When and Where Did We Sign and Countersign the Government’s Obligations?

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Every balance sheet has two sides: assets and liabilities. A few words on the state’s assets, first. The state, having no standard assets, necessarily takes them from its citizens. When and where any of us who are forced to give up these assets to the government signed off on this taking are pertinent questions. If each of us is a sovereign who delegates power to the government, who delegated this power if I did not? I assuredly made no such delegation. And if I did delegate it in my sleep perhaps or delegated it when I was a baby and now have forgotten signing, where did I get a power to extract assets from other people? The state’s most basic asset, in a non-standard sense of the term asset, is its raw power to extract the ordinary assets of its subjects against their will.

The government, having seized assets, then reshuffles them. Part of it goes to the nomenklatura. Part of it goes to its many programs. The money is recycled, going into new hands. As if this were not enough power, the government also works on the liability side.

The liability side refers to the government’s obligations. The government makes promises, commitments, and guarantees of all sorts. It guarantees the security of Estonia, for example. It promises to pay the IMF money. It promises to pay its own debts. It issues obligations in unimaginable numbers.

The same kinds of questions can be raised about the issuance of these liabilities. Who among us citizens authorized them? When and where did we sign off or countersign off on the debt contracts? Where did people in America who cannot rub two nickels together (and even most of those who can) get the justifiable ability to issue debts in amounts that meant they were immediately insolvent, that they never could or would repay them? How could any of us justifiably issue debts that obligated taxpayers in the future? If we cannot do this as individuals, how could we delegate such a power to the government?

The answers are all the same. There is no justice either in the seizure of assets through taxation or in the issuance of government obligations. There is no “democracy” and no “constitution” under which any of us agrees to any of this or signs off on it. The constitution is a fig leaf that covers the sensitive organs of the state, and the main organ consists of its guns, forces and jails. These enforce the tax collections, and the tax collections support the obligations. None of us has ever signed or countersigned the obligations of the U.S. government. Most of us have no idea even what these obligations are, much less agreed to them. And none of us had a right to issue them, alone or in combination with some others, and then proclaim that they were obligations of every one of us, including all those who had nothing to do with their issuance.

Every time that I hear the current propagandists and con men in Washington speak of democracy and freedom, here or in Ukraine or some other land, I remind myself that they are glorifying nothing more than their own unjust power while to the best of their abilities obscuring what freedom and justice actually require of the relations between people and a government.

2:21 pm on March 27, 2014
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