You’re a Prisoner

Recently by Scott Lazarowitz: Americans in Denial: Futile Elections and Teflon Candidates

It appears that ex-Soviet ruler Mikhail Gorbachev has come out of the woodwork again. This time Gorby treats us with more "global governance" nonsense, calling for more centralization of power and more central planning. But more central planning means more imprisonment of the people by the State. Contrary to Gorbachev's fantasy of world communism/fascism, what we need is more freedom!

When Ronald Reagan called out, "Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!" the wall might as well have referred to the U.S. government's imprisonment of the American people via the police state, regulatory intrusions and government's always-increasing confiscation of private wealth. But the reality is that we need to go the other way, away from central planning and toward decentralization.

On the talk shows and in the news, and on YouTube videos and in public forums, there is an epidemic in America of denial and fantasy. Each election cycle, we have statist candidate A vs. statist candidate B, especially with the national elections, and there do not seem to be any candidates or voters who are willing to face the music and deal with the reality of the inherent destructiveness of central planning.

The denial amongst the American population in particular is characterized by people who know their candidates have a questionable background or record, openly engage in doubletalk and/or outright lies, and who just do not understand what actual liberty is. Yet the people support these candidates anyway, still hoping that the candidate of their choosing will get a clue after being elected and make the appropriate changes for better governance.

Deep down, those unrealistically hopeful voters know full well that such candidates will not be any better than the office-holders they replaced. The entire process has been a continually-degrading rearranging of deck chairs.

Central planning statism is a system that is doomed to fail, doomed to kill economic growth and doomed to destroy a society, right from the get-go. Just look at the Soviet Union, the European Union, and, of course, our United States. But when voting, the people look the other way, hold their noses and hope for the best.

Such denial over many decades has led to the crash of the American (and world) economy, the destruction of the work ethic and a nearly full shutdown of productivity. Contrary to what the populist pundits and the Occupy Wall Street crowd have been asserting, the situation we are now facing was not mainly because of the irresponsible actions of banks and other financial institutions, but by, as Doug Casey pointed out, the U.S. government (and its pathologically incompetent central planners). The crisis has been a direct result of the government bureaucrats in charge, including Alan Greenspan, Barney Frank, George W. Bush, Barack Obama, and, especially more recently, Ben Bernanke. The irresponsible actions of the banks and financial institutions were enabled by the decisions and recklessness of those government hacks.

In addition to the price-fixing, fiat-money-printing, economy-busting Federal Reserve and banking policies, the Washington hacks destroyed America's growth and progress with their police-state regulations, mandates and taxes, and other intrusions that have done nothing but stifle the incentive of businesses to invest and take risks with capital, expand their businesses and create real jobs. Besides the Fed policies' subsequent price inflation, Washington has thus stimulated unemployment, and even pushed many American businesses to move overseas.

Ron Paul has proposed to drastically reduce the size and powers of the federal government, cut out entire departments and agencies, and reduce taxes. Additionally, Dr. Paul has said he wants to gradually wean Americans off Social Security and Medicare, and eventually end or privatize Social Security, if he "can get the people to agree and the Congress to agree." The reality is that you're just not going to get political hacks who are symbiotically enmeshed with that statist agency of aggression and criminality, the U.S. federal government, to agree to reduce their power and control over then people.

Once you recognize that the government's central planning intrusions are immoral violations of the people's lives and liberty, then you must get rid of those intrusions, for both moral and practical reasons.

For example, ending Social Security and other programs immediately is actually better than gradual withdrawal. But at the same time, the government thefts and trespasses of the people via taxation and regulatory intrusions must also be ended.

Murray Rothbard addressed the question of gradual vs. immediate desocializing in the context of the collapse of the Soviet Union. Rothbard stressed that phasing in freedom gradually would do more harm than an immediate withdrawal of statist intrusions. During the Soviet collapse, Gorbachev was the ever-devoted, clinging communist, as economist Yuri Maltzev noted.

Many people think that such an immediate ending of those government programs, on which so many are unfortunately dependent, would be too "painful." But our current situation has been causing a lot of pain, and will continue to cause more pain as long as the centralized structure remains in place.

When that Berlin Wall came down and those formerly enslaved captives of the Eastern Bloc were given their freedom back, they did not seem to be in much pain. (See here.) When Americans have been made slaves of their government, forced to work for four or five months until Tax Freedom Day, and when American businesspeople are restrained by nonsensical reactionary regulations passed by imbeciles in Washington, enforced by the State's S.W.A.T. team raids, and when the people are forced at gunpoint to participate in a government-run retirement scheme while the government Ponzis siphon away the people's IRAs and life savings, tearing down that damn wall immediately will not be too painful.

With immediate decentralization and restoration of our freedom, businesses would expand and invest in other enterprises, and real jobs would be created. Unemployment rates would crash. Millions of people would be free to keep what they earn and then be able to afford to care for their elderly family members once again.

People need to know the truth that the current welfare structure is there to take care of the political class – the politicians, the cartel of banksters, the neocon bureaucrats and their military-industrial-complex leeches. Please, let us throw their status of privilege into the dustbin of history! (And some people even think that we could do it in 30 days, in fact.)

The most crucial ingredient that makes a prosperous society – as America had experienced in the past – is liberty. Note how, throughout the 20th Century to the present time, America's dwindling personal and economic freedom has coincided with more severe economic downturns and stagnation.

When asked if the end goal of libertarianism is liberty or prosperity, Austrian school economist Richard Ebeling replied, in this lecture on economic liberty (at about 1:10:48),

As Lord Acton said, liberty is the highest political good. It is the right of the individual to control and manage his own life guided by his own inclinations and beliefs concerning good, bad, right and wrong…The benefit of the market is that it is the institutional arrangement in which people have that liberty, and has the positive and originally unintended consequences…that it also generates prosperity. As Adam Smith clearly understood, each man knows his interests and opportunities far better than a statesman far away in a state capitol who has the hubris and the arrogance to believe that he can manage other people's affairs…The lack of freedom invariably involves diminished prosperity, or even the loss of prosperity if the heavy hand of the State is rigid enough.

To avoid a complete collapse of our entire system and economy, and subsequent riots and violence, the people are just going to have to face the fact that there is nothing anyone can do to reform the federal government. What our present generations of Americans must do is overcome the denial of that truth and, yes, cut our losses and move on in a decentralized society. If we don't do this, our keeping the structure of centralized control in Washington will give us the impending chaos, impoverishment and civil unrest and violence that some people have been predicting will happen.

One of the most critical actions that we need to take is decentralizing money and the entire banking system. People have a God-given right to use whatever medium of exchange they so desire, and it is immoral for a band of bureaucrats to gang together and make a law forcing everyone to use a single government-issued currency. Such a top-down, authoritarian central planning scheme is intrusive into the people's right of voluntary exchange and right to control their wealth. And it is the centralized, government-controlled banking cartel that has enabled the elites amongst us to seize control over the nation's wealth. I wish the Occupy Wall Street crowd could understand this. (Why there are so many Gorbachev-like thinkers all across America is anybody's guess.)

The Anti-Federalists wisely and intuitively knew that such centralization of power and control could not work, and would lead to a tyranny from which no Constitution and no Supreme Court (sic) could possibly protect the people. (And see here, here, here, here, here, and here.)

The other day Sean Hannity interviewed Pat Buchanan on the radio. I try not to listen to Hannity if I can avoid it, but there was a game on the other talk station. Oh, well. But when discussing his new book Suicide of a Superpower: Will American Survive to 2025?, Buchanan mentioned America's huge cultural shift over the past 50 years or so. This cultural degradation is relevant here.

Our culture has degenerated to the depths of primitivism – despite the technological advances – exemplified by how much of a police state America has become, how much police brutality is sweeping the country, and how our government officials have engaged in atrocities overseas, crimes that many of our fellow citizens have cheered on enthusiastically.

Our culture has degraded to one of sheer barbarism, as Justin Raimondo observed, and it directly coincides with the growth of centralization of government power and the decline of personal responsibility. Hans-Hermann Hoppe explained this in great detail in his book, Democracy, The God That Failed.

We must reverse that trend if our society can survive and call itself "civilized," and for that end, tearing down the wall of centralized tyranny is a must. We must free ourselves from the prison of the State.