Saturday, February 27, 2010

Social Security and Entitlement Mentality

My mother is a retired Certified Financial Planner. She worked for many years helping people figure out the best ways to invest their money to ensure a stable and prosperous retirement. The other day I called her and she, knowing my proclivity for writing about such things, proceeded to voice a particular gripe that had been bothering her lately. She had been watching a cable news channel, as she is wont to do, and they had been talking about Social Security. They kept using the phrase “entitlement program” when reporting on the money owed to well to do Social Security beneficiaries and this is what bothered my mom.

She felt the phrase seemed a little derogatory, especially the way the reporters were enunciating it as if it was the most distasteful phrase in the English language. She also felt that it was a misrepresentation of what Social Security was meant to be. She was born in the 1930s and like most people her age she's been paying into Social Security her entire working life. She feels that she's simply getting back the money she'd paid in. As she explained to me, it's not an entitlement, it's her money that was entrusted to the government for safe keeping and now she depends on it at least in part so she can live the life she's become accustomed to. I agree. Being unemployed, I certainly wish I had back the money I've put into Social Security.

She can't help it if they've taken money out of the trust fund and squandered it on other things like wars of aggression and interest on loans. The problem is, I explained to her, that she trusted the government. That was everyone's first mistake. Have we learned nothing? Even back in the thirties we should have known better than to trust the government, especially with something as important as retirement planning. That should be testament as to just how difficult times were back then. Perhaps things are getting just as difficult these days because those in government would like to once again have us in the desperate straits we were back then so that we have to depend on them. If we are all poor and destitute they believe we will turn to them for help and guidance. I wonder if we will make that mistake again.

I asked my mother what would have happened to her had she sold her clients a plan like the government's Social Security. She told me she would have likely been arrested for selling a ponzi scheme. That's the real problem. If one goes to a CFP there is accountability. CFPs have reputations to uphold. If they steer clients wrong or give them bad advice they likely will not get recommendations from their clients and their businesses will stagnate and perhaps fail. If they act in an unethical manner they will likely be sued. If they act in a criminal manner they will likely be arrested and face the possibility of jail. What happens when Social Security goes bad? Who's accountable then? Maybe, just maybe, a couple of congressmen or senators might not be re-elected. Big, fat, hairy deal. The worst part is, they get to keep their nice cushy pensions that are paid for by taxpayers.

Perhaps in the thirties popular sentiment was really against such government programs. Perhaps the federal government more or less ignored the people and did as it wanted much like it does today. Perhaps the papers and mainstream media were controlled by big government statists as they are today. Perhaps the voice of the common man was as silenced, intimidated and compliant as it is today, or even more so due to the absence of the Internet. I don't know. I wasn't around back then. I do know that somehow the concepts of liberty, individual freedom, self reliance and personal responsibility were crushed against the rocks of political expedience as this nation rushed toward big government solutions to economic woes caused by government intrusion into free markets in the first place.

Like many people in the freedom movement, I am busy unlearning much of the propaganda and programming that was forced upon us as children in the government indoctrination centers. We are not a purely righteous nation always battling for the side of good against evil enemies who would enslave us, steal our freedoms and sentence us to a life under the watchful eye of a cruel police state. We as a society have done that to ourselves. We haven't known true freedom in this country since not long after the notion of individual freedom was exalted in the founding documents. The social engineering and big government programs that have been enacted in the interim have done nothing to ensure freedom and liberty for the people of the United States of America and have done everything to give power to an elite political class that seeks to maintain control of society. They do not do things to service the common folk of this nation, they do things to increase their own standing and status in life and exalt themselves. Politicians are not to be trusted.

So more than seventy years ago a bunch of politicians decided to start taking money from individuals and putting it away for them, mostly without their permission. It's supposed to be a voluntary program, as many taxes started out, but somehow it became as good as mandatory. Try to get out of paying it and see what happens. Try living in modern society without a Social Security number. While I've heard stories of people who have accomplished this feat, it seems that one shouldn't have to jump through so many hoops to get out of a supposedly voluntary system. It is likely perceived by many as not being worth all the trouble and many more likely don't even realize that it's possible, so hardly anyone even questions the tax.

To complete the illusion, years ago the politicians offered a bill that would have “allowed” people to take their money from Social Security and invest it as they would like. Can you imagine, allowing people to keep their own money and do with it as they see fit? What a concept! What would you have done given the choice? Would you have continued to trust the government or would you have taken your money and invested it with someone who could be held accountable? Somehow, the bill didn't pass. The few in the political elite class decided they knew better how to invest than the many who earned the money. Now, as ever, there is fear that Social Security will go broke. I have my doubts as to whether or not I'll ever see a cent of the money I've paid into it, let alone my children who are also paying into the system. It is yet another example of how government fails due to their own foibles.

Yet even if Social Security goes broke, that's not the most devious aspect of the scheme. Even if you're getting money back, you are likely not getting anywhere near the value of the money you originally put into it. The value of the dollar has conservatively dropped more than 90 percent since the Federal Reserve was created in 1913. Where did that value go? Perhaps into the hands of a moneyed elite, a de facto royalty, as it were? If the stated purpose of the Federal Reserve is true, that is if it was truly set up as a means to stabilize the US economy, then this fact alone shows that it has failed miserably in its mandate. When something fails, particularly something as important as an institution which is supposed to supply a nation's currency, it should fail utterly and its owners should be held to account. Instead, the owners of the Federal Reserve have enriched themselves to the point where they are the wealthiest, most powerful families in the world by screwing the wealth producing common folk and despite their failure to provide the service they promised.

Previous to the creation of the Federal Reserve, the dollar held its value fairly well. Since the dollar's official approval by congress in 1786 and until the inception of the Fed in 1913, the dollar's value actually increased. In other words, if one had put a dollar away in 1786 and then somehow been able to get that same dollar back in 1913, that person would have been able to purchase more with that dollar in 1913 than he had been able to in 1786. It seems to me that the system was working fine before the invention of the Federal Reserve, with the exception of a few short lived downturns mostly caused by manipulations of hard currencies by powerful international banking interests as they attempted to influence public opinion in the US to create a demand for a central bank. The public's distrust of central banks was such that those who wished to implement one were forced to use cloak and dagger methods, disinformation and political dirty tricks to force this institution onto the American people. It was an institution set up to further enrich and consolidate control to those who were already rich and powerful. Why else would someone try to fix something that wasn't really broke?

Can you imagine what life would be like if you could save a dollar today and ten years from now its buying power would increase? How much easier would it have been to plan for retirement? How much easier would it have been to know what money could be put away for the future and what money one could afford to risk on investment? A stable currency, which was provided in the freer markets of the past, makes for a more predictable economy where one is better able to live out a dream. A fiat currency based on debt, such as we use today due to the creation of the creature from Jekyll Island, makes for an economy which must by its very nature expand and contract. It leads to wealth being lent rather than created or owned and therefore it is wealth that can legally be taken away, even if it was well earned. Basing currency on commodities that represent something earned combined with a reverence for the sanctity of private property makes for a prosperous society with a slow but steady growth of wealth.

Social Security is not an entitlement in the sense that it is owed to one without being earned. It is an attempt to gain back wealth that has been entrusted to others. More than that, it is an attempt to regain the purchasing power that was there when the money was earned. A penny saved may be a penny earned, but a penny put into today's Social Security may well be a penny lost, or squandered on something else.

There are those who go through life thinking the world owes them a living. The world owes you nothing. It is up to each and every one of us to go out into the world and produce, therefore we earn our keep. The only entitlement any of us should have is the entitlement to keep what we earn. If it is lost, we should have no one to blame but ourselves. We do not have even this simple entitlement in our modern society as we are forced against our will to give a portion of our earnings to a bureaucracy that cares about nothing else other than expanding its own power.

The problem is, we exist in a society that is ruled over by a class of people who produce nothing. They use force and deception to collect money from the productive in society. They become wealthy on the backs of the common folk and then leave the productive class begging for what should have been rightfully theirs in the first place. It is time to make Social Security a purely voluntary program. It is time to make it easy to opt out. It is time to let it pass or fail on its own merits. It is in fact time to make all government and taxes voluntary. It is time to phase out all monopolies and let competitors offer their services to the public where once only government entities were allowed.

Freedom is the answer. Economic and social liberty are the tools of prosperity. Bigger government and more collectivist practices can only stagnate and stifle the economy. It will only channel more wealth and control to the already super wealthy and powerful. The entitlement mentality, believing one is entitled to wealth one did not earn, helps grow government and cement the collectivist mindset. A truly free market, given the chance, will do a much better job of holding the unethical accountable than one size fits all government solutions could ever do. Failure should not be rewarded by increasing budgets as government does. Success should only be possible by providing excellent goods and services. Once we recognize the source of the problem, we can start dismantling its mechanisms, reverse the economic downturn we find ourselves in, and once again become the free and prosperous nation we were meant to be.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Joe Stack, Example of Blowback?

I just learned of a story where a man, Joe Stack, flew an airplane into a building in Austin, Tx. I first wish to express my concern and heartfelt condolences to any victims and their families who may have suffered as a result of this man’s desperate act. It’s a shame when anyone suffers through no fault of their own.

I read Mr. Stack’s letter where he ranted against the IRS before his website was shut down. He was obviously quite a disturbed individual. He was also obviously pushed to the edge by the onerous, contradictory tax code. He was likely pushed over the edge by the uncaring, unaccountable, faceless bureaucracy that makes up the IRS and the justice system. He blamed them for his woes and he made them the object of his ire. This is a terrible event, but we must be careful as to how we let government react to it.

It is not surprising to me that such an event has taken place. Indeed, there are many who have been predicting such an event would take place. No one has been exactly sure what would happen, but many have been certain something was in the air. It’s not too hard to understand why such an event would take place. Although I am not an advocate of violence, it is understandable that some might come to a place in their life where they believe they have no other options. Such seems to be the case with Mr. Stack.

It was the CIA itself which came up with the idea of blowback. The idea is that when someone, or a group of people, believe they have been unjustly subjected to violence they will strike back with violence at those they perceive are their persecutors. Obviously this man felt the IRS was persecuting him specifically.

It has come to pass that someone who felt taxation is extortion has now taken his own life and maybe others in an effort to find some sort of justice. He can’t see how futile and ineffectual his actions were. The rest of us can. This should be a lesson to all just how poor a solution violence is. It does, in fact, in nearly all cases, do just the opposite of what it was intended to do. The wars America has engaged in lately have not brought liberty, effective democracy or a better life to those that were supposed to be helped. The action taken by Mr. Stack will likely not bring an end, nor even any empathy, to the IRS.

It is more likely that there will be a reactionary response to this event, as there was to the 911 attacks. This event will likely be used to try to push through some sort of draconian laws and authoritarian agenda. There will likely be quite a bit of fear mongering to go along with this event. Already there is an establishment effort to try to demonize populist movements because their attempts to co-opt them may well be failing. Too many people have come to the realization that the two party system has failed miserably. Those who want to peacefully re-establish competition, a free market, and individual liberty are gaining popularity. The corruption within the system is eating at its core and so the system is collapsing.

It is almost inevitable that the system will try to use this kind of event to try to shore up its failing façade. As the populace begins to discern the real cause of societal problems, those in power will try to shift the public focus from themselves to some manufactured boogey man. This type of event presents a nearly perfect opportunity to cast the government and their agents as the victims rather than the perpetrators. The government spokesmen and apologists will attempt to do just that. This can only work so many times, however, and it is questionable whether or not it will work this time.

The establishment media as well as other government mouthpieces will likely try to demonize any and all groups this man is or has been associated with. They will try to lay the blame on anyone they feel is a threat to their power and will use this event to try to silence popular sentiment. This was an individual who made an individual decision, and a very bad one in my opinion. His actions do not reflect on anyone or any agenda other than his own. He felt he was personally unjustly targeted by the IRS and therefore he targeted them and sacrificed himself in doing so. At least, that’s the impression I got after reading his long and convoluted rant. Do not let the establishment media convince you otherwise.

I feel that income taxes are extortion. I feel that they are unfair and unconstitutional. I feel that anyone with any knowledge of this nation’s history and the reasons it was established will recognize this. The federal government and its IRS have overstepped their bounds. It is unfortunate that this event has occurred and it could possibly cause the opposite effect than what was intended. This may very well give the federal government cause to try to silence tax protestors, including those who participate in large gatherings known as tea parties. It may cause a unprecedented crackdown and an excuse for the power elite to completely stop listening to the masses. Let us hope this is not the case. I, for one, will continue to speak out against taxation until I can no longer do so.

Violence is not the answer. Violence only begets violence. It is a vicious circle that will take a concentrated effort to break. The way to a free and peaceful society is to act like free and peaceful humans, to become free and peaceful humans, to create freedom in our communities and peace in our hearts. This cannot be done through force. I urge anyone who is thinking of initiating violence against the state to refrain from doing so. It can only harm the peaceful freedom movement. It is the power elite who resort to violence, not the common man. Do not stoop to their level. We can achieve the dreams of liberty though peaceful non-cooperation, civil disobedience and a structured dismantling of the current corrupt political establishment. We are evolving in that direction. Hopefully we will continue to do so despite the desperate actions of some who may embrace violence.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Debra Medina, Glenn Beck, 911 Truth and the Importance of Private Property

I’ve been paying particular attention to the governor’s race in Texas of late, particularly the Republican primary for that position. There’s a woman running, a true champion of freedom. She understands the concept of liberty. She embraces it. She offers real solutions to real problems, problems the vast majority of the common folk can see in the corrupt establishment. She offers the free market solutions we all want, a pulling back of government intrusion in the lives of ordinary citizens and a chance to once again live as freemen in the legacy our founding fathers left for us. She is clearly a populist candidate of the people, and a harbinger of real change that will benefit all the people, not just the ruling elite. She is surging in the polls. The corporate globalist authoritarians must hate her. They certainly seem to have turned their media lapdogs loose on her.

A couple days ago, Glenn Beck interviewed her. He delighted in asking her about 911 truthers, a group of people he loves to turn his vitriolic juices against. His accusations of their crazy nature and violent tendencies turn my stomach. His snide chuckling as she tried to answer the question in a diplomatic fashion disgusted me. The fact that he would even ask her a question that is so non pertinent to the position of governor of Texas should make one question his motives. He claims to be so libertarian, yet he does his best to discredit any candidate with real free market solutions whenever he can. He did so when Dr. Ron Paul was running for president and he’s doing so to Ms. Debra Medina now.

I wonder exactly what Glenn Beck has against the 911 truth movement. Why is he so vehemently and desperately attacking them? What threat do they pose to him? Could it be that if they’re correct he might have to remove the rose colored glasses through which he observes government? Might it hurt his feelings to realize that certain elements of our government might not be perfect and may even be a bit tyrannical and willing to do bad things to increase their power? How is it that a group of people wanting another investigation into the greatest crime ever committed because they don’t believe the government’s flawed explanations has come to earn such derision?

Come to think of it, I don’t believe the government’s 911 story either. There are too many holes, too many impossibilities and improbabilities. Perhaps it’s time to take a closer look at who benefited and is still benefiting from the events of 9/11 2001. But hey, Glenn, if you want to believe everything mommy government tells you, more power to you. If you want to close your eyes and plug your ears and scream LA LA LA as those around you speak sense, that’s up to you. If you want to keep tearing down real liberty candidates it won’t take long for freedom loving Americans to see through your façade. Just keep supporting those big government globalist candidates and we’ll see how long it takes for the populous to catch on. Perhaps they’ll be fooled long enough for you to get that big French kiss from Rick Perry that you so desire.

What else do you believe, Mr. Beck? After all, our government would never lie to cover anything up, right? There were weapons of mass destruction found in Iraq. Manmade global warming is real. There were never any emails that revealed otherwise. Osama Bin Laden is alive and well in some cave in Afghanistan, bad kidneys and all. It’s the same guy in all the tapes. Flu shots are harmless. The bailouts will help the economy. Water boarding is not torture. The fire at Waco wasn’t started by the FBI’s incendiary weapons. Ruby Ridge was an accident. The list goes on and on. Have you ever heard of the boy who cried wolf? Well I’m tired of the corporate owned federal government crying terrorist and the corporate owned media crying conspiracy kook.

So I wonder, why didn’t Glenn Beck stick to the issues when he was asking questions of Debra Medina on his radio show? I mean, I never heard anything about Debra Medina being associated with 911 truth until she came on his show. He certainly seems to have an unhealthy obsession with “truthers” and I think it causes him to ignore far more pertinent issues. For instance, Ms. Medina has a most interesting and enlightening stance on property taxes. One would think he might want to explore that avenue a little further than he did, after all, he is supposed to be interested in the concepts of freedom and liberty. It seems that whenever a candidate wants to get rid of a tax, all any media personality can ask is: “What are you going to replace it with?” It’s time to stop thinking in terms of how the government is going to survive and start thinking about how we the people are going to get them to stop stealing from us, how we can remove the burden of government from our backs. A better question would have been: “How are you going to cut spending and which worthless government bureaucracies are you going to get rid of?”

The right to own private property is one of the foundational pillars this country was formed upon. Remember that the founders lived in a time when Europe was ruled by monarchs. The concept of individual rights was derived from the concept of the rights of kings or sovereigns. In those days, only royalty was allowed to own land. Common folk could live on and work the land, but they had to pay the sovereigns for that privilege. They were also required to follow the dictates of the sovereigns or bad things would happen to them. The founding fathers saw the injustice and inequity of this system and decided to try to create a land where every man could be a sovereign, a land where a man’s home truly was his castle.

That is why Ms. Medina believes in ridding Texas of burdensome property taxes. She believes in the sanctity of private property, for no man owns his property if he has to pay a rent on it to the state every year in the form of property taxes. No man should have to worry about losing his property to some faceless bureaucracy, particularly if it’s been paid for in full. We are, in effect, no better off than the serfs of old who paid their tribute to their sovereigns for protection. It is a simple concept. A different system needs to be put in place, one where each individual is able to determine for himself which services he wants to pay for from the pool of money he has earned with his labor. He can decide for himself what he can and can’t afford rather than being forced to relinquish a certain percentage of his money to a group of strangers so they can determine that for him. The corruption stops when the people are able to vote with their dollars.

The same concept holds true of state sovereignty. In the days of the founders it was felt that if one state became too tyrannical, a citizen could simply move to another state. In this way, as long as individual rights were protected from the abuses of government, competition between states would likely keep corruption at bay. The problem is that the federal government grew too powerful, particularly after the Civil War. Once the corruption invaded that system, once they stopped protecting individual rights and started violating them instead, there was no way one could vote with the feet, so to speak. Her position that the state of Texas (or any state for that matter) can and should nullify federal law is a great way for the common folk to take back and peacefully regain control of their government. The federal government has become way too big and much too intrusive. It is, without a doubt, out of control and has become antithetical to what this nation is supposed to be about. Is it any wonder state secession movements are being openly discussed?

To some people, these ideas might seem radical. They might be frightened by such concepts, but there are many other people who are interested in finding out more about them and discovering how a society would operate under such tenets. Mr. Beck could have chosen to explore more deeply these concepts with Ms. Medina. He could have decided to discuss for his listeners how we as a society could make such ideas work to help us to prosper rather than just blowing these ideas off as if they don’t matter or can’t work. He instead decided to ask about 911 truth and denied his listeners any meaningful dialogue which could have opened their minds. Apparently he would prefer to keep their minds closed. Ms. Medina answered in part to Mr. Beck’s question on whether she was associated with 911 truthers that she was not the thought police. Apparently Mr. Beck thinks he is. Apparently, he believes he should be the ultimate arbiter of truth and decide what opinions people can and can’t hold for themselves.

Mr. Beck decided to make an issue of personality. He decided to make the election about a cult of personality rather than about issues. He decided to go with the same old, same old rather than discussing new ideas and old concepts that will work and have worked in this nation. I don’t think it’s going to work this time. The people of Texas aren’t stupid. They can see through the sham. They can see the knife in the back. It’s time to reject the establishment and their stale, corrosive policies and embrace freedom. Perhaps it’s time for the people of Texas to drop the Glenn Beck endorsed tea party and organize a coffee party movement. Coffee’s more appropriate for Texas anyway. Maybe that will awaken the sleeping masses.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Compromising the Freedom Movement

I am a huge Ron Paul supporter. His voting record speaks for itself. It is as freedom oriented and constitutional as anyone could hope for. How many other politicians can say that? Not too many, if any at all. That’s why I wrote so much about him when he was running for president. That’s why I tried to alert as many as I could and tried to convince anyone who would listen that he was the only candidate on the slate worth voting for. Ron Paul truly gave me hope that men of honor, principle and integrity could still succeed in modern politics. We need more people like him in congress.

I’d like to be able to get behind his son Rand with as much enthusiasm. I really would. But I find I can’t. Yes, he seems like a nice enough person and his intentions are good. I like his stance on repealing the Patriot Act. I like his stance on reading the bills. He has nice views on fiscal policies, wanting to audit the Fed and balance the budget. I just can’t get over that war thing. I can’t get over his support for empire. His stance on supporting the troops by buying them all the equipment we can’t afford rather than by bringing them home simply doesn’t make sense, either from a fiscal point of view or a freedom oriented point of view.

Rand talks a good game, but I’ve learned that talk is not enough. He has no political voting record and I’ve no other reason to disbelieve him, so I have to take him at his word. Unfortunately, when it comes to matters of foreign policy, his word is sadly lacking. His talk of strong defense is disturbing as America’s foreign policy looks more like one of aggressive offense and occupation. He certainly does not sound as if he would shrink government or curb its spending when it comes to military matters. This is too reminiscent of the Reagan/elder Bush regimes where smaller government was promised but not delivered in large part because of the military. We’ve seen this song and dance before.

Yes, I think he’d likely be a better candidate than any other Republican running against him. Yes, I hope he gets his party’s nomination. I simply don’t see how one can claim to be a small government candidate while supporting big government programs such as our over bloated military. I don’t see how you can claim to be a limited government candidate while supporting policies of empire. Depending on the sentiment of the average Joe in Kentucky, he might have a problem with his military stance if a well spoken anti-war Democrat runs against him. I’d really like to see an independent, fiscally conservative, anti-war candidate get into the mix and give the people of Kentucky someone they can vote for rather than having to choose between the lesser of two evils. It would be nice to see people not affiliated with the big government Republicans or big government Democrats take office anyway.

This is not a small thing. The foreign policy this nation undertook after the Second World War is bankrupting us. We simply can’t afford to maintain and expand an empire anymore. We need to let it go. Even a balanced budget amendment would do no good as long as we have troops in the field occupying other countries. When was the last time a politician obeyed the Constitution anyway? Not to mention how hard would it be to amend it? If the Constitution is to be changed, wouldn’t such an effort better serve the people if it was spent trying to repeal the 16th and 17th amendments? Before any such efforts could work Congress would have to be filled with people of honor and principle who believe not only in letting ordinary people run their own lives, but in limiting our military, keeping it at home for defense and letting the rest of the world trade and control their own natural resources.

Sarah Palin’s endorsement of Dr. Rand Paul did nothing to endear him to me. The attempt to use her to usurp the Tea Party movement is troubling. The tea parties began as an anti-war, liberty oriented, grassroots movement and now it’s being trampled by a herd of elephants just like the Libertarian Party was in 2008. It seems that the Republican Party has been relegated to the role of spoiling independent grassroots movements and silencing the voices of ordinary folk. If the Tea Party movement is to remain relevant it needs to distance itself from establishment plants like Sarah Palin, Newt Gingrich and even Glen Beck and stick to the message of freedom expressed by the likes of Ron Paul, Mary Ruwart and Harry Browne. Otherwise, let the Republicans have it and allow another organic movement to take its place.

Sarah Palin’s warmongering is sickening to me. Her enthusiasm for bloodshed is disgusting. I’m all for the individual’s right to own guns for self defense, but she takes it beyond that. Her endorsement of the wars of aggression and occupation are not self defense. Her push to defend other nations and police the world is frightening. She is a control freak like most other politicians. She is a nearly perfect example of how personality can overshadow issues. She’s a good looking woman with a cutesy air about her that makes one wonder if people are truly listening to the ideas she espouses. She is not a friend of liberty. She should not be a leader of any grassroots movement. She should not even be welcomed to the party until she somehow demonstrates that she has changed her ways and sees the benefits that peace offers.

I understand the need in politics to hedge one’s positions to try to take in as many people as possible. But this practice is a major reason that government keeps growing. Both parties are controlled by the elite power managers and most people know it. Big party Republicans continue to promise free market fiscal reform and smaller government while spending more on military adventurism. Democrats promise less militarism (at least they did the last couple of election cycles) while spending more on giving the “little people” more services. What we get is bigger government via militarism and then bigger government via social services and government cannot cut spending and shrink. The practice of trying to excuse one type of spending over the other needs to end. All aspects of government need to be curtailed. If it doesn’t happen in a controlled fashion, it is destined to end in a possibly catastrophic collapse.

Freedom should not be compromised. It should be understood and demanded. It is one of the main tenets this nation was built upon. It is the ability for the entrepreneur to open a business unrestricted and allow the consumer to decide whether or not to do business with him or her. It is the ability to decide for one’s self what one wants to put in one’s body. It is the ability to trade with each other without having to pay tribute to a group of elitist government types. It is the ability for one to keep the fruits of one’s labor. It is also the willingness to allow others to live free. It stems not only from holding a special spot for your own personal liberty in your heart, but from not trying to force your will upon others.

The freedom movement needs to stand firm. People need to reject party politics and focus on issues. The personality cults need to end. Let them know that no matter who they are their excuses will not be tolerated. The more of us who speak out, the more likely it is that the mindless sheeple will begin to understand, begin to wake up, and will begin to reject the brainwashing they’ve been subjected to. It is time for the minority factions to stop imposing their will on the masses and to let the peace and freedom loving majority be heard. It is up to us to show the establishment that we reject their message whenever it contradicts with the principles of liberty and freedom. It is up to us to make sure the freedom movement does not become compromised.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Stealing Dreams, Creating Nightmares

In my lifetime, I've had more dreams than I care to think about stolen from me. Well, perhaps they weren't stolen, perhaps just postponed. The most significant occurrence was probably when my first publisher went out of business due to embezzlement. The owner and his son managed to lose several million dollars. Though they spent several years in prison, the money was never recovered. Several creditors were never repaid. The company’s assets were sold and the money split amongst them. My contract was never fulfilled and I was denied any chance to further promote my book unless I wished to self publish. In short, my dreams of becoming a best selling fantasy author, or even one who could make a decent living at it, were dashed upon the rocks of a cruel publishing industry.

This, however, was just one dream. I’m sure that many others disappeared in the same fashion when this publisher went under. There were likely several dozen authors in the same boat as I was. Indeed, I was better off than many since at least a thousand of my books were printed before the publisher went under. In fact, my book was one of the last to come out. I’m willing to bet that there are many other authors involved with that publisher who had been promised publication and never saw even one of their books in print. At least my dream had partially materialized.

Those lost dreams, however, are but a drop in the bucket compared to the dreams government has dashed. My dream was a rather lofty one. There are dreams out there that are less ostentatious. There are millions of dreams government has stolen and millions more that will be lost in the years to come. Why? Mostly because government demands a piece of every dream one of its “governed” might have.

Many a story I have heard about the authoritarians destroying the dreams of the less fortunate as they try to make a better life for themselves. There’s the story of homeless man in California who dreamed of getting an apartment by shining shoes. After he obtained a shoe shining kit he decided to provide a service to others rather than beg in order to make a living. He was just about to make his dream come true, he had nearly saved enough to remove himself from the homeless lists, when the government stepped in and turned his dream into a nightmare. They had found out about his industriousness and they wanted their share in the form of a $400 small business registration fee, or license, or some such thing.

Then there’s a story out of South Carolina about a business which provided a service where girls who were particularly proficient at a practice known as “African hair styling” were paid to braid customers’ hair at the request of the customer. These girls were harming no one, had no complaints from clients, and were providing a valuable service, yet the government deigned it necessary to crush their dreams when it decided they had to be licensed to braid hair. They even went as far as creating a nightmare by fighting the business in their (stacked against the public) court where it was decided these girls either had to pay up and become licensed or quit braiding hair and earning money.

From shutting down bars for allowing smoking to harassing delivery men for bringing biscuits to your home, there is no shortage of stories of over reaching government changing the dreams of hard working folk into nightmarish scenarios. Most of these licensing and regulation stories have nothing to do with keeping the public safe and everything to do with legalized extortion. Mostly they prove that the laws and regulations put in place are not there so much to protect the people as they are to keep the poor from improving their lot in life and prevent competition from challenging the already wealthy and established businesses in the community. It’s a protection scheme designed to keep the rich and powerful safe and the poor dependent on them for work.

Despite these obstacles, there are still some who manage to make their dreams reality. There is still opportunity in this country, albeit mostly opportunity for those who already have at least a little bit of wherewithal. Yet as one tries to gaze into the future, as one listens to those who claim to have some form of insight, one may ask one’s self how long this might last. The laws and regulations keep piling up on each other. It becomes increasingly difficult to afford the dream or even know what it takes to buy it. It becomes increasingly likely that soon only those who are already well off or already have large, corporate businesses will be able to pay the bureaucracy its protection money. Until the massive government is curtailed, its agencies cut and the money it wastes given back to the people it was stolen from to spend as they see fit, the future looks bleak, the dreams continue to fade and a nightmarish reality pervades our waking hours.

Then there’s the Federal Reserve. The elites who run this business, the business of creating debt money from nothing, have an extraordinary power to destroy the dreams of millions. They have the power to inflate by putting trillions into circulation or to deflate by removing trillions from circulation. They decide which big banks will remain in business by giving them billions in bailouts and which will fail by refusing to grant them money. They do so without proper oversight from the elected officials the public trusted to do just that.

This group of spiteful elites believes they have the power to decimate the simple dreams of a vast majority of the common folk in the United States of America. Indeed, central banks across the globe hold similar beliefs for the people they supposedly service. This world wide fiat system created by the wealthy elite was designed to enslave the populace, not free up men to pursue their dreams. It is set up to make everyone dependent on them and to create a system where nothing is privately owned and all private property is collateralized to the banks so that when their money becomes worthless they will have all the real wealth already created.

The common folk now serve the central banks that were supposedly set up to serve them. The taxes they pay go mostly to pay off interest on government debt rather than going to something productive in society. It should come as no surprise, then, that the Federal Reserve fights to maintain secrecy. The push to audit the Fed creeps along slowly and is kept hidden in a bill that would give more power to this monstrosity that has been forced upon the American people. Despite the increased power it would be granted, the Fed fights to remove the amendment that would require an audit. They claim that such an audit would threaten its independence. One might ask, why should they be independent? Aren’t they supposed to be held accountable to the people or their representatives? Shouldn’t they be at least as transparent as any other government organization? This attitude they hold reeks of secrecy. Secrecy suggests deception. Deception suggests criminal activity. It seems to me the Fed is afraid of being audited because they’re afraid of their dirty deeds being discovered. They’re afraid the American people will discover just how they’ve destroyed so many dreams.

The Fed needs to be audited, their fraud discovered, and then their institution abolished. The federal government needs to be scaled back, its spending curtailed and its functions limited to those enumerated in the Constitution. State and local governments need to recognize the value of private property and private business and stop believing they own it all and demanding tribute from those who simply wish for peaceful human interaction. This is how liberty flourishes. This is how dreams are realized. This is how we wake up from the nightmare to a bright new dawn.