation and sacrifice of millions of lives . . .” On the same day the New York Journal of Commerce advocated the peaceful secession of the Southern states by asking, “Shall we, by such a policy [as war] change our government from a voluntary one, in which the people are sovereigns, to a despotism where one part of the people are slaves? Such is the logical deduction from the policy of the advocates of force.”

On February 19, 1861 the Detroit Free Press expressed the hope that “By recognizing the independence of the Southern Confederacy, we should, to a considerable degree, disarm its people of the hostility they naturally feel towards the people of the North.” If so, then the two sections could trade with one another, establishing ties that could eventually lead to a reuniting of the union.

On March 11, 1861 the Trenton, New Jersey Daily True American editorialized that failing to acquiesce in the peaceful secession of the Southern states would be to “embark in the mad and Quixotic attempt of conquering and holding the seceded States in subjugation.” Furthermore, the pro-war argument that “the laws must be enforced at all hazards” [i.e., Lincoln’s argument], “are not new arguments; they are such as prevailed with Lord North and the other minions of George III and their futile efforts to crush out American Independence.” A union maintained by force “would be worse than a mockery,” the New Jersey newspaper wrote.

On March 21, 1861 the New York Times pointed out that even “the Abolitionists everywhere have been in favor of a dissolution of the Union from the beginning” as a way of politically isolating the Southern states and pressuring them to end slavery. (It should be noted that New York did not emancipate its last slaves until 1853). “Let us separate in peace,” the Times editorialized, for “force, as a means of restoring the Union . . . is out of the question.” Even the Springfield Daily Illinois State Journal, from Lincoln’s home town, wrote on April 3, 1861 that “the sooner we cut loose from the disaffected States, the better it may be for all parties and for the nation.” “Public opinion in the North seems to be gradually settling down in favor of the recognition of the New Confederacy by the Federal Government,” the Hartford, Connecticut Daily Courant editorialized on April 12, 1861.

Once Lincoln manipulated South Carolinians into firing on Fort Sumter as a pretext for invading his own country (the very definition of treason according to Article 1, Section 3 of the Constitution), newspapers that were associated with and controlled by the Republican Party invented the fiction that there is a supposed difference between a right of secession based on Jefferson’s words in the Declaration and a “right of revolution.” The former was illegitimate, they said, whereas the latter was not. This was not something that Jefferson or any other founders believed. It was an invention of the Republican Party propaganda apparatus, and is repeated to this day by pseudo-historians such as Harry Jaffa and his fellow “Straussian” neocons.

Another Republican Party fiction is the bizarre claim that Lincoln was a Jeffersonian for having mouthed the words “all men are created equal” in the Gettysburg Address. This fiction is the cornerstone of the Jaffa/Straussian false “history” of the “Civil War.” (Jaffa has never written anything about the war per se, or even many of Lincoln’s actions and behavior. His books have to do mostly with the rhetoric of Lincoln’s speeches).

This second fiction has long been a cornerstone of the culture of lies and propaganda that supports American military imperialism. It is the language of permanent revolution, as the late Mel Bradford wrote in numerous articles and books, not too different from the ideology of the twentieth-century communist propagandist Leon Troksky who was also known for his theory of “permanent revolution.” (It should not be surprising that many of the founders of “neoconservatism” who were students of Leo Strauss or his students, proudly boasted that they were Troskyites in their youth. The late Irving Kristol would be the best example).

By the late nineteenth century Lincoln’s bastardization of Jefferson’s language in the Declaration of Independence was employed to “justify” aggressive military imperialism in the name of spreading “equality” around the globe. “All men” means all men, not just American men, the “progressives” argued. Therefore, in the name of the sainted “Father Abraham” [Lincoln], Americans were told that it was their “divine” duty to invade, conquer, and occupy such places as the Philippines in order to bring American-style freedom to those lands. Today the Philippines, tomorrow Europe. For example, one of the most vociferous proponents of the Spanish-American war was Indiana Senator Albert Jeremiah Beveridge, who advocated the war in a speech before the U.S. Senate in which he declared that: “It was America’s destiny to set the world its example of right and honor, for we cannot fly from our world duties. We cannot retreat from any soil where Providence has unfurled our banner. It is ours to save that soil, for liberty and civilization” (Quoted in Gregg Jones, Honor in the Dust: Theodore Roosevelt, War in the Philippines, and the Rise and Fall of America’s Imperial Dream, p. 95).

More than 200,000 Filipinos were murdered by American soldiers in order to “save” their “soil” for liberty. As for the real Jeffersonians who opposed the Spanish-American war, Beveridge mocked them by saying, “the opposition tells us we ought not to rule a people without their consent.” But Filipinos were not capable of self-government, he said. They needed their American occupiers to “rescue” them from “savage, bloody rule of pillage and extortion.” This “march of the flag” is “America’s divine destiny,” he bloviated. This last passage sounds more like the effects of the American invasion and occupation of the Philippines than the cause.

If Americans ever began celebrating the real meaning of the Declaration of Independence, then they would embrace the Jeffersonian rights of secession and nullification as a means of fighting back against governmental tyranny. They would also withdraw their support for the U.S. government’s aggressive wars of imperialism in the Middle East and elsewhere, along with its hundreds of military bases on every continent on the planet. They might even begin an opposition to being plundered by the incredibly corrupt military/industrial/congressional complex and its main funding sources, the Fed and the income tax.

July 4, 2012

Thomas J. DiLorenzo [send him mail] is professor of economics at Loyola College in Maryland and the author of The Real Lincoln; Lincoln Unmasked: What You’re Not Supposed To Know about Dishonest Abe and How Capitalism Saved America. His latest book is Hamilton’s Curse: How Jefferson’s Archenemy Betrayed the American Revolution – And What It Means for America Today. His next book is entitled Organized Crime: The Unvarnished Truth About Government.

Copyright © 2012 by LewRockwell.com. Permission to reprint in whole or in part is gladly granted, provided full credit is given.

Eric Peters throws in the woods again.

Going Deep

June 12, 2012

By

Some friends have been actively talking about their Exit Plans – about getting out of this country before the curtain goes down. While there is still time. They believe the situation to be hopeless. That despite the upwelling of liberty-mindedness among some, the vast majority of Americans are not liberty-minded. That Americans – tens of millions of them – are stupid, unreachable, mean, irrational, authoritarian-minded Babbits and poltroons. People who always speak in “we” – and lust to control others.

Reluctantly, I have to concede the point.

I have had exhaustive (and exhausting) conversations with countless people – some of them probably a lot smarter than I in terms of raw IQ – who just can’t connect the dots.

Or – much worse – don’t care to.

The problem is as much psychological as it is intellectual. There may just be a defective sub-species of human being, homo servilus, who – much like a bee in a hive – is programmed to crave the collective and therefore accepts its corollary – coercion – as the natural and right order of things.

It’s very easy to get these “bees” to reveal their true natures. Their core antipathy to individualism – and its corollary, liberty. Just let them know, for example, that you find sports/celebrity worship disgusting. Or that you don’t subscribe to any particular religious doctrine – or much care what doctrines others subscribe to, so long as they leave you be.

Let them discover that you don’t feel obliged to pay more taxes for “our children” – only an obligation to take care of your own children. Criticize war.

Make a negative comment about cops… .

So, I don’t disagree that jumping ship is probably a smart move. Nonetheless, I’m reluctant to leave the country, for many reasons – high among them just orneriness. This is my country, dammit. I hate the idea of just giving it to … them.

That said, I am beginning to wish I’d “gone deep” when I selected our fallback redoubt. We consciously moved to very rural SW Va. from the Northern Virginia area (near DC) about eight years ago to a great extent to limit our exposure to what’s surely coming. But I am thinking now that we would have been smarter to have moved to rural Idaho or Wyoming or Montana (like Chuck Baldwin did) instead. There are too many Clovers here.

And signs of sprouting continue to worry me.

For example: Several recent “letters to the editor” in our small community newspaper go on and on about how “we” need to raise taxes on real estate so that “our schools” will have “adequate funding.” There is one school – an elementary school in a far corner of the county – threatened with closure because of limited “revenue” and not enough students to justify keeping it open. So the idea was floated to close it and consolidate it with another. “The children” would then get bussed a little farther to their new school. This is an outrage to the parentsites of these children, who believe others should be compelled to provide the necessary “revenue” to keep the old school open for their children.

Everything discussed in terms of “we,” of course. It’s never my children need you to pay for their school.

If I were to speak at a public hearing about this and ask why don’t people who chose to have children bear the responsibility for raising their kids – which includes educating their kids – as opposed to their kids becoming an open-ended claim on the property – on the liberty – of other people who had nothing to do with it… I’d likely be the victim of a mob beating. At minimum, I’d become a community pariah – regarded as “selfish” and “anti-child” (as well as “anti-education”) … because I am troubled by armed men threatening to kill me and take my property so that it may be given to someone else’s kids – kids I’ve never even met let alone had anything to do with bringing into this world. It is no defense, either, that such a policy makes it that much harder for people who’d like to pay their own way to do so.

Other people’s kids take  precedence. Over everything.

It never occurs to these “freedom loving” Americans that freedom can’t exist when you are no longer free to say no to being forced to hand over your rightful property to other people to whom you properly speaking owe nothing – other than goodwill. That if “the children” becomes a justification for theft, then any other reason is just as good a reason.

But don’t dare say it out loud…. these freedom-loving Americans will very quickly show you just how much they actually believe in freedom… including even the freedom to speak your mind, if your mind differs in any meaningful respect from  the parameters of orthodoxical Republican or Democrat parameters.

The only cardinal sin is to commit non-authoritarianism. To state that you don’t want anything from anyone except their respect for your rights – and are willing to extend the same courtesy in return.

It is a thought increasingly foreign to Americans – even here, in a rural southern farming county 35 miles from anything in most places and often a lot farther than that.

Another example:

In our tiny, literally on-stoplight county, the same government that moans about not having sufficient “revenue” for “the children” recently spent probably several thousand dollars painting at least six “pedestrian crosswalks” in town, complete with “safety man” icons imprinted into the pavement plus signage. Apparently, people cannot cross the street unaided here, either. I have no doubt that tickets for jaywalking are right around the corner. Tazerings for the non-compliant.

Signs of the apocalypse.

There is talk of writing zoning laws – which this county has never had – and which will surely mean The End of everything that made moving here worth doing. People will no longer just be able to freely buy and sell their land, to be used however the new owner wishes. There will instead be restrictions on how a lot can subdivided – and what may be “lawfully” constructed on said lot. I can already see a time when BTK-type “zoning enforcement officers” will be knocking on people’s doors, threatening them with onerous fines (and ultimately, county seizure and auction of “their” land) if they don’t mow it, or have too many cars parked on it or a “not approved” shed built upon it… .

Clovers. The god-damn bastards are here now, too.

It only took them eight years to find this place – and ruin it.

It’s entirely possible that nowhere in North America is a safe redoubt.

What happens, ultimately, depends on the character of the people. And the character of the American people – by and large – is one that reflexively defers to authority – willingly, worshipfully. That happily submits to the most despicable degradation if it will “keep them safe.” And which never fails to speak in terms of we.

So, where do the rest of us – the remnant that still believes in I – go to get away from we?

That, friends, is the question of our time.

Throw it in the Woods?

Source: http://theruleoffreedom.wordpress.com/2012/06/11/has-anarchy-existed-before/

Has anarchy existed before?
by Menso
I am often asked if anarchy has ever existed in our world, to which I answer: almost all of your daily behavior is an anarchistic expression. How you deal with your neighbors, coworkers, fellow customers in shopping malls or grocery stores, is often determined by subtle processes of negotiation and cooperation. Social pressures, unrelated to statutory enactments, influence our behavior on crowded freeways or grocery checkout lines. If we dealt with our colleagues at work in the same coercive and threatening manner by which the state insists on dealing with us, our employment would be immediately terminated. We would soon be without friends were we to demand that they adhere to specific behavioral standards that we had mandated for their lives.

Should you come over to our home for a visit, you will not be taxed, searched, required to show a passport or driver’s license, fined, jailed, threatened, handcuffed, or prohibited from leaving. I suspect that your relationships with your friends are conducted on the same basis of mutual respect. In short, virtually all of our dealings with friends and strangers alike are grounded in practices that are peaceful, voluntary, and devoid of coercion. – Butler Shaffer

Anarchists endlessly get asked if anarchy has ever existed. It could be argued that anarchy is wherever people do things without being forced to. I believe this answer is why we should believe anarchy could work: it works every day as we interact with the people around us. But it does not get to the heart of the question: can a society exist without a state?

If you are looking for an example of a modern nation state that has gone anarchist, you will not find one. The very idea that a nation state could somehow eliminate its government and retain its territorial integrity is silly. It would almost inevitably become a number of self-governing communities. A large country can only be held together by force. As I write elsewhere, Somalia is not particularly anarchic; however, to the extent that it is, it is doing pretty well. Other societies throughout history, however, have done far better.

Anthropologist David Graeber says anarchy has existed in thousands of places before. Anarchy means no initiation of force; or at least, no rulers with the ability to initiate force over an entire populaton. Anarchy is an ideal condition of humanity. It is not something that will be accomplished in six months of reading books. But in one way or another, at different times, there are opportunities to throw off the state and work and cooperate freely. As such, there have been a number of relatively or completely anarchic societies throughout history. They may have been small communities defending themselves from encroaching empires, confederations with basic local governments, or other voluntary, self-governing collectives. Anarchy has existed. It is simply democracy without the state.

It was the norm for a long time. Yale professor James C. Scott explains. “Until shortly before the common era, the very last 1 percent of human history, the social landscape consisted of elementary self-governing kinship units that might, occasionally, cooperate in hunting, feasting, skirmishing, trading, and peacemaking. It did not contain anything one could call a state. In other words, living in the absence of state structures has been the standard human condition.” The era of statelessness was the longest era of human governance, and the first states that arose were trivial compared to those of today. “To an eye not yet hypnotized by archaeological remains and state-centric histories, the landscape would have seemed virtually all periphery and no centers. Nearly all the population and territory were outside their ambit.” Living outside the state was a realistic option until only a few hundred years ago.

Scott’s book is called the Art of Not Being Governed. In it, he explains the history of the ethnic groups in the highlands of Southeast Asia, who descended from groups that left the lowland state. It is not certain whether they fled purely in order to avoid state aggression, but they did spend close to a thousand years outside it. (See here.) The people of the whole region reorganised their lives and social structures to be inaccessible to the state. The social structure presented no hierarchy that encroaching states could have used as agents of control. Until the recent rapid increase in the power of the state, they lived in an autonomous association of free people.

Ireland was effectively anarchic until conquered by England. It functioned as a number of confederations (called tuatha) composed of independent political units that came together annually to vote on common policies. People were free to, and did, secede from their confederation and join another. Association was voluntary.

Laws were not changed at the whim of rulers, because Ireland was not ruled, but when people voted in an assembly to change them. Laws were not created by a clique, as in our time; nor was justice dispensed not from a single, monopoly provider. Parties to disputes selected from a number of professional jurists chosen for their wisdom, integrity and knowledge of customary law. Several schools of jurisprudence existed and competed for the business of dispensing justice. Other people, in effect insurance companies, were independent from the jurists and joined with the party that won the case to exact punishment on the loser. If the loser did not pay, the entire community considered him an outlaw and would no longer engage in contracts with him.

Ireland suffered small-scale conflicts, but without a central state that taxes and conscripts, these were negligible compared to the bloodbaths of the rest of Europe. Ireland may not have been the ideal anarchy, but in the absence of Enlightenment ideas of freedom, justice and equality, it did pretty well.

Opportunities to escape the state arise during revolutions and wars. During Egypt’s recent revolutionary uprising, nearly every neighbourhood in Cairo formed—within 48 hours—lagaan shaabiyya, or popular committees. When the police suddenly left the streets, the government opened up the jails, letting out thugs it used to terrorise the people into begging the police to come back. Instead, despite thousands of years of dictatorship, the people organised and substituted for the police, protecting the people in their communities and even cleaning the streets. They made decisions as communities and demonstrated amply that they could replace the state if necessary.

During the Spanish Civil War, the state was in crisis and lost its ability to govern large parts of the country. Workers controlled factories, peasants collectivised farms, people used barter instead of money, started libraries, schools and cultural centres, and even organised militias to fight in the civil war. Spain’s brief experiment with anarchy was by no means utopian, as war imposes a variety of constraints on people. But it could be replicated and improved on.

In Ukraine in the wake of the Russian Revolution of 1917, a free state emerged comprising millions of people. Throughout the Russian Empire, as imperial authority collapsed, workers, soldiers and peasants began to reject any outside authority and establish self-governing cooperatives. They began by arresting state officials, occupying government buildings and disarming police. They were eventually ruthlessly crushed by the central government, much as the communities in Spain were. But they demonstrated, as the did the Southeast Asians, the Irish, the Spanish, the Egyptians and, as we shall see next, the French, that anarchy is desirable and practical—if it can be maintained in the face of state aggression.

In the wake of the Franco-Prussian War in 1871, the Paris Commune was established. The Commune was independent of the French state and self-regulating. The armed workers defended Paris against German soldiers and for some time French government aggression, but were eventually overwhelmed and murdered in droves. Like some of the other examples, the Commune was not the ideal picture of anarchy, and was perhaps more along the communist ideal, but it nonetheless comprised free people in community warding off oppression. They did well in the time they had. As Mikhail Bakunin said at the time,

Contrary to the belief of authoritarian communists – which I deem completely wrong – that a social revolution must be decreed and organized either by a dictatorship or by a constituent assembly emerging from a political revolution, our friends, the Paris socialists, believed that revolution could neither be made nor brought to its full development except by the spontaneous and continued action of the masses, the groups and the associations of the people. Our Paris friends were right a thousand times over.

Future posts will give a variety of other examples, including the modern free communities of Yubia, Keene, Grafton and Concord, and how they can be emulated. For now, rest assured that the answer is yes, anarchy has been tried and has worked in many places at many times.

But it does not really matter if it has been done before. New ideas work if they make sense and enough people agree to put them into practice. When John F. Kennedy said the US would put a man on the moon by the end of the decade, nobody asked if it had been done before. When slavery was abolished, it was not important to ask if there had been historical precedents. The abolition of slavery was an idea whose time had come. But a lot of people thought that it was impossible to get rid of slavery—after all, that would be extremism—and that slaves were better off in captivity than free. Turns out, they were wrong. Anti-abolitionists used to ask “but how will the cotton get picked?” But if the cause is moral, it does not matter how the cotton will get picked or the roads will get built. People who need a historical precedent for anything before they consider it have not attempted to use their imaginations. Whether it has existed or not is irrelevant when considering if it could work in the future.

Menso | June 11, 2012 at 10:20 pm

I discovered Mr. Skousen’s work last year by reading “Strategic Relocation: North American Guide to Safe Places – 3rd edition“. He and his son, Andrew Skousen, offer a comprehensive guide to the safest places to relocate to in rough times. I highly recommend his work. I rate it 5-SS on my Indispensable Information Overload List of Links (IIOLOL)!

Below you’ll find the last section of a booklet from his website for your reading pleasure. I posted section 4: Self Defense and Revolution below. For the full booklet, click here.

WHY DO PEOPLE FAIL TO PRESERVE LIBERTY?

WHY DO PEOPLE HAVE SUCH A DIFFICULT TIME RECOGNIZING ITS LOSS?

In response to these difficult questions regarding the loss of liberty, I have felt compelled to author this booklet. All free men need to determine just what are the essential principles that are necessary to conserve and defend individual, family, and group liberty from the slow, cancerous destruction of socialist, collectivist, and totalitarian tendencies of man.

4:

SELF DEFENSE AND REVOLUTION

To DEFEND one’s person and property against any overt and imminent threat, and to use the minimum, appropriate force required, of the alternatives immediately available at hand, to eliminate such threat, when no immediate recourse is available to assistance or constitutional adjudication. This includes the right to defend oneself against the aggression of other persons acting unconstitutionally as a majority within a government with the intent to take assets without prior consent or otherwise deprive any person of these fundamental freedoms.

There are two inherent dangers involved in the fundamental right to self-defense. First, it must not be viewed as a total license to kill for small and petty reasons. But on the other hand, it must not be so restrictive that it forces a person to calculate a myriad of legal alternatives when he is under dangerous, threatening and uncertain circumstances.

As we discussed earlier, we join together to form governmental associations in order to enhance our capability to deter and prosecute crime, and to use large scale defensive military force when appropriate. We also place voluntary limits upon our own powers of self-defense, by deferring to the judicial process for prosecution rather than taking personal retribution and revenge. The only exception is when the threat is so imminent, dangerous, or uncertain that there is no safe opportunity to summon law enforcement officers. In such a case each person is free to rely on his fundamental right to defend himself.

Such self-defense should give every benefit of the doubt to the one who is being threatened–not the aggressor. This principle is specifically worded to not give the type of legalistic aid and comfort to criminals as is presently provided by the myriad of legal restrictions surrounding the use of “deadly force” by a citizen.

A homeowner who is threatened by physical force should be free to select the best weapon, of that which is immediately available, that HE or SHE determines is necessary to eliminate the threat. There are circumstances that may well even justify shooting a violent attacker as he is fleeing, under the very real presumption that he is likely to come back and try again. It also means that a person isn’t restricted from using fast and deadly force against an attacker simply because he cannot visibly see a weapon. In many circumstances, at dark and at night, the presence of an intruder who refuses to respond to your demands to identify himself or otherwise stop his approach warrants the use of deadly force, from as safe a distance as possible. The only weapon that is usually suitable under such criteria is a stand-off weapon, such as a handgun, which demonstrates one of the prime reasons why a citizen’s right to self-defense is severely handicapped if handguns are prohibited.

The last part of the statement expands the self-defense role from the individual threat to the more onerous threat of tyranny by improper government force, as is quite common even in our society. In essence, it defines the right of legitimate revolution against government tyranny.

Instead of reaching for a gun to go next door and rob people, when in need, people have been enticed to believe it is appropriate to “reach for their legislator” instead of the gun. The legislator, along with a majority of the other representatives, performs the violation or theft, but he does so in the name of the law and taxation. That is why social welfare laws are improper and a violation of the fundamental rights of ownership. Government asserts the power to do what the individual citizen does not have the right to do–take from the productive and give to those that claim a need. But government, like any other association of men, cannot possess greater rights than those forming the association. If individuals do not have the right to take money from another without a voluntary exchange, neither does government.

Government has the power to tax, but only under contractual circumstances where the citizens have agreed to pay for services they assign a government to perform. The power to tax should be nothing more than an extension of the individual power to contract. After receiving a contractual service, the individual can be forced to comply with the terms, meaning “pay up.” Unfortunately, we have many types of government taxes which are forced upon people who have never contracted for the service. This is improper. In fact the entire formation of a government without initial consent of all the governed is a violation of a major principle of liberty.

When sufficient violations of this nature occur, and when there is no further recourse to peaceful change, the people may well be justified in exercising their right to revolution. Usually this is only necessary when the majority of voters have begun to participate in the benefits of government theft, and refuse to repeal the improper laws, voluntarily. Only when an oppressed minority has lost, in whole or in part, its fundamental rights and there no longer remains any ability to gain redress for grievance by democratic means is it justified in disregarding the law (nullification), leaving the government (secession), resisting compliance by armed defense, and throwing the rascals out of power (by revolution).

Granted, this is a dangerous and unpleasant course, and as stated in the Declaration of Independence, should not be done for “light and transient causes.” Nevertheless, it must be universally taught and defended as the fundamental right that it is. (Such instruction of citizen’s rights should never be allowed to justify a mandatory government school system–only that it may be view as a mandatory prerequisite of understanding for each person applying for citizenship. Where and how he learns it is up to the individual, as is discussed in the area of contractual citizenship. The citizen contract is found at the end of the Constitution.

Start you education by visiting these top personal freedom and liberty sites.

Hat tip to The Capital Free Press for putting the list together!

This is a ranking of the top libertarian websites based on the number of unique visitors in the most recent month according to the data compiled by Compete. They only compile data for domains and subdomains, so perhaps this list is more accurately described as the most visited libertarian domains rather than websites. It is compiled through calls to Compete’s API, so it will automatically update when they release new data each month. For more information on this list, see the blog post introducing it.

Automating everything means that adding a new website is as simple as plugging a new url into my list, so you have any suggestions for a website to add, please email me at patrick@capitalfreepress.com.

Due to the restrictions on the free use of the Compete API, there is a chance that I could run out of API calls in a 24 hour period (resets at midnight EST). The way that I compile this list and the terms and conditions on the use of their API prevent me from displaying the number of unique visitors for each website in the chart, though that information and more can be accessed via the link I have provided.

Rank Name Website
1 LewRockwell.com lewrockwell.com Compete Site Profile
2 Electronic Frontier Foundation eff.org Compete Site Profile
3 Ron Paul 2012 Official Campaign Website ronpaul2012.com Compete Site Profile
4 Reason Magazine reason.com Compete Site Profile
5 Daily Paul dailypaul.com Compete Site Profile
6 The Cato Institute cato.org Compete Site Profile
7 Ludwig von Mises Institute mises.org Compete Site Profile
8 AntiWar.com antiwar.com Compete Site Profile
9 RonPaul.com ronpaul.com Compete Site Profile
10 Outside the Beltway outsidethebeltway.com Compete Site Profile
11 Economic Policy Journal economicpolicyjournal.com Compete Site Profile
12 Library of Economics and Liberty econlib.org Compete Site Profile
13 The Daily Bell thedailybell.com Compete Site Profile
14 Ron Paul Forums ronpaulforums.com Compete Site Profile
15 Endorse Liberty PAC endorseliberty.com Compete Site Profile
16 Tenth Amendment Center tenthamendmentcenter.com Compete Site Profile
17 Cato-at-Liberty Blog cato-at-liberty.org Compete Site Profile
18 The Freeman thefreemanonline.org Compete Site Profile
19 Future of Freedom Foundation fff.org Compete Site Profile
20 Campaign For Liberty campaignforliberty.com Compete Site Profile
21 The Independent Institute independent.org Compete Site Profile
22 Advocates for Self Government theadvocates.org Compete Site Profile
23 Marginal Revolution marginalrevolution.com Compete Site Profile
24 The Agitator – Radley Balko theagitator.com Compete Site Profile
25 Carpe Diem – Mark J. Perry mjperry.blogspot.com Compete Site Profile
26 Libertarian Party lp.org Compete Site Profile
27 Tom Woods tomwoods.com Compete Site Profile
28 Whiskey and Gunpowder whiskeyandgunpowder.com Compete Site Profile
29 Revolution PAC revolutionpac.com Compete Site Profile
30 Run Ron Paul runronpaul.com Compete Site Profile
31 The Ayn Rand Institute aynrand.org Compete Site Profile
32 Cop Block copblock.org Compete Site Profile
33 Acton Institute acton.org Compete Site Profile
34 Free State Project freestateproject.org Compete Site Profile
35 Adam Vs The Man adamvstheman.com Compete Site Profile
36 United Liberty unitedliberty.org Compete Site Profile
37 Reason Foundation reason.org Compete Site Profile
38 Moment of Clarity – Tim Nerenz timnerenz.com Compete Site Profile
39 Cafe Hayek cafehayek.com Compete Site Profile
40 Downsize DC downsizedc.org Compete Site Profile
41 Free Keene freekeene.com Compete Site Profile
42 The Humble Libertarian humblelibertarian.com Compete Site Profile
43 Laissez-Faire Books lfb.org Compete Site Profile
44 Strike-The-Root strike-the-root.com Compete Site Profile
45 Foundation for Economic Education fee.org Compete Site Profile
46 John Locke Foundation johnlocke.org Compete Site Profile
47 Break The Matrix breakthematrix.com Compete Site Profile
48 BuildFreedom.com buildfreedom.com Compete Site Profile
49 Competitive Enterprise Institute cei.org Compete Site Profile
50 Libertarianism.org libertarianism.org Compete Site Profile
51 Vox Popoli voxday.blogspot.com Compete Site Profile
52 The Institute for Justice ij.org Compete Site Profile
53 OpenMarket.org – The Blog of the CEI openmarket.org Compete Site Profile
54 Freedomain Radio freedomainradio.com Compete Site Profile
55 Institute for Humane Studies theihs.org Compete Site Profile
56 Peter Schiff Show schiffradio.com Compete Site Profile
57 Center for a Stateless Society c4ss.org Compete Site Profile
58 Learn Liberty learnliberty.org Compete Site Profile
59 Young Americans for Liberty yaliberty.org Compete Site Profile
60 Young Americans for Liberty yaliberty.org Compete Site Profile
61 Reason.tv reason.tv Compete Site Profile
62 Free Talk Live freetalklive.com Compete Site Profile
63 The Future of Capitalism futureofcapitalism.com Compete Site Profile
64 Doug Wead The Blog dougwead.wordpress.com Compete Site Profile
65 Libertarian Republican libertarianrepublican.net Compete Site Profile
66 Adam Smith Institute adamsmith.org Compete Site Profile
67 The Capital Free Press capitalfreepress.com Compete Site Profile
68 Bleeding Heart Libertarians bleedingheartlibertarians.com Compete Site Profile
69 Militant Libertarian militantlibertarian.org Compete Site Profile
70 Students for Liberty studentsforliberty.org Compete Site Profile
71 Coyote Blog coyoteblog.com Compete Site Profile
72 Ron Paul News ronpaulnews.net Compete Site Profile
73 Republican Liberty Caucus rlc.org Compete Site Profile
74 Bastiat Institute bastiatinstitute.org Compete Site Profile
75 The Libertarian Standard libertarianstandard.com Compete Site Profile
76 AgainstCronyCapitalism.org againstcronycapitalism.org Compete Site Profile
77 Coordination Problem coordinationproblem.org Compete Site Profile
78 Center for the Study of Innovative Freedom c4sif.org Compete Site Profile
79 realfreemarket.org realfreemarket.org Compete Site Profile
80 Goldwater Institute goldwaterinstitute.org Compete Site Profile
81 Liberty Radio Network lrn.fm Compete Site Profile
82 Ideas – David Friedman daviddfriedman.blogspot.com Compete Site Profile
83 Daily Anarchist dailyanarchist.com Compete Site Profile
84 Stephan Kinsella stephankinsella.com Compete Site Profile
85 NeverTakeaPlea.org nevertakeaplea.org Compete Site Profile
86 Liberty Underground 1787network.com Compete Site Profile
87 Liberty Pulse libertypulse.com Compete Site Profile
88 Peace, Freedom & Prosperity peacefreedomprosperity.com Compete Site Profile
89 Free Advice – Robert Murphy consultingbyrpm.com Compete Site Profile
90 Libertarian Leanings libertarianleanings.com Compete Site Profile
91 Americans for Limited Government getliberty.org Compete Site Profile
92 Liberty Documentaries libertydocumentaries.com Compete Site Profile
93 Liberty PAC libertypac.net Compete Site Profile
94 Taking Hayek Seriously hayekcenter.org Compete Site Profile
95 Liberty Maven libertymaven.com Compete Site Profile
96 Congress Shall Make No Law: IJ’s Free Speech Blog makenolaw.org Compete Site Profile
97 Ron Paul Radio ronpaulradio.com Compete Site Profile
98 LacrosseWatchDog lacrossewatchdog.org Compete Site Profile
99 Bad Quaker badquaker.com Compete Site Profile
100 Libertarian Papers libertarianpapers.org Compete Site Profile
101 Porcupine Freedom Festival porcfest.com Compete Site Profile
102 The Libertarian Patriot thelibertarianpatriot.com Compete Site Profile
103 The Southern Libertarian thesouthernlibertarian.com Compete Site Profile
104 The Tireless Agorist tirelessagorist.blogspot.com Compete Site Profile
105 Liberty Classroom libertyclassroom.com Compete Site Profile
106 Government by Contract governmentbycontract.com Compete Site Profile
107 Freespace – Timothy Sandefur sandefur.typepad.com Compete Site Profile
108 Austrian Dad austriandad.blogspot.com Compete Site Profile
109 JasonPye.com jasonpye.com Compete Site Profile
110 Libertarian Advocate libertarianadvocate.blogspot.com Compete Site Profile
111 Liberty Web Alliance libertyweballiance.com Compete Site Profile
112 Liberty On Tour libertyontour.com Compete Site Profile
113 Libertarian Book Club libertarianbookclub.com Compete Site Profile
114 Run Rand Run runrandrun.com Compete Site Profile