The Left/Right Libertarian Economic Debate: Inequality-Good or Bad? Reply

An Immoral System Can Only Be Sustained by Immorality by Kevin Carson

[Keith: As a Hobbesian, Nietzschean, and Stirnerite, I reject the paradigm that posits a morality/immorality dichotomy, but that’s just nit-picking. This is good stuff.]

Should We Care About Inequality? by Jason Sorens, founder of the Free State Project (His answer? No, we shouldn’t.)

Anarcho-“Capitalism” Is Impossible by Anna Morgenstern

Is Political Power the Friend of the Common Person? by D’Amato

Is Inequality and Asymmetry Really Important? by David Heinrich

Indigenous Resistance: From Colombia to Palestine Reply

Article by Anna Baltzer

The gravest threat of all faced by Colombia’s indigenous population is cultural destruction and extinction. Of Colombia’s 102 indigenous tribes, 32 percent are in danger of disappearance. Eighteen tribes have fewer than two hundred persons remaining. One of the most important forms of resistance for many communities has been the preservation of language, cultural values and traditions.

The Trial of Geert Wilders: Totalitarian Humanism in Action 6

Read the report from the BBC. (hat tip to Brady Campbell)

I’m not a fan of Wilders. His politics are basically the same as those of the neocons, e.g. Zionism, Islamophobia, and neoliberal economics. Nor do I agree with ideas like banning the Koran, minarets, headscarves, or burquas of the kind that some immigration restrictionists in Europe have proposed or enacted.

Murray Rothbard argued that it is the nature of the state to create a mess with its actions, which leads to calls for increased statism as a corrective measure, which creates more chaos, which leads to still more calls for state efforts at correction.

As I’ve argued before, mass immigration of the kind we see today is not naturally occurring but is the product of the state and of the economic arrangements imposed by the state. Sam Francis explained how this works a bit in this video. I also tried to explain the true relationship between the state, class theory, and immigration in this article for Lew Rockwell a few years ago. Most libertarians and anarchists are blind to this issue at present because, having drank the liberal Kool-Aid, they regard mass immigration as an ideal unto itself, irrespective of the role of the state or capitalism in fostering it.

Mass immigration has the effect of dramatically altering the host culture, which in turn leads to calls for state-imposed forms of cultural protectionism such as banning minarets, censorship of Islamic religious books and speech, banning burquas  and headscarves, etc. But those things are only symptomatic of the real problem. Western civilization could certainly survive the presence of an occasional burqua or minaret. It’s when immigration becomes so massive as to amount to demographic overrun or fundamental civilizational alteration that it becomes a problem. Naturally, many will want to take action to prevent such a thing, but they will do so in superficial ways like banning burquas. Meanwhile, the cultural protectionists (so-called “xenophobes”) will come under the attacks of the proponents of multiculturalism, who instead of calling for bans on minarets, will attempt to censor and repress the “xenophobes.”

In essence, both Wilders and those who are putting him on trial represent two different strands of “totalitarian humanism.” Why does Wilders oppose Islamic cultural influences? Because he regards them as illiberal, sexist, and reactionary. He compares the Koran with Mein Kampf. Wilders, the supposed “fascist,” actually has much more in common with militant liberal anti-religionists like Christopher Hitchens.  His opponents represent another thread of totalitarian humanism that regards denunciation of a non-European, predominantly Third World religion like Islam as racist, chauvinist, or colonialist.  It’s a question of liberalism versus multiculturalism.

The proper solution to the problem of mass immigration is to eliminate the support it receives from the state (which would involve abolishing much of what the state does at present), followed by economic decentralization, and restoration of full freedom of association, property rights, and community sovereignty.

Totalitarian Humanism Continues Its Long March Reply

The Death of the Office Joke

SOME OF THE EQUALITY ACT PROVISIONS…

  • Vegans, teetotallers and atheists given the same protection against discrimination as religious groups
  • Churches forced to hire homosexuals and transsexuals against the tenets of their faith when employing staff under planned Labour equality laws
  • Gipsies and travellers to get special favours because of the ‘many socio-economic disadvantages’ they face
  • Fire chiefs forced to prioritise the poor when drawing up fire fighting plans as poorer areas need better cover because they tend to suffer from a greater number of fires owing to the worse state of their homes and a lack of smoke alarms
  • Fears that bosses could be sued for jokes or comments that staff overhear and find offensive under ‘third party harassment’ provisions

What’s still being discussed….

  • Plans to force local authorities to discriminate in favour of the poor in order to narrow income inequalities
  • ‘Affirmative action’ plan to allow firms to explicitly discriminate in favour of women and ethnic minority candidates
The Stasi goes to nursery school.
Why don’t they consider banning exploitation of McDonald’s employees?
Some of my recent contributions to AlternativeRight.Com on these questions:

State Worship: The Real Theocratic Threat Reply

Good stuff from Jack Hunter.

Also, a very astute analysis of the irreversible decline of the American empire from Dilip Hiro.

Those familiar with stock exchanges know that the share price of a dwindling company does not go over a cliff in a free fall. It declines, attracts new buyers, recovers much of its lost ground, only to fall further the next time around. Such is the case with U.S. “stock” in the world. The peak American moment as the sole superpower is now well past — and there’s no overall recovery in sight, only a marginal chance of success in areas such as the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, where the United States remains the only major power whose clout counts.

For almost a decade, Washington poured huge amounts of money, blood, military power, and diplomatic capital into self-inflicted wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.  Meanwhile, the U.S. lost ground in South America and all of Africa, even Egypt. Its long-running wars also highlighted the limitations of the power of conventional weaponry and the military doctrine of applying overwhelming force against the enemy.

As the high command at the Pentagon trains a whole new generation of soldiers and officers in counterinsurgency warfare, which requires the arduous, time-consuming tasks of mastering alien cultures and foreign languages, “the enemy,” well versed in the use of the Internet, will forge new tactics. Given the growing economic strength of China, Brazil, and India, among other rising powers, U.S. influence will continue to wane. The American power outage is, by any measure, irreversible.

What Is the Best Way for Measuring the Size of the State? 3

I recently had a conversation with a professional sociologist, a liberal who actually believes in federal bureaucracy as an ideal, and who claimed that the best way of measuring the size of government is to consider the total number of government employees and their ratio to the size of the work force as a whole. According to him, the total number of federal employees has actually decreased in the past decades, meaning that the federal government has actually shrunk. His comments:

I do have some stats.  My old social problems texts started me thinking on this problem.  My favorite Social Problems Text was by J. John Palen– a VCU sociology professor who retired about 5 years ago.  His book is now out of print and dated, (2001) On Page 226 it states:

“When discussing the size of the federal government, two facts have to be kept in mind: (1) the number of federal government employees has actually been declining for a number of years, and (2) federal government employees are declining as a proportion of the total labor force. In 1960 when Dwight Eisenhower turned over the presidency to John F. Kennedy, the federal government employed almost 4 percent of American workers. Today, federal employment constitutes only 2 percent of American workers. Also, the federal government now accounts for only 16 percent of all government workers; 84 percent of government workers now are found at the state and local level. Local government is where growth is taking place.”

This caught my attention and Palen was the person who seemed to express it most clearly.  But you have to be careful about statistics like this– I scanned some recent sources and there seems to be considerable variation in the numbers that they report, depending upon who is included, excluded, etc. You can see what I found at the bottom of this.

Here is one article that sums it up: http://economics.about.com/od/howtheuseconomyworks/a/gov_growth.htm (But “About.com” is hardly a scholarly source). You’ll see a lot of stuff from conservatives on the growth of the Fed– But they generally discuss the size of the federal budget or debt and some of them don’t take inflation into account.  I prefer to look at the numbers of employees.  Finally, the budget figures that we see also include money that is paid out to private contractors who do government work. So the question in this regard is can we count these private contractors as government employees?  I’m not sure that even conservatives would want to do this.

Here’s some more material (more recent) on the number of federal employees.

Federal/Civilian Work Force Statistics Fact Book for 2007 shows a slight decline from 2000 to 2006 in federal civilian employment —  But I’m not happy with this because it is incomplete. http://www.opm.gov/feddata/factbook/2007/2007FACTBOOK.pdf

The Bureau of Labor Statistics is also a good source;  (It points out with nearly 2 million employees (excluding the U.S. Post Office, and the various intelligence agencies; CIA, NSA, DIA, and NIMA) is the nation’s largest employer. But, its difficult to find historical trends on this site.

I always like the U.S. Bureau of the Census… http://www.bls.gov/oco/cg/cgs041.htm– I’ve looked over the Statistical abstract of the U.S.  Not as clear as I would like, but you can see the trends…

http://www.census.gov/compendia/statab/2010/tables/10s0486.pdf–(This source shows a decline from 2.766 mil to 1.812 mil between 2000 and 2007– Not quite what I wanted, though)

Again from the Census– (A little better but still not exactly what I want– This covers the period from 1990 to 2006)  Table 489. Federal Executive Branch (Nonpostal) Employment by Race and National Origin: 1990 to 2006 http://www.census.gov/compendia/statab/2010/tables/10s0489.pdf– A drop from 21 million to 18 million.

This one’s a little better– going back to 1970:  Table 484. Federal Civilian Employment and Annual Payroll by Branch: 1970 to 2008– http://www.census.gov/compendia/statab/2010/tables/10s0484.pdf

Finally we have this ( http://www.census.gov/compendia/statab/2010/tables/10s0487.pdf)  Table 487. Federal Civilian Employment by Branch and Agency: 1990 to 2008

Two questions arise from this.

What is the best way to measure the size of the state? The number of state employees? The amount of GDP consumed by the state? The total of public spending and debt? The number of laws on the books? Something else?

The second question is what layer of government intrudes most into society and into our day to day lives, and maintains the largest overall bureaucratic enterprise? The majority of criminal cases are prosecuted in state courts. Some of the most intrusive regulations can come from the local level, like fix-it or ticket laws, zoning, licensing, land use, and so forth. The feds have war-making powers and, potentially, the power of conscription.

As an anarchist, decentralist, and secessionist I certainly maintain that the federal government is the most undesirable of the levels of government. Pennsylvania or Nashville have not killed a million people in Iraq, three million in Southeast Asia, hundreds of thousands in Central America, millions more in counterinsurgency programs, hundreds of thousands with a single bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, incineration of entire cities like Dresden, etc.

If Bridgeport passes an intolerable law, it’s easier to relocate out of the city than out of the country. Even if states have larger bureaucracies than the feds, emigration to another state is easier than transnational emigration. And even the worst local and state policies don’t produce the casualties generated by the Empire.

Ontario Anti-Prostitute Laws Struck Down Reply

Landmark Canadian court ruling.

Bedford and prostitutes Valerie Scott and Amy Lebovitch took on the legal might of the federal and provincial governments, their battle waged on a shoestring legal aid budget and the volunteer services of expert witnesses and lawyers.

Scott said the decision means sex workers no longer have to “worry about being raped, robbed or murdered.”

Himel found Criminal Code prohibitions against keeping a common bawdy house, living on the avails of prostitution and communicating for the purposes of the trade violated the women’s Charter rights to freedom of expression and security of the person.

Rather than making prostitution itself illegal, the federal government has attempted to curtail the trade by criminalizing related activities.

Bedford, Scott and Lebovitch argued those prohibitions prevented them from conducting their business in the safety of their homes or brothels and forced them into hasty street conversations with potential customers, with no time to weed out those who might be dangerous.

How's This for "Hope and Change"? Reply

Obama argues his assassination program is a state secret. Glenn Greenwald discusses it. Says Glenn:

At this point, I didn’t believe it was possible, but the Obama administration has just reached an all-new low in its abysmal civil liberties record.  In response to the lawsuit filed by Anwar Awlaki’s father asking a court to enjoin the President from assassinating his son, a U.S. citizen, without any due process, the administration late last night, according to The Washington Post, filed a brief asking the court to dismiss the lawsuit without hearing the merits of the claims.  That’s not surprising:  both the Bush and Obama administrations have repeatedly insisted that their secret conduct is legal but nonetheless urge courts not to even rule on its legality.  But what’s most notable here is that one of the arguments the Obama DOJ raises to demand dismissal of this lawsuit is “state secrets”:  in other words, not only does the President have the right to sentence Americans to death with no due process or charges of any kind, but his decisions as to who will be killed and why he wants them dead are “state secrets,” and thus no court may adjudicate their legality.