The Weekly Sedition

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Genesis of the Seventh Column . . . ?

Filed under: Events, Politics — Tags: , , , , , , , , , — mikewb1971 @ 8:53 PM

Genesis of the Seventh Column . . . ?

by Mike Blessing, State Chair, Libertarian Party of New Mexico
Speech to the Gary Johnson UNM Rally for Jobs, Opportunity and Diversity
Tuesday, 9 October 2012

How many of you have read anything by Robert A. Heinlein? Raise your hand if you have.

The Master’s most famous books are Starship Troopers, Stranger in a Strange Land, and The Moon is a Harsh Mistress. I recommend reading all of them if you haven’t already.

But tonight I want to talk about one of Heinlein’s lesser-known books, titled Sixth Column. Originally written in 1941, it’s about an underground resistance network that forms after America suffers a foreign invasion. One of the characters coins the idea that since a fifth column is composed of traitors supporting the invasion, the resistance devoted to defeating it should be called a sixth column. After the invasion is defeated, one of the scientists supporting the resistance says it’s time to take the reins of power for themselves, because, after all, they know better than the common man in the street how to run things. One of the Army officers in the resistance nixes that idea rather quickly, noting that such a coup from domestic elements would be no better than the foreign invasion was in that both are forms of imposed dictatorship – exactly what America is not supposed to be. That is, if you take the Declaration of Independence, Constitution and Bill of Rights seriously, and not as mere “goddamn pieces of paper,” to paraphrase George W. Bush.

Assembled friends and guests, what we’ve got here is the beginning of a seventh column. The difference between Heinlein’s sixth and the seventh is that this isn’t an underground movement at all – we want publicity for it, as public outreach is one of our greatest tools.

And what, pray tell, is the true opposition that we face? It isn’t the Democrats, the Republicans or the Muslims – it isn’t any specific person or group, but rather competing sets of bad ideas in the public sphere. Among those bad ideas are the following:

  • The collective should come before the individual.
  • Everyone should sacrifice themselves for others with no expectation of reward.
  • Government exists to promulgate these premises.
  • Government exists to “run society.”

It’s our job to counter those bad ideas – not by demanding censorship and suppression of them, not by persecuting their proponents, but by offering better ideas of our own.

The core premise of what Governor Johnson and I, among others, are offering as better ideas is called the Non-Aggression Principle (some call it the Zero Aggression Principle). Here it is –

No one has the right, under any circumstances, to initiate force or fraud against another human being for any reason whatever; nor will a libertarian advocate or threaten such initiation, nor delegate it to anyone else.

Those who act consistently with this principle are what I refer to as “small-l libertarians,” whether they realize it or not. Those who fail to act consistently with it are not libertarians, regardless of what they may claim.

Now you might think that this is some crazy stuff out of left field (or right field, if you’re an Wilsonian or Rooseveltian type of so-called “liberal”), but it’s been around in various forms for thousands of years. Here are some examples:

  • The Greek philosopher Epicurus advocated avoiding politics altogether, “since doing so leads to trouble.”
  • Marcus Tullius Cicero of the Roman Empire was a proponent of natural rights.
  • The Wiccan Rede – “An it harm none, do what thou wilt” – sounds rather similar to the Non-Aggression Principle.
  • Jesus’ teachings of “Let who is without sin cast the first stone” and “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” come to mind.
  • According to Lao Tzu, the best way to govern is not to govern – he wrote in the Daodejing: “The more prohibitions there are, the poorer the people become.”
  • Thomas Jefferson, primary author of the Declaration of Independence, said “That which governs best, governs least.”

An easier way to say this is “If you’re not hurting anyone else, you have the right to do as you please.”

Going along with that right are the responsibilities to:

  • Respect the rights of others to do as they please if they’re not hurting others.
  • Do what you’ve voluntarily agreed to do, as not following through on such promises is a form of fraud.

Now some might ask in response, “What about defense? Are we supposed to let ourselves be attacked?”

Well, you can allow yourselves to be beat up, mugged, what have you as much as you want, without lifting a finger in your own defense. Local gadfly Don Schrader is noted for that approach – he’s also extremely polite to people on the personal level – he has to be, as he disavows the use of force for self-defense.

Note that the Non-Aggression Principle only denounces the initiation of force or fraud. In my opinion, all turning the other cheek does is presents another side of your face for an attacker to use as a punching bag. As such, others here, myself, Jon Barrie &#8211l stand up and take a bow, Jon – are rather enthusiastic proponents of self-defense, and the corollary right to own and carry weapons, as guaranteed (or supposed to be guaranteed) by the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Particularly the military variety of weapons, as the Founders put forth in the Federalist and Anti-Federalist Papers. Again, in accordance with the Non-Aggression Principle, we’re not initiating force against anyone – but we prefer to be prepared should someone else attempt to initiate force against us. As my father told me when I was six years old, “Don’t go looking for a fight, but be prepared to finish it.”

On that note, if theres any LGBT folks present, I’d like to get with you later tonight to talk about setting up a chapter of the Pink Pistols organization for Albuquerque and / or New Mexico.

So exactly what are we offering here?

Simple – our mission is to consistently apply the Non-Aggression Principle to the issues of the day that appear in the political realm.

Health care? The federal and state governments have no proper role in micromanaging what kind of medical insurance you have, or whether you have any at all. Nor is their proper role to provide that insurance. Where in Article I, Section 8 of the U.S. Constitution is the Congress empowered to be involved in ANY of this?

Yes, I understand this is contrary to what some slicked-up flim-flam artist from Massachusetts says when he calls himself a supporter of “free enterprise.” So where exactly does such a “free marketer” get off telling us that federal force should be used to require anyone to purchase health insurance? I note that this same confidence man also has denounced the right to own and carry weapons for self-defense in the past – 2004 was the most egregious instance – but NOW he “supports” that right.

Energy policy? The federal and state governments should not be empowered to mandate that any type of fuel be the “official” one for anyone not under the express employment of those governments. Where in Article I, Section 8 of the U.S. Constitution is the Congress permitted to do this? It isn’t – but they’ve usurped that role away from us, who are supposed to be their bosses. If it wasn’t for Congressional meddling in the energy sector, gas would be a dollar a gallon, if not fifty cents or a quarter, and thanks to nuclear power, electricity truly would be too cheap to meter on a watt-by-watt basis – your electric bill would be more like your internet bill is today.

Tax policy? Ideally, we wouldn’t have any sort of taxes at all, as taxation is simply taking money from others without their consent – it’s a gov-speak codeword for the terms “theft” or “plunder.” The current income taxes are especially nasty – they require you to send in up to half of what you make – what they do is punish honest work and investment. Half of your time spent earning money is really working for the government, and you pay the government for that privilege – isn’t that right up the alley of chattel slavery in the pre-1865 South? The big difference now, of course, is that we have a say in who the slavemasters are in Washington DC and Santa Fe.

Well, folks, what can we do about this sorry state of affairs that we find ourselves in?

Voting for candidates is the last step in the process – first we have to educate other voters about the issues of the day, and how to apply the Non-Aggression Principle to those issues. How to do that?

Joseph Goebbels – the same Goebbels who ran Hitler’s propaganda machine – used the tactic of The Big Lie – any lie stated often enough, loudly enough and dramatically enough will be believed.

Our job as adherents to the Non-Aggression Principle are to refrain from initiating force or fraud against others. Thus we are obligated to tell the truth about the issues.

I propose that we modify Goebbels’ Big Lie tactic and make it The Big Truth – the truth should be stated loudly, dramatically and often. Shout it from the rooftops, as the saying goes. Isn’t there a part of the Bible that says “Proclaim liberty throughout the land” ?

Part of getting that truth is keeping a close eye on all of the politicians – including those who claim to be adherents of the Non-Aggression Principle. Simply electing politicians to office who profess that they are adherents to the Non-Aggression Principle isn’t enough. Paraphrasing Lord Acton, “Power corrupts. Absolute power corrupts absolutely. All great men are bad men.”

Just because a politician makes the right sort of comments during the election season doesn’t mean that they will be true to their word after entering office. It’s up to YOU, fellow citizens, to keep them under scrutiny for their terms, watching them under a microscope, questioning every bill they sponsor or sign, and examining every statement they make about public policy.

Politicians aren’t known for telling you the truth. If anything, they’re known for playing games with the truth – bending it, stretching it, equivocating, vacillating, warping the truth into something where an M.C. Escher drawing would seem rather straightforward in comparison.

Well, technology is on our side for a change. Smartphones with video recording capability are getting cheaper and more capable. On the internet side of things, bandwidth and hosting space keep dropping in price, after you adjust for Bernanke’s antics. So when a politician gives a speech or press conference, hold up that smartphone. Ask them your questions. Put them on the spot they so richly deserve.

Are you up for the task?

Now we can argue forever about how far or how fast to go in shrinking government’s influence in our lives, or which of Leviathan’s tentacles should go to the chopping block first. Some are no doubt thinking “Mike is just an anarchist.”

Understand that a true anarchist isn’t one of these Black Bloc creeps whom the media labels as one after they throw a brick through a storefront window. The word “anarchy” doesn’t mean “no rules” – the laws of nature are rules. So if Congress, in its infinite wisdom decided to repeal the laws of gravity, it should be safe to jump off of the roof of a thirty-story building? I encourage them to lead by example.

No, the word “anarchy” means “no rulers.” Thus, a true anarchist is simply opposed to any sort permanent ruling class, of the sort that we currently find ourselves saddled and yoked by at all levels of government, at rates that would cause a medieval serf to rise in rebellion.

But still, while I do lean that way, it seems that the State will be with us always. To head off the ever-lasting fights over this, I suggest a simple line in the sand for us.

Candidates, officeholders or appointed spokespersons at all levels of government or the political parties should refrain from advocating new or more restrictive laws, new or more expensive spending programs, or new or higher taxes. To paraphrase from the medical profession, “First, do no harm.”

Personally, I’ll go further and say the following:

Government doesn’t produce anything – all it does is take from one person and give to another. Government is most often a “negative” influence on society. Just as in mathematics, going “negative” against another “negative” leads to a “postive” result: –1 x –1 = 1.

Those who do initiate force or fraud against other individuals deserve no sympathy should their victims decide to get even in some manner, or if those victims get the drop on the aggressors at the time of the crime. Nor do they deserve any support from anyone else in society – any ridicule or bad language sent their way is justified.

I’ll leave you with some quotes:

“I would remind you that extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice.

“And let me remind you also that moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue.”
– Barry Goldwater, 1964 presidential nomination speech

Here’s another one from Goldwater, in case the first one didn’t make my point –

I have little interest in streamlining government or in making it more efficient, for I mean to reduce its size. I do not undertake to promote welfare, for I propose to extend freedom. My aim is not to pass laws, but to repeal them. It is not to inaugurate new programs, but to cancel old ones that do violence to the Constitution, or that have failed their purpose, or that impose on the people an unwarranted financial burden. I will not attempt to discover whether legislation is “needed” before I have first determined whether it is constitutionally permissible. And if I should later be attacked for neglecting my constituents’ “interests,” I shall reply that I was informed that their main interest is liberty and that in that cause I am doing the very best I can.

Finally, here’s two from my all-time favorite television series, Babylon 5

I mean, being a freedom fighter, a . . . force for good, it’s . . . it’s a wonderful thing. You get to make your own hours, looks good on a resume, but the pay . . . sucks.
– Psi Corps Agent Alfred Bester, Moments of Transition

John Sheridan: You know, it’s funny, I was thinking about what you said, that the preeminent truth of our age is that you cannot fight the system. But if, as you say, the truth is fluid, that the truth is subjective, then maybe you can fight the system. As long as just one person refuses to be broken, refuses to bow down.

Interrogator: But can you win?

John Sheridan: Every time I say “no.”
Intersections in Real Time


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