Sunday, March 22, 2009

Lost Souls in the Cult of State Worship

I have a couple of friends who are true believers. They are older gentlemen, otherwise very intelligent and quite capable of making their own decisions and running their own lives, but for some reason they have chosen to put their faith in a place where perhaps it doesn’t belong.

As good cult members should, they will at times try to convince me of their beliefs. They want me to join them in their delusional ways so we can have nice, quiet conversations about how great their belief system is. Of course when this happens I usually shoot back at them with a couple of obvious truths about the corruption of the entire system. I happen to know they agree with me on these truths and that usually ends the discussion. It seems they don’t want to question and shake up their belief system too much for fear that it might crumble to dust. This would, of course, mean they’d have to build new temples in their minds in which to place their faith.

Their cult has recently installed a new charismatic leader who is well versed in the art of recruiting people and convincing them of the righteousness of his cause. He presents to his followers simplified solutions to daunting problems that may alleviate some of the symptoms, but makes sure the disease remains. Perhaps he does this to maintain the illusion that his institution cares for people and is needed, or perhaps he does it for his own personal glorification, I really don’t know. I do believe, however, that the solutions he espouses will only exacerbate the problems, much like the doctors of old who would try to put leaches on or bleed a man who had already lost too much blood.

I have no idea how many people are like my friends, no idea how many cult members there are in the world today, but I believe there are too many to count. I believe they number in the tens of millions. I hear them talking on a daily basis, discussing how this leader or that leader is better equipped for, or not so good at, handling specific problems. They all believe that this institution will somehow lead the masses of humanity to a better life. Yet during my entire existence in this physical realm I’ve only observed this institution fail. I’ve only seen it bring mayhem and destruction to some and mishandle the affairs of others. I’ve only seen it create problems and yet some still worship it as if it was the only solution and ask that it solve the problems it created.

I am talking, of course, about the cult of state. I am talking about those people who worship government and turn to it and its innate use of force when confronted with a problem they don’t understand or refuse to get personally involved in. These cult members continue to give the illusion of legitimacy to government as they ask those in control of the mechanisms of the state to solve problems for them rather than looking to themselves for the answers they seek. They support the system by using it and don’t care who the system hurts, even when it hurts the very people using it. Like a hamster in a wheel, one wonders if the cult members even realize that they are going nowhere.

I believe there is a basic moral reason why government can’t solve the problems of society and therefore why it continues to degrade the humanity of its worshippers. Anyone with the slightest bit of empathy for their fellow human realizes that stealing is wrong. Societal problems can’t be solved by stealing (taxing) from one class of people to give to another class. Likewise, economic problems can’t be solved by forced redistribution of wealth. But the priests of this cult of government, the ones known as congressmen and senators, presidents and prime ministers, Democrats and Republicans, they espouse the virtues of such immorality to their doe eyed cult members. Indeed, they have gone so far as to claim that each individual has a duty to surrender a portion of his labor to this cult, whether they believe in it or not, and that refusing to do so somehow makes one a bad person. The cult members cry “foul” whenever a brave soul decides to stand up and declare that he doesn’t want to be a slave to the system anymore and refuses to pay his tribute. Such is the power these occult priests have to mesmerize their followers.

This cult worship could become more dangerous yet as it morphs from a cult that worships a failed, immoral system to a cult of personality. It is no longer suitable to the priests of state that the followers of this cult simply submit to their demands without question. They are now seeking the allegiance of the masses to an installed figurehead. They are now attempting to put a smiling, happy face on the hand that controls the mechanisms of power and sell the populace on the idea that a “change” to a new style of socialism can bring “hope” for our future. But it seems to me that the smile is false, the hope is futile and the change is back to an old failed model on a larger scale in twenty first century packaging.

Yet the members of this cult are its enablers. Those that put their faith completely in this system help maintain its veneer of legitimacy. Without these followers the federal government in particular, which is responsible for the central planning schemes that have led us to this juncture, would soon lose its popular support and be forced to turn over the services it attempts to provide to other agencies more adept at handling such functions. These lost souls continue to wander in the illusionary political forest of right and left, liberal and conservative, Democrat and Republican, and can’t see that the trees which block their view were planted there to keep them from finding true freedom. They can’t see that these collectivist ideologies are all basically the same and that the ideology of individual rights, individual responsibility and self governance has been crowded out of the American political garden and left to die due to lack of sunshine.

To bring these lost souls back we must help them to realize the harm they are causing simply by using the current system. By promoting federally founded government programs and regulations one helps stifle innovation and remove choices that private individuals and organizations would otherwise bring to the marketplace. By praising those who promote centralized control, socialism, and government involvement through bailouts one helps keep an elite ruling class in power and helps stagnate the growth of small entrepreneurs who would otherwise step in and succeed where others have failed by offering the legitimate services the marketplace demands.

State worship is something we as a society can tolerate no longer. Our empire has grown too large to afford and needs to be cut back. Our individual, natural rights are no longer respected by those who hold the reins of power. Our economy is in shambles due to the monopolistic policies that are only possible with government involvement. It is the federal bureaucracy which created these problems, and it is not they who we should turn to for a fix. It is time to stop worshipping at the altar of the state. It is time to evolve past this over bloated centralized federal government, shrink it to a reasonable size and function, and return the power to the community level and to the individual. Then perhaps we can achieve true freedom. Then perhaps we can begin to build a world where respect for others is honored. Then perhaps we will see a society where no man can be shielded by his power when he decides to bring harm to another.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Constitutionalists, Ron Paul Supporters and Real Terrorists

This article was originally published at on March 19th, 2009

By now many of you have probably heard about the Missouri Information Analysis Center (MIAC) report that labeled constitutionalists, Ron Paul supporters and others as possible domestic terrorists. When I first heard about it my first thought was something like, "Oh no, here we go again. The government propaganda machine is at work again. They are trying to equate ordinary folk and peace loving activists with violent extremists." Indeed, from my point of view this seems correct.

But, alas, I am a man who can´t just scratch the surface of an issue and leave it at that. I must try to dig deeper into the heart of the matter and try to sort through the implications. This is not to say that my initial gut reaction wasn´t correct. Indeed, often times it is. Yet there is often more to such reports than meets the eye and words are often misused or misinterpreted. I began to wonder why such a report would even be considered warranted. It seems clear to me that the language being used in the report was chosen to discourage dissent and incite violence rather than protect officers.

To begin with, we can examine the word terrorist. The word invokes images of hate filled, spiteful people plotting in a secretive fashion to plant bombs in public areas meant to kill and maim as many innocents as possible. Yet that is not what a terrorist is in the strictest sense of the word. A terrorist is one who terrorizes. A terrorist simply creates an atmosphere of fear. One could make the argument that I am a terrorist based on the fact that I write horror novels designed to make the reader feel the tingle of fright run down his spine. To label me as such would be an attempt to misinform and mis-associate in my opinion and the same can be said for the MIAC report. It wouldn´t, however, be totally false as the label was based on a plausible truth.

Or I could simply be looking at this from the wrong point of view. Perhaps from the point of view of those in politics and law enforcement, people in the freedom movement really are terrorists. After all, they have a tendency to not simply submit because someone claiming to have authority over them tells them to. They have a tendency to know their rights and to exercise them. They have a tendency to expect the police officers and government personnel to operate within the bounds of the law written down and codified in the Constitution. What could be more terrifying to a bully on a power trip who insists on being obeyed without question? What could be more frightening to a bureaucrat than someone who insists on the freedom and ability to run his own life rather than depending on the system?

Those of us who have awakened and wish to move forward with a liberty agenda confound the sensibilities of those who insist on regulating every aspect of our lives. We in the freedom movement see ourselves and everyone else as individuals while those with a collectivist point of view have a tendency to lump people together into groups. It could therefore be very logical for those with a collectivist mindset (as many in the government seem to have) to conclude that if one individual involved in the freedom movement becomes violent while defending his rights, all of them are potentially violent. Many of us who are liberty oriented believe that individuals should be punished individually for any harm they may cause to another individual. Those with a collectivist mindset, which is apparently the mindset of the people involved with writing the MIAC report, believe it is ok to punish a group for the actions of an individual, or worse yet to prevent some imaginary incident from possibly happening. It doesn´t matter to them how many innocent people will be hurt or implicated, nor does it matter what principles of human dignity are ignored, it only matters that they are obeyed and that their power, their control and their point of view are all maintained, by force if necessary.

It appears to me as if those currently in control of the mechanisms of power in this nation are, indeed, afraid and perhaps even terrified of those involved with the freedom movement. But I doubt very much that has anything to do with the people involved. The ideas of freedom and liberty are powerful. These ideas make wonderful allies when you side with them and frightening adversaries to fight against. They are ideas that most everyone understands and that just make good sense. Indeed, they seem to be ideas that have been interwoven into the fabric of the human spirit. So as those in control of the mechanisms of power see more and more people begin to question their authority they lash out at those who spread the message. As more ordinary people begin to demand accountability and insist on personal responsibility for the decisions that impact their lives, those who wish to remain in power may find themselves turning to even more tyrannical and devious methods to maintain control.

And so I am also afraid. I am terrified of that the men dressed in blue, or more often black these day, will one day kick down my door, drag me away and lock me in some cold prison cell simply because I choose to embrace the ideals that make men truly free as they go about their day to day lives. I am afraid that one day I will be accused of being a terrorist despite the fact that I abhor violence and do not advocate it, and that I will be forced to defend myself in front of a state owned court more concerned with its own self interests than with truth, justice or preserving the rights of the individual. I´m afraid that such a proceeding could cost me dearly in terms of time and wealth regardless of its outcome. I am afraid because the real terrorists have done their job well and given those who would dissent reason to be afraid. Yet I refuse to let fear silence me and will continue to support Ron Paul, The Campaign for Liberty, The Free State Project, tax protestors, constitutionalists and any other peaceful, freedom advocate I might come across. The more of us that feel this way and speak out about it, the better off we´ll all be.

If you want to know who the real terrorists are, type police brutality into a youtube search and watch the videos. If you want to know how real terrorism works, you only need to watch video of otherwise peaceful protests turned violent not by the protestors, but by those men dressed in black with riot gear and helmets who were supposedly there to keep the peace. Government forces have a history of violence that is far more insidious than any action any private organization has ever taken. Yet despite that they are still so afraid of some peaceful activists that they feel the need to label them and put out propaganda against certain organizations. They know what they are doing is wrong, but they cling to their delusions that it is for the greater good. Freedom and liberty are the ideals that will lead to greater societal good. Those in government would do well to realize and embrace these ideals before popular opinion forces them into an awkward and uncomfortable position they will have trouble defending.

When Horse Theft is State Sanctioned

This article was originally published at on March 15th, 2009

The day after the Liberty Forum ended, as I was still driving home from that magnificent event, I heard the news that Brian Travis´ property in Candia, New Hampshire had been raided by area police, a couple of veterinarians and a representative of the SPCA. The alleged purpose of this raid was for the protection of the horses on the property. The authorities had accused the property owner of neglect. I was both saddened and shocked by the news and proceeded to find out as much as I could about the event.

For the record, I admit that I am a little biased toward Mr. Travis. Though I have never met the man personally, I have listened to him on several occasions speak of his adventures on the radio program "Free Talk Live" as he traveled across the country from Colorado to New Hampshire in search of a better life more closely akin to the principles we hold dear, those of non initiation of force and that in order to live in liberty you must allow others to do the same. He came across as an honest, caring, principled individual with a genuine concern for all mankind, not just those close to him. I find it hard to believe that such a man could or would neglect animals he was obliged to care for, especially valuable animals such as those that were kidna--, errr, confiscated from him.

Still, I feel a certain obligation to remain as objective as possible when writing about events and concerns such as this. This can be quite difficult to do at times. I felt the need to distance myself and try to remain objective in this case and so I began reading articles, blogs and the comments of those biased toward Brian Travis and those biased toward the agencies and people involved in the raid. I have to say that it was a real eye opener to read through some of these posts. An occurrence such as this can really bring out the raw emotion in some people. Some comments become very vitriolic and spiteful. There seems to be some real hatred out there against Free State Project members and this issue apparently brought it out. There appears to be at least a few natives of New Hampshire who harbor and nourish a likely unhealthy resentment toward those who believe that the answers to today´s societal and economic ills lay in less government regulation and more individual and personal responsibility. This aspect was a little unnerving in the middle of what could otherwise be a challenging and useful debate.

Much of the expressed concern, however, was for the welfare of the horses. This is understandable. As humans, we have a basic understanding that it is wrong to steal someone else´s property, but we can justify doing so if we feel the reasons for our actions are honorable. People who love animals in general and horses in particular in this case can certainly justify emancipating a helpless equine from the clutches of a cruel, uncaring owner. For this reason, for a moment or so as I was reading through some blog posts, I was a bit torn. It seems that many people in the area where this event occurred believe that the horses were, in fact, neglected. They reasoned that the SPCA and the veterinarians wouldn´t raid the man´s farm unless this was true. For a fleeting moment, I found myself wondering about this point.

Indeed, we as a society wish to believe the best in people. We want to believe that anyone in which the public places its trust has only the best intentions at heart. We´d especially like to believe this coming from people entrusted with the protection of animals who have no voice and cannot directly speak to us and report their own abuse. I would like to believe this too. I would like to believe that there are only good, honorable and trustworthy people working for organizations like the SPCA. So for a moment I was inclined to wonder if perhaps my perceptions of the people involved were wrong and these horses were indeed in danger. After all, I am only looking at this situation from afar and have not had direct contact with any of the players involved with this drama.

Then I saw something that changed my perception entirely. It was this documentary posted on Youtube from ABC´s 20/20 which exposed the abuse perpetrated by some in charge of local SPCAs. It points out that some people will allow their positions of power to go to their heads. The second half in particular shows just how corrupt one man can become when granted such all encompassing power, how he either knowingly lies and cheats for personal and professional profit, or he is so delusional and self righteous that he thinks himself some sort of messiah to the animals who can make no mistakes and do no wrong. My guess is the former.

Those who believe that the welfare of animals is important should consider that likely animals who are not in reality abused have established some sort of rapport with their owners. For them to be taken away from the environment they have grown accustomed to will likely cause undo emotional stress. Who will be held accountable if that is indeed the case? In this particular case, no one, as all those involved have immunity in the eyes of the law. It is sad to think that such criminal activity can be sanctioned by those entrusted to adjudicate and no one will ever answer to the victims of such crimes.

There are some deeper issues of principle at stake here as well. One of those issues is a basic principle of our culture, that a man is supposed to be innocent until proven guilty. This is a rule of law that at one time we as a society took great pride in promoting. It is also a rule of law that seems to have become a quaint memory in recent decades. More and more often I see and hear of people who find themselves fighting to prove their innocence. More and more often I see and hear of injustices perpetrated onto the citizenry because of the presumption of guilt by the very system that is supposed to protect the individual from such actions. It is more than simply tragic, it is an abomination to a society that is supposed to cherish and honor the concepts of freedom and liberty.

Brian Travis now finds himself in the awkward position of having to hire a lawyer and fight to regain possession of his pets utilizing the very system that allowed them to be stolen from him in the first place. Can there be more of a conflict of interest? It is as inherent in the system that it should try to protect itself as it is in nature that an organism would engage in self defense when threatened or attacked. Even if he eventually proves that he is innocent of neglecting his animals and shows that not producing the proper paperwork was an honest mistake and oversight on his part, he will have been punished. He will have spent thousands of dollars in fees and precious hours of his time battling an injustice. If actions such as these are to be taken in a free society, if we are to allow people like Steve Sprowl and Dave Garcia (from the 20/20 documentary "Cruelty to Owners") carte blanche to raid people´s farms and businesses, then those people and anyone who helps them should be held personally responsible when mistakes are made and accusations are disproved. This should also be done within a system that minimizes conflicts of interest that could arise between any of the parties involved. In this way, we can be more certain that political considerations or the promise of financial gain are less likely to be at the heart of such actions. In this way, we can be more certain that men wielding power will not attempt such actions as a result of a vendetta against another individual.

I have no reason to doubt Brian Travis when he states he believes this action was taken as a result of an incident that happened on his property and involved Steve Sprowl in November of 2008. I have no reason to doubt that this action occurred because Mr. Travis and his family refused to submit to the demands of a man who is perhaps corrupted by the heady influence of power. In fact, due to the secretive nature of the government position as events continue to unfold, I have reason to suspect that it is Mr. Travis who speaks truthfully and the government bureaucrats who are being less than honest.

Ironically, Mr. Travis moved to New Hampshire to help fight against the very injustices he now finds himself experiencing. He believes there is a better way for society to accomplish its aims rather than simply appointing such people to positions of power and hoping they always do the right thing. Likely it is, at least in part, his libertarian philosophy – that one should never initiate force against another and that in order to live as a free human being one must grant others the same dignity – that helped create the situation he now finds himself in.

It is the people who still believe in the cult of the state who help maintain the illusion of legitimacy these tyrants hold over the populace. It is the people who believe that those in power are just in their actions, or at least their intentions are just, who prop these petty tyrants up and help prevent innovative, real, transparent solutions from being enacted. Until and unless we can hold these individuals responsible for unjust actions and demand they personally compensate those they´ve wronged we will find abuses of power taking place. Until and unless we honor the principles of individual freedoms and liberties upon which our western culture is based we will continue our downward slide toward an authoritarian, collectivist system of society that destroys the human spirit of all those involved with it.

Here are the links to the 20/20 documentary "Cruelty to Owners:"
Part 1 of 20/20 documentary "Cruelty to Owners."
Part 2 of 20/20 documentary "Cruelty to Owners."

It is my hope you will take the time to watch both parts.

Friday, March 13, 2009

My Liberty Forum Report

This article was originally posted on March 11th, 2009 at

I had the good fortune to be able to spend the weekend of March 5th – March 8th of 2009 attending the Liberty Forum in Nashua, New Hampshire which was put on by The Free State Project. To say I was energized and excited by the happenings there would be an understatement. Words can not begin to describe the feelings I had as the weekend progressed. I felt welcomed, accepted and embraced by all those in attendance. Never before in my life have I experienced so many people that felt the same way about freedom as I do all gathered together in the same place.

I drove from the Chicago area to Nashua to attend this event. The total drive time was a little over 17 hours one way. I would have flown, but I didn´t want to put up with the TSA and all their dictates. Sorry, but I want to be able to keep my shoes on and drink bottled water when I travel. I could have taken a train, but I didn´t. I wanted to drive. It had been a long time since I´ve taken a road trip. The forum made it worth the trip.

I could talk about the liberty luminaries that gave their speeches. I could talk about how great it was to hear these personalities in person. I could talk about the individual speeches by people like Adam Kokesh from Iraq Veterans Against the War and how great and emotional his presentation was. I could talk about how awed I was to be in the presence of Mary Ruwart (one of my personal heroes) and how exciting it was to be able to speak to her one on one even if it was just for ten minutes. I could talk about how inspiring it was to listen to Will Buchanan tell of his adventures on his Walk for Liberty across America and to discuss freedom with him and his lovely wife Brooke at a round table luncheon.

There are many things about the speakers I could mention. I could talk about how interesting and educating it was to hear Glenn Jacobs from the WWE give a speech on the economy. Glenn Jacobs is a huge man and a powerful presence, but to me it was his intelligence that was the most impressive thing about him. I could mention how entertaining it was to hear John Taylor Gatto speak about education despite his age and the fact that he can´t be as animated as I´m sure he was in the past. I could talk about how fun it was to watch Stefan Molyneux instruct a roomful of libertarian minded people on how to win any political debate in two minutes or less.

I could talk about these things and I guess I just did a little, but I won´t go into any more details because, although these luminaries and their presentations gave this gathering substance and form, it was not they who made the forum so exciting for me to attend. Although these famous and inspiring people gave presentations worthy of the standing ovations they received and never seemed to have enough time to answer all the questions audience members wanted to pose, it was not they who impressed me the most. It was, in fact, the legions of ordinary people who had gathered together in one place to listen to these people who delighted me. It was they who created the positive and exciting atmosphere which permeated the hotel. It is they who make the Free State Project the beacon of hope that it has become in the liberty movement.

One of the first things one notices about this movement is the diversity of those involved. People from all backgrounds, cultures, races and religions attended. That is a testament to the power of freedom. It appeals to most everyone regardless of their upbringing or social status. The other thing I noticed is how friendly everyone was. There was no prejudicial judging going on in this group. There was a tendency I found to introduce one´s self and then to begin conversing with one another as if you´ve known each other for years. The non initiation of aggression principle and the idea that in order to live in liberty you must grant that liberty to all others is ingrained in our psyches, for the most part. That connection alone is a powerful catalyst for tolerance and friendliness in our interactions. Those ideals were personified by just about everyone at the forum.

It is these individuals who make society work. It is they who provide the labor, the products and the services that make day to day living in the modern world possible. The people attending were the teachers, the technicians, the software programmers, the mechanics, the entrepreneurs, the businessmen, the doctors, the clerical workers, etc. who want to see government reduced in size and scope. These are professionals and laborers from a variety of industries, both private and public, who are tired of the overbearing, intrusive nature of our government and simply want back the ability to be able to make decisions for their selves and their businesses and succeed or fail based on their own merits. They came to the forum to get ideas on how to achieve liberty in our lifetime and discuss those same ideas. It was these discussions we had amongst ourselves that made the liberty forum such an exciting place to be.

By the end of the Liberty Forum my head was so full of new information and ideas that it was spinning. I don´t know if it would have been possible to squeeze anymore nuggets into my skull, and yet I didn´t want the weekend to end. I had found a time and a place I would have liked to have stretched into eternity had it been in my power. I now have more hope than ever before that ordinary folks can create the change necessary to return our society back into the type of freedom loving, independent thinking society our founders must have imagined. The ordinary people attending this forum gave me more hope than any politician possibly could. They are the promise of real change, lasting change, change from the bottom up. For me, this is what made the Liberty Forum a rousing success.