Tuesday, January 8, 2019

A Libertarian Theory of Government, or Why We Don't Need the State

A Libertarian Theory of Government, or Why We Don't Need the State

Written as a letter to Greg Claus, aide to U.S. Representative Brad Schneider (D, IL-10)

(the former opponent of the author, Joseph W. Kopsick,
in the 2016 U.S. House race in Illinois's 10th District)

Intended to explain to the prospects of coalition-building between
Democrats, Libertarians, Socialists, and Greens,
and of bridging the divide between classical liberals and modern liberals
in the name of restoring the Bill of Rights
and fighting the resurgence of fascism in the Republican Party

Table of Contents

PART I: What Are Our Rights?

Part I, Chapter 1: The Right to Be Presumed Innocent
Part I, Chapter 2: The Right to Unlimited Rights
Part I, Chapter 3: The Right to Keep and Bear Arms
Part I, Chapter 4: The Rights to Marriage and Abortion
Part I, Chapter 5: The Rights to Travel and Drive, Smoke and Drink, and Vote
Part I, Chapter 6: The Rights to Work and Unionize
Part I, Chapter 7: The Rights to Participate in Strikes and Boycotts
Part I, Chapter 8: Summary / Interlude

PART II: Solving Problems

Part II, Chapter 1: Progressives Have Too Much Faith in Government
Part II, Chapter 2: Public vs. Private Property
Part II, Chapter 3: Returning the Democratic Platform to First Principles
Part II, Chapter 4: Making the Tax Structure Less Punitive Towards Production and Industry
Part II, Chapter 5: Free Markets Lower Costs, Resulting in “Free Stuff”
Part II, Chapter 6: The State Has No Essential Functions, and Doesn't Need to Exist
Part II, Chapter 7: Balancing the Budget and Paying Off the National Debt

PART I: What Are Our Rights?

Part I, Chapter 1: The Right to Be Presumed Innocent
            China's mass surveillance state, and its practice of numbering people through its social credit score system, bring to mind caste systems, and the Nazis' system of numbering Holocaust prisoners.
            What is America, if not a nation that loves freedom, and hates the crimes of authoritarian regimes like these, against the very people they were supposed to protect? What is America, if not a nation that presumes innocence until proven guilty, and which takes neither life, nor liberty, nor property, until after a person has been proven guilty or something?
            Why should innocent babies – in a free or unfree country – be treated as if they were guilty prisoners the moment they're born? Fingerprinted, measured, and assigned a nine-digit Social Security number to memorize their whole life, and expected to participate in a consumer credit system?
            Our Founders recognized, and instilled it as a principle of governance in our nation's system of law, that a just government's rightful powers are derived from the consent of the governed. How is the consent of the governed protected when a baby is compelled to associate with a state, before it even becomes able to comprehend what a state is (when adult students of authoritarian regimes have not even begun to fully comprehend the horrors of totalitarianism and states gone wrong)?
            The birth certificate, and our compulsory citizenship and association with the Social Security and credit systems, represent Fifth and Thirteenth Amendment takings from the innocent and involuntary servitude. The Fourth and Fifth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution recognize a pre-existing freedom from unreasonable searches and seizures whereupon no warrant has been issued. How is any of this legal?

Part I, Chapter 2: The Right to Unlimited Rights
            The text and meaning of the Ninth Amendment are forgotten to most Americans. The Ninth Amendment reads, “The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.” This refers to negative rights (freedom from government interference), not positive rights (which derive from duties or privileges, and which rest on the approval of other people).
            Essentially, the Ninth Amendment states that the mere fact that a right is named in the Constitution, should not be interpreted to mean that they are the only rights that we have. We have enumerated (named) rights, and we have un-enumerated (unnamed) rights. The Ninth Amendment recognizes that “your rights may not appear listed here”, and “just because it isn't mentioned in the Constitution, doesn't mean it's not one of your rights”.
            The deeper spirit of the Ninth Amendment is to recognize that our rights do not come from the Constitution, nor from the law or government, nor any piece of paper, in general. Our rights are pre-existing; that is, our ability to do as we please without harming others, comes from our natural ability to move around and exert our will, but also to be limited by others' right and capacity to do the same. The Constitution merely recognizes those equal rights, and codifies them, and attempts to provide equal protection under the law.
            In fact, if something does appear in the Constitution, it's more likely that it isn't one of your rights. More likely, it's something that the government decided that its interference in, and the need to preserve existing jobs, was more important than your privacy and your property, and the development of new technologies, etc..
            Nowhere does the Constitution prohibit us from marrying; defending ourselves; hunting; traveling; working; quitting; nor joining, leaving, nor forming a union; nor engaging in boycotts. These are natural freedoms that our Founders thought didn't need to be mentioned in the Constitution as one of our rights.

Part I, Chapter 3: The Right to Keep and Bear Arms

            Including the rights to hunt, fish, work, unionize, etc., in the Constitution, would have only confused people. It would have caused them to think – just as they have assumed about the gun control debate - that just because something is mentioned in the Constitution, it must be solely federal business, or that the only way to achieve the intended outcome is with more (or continued) state intervention, and more state hoarding of that “right” for itself, as a privilege (and so on). Nothing could be further from the truth.
            The Democrats' rejection of the Second Amendment is not well-founded. All workers should be armed, or at least all those who reject authoritarianism, racism, imperialism, and hierarchy and exploitation in the workplace.
            The original intent of the Second Amendment was to protect not our right to hunt, nor even out right to defend ourselves against criminals, but our right to shoot at government officials who have overstepped the bounds of their authorized duties. Consulting the comments of George Mason, Thomas Jefferson, and others, will bear that claim out. As is evident from the previous draft of the amendment before it was compromised and then adopted, another one of the amendment's intentions was to acknowledge and protect our right to resist compulsory service in the military draft.
            While the risk of the draft returning may seem distant, selective service registration is currently compulsory for adult males, and a recent effort by Senator Rand Paul which would have abolished the draft, fell flat on its face. Moreover, dozens upon dozens of figures in politics and the media have endorsed either bringing the draft back, and/or expanding the scope of who must register for the draft (namely, women). I do not want to serve in Donald Trump's army, and I do not want to surrender my guns to it. I would prefer to engage it in battle. Why would I surrender weapons to the government, when I know that of the 200 million people who died in the 20th century at the hands of their own governments, 55 million of them were in countries that had legally disarmed their citizens first?
            The ideas that people will be more safe when they surrender their weapons to the government, rather than less safe, should be as ridiculous to Americans as the idea that a mass surveillance state can protect our privacy, instead of deprive us of any and all ability to have privacy, or even exert ownership of our homes (in the face of warrantless wiretaps by the N.S.A., and warrantless searches by the F.B.I.).
            The Second Amendment exists for precisely the reason we see before our eyes: to protect us from our own government, from renegade law enforcement agents, and from forcible service in any armed forces. A race-obsessed president has said his officers should confiscate citizens' guns before going through due process, which proves that he either doesn't understand due process, doesn't respect it, or both. Can vulnerable populations trust their city governments not to hire racist police officers (occasionally giving them access to federally-provided military-grade equipment)?
            Security and privacy are neither mutually exclusive, nor diametrically opposed. We cannot sacrifice one for the other, without destroying both. We must not give up privacy in order to receive security, but instead seek security through privacy. This is the right to be secure in our persons, papers, homes, and effects – and the right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures – which is recognized in the Fourth Amendment.
            And part of recognizing that we cannot have security without privacy, and recognizing that government's just powers derive from the consent of the governed, is recognizing that the government's right to possess and use weapons, derives from our own individual, personal right to keep and bear arms. The fact of legal, personal ownership of tanks and drones in America will attest to that. However, the N.R.A. (National Rifle Association) does not have an interest in popularizing the civilian ownership of powerful weapons (at least not when Republicans are in power, and at least not for civilians who aren't white citizens in good standing with the law).

Part I, Chapter 4: The Rights to Marriage and Abortion
            The demand for government legalization of gay marriage was just a tired admission that the government has the ultimate authority to say who's married and who's not. It doesn't. People's agreements, and their family Bibles, and their loved ones, and the communities of people who recognize them as married, decide that.
            But since common-law marriage only survives in about 7 states, and since most people value government-recognized equality more than government leaving them alone, we have a society in which we have to pay the government - in its own money, which it creates, and controls the value of – and ask it permission (and permission to apply for a license; that's asking permission to get permission) before we can get married.
            So instead of me and my girlfriend (or boyfriend) saying that we're married, and that the government either ought to recognize that marriage as valid, or else butt-out of the issue, we're half-wondering why we have to buy the right to legally have sex with our spouses from the government. It doesn't seem natural.
            A legislator in Oklahoma proposed getting rid of legal marriage altogether as a response to the state considering legalizing gay marriage. And maybe that would be for the best! After all, government doesn't belong in marriage, for the same reason it doesn't belong in the bedroom. Is love a matter of the law, or isn't it? Why would anyone who isn't in love with the government, want the government to take any part in their union? Is love a matter of the law, or isn't it? Why would anyone who isn't in love with the government, want the government to take any part in their union?
            Government should have no business in either trying to promote or slow population growth; because government cannot control how productive I am, nor how productive my family is, nor control our ability to sustain ourselves and remain independent. So why should we – the people who fund the government, and pay government employees' paychecks – be expected to ask the government permission before marrying, using contraception, or getting an abortion?
            Many Americans incorrectly assume that Roe v. Wade conferred a positive right to an abortion. And in a way, it seems to, even if only because many people think it entitles them to “free abortion on demand”. But Roe v. Wade, far from conferring the right to an abortion, recognizes the right to get an abortion, but only if your state says it's okay. It could even be argued that Roe v. Wade is no longer “the law of the land” on abortion matters, but that Planned Parenthood v. Casey is, because in that case, the Supreme Court recognized states' rights to limit access to abortion if certain conditions are not fulfilled.
            None of these restrictions are necessary; they all subject our freedoms to government permission, whether it's life, liberty, property, sex and family matters, working, unionizing, etc.. Even  traveling across the land, in the country of our own birth, requires a permit.

Part I, Chapter 5: The Rights to Travel and Drive, Smoke and Drink, and Vote

            What is a driver's license, but a state-issued permit to leave the state, that we have to pay for? Dozens of early 20th century American courts ruled against the imposition of a fine for the right to drive, ruling that it effectively amounted to imposing a fee to leave the state.
            Although courts have ruled that a driver licensing fee is not dissimilar from a fee that we are charged (almost as a penalty) for leaving a state, they have not gone so far as to declare them interruptions of the free, regular flow of interstate commerce. But in my view, this is problematic on Commerce Clause grounds, because, with that driver licensing fee, the state favors its own domestic travel, including commercial travel, over that of other states.
            The existence of driver licensing fees is not compatible with a voluntary society, a voluntary government, the natural unenumerated freedom of locomotion and travel, and the necessity of the federal government to ensure that the free flow of labor and capital across state lines remain regular, uninhibited, unrestricted, and perfectly mobile in the long run, in such a way that states are unable to pass any laws that favor their own industry, commerce, or travel over that of other states.
            When have driver licensing requirements ever stopped 14-year-old farm workers from driving farm vehicles, or even cars? When have driver licensing requirements ever stopped younger children from driving their parents to the emergency room? That said, what good could possibly come from a stronger enforcement of the driver licensing law? Nothing but higher costs to travel and work, putting the natural right to travel across the land, up to a matter of paying and begging the government, and making the people more dependent and submissive in the process.
            Why must taxes be levied, and identification documents be shown, in order to purchase tobacco and alcohol products? Why should any peaceful adult in good standing in the community be required to reveal their identity, simply in order to enjoy a smoke or a drink? And should a peaceful undocumented immigrant have to risk revealing his citizenship status in order to do that?
            Not only do driver's licenses interfere with our right to freely travel (and to travel for free), they interfere with our ability to vote. The vast majority of the people who get driver's licenses and state I.D.s, are expected to pay for them (on top of being required to have some sort of state-issued identification). We are also required to identify ourselves in order to vote, and to use a predetermined set of identification documents to do so. But doesn't the driver's licensing fee, or state I.D. fee, effectively amount to a poll tax (that is, because it is a fee paid for the privilege of voting)? How is a fee, paid for something that is required in order to vote, any different from a fee being paid directly in order to vote?

Part I, Chapter 6: The Rights to Work and Unionize

            We have the right to work, not because a state government promises us the right to keep working when our union goes on strike, but because we are naturally able to hunt, gather, fish, and plant and harvest crops. That labor is necessary for survival, and if those goods aren't taken in surplus of what's needed, then the use and trading of the goods do not need to be regarded as a commercial activity. Thus, labor necessary for survival should not be considered subject to the Commerce Clause, nor any state commercial codes.
            Some Libertarians support Right to Work laws, because they limit the power of unions and express a desire for states' rights on the union issue. But Right to Work laws are laws, and no laws are necessary. Right to Work laws only came about because the unions which were empowered by the Wagner Act were required to represent all workers, even those who didn't want that representation, thought the union under-served them, or who wanted to form their own union.
            If enforced long enough, and not re-negotiated often enough, old labor contracts come to resemble laws with no sunset clauses. Old labor contracts, which limited wages and the expectation of raises based on old numbers, are an important contributor to wage stagnation. This is why not everyone is eager to be represented by the most popular union at the workplace (usually the only union at the workplace).
            With more unions at each workplaces, unions will compete for workers' membership. If we want more unions for workers to choose from, and if we want it easier for workers to change membership from one to another, then we need to expand our vocabulary so far as union security agreements are concerned. We need to consider arrangements like members-only collective bargaining, minority unionism, dual unionism, and M.O.N.M.U.s (Members-Only Non-Majority Unions).
            If we can spreading these practices to workplaces everywhere, and protect the right of any two workers to engage in concerted activity to start a union or prompt negotiation – even if they don't have the approval of a majority of workers in their workplace or bargaining unit – then we can ensure that the right to unionize is recognized as a natural right, and not interfered with.
Part I, Chapter 7: The Rights to Participate in Strikes and Boycotts

            Unionization will only remain a right, however, so long as government does not interfere with the right to leave one's union, nor the right to go on strike, nor the right to engage in boycotts and other labor actions. Also, the right to remain at the workplace during a strike, and to continue working (unless someone has contractually agreed to either join the strike or be fired, and they had ample opportunity to change that).
            Unfortunately, the fact that the Taft-Hartley Act of 1947 exists, is a major interference in our right to engage in meaningful, coordinated strikes, through bolstering existing boycotts and strikes with secondary labor actions. These actions are perfectly voluntary, yet they are illegal for no good reason.
            The effects of banning secondary labor actions have included 1) the protection of the interests of entrenched capital, 2) the preservation of existing jobs and job numbers, and 3) the insulation of dying industries and exploitative workplaces from competition. While we might wonder how a small business is ever supposed to be able to compete against a large multinational, we also need to admit that there is no reason for government to require permits and licenses to get in our way of competing against government's own favored business interests. Government enforcement of non-competition clauses in employment contracts already hinder our ability to compete enough as it is.

            If the rights to work, unionize, strike, and engage in boycotts are among our natural, unenumerated rights, then presumably our right to go on strike ought to include our right to strike... without asking the union leadership, or a government bureau like the N.L.R.B. (National Labor Relations Board), for permission in order to do so?
            The N.L.R.B. can determine that a strike is unlawful, depending on the timing of the strike, the employment status of the participants, and whether their objectives are lawful. Well, what if the objective of the strike is to point out that they can't wait for the law to change, and that they need to go on strike now, without government permission, or they don't have that freedom in the first place?
            How am I “free to go on strike” if I have to ask for permission first? That doesn't sound like a right or a freedom, it sounds like a privilege. The N.L.R.B., union leaders, and union majorities, can render strikes ineffective. For all intents and purposes, wildcat strikes, the general strike, sympathy strikes, and secondary boycotts are illegal. Repealing the Taft-Hartley Act would but a big dent in making meaningful, coordinated strikes possible.
            If we had the right to boycott, then we should naturally also have the right to participate in meaningful, effective, coordinated boycotts, that are not prohibited nor subject to permit. And the right to participate in a coordinated boycott of some agency or agencies, includes the right to withdraw funding (i.e., to divest; that is, “dis-invest” or “un-invest”) from said agencies.

            This line of thinking should not be construed as an endorsement of B.D.S. (the movement for Boycotts, Divestment, and Sanctions against the State of Israel); only government can impose sanctions, while engaging in boycotts and divestment campaigns do not need government support to take place, nor to be successful, and thus, should be regarded as fully within the rights of citizens to participate in on their own.
            On the other hand, I will also note that if the B.D.S. campaign were to restrict the set of Israeli firms which it targets for boycott and divestment, to only those firms within areas occupied in defiance of United Nations Resolutions 242 and 2334, then that would help focus the campaign on its target: the occupation, not the Israeli government itself.
            I do not support the B.D.S. campaign in its current form, because I cannot support government actions (including sanctions), and because too wide a boycott could potentially result in a general boycott of all Israeli shops. It could even result in a boycott of all Jewish shops, which could potentially serve as a prelude to a second Krystallnacht. That is why I will not be supporting the B.D.S. movement until it either becomes solely a “B.D.” (boycott and divest) movement, or else provides a clear case why sanctions against the Israeli government in general would be beneficial.

            But back to the issues of strikes, unions, and wages directly: It is supposed that the purpose of the existence of the National Labor Relations Board is to decrease the risks that strikes will occur, and to have negotiation in the place of that strike. Well, what if it would be better for the workers if that strike did occur? If many workers, even a minority of them, feel that a strike needs to happen, then who are the majority of the people in the workplace, the union leaders, and the N.L.R.B. to stop them? If we consider solely the outcomes, they're no better than any privately hired security guards who use force against them.
            And what if the government-sanctioned, management-approved, union-leadership-approved, union-majority-approved collective bargaining is not even realistically likely to result in better compensation and conditions for employees? Moreover, what if higher compensation is not the main issue for a substantial portion of the negotiating unit, and those who care about things besides higher pay get drowned-out by those workers who simply demand more meaningless government-printed numbers on a piece of paper as the solution to all of their problems?
            While some workers demand higher pay, or a higher minimum wage, for all we know, safety conditions of their workplace could be deteriorating, or the workers could be going without adequate health plans. Some workers may be demanding an end to the wage system altogether; instead of meager concessions regarding wages, that only result in wage stagnation, the longer the union contract goes without renewal and renegotiation. Moreover, the minimum wage likely has the effect of lowering the prevailing wage, because the minimum wage law does not apply to all workers, and its bare-minimum value is interpreted as a suggestion about what adequate pay is supposed to be.
            Additionally, workers' priorities about what they want out of the negotiation could be simply too diverse to resolve issues through majoritarian decision-making. How are those problems supposed to be solved through  compulsory majoritarian voting in mandatory, government-supervised union elections, called for by union leadership? This is hierarchy, plain and simple, and it has nothing to do with the egalitarianism and horizontality that autonomous workers demand of their organizations.
            Similarly, why do we have the need for a federal law against yellow-dog contracts (contracts in which employees promise not to join a union as a condition of being hired)? Sure, it's fair to say that all people should be free to join a union. But shouldn't a person only become an employee of a company, if they share most or all of their interests with that company, and trust its management? Wouldn't it also be fair to say that prohibiting yellow-dog contracts makes it more likely that employers and employees whose interests are opposed to one another's will have no qualms about coming into association with each other?
            This is an example of moral hazard; we assume that the simple fact that government has made a law about this type of contract, then that makes the situation all better, and we don't have to worry about it. We even assume that the regulation was appropriate or necessary in the first place (and maybe we assume it's constitutional, if we even care about such a thing). Not only does the federal prohibition on yellow-dog contracts makes conflict between employers and employees inevitable and constant, while pretending to keep employees free; it's also arguably an infringement on the right to be free from government interfering in the obligation of contracts which are personal and are none of the state's business.
            As long as employees retain the right to quit, and the right to discuss wages and benefits, and the taxpayers are not on the hook to foot the bill for the company if its management plans irresponsibly, and the company (not the taxpayers) compensate any workers and consumers whom they wrong, then the employee's right to join a union – when he decides to start working for someone who accepts or even welcomes the presence of a union is not trampled upon.

Part I, Chapter 8: Summary / Interlude

            So what are we supposed to do with the information that our rights to be presumed innocent, claim rights that aren't listed in the Constitution, marry, get abortions, travel, drive, smoke, drink, vote, work, unionize, strike, and boycott, have all been reduced from natural rights, to paid, permitted, licensed privileges?
            Isn't there supposed to be a difference between freedom and spending half of your life in court defending yourself against false charges against you, for crimes against no real person who can claim an actual injury to their body or justly acquired property?
            What is necessary to solve the problem, is to protect the rights to work and unionize, drink and smoke, travel and marry, defend oneself, etc., without getting the federal government involved. And that can be done, through empowering the people, their communities, and voluntary associations, to protect those freedoms by themselves.
            But first, we must free ourselves from several delusions: first, the delusion that government always or usually works (and works the way it's supposed to), and second, the delusion that we have any practical ability to refuse to associate with governments and firms whose practices we find distasteful or abusive.

PART II: Solving Problems

Part II, Chapter 1: Progressives Have Too Much Faith in Government

            Why have Democrats – especially progressives – held out for so long, believing that the party could ever move far-enough to the “socialist left” (or back towards New Deal democracy) to effect real change, and limit the greed of owners, managers, and entrepreneurs?
            Why have progressives gone on denying – for 94 years now – that political reform will ever secure more rights for workers, instead of just making so many formal concessions that real meaningful change only becomes possible through the election of “the right people”?
            I dare say that the progressives' dream of good government is dead; and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's promises not to pursue impeachment of George W. Bush and Donald Trump were the last two nails in the coffin. I certainly did not go out and register as a member of the Democratic Party when Pelosi made her announcement about Trump. Until our elected officials start getting serious, you won't see me doing that any time soon.

            In my estimation, progressive Democrats and “minimum government” libertarians (that is, minarchists) are both too willing to believe the government's lies, and are willing to admit that some amount of government is necessary. Some even defend the “necessary evil” argument, but to do this is to pretend that some evil is necessary, when it is not.
            Libertarians believe the a minimal government should probably entail some collective national security, a national monetary system and a treasury, and the establishment of post roads; and maybe also the maintenance of a court system, the protection of property, and maybe border controls.
            But someone who can be convinced that “too much government is bad, but minimum government is fine” could be convinced to accept any and all proposals that would increase or expand government power or force. That is, as long as those proposals are pitched with the mindset that “these are minimum, essential, and necessary functions of government, which no other agency could or would perform if we had no government.”
            It's not just Libertarians who fall for this; Progressives do too. It's just that they tend to see the minimal, necessary functions of government as those which pertain to the material needs of human beings; first primary needs like clean air, water, and food; then secondary needs like shelter, health care and insurance, and public utilities.

            While progressives have a blind spot for government overreach and government failure, minarchist libertarians have a blind spot for market failure, the overreach of private property, and the overreach of government when it tries to protect private property. To put it another way, progressives are too willing to make excuses for government when it mismanages, and minarchist libertarians are too willing to make excuses for private interests, even when they collude with government to steal more wealth and power from the people.
            But at least the libertarians entertain the possibilities that the state is unnecessary, and that we could do without it. The Progressives, for the most part, do not. But one thing the Progressives do better than the libertarians is caution against regulating private interests too little, while the libertarians caution against regulating them too much. But as I previously explained, we cannot trust government to regulate the same businesses which it alone has the ability to empower and enrich in the first place.

            As was the case when Franklin D. Roosevelt opened the banks back up (after taking office, and then closing banks nationwide), the people assumed that any banks that were opening back up, must have been approved by the government as safe for consumers to interact with. Unfortunately, this was nothing more than a scheme designed to restore public faith in banking and financial institutions.
            Re-investing in bad banks, which had been closed and then approved by government, was an example of moral hazard. Government insistence that it would, and could, regulate banks, brought about too much faith and trust in government and banks, and too little trust in the consuming public's own ability to worry about their own finances, regardless of how many promises the government makes.
            Trusting the government too much to carry out its regulation authorities, exposes us to moral hazard, in which we are led to take risks that we would not normally take. We do this because of a perverse incentive; the government pretends to relieve us of the responsibility of worrying about the health, safety, and effectiveness of the products we buy. We assume that just because government says it's regulating companies, then it really must be, and so, there is no personal responsibility or need to educate ourselves as consumers, nor to attempt to protect ourselves in any way from the state's bad standards.
            However, if we entertained the possibility that we could have better standards without the state, then it would be so in an instant. We could have competing sets of standards, voluntary adopted by individuals and organizations. While some standard-setting organizations would engage in a “race to the bottom” to pander to the low standards of the “lowest common denominator”, others would prove themselves credible and reputable, and compete with other standard-setting organizations to set better and higher standards.

            You may be asking how such a fantastical organization could ever possibly exist. Well, one does exist!
            The International Organization for Standardization (I.S.O.) is an independent, non-governmental organization, headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland. Its members include the national standards bodies of 162 nation-states. According to its website (www.iso.org), the I.S.O. (not to be confused with the International Socialist Organization, which has the same initialization), gives “world-class specifications for products, services and systems, to ensure quality, safety, and efficiency”, it has published over 20,000 documents concerning standards of all types of industries, and “it brings together experts to share knowledge and develop voluntary, consensus-based [emphasis mine], market relevant International Standards that support innovation and provide solutions to global challenges.”
            As long as I.S.O.'s members remain non-governmental, voluntary, consensus-based, and apolitical, then it can remain a non-compulsory, non-monolithic source of standards. In practice, not all of I.S.O.'s members even set the standards themselves; A.N.S.I. (the American National Standards Institute) is a private, non-profit organization that merely accredits standards developers. It also  coordinates American standards with international standards, in order to (according to the I.S.O. website) “facilitate international trade”.
            If standards developers, and networks thereof, are free to compete against each other, and vie for voluntary adopters without compelling them to abide by their standards, then it is likely that the moral hazard effect could be diminished. This is to say that people would develop their own standards, and investigate and judge for themselves about what standards are appropriate and beneficial, in the absence of punishment for disagreeing with any monolithic set of standards which would be enforced through state monopolization of legitimized violence.
            This is where the consumer safety standards, worker health and safety standards, and industrial quality standards of the future will come from, once we realize that the standards set by government and its cronies are no longer either safe, healthy, affordable, nor tolerable.

Part II, Chapter 2: Public vs. Private Property

            The very idea that a “private” business can be regulated, without becoming an effectively public institution – and without succumbing to the ills of regulatory capture (that is, domination of a regulatory body by agents of the very industry being regulated) – should be self-evident; evident both from history and deductive reasoning.
            In what sense is a business “private” if it still accepts police and military protections from the government, protections from legal and financial responsibilities (in the form of Limited Liability Corporation status grants), discounted rates on publicly-provided utilities, intellectual property rights, trade protections and promotions, and other unearned favors from the state? All of these taxpayer-funded, government-delivered supports – and even the registration of parcels of land with the government – actually only render a “private” residence or enterprise quite privacy-free, and, at that, public institutions.
            Should a firm, which receives government assistance, be allowed to discriminate, segregate, or exclude “its own” property? Of course not. But if a company wants the privilege of discriminating against members of the public, while receiving public funds and supports, then it should elect to stop receiving those supports, so that it can be free to do as it pleases, without expecting assistance. Until then, it is not truly a private agency, and therefore should not be permitted, nor expected, to behave like a private agency.
            Hence, it may not exclude, discriminate, nor segregate against anyone, because to do so, would be to exclude the very same members of the community which are paying taxes to keep the business well-protected and financially “in the black”. The company half-expects patrons to come in, work for them, and buy their products. But if they don't, then the company may attempt to collude with the government to force taxpaying members of the public to foot the bill to keep them in business. And that would be a serious violation of free-market and meritocratic principles.
            There is hardly an enterprise in the whole country which does not rely on some form of government assistance. So, then, where is the truly private property, where is the truly free market, and where is fully voluntary exchange? If the essence of a voluntary society is that nobody can be compelled to associate with any person or any agency, including and especially the state, then what ability do I have, to survive, and to be self-sustaining and independent, if I have no practical ability to make my living without associating with the state, and without begging and paying it for permits and permission – and presenting identification – for every significant thing I do, and everything I buy?
            Perhaps most importantly, if I have no practical ability to withhold the money I pay in taxes from the companies to which my government awards contracts and privileges, without lobbying the government to stop doing that, then what ability do I have to boycott a company that balances its budgets with my money? Even more problematically, a company which has the full right to boycott me, by discriminating against me or removing me from its “private” property (which the government protects for it, at the expense of the community).

            All monopolistic, exclusive property claims rest on the approval of the government, through the Recorder of Deeds' office (or other types of land registrar's offices). No landed property, nor business property, whose claims rest on the ability of the government in order to enforce, would be assuredly protected if the state collapsed (or otherwise ceased to exist, or to do its job). Without the state, or during a revolution, all private property claims would be up-for-grabs, because no exclusive land claim can survive in a voluntary society so long as it is questioned or challenged by even one person.
            Excessively large, or far-apart, sets of land claims – all claimed by the same person or entity – would be especially difficult to protect, and difficult to justify protecting. Protection of absentee property, which is not being made use of, is impossible on the part of the owner. An owner can only claim more than one non-contiguous property, if he has the means to hire others to do it for him. But if he expects other people to do it for him, then in a sense, that is a negative externality, and an irresponsible outsourcing of the obligation to protect one's own property claims.
            The owner might pay the security guard well, and maybe he even gives him his preferred form of compensation (not necessarily government-issued money). But the fact remains that “private property is impossible”; that is, if not for unanimous agreement that one person owns some set of properties, it would be impossible to protect all of those property claims. Or, if not impossible, then undesirable for the vast majority of the people. As well as requiring significant expenses, and, most likely, a standing army, which alone would be capable of enforcing such a wide set of claims. Which, once again, the owner would have no ability to protect himself, aside from his ability to convince others – not pressure, not manipulate, not extort, but convince – to help him protect and defend his claims.
            Once we understand that government enables large-scale ownership of land and property in the first place (through land titles, L.L.C. status, and other protections that effectively crush their competition, leaving those who lack property high-and-dry, and begging for scraps), it becomes easier to understand why government is having so much difficulty regulating these enterprises' and owners' practices. It doesn't want to regulate them – or, at least, it doesn't want them regulated by anyone who hasn't recently been inside the industry and sometimes government even tells the people that regulating and taxing these companies more will cost the people jobs.
            We should not expect the government to be able to control the very same profit-hungry powers which it (the government) entitled, established, incorporated, empowered, and unleashed upon the country by itself in the first place. If politicians don't want these businesses and property owners to have so much power, then they should simply stop giving it to them. But they keep doing it, usually in exchange for the promise of “jobs” and job growth, even when increasing the number of jobs overall can't be done without increasing the number of jobs per person.

            To summarize, the effects of government-business collusion have been that: 1) government is the primary source of corporate privilege; 2) the average person is coerced into working for, and buying from, firms that have a right to discriminate against him, while he himself has no right to discriminate against those firms (aside from the mere right to choose from among a set of pre-approved, government-sanctioned firms for employment and goods and services); and 3) “property is impossible” (as Pierre-Joseph Proudhon said), by which I mean that “private property” can scarcely exist without at least tacit or passive government approval, if not also actual registration and protection performed by government itself.
            If more “private properties” receive public assistance than we think (especially if it is federal assistance), then more companies' activities can be deemed to be relevant to interstate commerce, and thus, subject to federal jurisdiction and regulation. But the objective of that regulation should be to keep commerce regular, not keep it tightly controlled.
            To “keep commerce regular”, as far as publicly-sponsored “private” property is concerned, should involve all three of the following measures at the same time: 1) revoking the right of private businesses to act without consulting the public, as long as they continue to receive public funds; 2) revoking the rights of governments to use taxpayer money to sponsor, promote, protect, and favor established domestic firms over other firms; and 3) repealing all regulations which require firms to accept, or coerce them into accepting, public utilities (and other taxpayer funded privileges and supports).
            If firms are given the realistic opportunity to provide, and pay for, all of the utilities they need, without getting the government involved (like to do them favors by giving them reduced rates on those utilities), then it is possible that a truly private company or property could exist without the state condoning or protecting it. But if and when a firm achieves such a state of affairs, then it should be neither taxed nor regulated by the state; because that taxation and regulation would only be construed by the public as an endorsement of the firm's behavior, and as a means of legitimizing it and making it look safe to transact with.

            If firms want to make a profit, then they must agree to taxation and regulation, in exchange for government protecting their privilege to do so. Especially if they want government assistance. But if firms don't want to pay taxes or be regulated too much, then there's an easy way to avoid that: don't turn a profit, and don't elect to receive government assistance. Re-invest all of your would-be profits back into the company, to reward your employees and the people who buy from you. And mind your own business without getting the government involved.
            After all, there was a time in this country, before income taxation, that corporate profits were taxed, but personal income was not. These days, it's practically the opposite; corporations pay near zero, while the personal income of ordinary Americans is taxed at 20, 30, 40 percent. If not for the government extending the privilege of limited liability, corporate profits would be considered what they are, instead of the rightful personal income of C.E.O.s.
            Don't get me wrong; it's not that individual income should be taxed; it shouldn't. That's because it's personal income that is rightfully earned through wage labor. But simply disguising corporate profits as personal income, does not make those profits truly earned nor justly acquired, if it is done on the backs of the taxpayers.
            Personal possessions, and property that is protected by government but owned privately, are not the same thing. But to make this distinction, instead of ignoring it, would be inestimably helpful to the ways we think about how to justly acquire property, and what the actions of the state upon property mean for just acquisition.
            That much will be discussed in Chapter 12, on taxation. But first, it is necessary to discuss what liberals and libertarians have in common in regards to their shared political goals.

Part II, Chapter 3: Returning the Democratic Platform to First Principles

            Before the rise of the Whig Party, and before supporters of Andrew Jackson founded the Democratic Party in 1828, the major division in American politics was between the Federalists (led by Alexander Hamilton) and the Democratic-Republicans (led by Thomas Jefferson and James Madison).
            The essence of the democratic-republican idea was that only a limited number of issues would be handled by the federal government, and the rest by the states; and that the only wealth that can be shared or voted on democratically, must be given of a person's free will, or else taxed according to apportionment.
            While modern-day Democrats regard the General Welfare Clause (and the Necessary and Proper Clause) to empower the federal government to do basically whatever it wants, libertarians and classical liberals understand the General Welfare Clause as limiting, rather than widening, Congress's ability to do things not mentioned in the Enumerated Powers (Article I, Section 8, Clauses 1 through 18 of the Constitution).
            The “general” part of “general welfare” means that federal spending must benefit all of the people generally, as opposed to benefiting this or that firm or individual in particular. It is not a call for Congress to spend as much of our stolen money as it pleases, and then reason that it satisfies the General Welfare requirement by generally helping the public in some broad, loose, unspecific manner.
            The ignorance of the meaning of “general welfare” is what has caused the “mission creep” by which our government has grown since the writing of the Constitution.

            Luckily for those who desire reform, there are classical liberals, and minarchists, who understand that it is possible to have government programs that are at once constitutional and properly funded.
            For minarchists to accept the validity of a legislative proposal – even one whose goals lie outside of the scope of the Congress's traditionally limited powers - then all that should be necessary is that the bill have provisions that properly fund the proposal, and make it revenue-neutral, and there must be a real emergency (not a fabricated one), which affects the whole nation, and which therefore justifies the need for spending at the federal level.
            It would also help if the bill has a sunset clause, and is set to expire one day, in case it doesn't achieve its goals, or over-extends its mission, or creates a program that goes on too long for the public to put up with. Additionally, it couldn't hurt, if the authors of each proposed bill in Congress, were required to explain in the bill precisely what in the Constitution makes that potential Act of Congress into one which is indisputably within the scope of the legislative branch's powers.
            I wish there were no need to say this, but it should go without saying that the legislative branch's powers do not include handing over their authority to the president, to assert through executive orders and signing statements, to command that all sorts of industry come under his control (and, with that, to command that the presidential cabinet add new members, and that the executive branch add more bureaucracies and employees, and armed law enforcement officers).
            That is why many Libertarians and Republicans believe that health care, health insurance, and retirement are beyond the scope of Congress and the federal government. Gary Johnson, the Libertarian Party's presidential nominee in 2012 and 2016, wants to kick Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security to the states, perhaps by enacting block-grants, whereby the federal government would collect revenues for use by the state, to be spent on their own health systems. This idea fits the mold of “New Federalism”, a system of limited federal government involvement, from which presidents Nixon and Trump have drawn some inspiration.
            Reasoning that there is no specific authorization for the Congress to legislate on matters concerning housing and energy, Ron Paul ran for president on abolishing the Department of Housing and Urban Development, and the Department of Energy. Reasoning that government should not own large swaths of land, that the Department of Commerce is a repository for cronyism and collusion between big business and big government, and education is not even mentioned in the Constitution, Dr. Paul also advocated abolishing the departments of the interior, education, and commerce.
            If the activities currently handled by the Department of Homeland Security were placed under the authority of the Department of Justice, then implementing Gary Johnson's and Ron Paul's proposals would cut the size of the president's cabinet in half, and with it, the size of the executive branch would be halved. Not only that, the states would run the health and retirement entitlements, and would thus have more independence, and control over their own affairs. Couple that with a more responsible set of military policies – like refraining from selling rebel groups weapons, and then having to develop better weapons to fight those rebel groups with – and it could even become possible to return the federal government to pre-9/11 spending levels.

            The Bill of Rights does more than just protect our freedoms to speak, etc., and our right to a fair trial; it protects our right to speak about, and contest, the takings of our private property for public purposes. Not only without just compensation, but altogether, that is, our property is not supposed to be taken without our consent in the first place, even if the compensation we're being offered has been deemed adequate (And by whom? You guessed it... the government).
            Don't get me wrong; stolen property, and property that's been legally stolen by our government and then given to its cronies and contractors, should not be protected from confiscation, nor from public voting. But it can be quite difficult to legally prove that something expropriated according to law, actually belongs to someone else. That's why things would be much simpler, if no unjust redistribution of property – nor government protection of property, either had ever occurred in the first place. If that were the case, it would be much easier to tell whose property is whose; they would still have it.
            It's not just the very rich who should be worried about the government legally stealing their property, and shorting people when they finally “agree” to sell it. The poor should be worried too. There are city laws that allow police officers to steal homeless people's property; state gun permit laws that require gun owners to have a residence (which effectively criminalize the possession of weapons by homeless people); and requirements that people must purchase government identification, and health insurance, etc.. The poor and rich alike are liable to have their property and wealth legally stolen by government.
            The Fifth Amendment acknowledges that we have the right to retain our property unless we agree to give it up or sell it. The Fourth Amendment acknowledges our right to due process of law, in case we are accused of owning something that belongs to another owner or to the public. The Eighth Amendment protects us from being cruelly and unusually punished, in case we are found guilty. The First Amendment recognizes our right to speak out, in case we are wronged by our own justice system.
            But the Ninth and Tenth amendments recognized that government should not overstep certain bounds in the first place; namely, the boundaries between the scopes of federal vs. state (and popular) powers, and the difference between natural rights and government-protected privileges. Our right to own property is an unenumerated right, and as such, can neither be legally nor justly limited by the Constitution.
            However, if public property does need to exist, then private property must as well, or else the voting public and private owners will be virtually unable to respect, or even acknowledge, each other's right to own property (in whatever form).

            It is unfortunate that most liberals, Democrats, and Progressives find states' rights and the right to keep and bear arms abhorrent.
            If they didn't, then maybe they would have already asserted the rights of blue states to make decisions independently of the federal government (in policy topics not mentioned in the Enumerated Powers). They would be working harder than they are to assert the rights of vulnerable members of the population – in particular, people of color, members of the LGBTQIA+ community, and non-citizens – to use guns to defend themselves against assailants.
            Fortunately, though, there is some abiding respect left, in the liberals, for the Bill of Rights. Amendment I, and Amendments III through VIII, are still valued by the vast majority of people on the American political left.
            Hopefully, more liberals will soon realize that it is all but impossible for states to conduct their own business, without regard to presidential and congressional interference, and without overstepping the boundaries delineated in Article I, Section 8. When they do, they should take their power back, even if that means undermining the credibility of the central government, endorsing the right to self-defense, and supporting the “states' rights” idea which they previously identified as one that potentially enables the return of slavery.
            But what will hurt Democrats most, is that they will have to resist the temptation to continue growing the power of the federal government, when some group of fascists is just going to take it over eventually, and pervert it for their own ends (whether it gets bigger or smaller).
            On the other hand, if the Democratic leadership can resist those temptations, then liberals will once again come to value the whole Bill of Rights. That's when they will be able to understand the value of the Bill of Rights insofar as it protects property; and, at that, the right to fully own property, as opposed to driving a leased car to a rented apartment that sits on top of land owned by the city.
            And when that happens, then the left will appreciate the Constitution for protecting our rights to solve problems related to health, retirement, energy, housing, land management in our own communities, instead of everything being dealt with on a national level, and everything construed as a national emergency all the time.
            My point is that, just as the Constitution intended to protect our property from being voted away into the public pot, the Constitution also intended to protect entire industries and spheres of life from being politicized.

            While right-wingers, Republicans, and fascist and Nazi sympathizers remain in power, democrats, Libertarians, classical liberals, Progressives, Socialists, and neo-liberals can, should, and will remain allies. But to make such an alliance meaningful and permanent, requires more than a mere acknowledgment that this alliance is coming together. It requires understanding the common roots of our ways of thinking.
            Ask a Democrat their favorite American president, and many will say John F. Kennedy. Ask a Libertarian his favorite Democratic president, and many will also say Kennedy. Granted, Kennedy-era tax rates on the super-wealthy were well beyond what most modern-day conservatives and right-libertarians would be willing to tolerate.
            But Kennedy - with his noted opposition to government secrecy, his support of the freedom of the press, his ability to make his stance towards communism seem tougher than Richard Nixon's, and his friendship with Barry Goldwater - was not the typical Democrat that we know today. If anything, he was one of the most conservative or libertarian Democratic presidents the United States has ever had (save for, perhaps, Grover Cleveland and Thomas Jefferson).
            Coin collectors know that the Kennedy silver half-dollar came about after Kennedy's assassination, in part because Kennedy's efforts included reform of the monetary system. Kennedy halted the Treasury Department's sale of silver; ordered the end of the government's “support” of silver prices; and asked Congress to phase-out the redemption of silver certificates, in favor of redemption of those certificates for (then) gold-backed Federal Reserve notes.
            Kennedy's moves to end the silver scam echoed an earlier sentiment by another Democratic Party presidential nominee, William Jennings Bryan. In his “Cross of Gold” speech in 1896, Bryan spoke in opposition to the gold standard, vowing not to “crucify mankind upon a cross of gold”. Bryan endorsed the free coinage of silver; and a return to the bimetallism that had been in place until 1873. Bimetallism is the establishment of both gold and silver as legal tender, with a fixed rate between the two metals.

            Although Kennedy and William Jennings Bryan had opposite views on the gold standard, the goals they shared were to make money more sound, while increasing its value, keeping money accessible to the average person, keeping the currency issuing authority closer to the people or the Congress, and keeping inflation low. Whether they succeeded is up for debate.
            But my point is this: the Democratic platform of the 1890s, with its concern for monetary reform, and its attention to opposing usury and opposing the power of large trusts to create monopolies, render it very similar to the Democratic platform of the early 1960s under John F. Kennedy.
            I believe that by reinvigorating Democratic voters with not only the enthusiasm of the Civil Rights Movement (and modern liberalism), but also the anti-monopoly classical liberalism of the party as it was 130 years ago, it will be possible to create an “all-liberal coalition” or “all-liberal alliance”, which unites democrats, socialists, and libertarians alike, against their common enemy, the fascists who currently control our government.
            A political theory is the only way to unite all the opponents of fascism which are not authoritarians themselves. Not a political fix. The development of theory is necessary, so that people can use rhetoric and argumentation to convince people to change their minds about government voluntarily, instead of using violence, or forcing people into political associations which they abhor.
            When the theory changes about what makes someone a Democrat – or an anti-Republican, or anti-Trumper, or a libertarian Democrat, or a “never-Trump” voter in a coalition of mostly Democrats; whatever you want to call it – then voluntary, peaceful coalition-building will become possible. Until that happens, efforts to force a Libertarian or Socialist peg into a Democratic slot will be in vain, and they will only inspire antipathy and backlash.
            On the other hand, a “political fix” in the way of abolishing the Senate and the Electoral College – or encouraging more states to adopt proportional allocation of electors – might not be so undesirable. Arguably forceful though that system may seem to Libertarians, a single-legislative-house parliamentary democracy could still protect minorities well, provided that it does not outlaw all political parties (or outlaw all but one).

Part II, Chapter 4: Making the Tax Structure Less Punitive Towards Production and Industry

            Now, about taxes and just acquisition of property.
            It would make little sense to tax individual income away, while refusing to stop calling it “earned income”. Not only that, but confiscating the rewards of hard work, tends to make us work less, in order to avoid the tax. While it may have been wise to tax the highest earners at a high rate, most modern economists agree that lowering the tax rate has improved productivity. Some will even argue that lower tax rates can result in higher revenues.
            Companies that conduct their business at public expense, and are likely to affect their surrounding community and environment, should be regulated, and should have their profits taxed. That's because when a company elects to receive public assistance, it should be responsive and accountable to the public on whose back it balances its accounts.
            Even a Libertarian who regards taxation of such businesses as “theft”, should be able to admit that what's being taxed was legally stolen from us in the first place, and that the mere fact that the theft was done legally doesn't make it OK. He should also be able to admit that if there exists a risk that a company could coerce its workers, or coerce people into working for it or buying from it, or pollute its surroundings, then there should be some funds set aside, in case there arises a dispute between the business, and someone onto whom the business will have externalized a cost or responsibility.
            Of course, if the personal income tax rate were to drop to 0% (or something very low), while the income of businesses receiving public assistance, were to be taxed at a very high rate, then eventually, the number of businesses receiving public assistance would probably decrease very rapidly, while the individual worker's disincentive to work more – in order to avoid generating more taxable income – would be removed.

            When it comes to taxation, the prevailing idea of today – “Does the spending item match the behavior being taxed” – is overshadowed by what I believe is a more important question: “Are we taxing the right behaviors?” After all, money is fungible, and - barring legal sequesters of funds, and stipulations regarding which types of programs are discretionary, and which are not - any spending item can theoretically be matched to any revenue source.
            And if we know that taxing an item tends to have the result of discouraging the behavior that's being taxed, then why shouldn't we create a taxation policy that reflects that idea? Why shouldn't we create a taxation policy that counts on people trying to avoid the tax, as the basis of the idea? And that is the taxation policy that we would have, if we taxed economic activities not just “because they move”, but because they're criminal.
            This is to say that if we are to be presumed innocent until proven guilty, and our property cannot be taken from us until we have been proven guilty, then it stands to reason that if we are taxed against our consent, then it must be because we are guilty of something. If not, then we are subject to involuntary servitude, because we worked to earn money that has been taken from us, which effectively amounts to not just a theft of wealth, but a theft of labor.
            Making money on the backs of taxpayers is wrong. But personally earning money through wage labor, on an individual basis, is usually not wrong. So, then, why are we treating ordinary, productive Americans as if they were criminals, while the already wealthy are free to hire lobbyists, to write new laws that grant themselves even more money and power? Why are we taxing personal income, sales, and home ownership, when we supposedly want to encourage non-violent, peaceful, productive activities like these, which result in more wealth for the people?

            If there are any economic activities which cause real harm and damage to people, property, and the planet on which we live, then aren't the hoarding of land, the ownership of vast swaths of land, the pollution of land, the destruction of land, and the waste and disuse of land, among the biggest “criminal economic activities” of them all? After all, if something is a “crime”, then it must harm a person, or their justly acquired property, or make their property unusable. And that is exactly what corporate pollution and land hoarding do; they enable businesses to hold onto abandoned properties, and waste them at public expense, while reaping a profit.
            I mention this because William Jennings Bryan is not the only Democratic hero of the late 1800s who can help us bridge the gap between modern liberalism and classical liberalism; New York born economist Henry George, with his idea of Land Value Taxation, can too. Land Value Taxation affirms the right of ordinary people to the fruits of their labor, while the right to hoard and destroy land at public expense without consulting the public is considered non-existent.
            Back in George's day, Land Value Taxation was known as “The Single Tax”, because it aimed to tax solely land, and nothing else (i.e., neither labor nor capital). Although Libertarians support funding more of government through the sales tax (which Georgists would not support), both Libertarians and Georgists share the desire to abolish the taxation of personal earned income, while simplifying the tax code (albeit in somewhat different ways).

            Given the adoption of some of George's ideas by the likes of Norman Thomas and Franklin D. Roosevelt, George's ideas have come to be associated with the left more than with classical liberalism.
            However, George continuously surprises modern readers with his positivity about the prospects of retaining a market system (aside from as it pertains to land, which he still, nonetheless, believed markets could and should play a role allocating). The notion that Land Value Taxation imposes a fee for the social costs of occupying land, rather than a tax on its value, may help the reader to understand how land rent is a function of the market, not necessarily of the government or the state.
            Additionally, George surprises us by declining to say that the public or the state ought to restrict how much fishing and hunting people can do. It is one thing to say that a person who depletes some amount of a hunting or fishing stock, should compensate the people who lost the opportunity to do so because he was there first; but it is another thing altogether to say that such a thing cannot happen without an all-powerful state to make it happen.
            George observed that land prices are higher where there is lots of land and few people, while land prices are lower where there are lots of people and relatively little land. He observed that high land prices resulted from low availability of land, and that hoarding and speculation fueled the acceleration of land prices ever-upward. Land follows the laws of supply and demand, just like any other resource.
            George reasoned that if everyone paid a simple fee on the value of the land on which their property sits, then a fairer market system, and a more equal distribution of wealth, would result. This is not to say, mind you, that each person should pay a fee for owning their own home, as part of a property tax; George proposed solely a tax on land, with all buildings and economic activities on top of the land being viewed as “improvements” not to be taxed, being that they are the result of the personal labor of the owner of the home.
            Additionally, George was an opponent of tariffs, which do not accomplish their stated purpose (of financially penalizing abuses by foreign governments and firms), and which act as an arbitrary and unnecessary barrier to international trade (raising prices in the process).
            The value of all the untaxed land in the United States – not including improvements – has been estimated at around $5 trillion. That would be enough to pay for the federal government budget for an entire year, with almost another $1 trillion left over. The cost of all levels of government combined, however, is approximately $7 trillion a year.
            Now, bearing in mind that property taxes are typically only levied at the most local of levels, Land Value Taxation is, again, not a tax on the totality of our physical property. Moreover, even if land value taxes are supposed to be paid to land trusts in each community, that doesn't mean that transitioning to Land Value Taxation would solely help local governments balance their budgets.
            Suppose that all municipal and county governments in America stopped taxing houses and buildings, and solely taxed the owners of the property for keeping unearned rents. If the experiences of a dozen Pittsburgh suburbs between the 1970s and 2000s means anything, communities would see less unemployment, less blight of land, fewer abandoned properties, less land speculation, and a more equal distribution of opportunity and income.
            If it becomes possible for all local government to be funded solely through Land Value Taxation, then local and county taxes on sales and income (and probably others, too) would all but disappear. But then what? Then, the money which would have been confiscated by the government through sales and income taxes, would be available for either personal spending, taxation by the state and federal government, or voluntary donation to the government as a gift.
            Essentially, establishing Land Value Taxation in each community, could free-up revenues to be spent elsewhere, whether on the government, or on one's personal needs and wants. And that is how the $2 trillion gap – between the $7 trillion cost of all governments, and the $5 trillion amount given as the value of all untaxed land – could be bridged.
            But we should not refrain from asking ourselves whether we need to be spending $7 trillion on government in the first place. There is no reason why this figure would not go down if a Georgist or “geo-libertarian” tax policy were adopted. That's because the policy would value decentralization, simple taxation, balanced budgets, sound money, and leaving people free to be productive without having it all taken away “for their own good”, or for the good of the non-existent person known as “the public”.

Part II, Chapter 5: Free Markets Lower Costs, Resulting in “Free Stuff”

            Karl Marx observed that, while most problems in society were previously caused by scarcity and shortages, newer problems resolve around the negative effects of abundance, and of having too much.
            Although it could be argued that land exists in a fixed quantity, that does not necessarily mean that it exists in a scarce quantity (meaning that less of it is available than the amount which human beings need). Furthermore, wild game and fish neither exist in fixed quantities, nor are they scarce. Considering that Americans throw away between a third and a half of all food, and that wild game stocks are continuously replenishing themselves (through animals mating and giving birth), that much should be obvious.
            But this begs the question: if it's possible that land, wild game, and fish are not fixed, or abundant, or both, then why do we need anyone's help to distribute them? If a good is abundant, then doesn't that mean that any person can take significant amounts of it, without having to worry about compensating society or replenishing it? And if people can simply take what they need, then why do we need markets to distribute things for us (through the price mechanism)?
            Perhaps even more importantly, if some or most goods are abundant, and not scarce, then why do we need governments to distribute things for us (through central planning)? I contend that we onlly believe that we need governments and markets, because we assume that most or all goods are fixed and scarce pies of unchanging size, rather than “growing pies” which exist in abundance and surplus.
            Food, for example, doesn't only exist in surplus, it's literally sitting on grocery store shelves, spoiling, waiting for its own price to fall to the point where we can afford it, buy it, and make use of it. Until it ends up in the dumpster behind the grocery store. Unless it was never harvested in the first place, because it was deemed imperfect, and thus unsuitable for commercial consumption (translation: no good reason pertaining to nutrition, it just didn't look pretty enough).

            While Libertarian Party co-founder David Nolan was an admirer of Henry George's idea on taxes and economics, most Libertarians instead admire the Austrian school of economics. Many
            Libertarians like to say “There's no such thing as a free lunch”, but if you ask the founder of the Austrian school, Carl Menger, he would tell you that costs and prices fall whenever supply is high, demand is low, or both. So there's no reason to suspect why a free-market system, and a decentralized or even stateless communist system, would not have a lot of the same results; namely, the abolition of taxpayer protection of the intellectual property monopoly, and the reduction of prices which will inevitably result from the new influx of competition against the no-longer-protected industrial giant.
            This is why I say “free markets result in free stuff”, much to the dismay of many Libertarians. Political theorists like Kevin Carson, and economists like Jeremy Rifkin, and many others, have realized how hazardous intellectual property is when it comes to keeping prices high, keeping competition low, and even resulting in wars fought over the right of American companies to sell in foreign countries' markets.
            That is, without fear that they will suffer “intellectual property theft”, by which they really mean “having to abide by the laws of the country they agreed to set up shop in, and agreeing to share their technology with the people of that foreign country who are trying to make developments in the same industry.” For more information on this, look up the Company Law of the People's Republic of China, as it pertains to the myth of “intellectual property theft” and “counterfeiting” (albeit through what are arguably perfectly legal means).
            Any Libertarian who says that the state is needed to protect intellectual property, is making two mistakes: first, by admitting that the state is needed (it isn't), and second, by admitting that intellectual property owners can't protect their property by themselves. The state uses stolen taxpayer money to excuse them from this responsibility. A responsibility which is impossible to protect, mind you, because it would require placing police officers at libraries and residential printer-scanner-copiers all over the country in order to enforce. And that would not only be expensive, it would virtually require a standing army, and during peacetime that is a violation of our liberties.

            Two of the most important implications of the possibility of abolishing intellectual property – or at least drastically shortening the length of patent durations going forward – are the ramifications in the fields of medical technology, and as it pertains to 3-D printing and mass manufacturing.
            The advent of 3-D printed organs - and advances in research and technology related to stem cells, organ grafting, and telomere lengthening - are making it possible to re-grow organs, graft non-animal tissue onto human tissue, and possibly even protect our very chromosomes from decay.
            Abolishing or restricting intellectual property, coupled with increasing application of 3-D printing technology for medical uses – along with increased accessibility of 3-D printers – will help bring about increased accessibility of medical devices and medications. So will reducing sales taxes on medical devices, which is one of the reasons I believe that Obamacare is mostly destructive to our freedoms.
            However, I will admit that as long as insurance companies are making profits and receiving funding from taxpayers, they should be required to offer coverage to all people regardless of age or previously existing condition.

            Aside from the medical applications of 3-D printing, entire houses, bridges, handheld guns, and other devices which can be 3-D printed, are revolutionizing society.
            The Supreme Court ruled that government cannot infringe on our right to 3-D print weapons, and the possibility that 3-D printed houses could spread and become affordable, threatens to turn the already abundant housing situation into an even more shameful disparity of peopleless homes, waiting for homeless people to occupy them, than we already have.
            This new technology, with its potential applications in mass production – coupled with advances in transportation technology, like drones and air-powered hovercrafts – will soon make it possible to not only mass-produce, but easily distribute what is mass-produced. And that will increase the accessibility and affordability of all sorts of goods; foods, inventions, medications, you name it.
            There's just one problem: We need to make sure that most people own one of these means of production, or else they will have little choice but to go into competition against machines, which can be difficult. That is, unless they are free to gather what they need from the surplus and excess that is produced all around them.
            Say it whatever way you want, there is no reason why overproduced goods should have difficulty finding people to consume them. That is what necessitated creating a culture of mass consumption; to boost demand, and to dispose of what's produced. Ironically, the idea of a sales tax has been offered as a solution to curb this consumption. But consumption itself is not harmful, unless it is excessive and conspicuous, or else actually destructive.
            This is to say that the cycle of production and consumption is not harmful in and of itself; and that there is ethical consumption under capitalism. But that does not mean that most consumption is ethical, nor that it is beneficial to all nor most people. You see, the income tax penalizes production unfairly and unnecessarily, and sales taxes penalize consumption for no reason. Meanwhile, most land is just sitting around, not being taxed, not even being used.
            With 3-D printers, 6 empty residences for every homeless person in America, and the third-largest country in the world by land area, why are land and housing so expensive? The answer can only be corruption; legalized land hoarding and speculation, legalized housing speculation, pollution and destruction that's unpunished by the tax code, and legislative restrictions of our right to access, adopt, adapt, and improve technologies, and use it to better people's lives (even if it doesn't make some billionaire a profit).
            Most importantly, the answer ought to explain why the high cost of housing - housing which literally rests on land - itself rests upon the high cost of land. That's because, wherever taxation and subsidy don't change things, land price increases tend to increase housing costs.

            A humane policy on health, technology, and science, necessarily must involve abolition, or else drastic restriction, of the ability of firms to acquire monopolies on (what are ostensibly) inventions, and, at that, at taxpayer expense, and at a social cost.
            John Locke explained that the right to homestead is predicated upon the responsibility to refrain from claiming for private ownership an amount of land which interferes with the opportunity of others to do the same, considering how many people and how much land exist in the area. There is no reason why that idea should apply solely to land, but not also to monopolies on life-saving technologies that were invented mostly for the benefit of mankind instead of a single owner. After all, no man could own the whole Earth, so why should one man, or a small group of people, own all the technology?
            And, on top of that, retain a legal right to sue people for using “their technology” and “their products” in a way that they don't like. Due to the proliferation of licensing contracts, the idea that a good belongs to the person who purchased it, has been replaced with the idea that if a person wants to modify something they bought, or use it in a different way or for a different purpose, then they lose all rights to hold the producer responsible (for example, if it turns out that they knew that improper usage was impractical or unavoidable, and likely to result in harm to the user).
            This may sound like a situation in which the state has delegated its duties, but the state's intervention could only benefit the monopolist. Only competition to provide dispute resolution can result in a fair outcome.

Part II, Chapter 6: The State Has No Essential Functions, and Doesn't Need to Exist

            Most Libertarians will say that if government, especially the federal government, has a right to exist at all, then its only (or most important) central functions are military and police (to protect people and property), a system of justice and courts, and maybe also a way to manage a monetary and treasury system, and/or our national borders.
            But contrary to the beliefs of these advocates of minimal government, the state has no essential functions, and doesn't need to exist. Put another way, there is nothing which the state alone does, that other actors would not try to do if the state didn't exist. And there is nothing that we would want to do, which could not be more easily done without the state.
            The state simply gets in the way; of technological progress, of communities and voluntary associations solving their own problems, of people finding just resolutions to their disputes with figures of authority, of people defending themselves, working, joining unions, marrying, and all that.

            That dollar in your pocket? Covered in toxic chemicals. We're literally trading toxic assets, backed by the full faith and credit in the U.S. government, and that full faith and credit still exists.
            We allow, and even encourage, our children, to acquire U.S. Dollars, most of us ignorant of this fact. We're not only tethering the next generation to the dollar - “crucifying them on a cross of paper”, as it were – we're passing-on to them a currency that poisons you when you touch it with the carcinogenic chemicals used in its processing. Why else would it be itchy to the touch? All up to F.D.A. Standards, though, I'm sure.
            Also, that money in your pocket? It's not even money, it's currency. Money is meant to be saved, and paper dollars are not money. Currency is meant to be spent; paper dollars are currency, not money. Currency is also meant to have debt built into it, so that its value slowly decreases, so as to discourage people from spending it.
            But here the government is, for the dozenth year in a row, trying to stimulate spending and discourage savings without explaining to the people that gold and silver are the only legal, constitutional currencies, while paper dollars are for spending, and that if you want to save something, you ought to choose a precious metal and get a Certificate of Deposit. The fact that this is never explained to us is a lie through omission, a covert fraud.
            Even if the Constitution does authorize a Treasury Department, and authorize the Congress to create a monetary system – suppose that it even authorizes Congress to outsource the responsibility to create a monetary system to an “independent” private third party! - has the Treasury Department demonstrated any desire to even communicate with the people in any significant way about what the intentions of the monetary system are? If the American monetary system was truly created to serve us, then why the Hell does the government have to go around, being so secretive about it, as if this were the business of the Joint Chiefs of Staff?
            Whatever you think about its constitutionality, the federal government has not earned the right to monopolize the creation of money. And that is what it has done, given that it prohibits people from issuing their own coins, even with full assurance that the metals are pure. Most ludicrous of all, government prosecutes them based on the idea that they are “counterfeiting American currency” instead of issuing their own. You can read about the case of Bernard von Nothaus to find out more about this.
            If we end the currency monopoly, and allow competing currencies – all of them free-floating, none of them pegged to the value of any other, and none of them manufactured or having its value controlled by a government – then who will protect the wealth of the rich? Only those who believe that it will be better for the rich to hang onto their wealth, than it will for that wealth to be dispersed among people who choose a currency that can serve an actual currency's intended function: to be common, and traded among many people.
            A currency should be popular, but there is no need to make it mandatory over a whole area; if it is not adopted voluntarily, then we will have to pretend that voluntary exchange can take place using involuntary assigned currency.
            Abolishing the Federal Reserve's currency monopoly will allow precious metals and other valuable commodities to compete fairly against each other, and against the dollar, in a market slightly more free from statist inhibitions, interference, and rigging. Completely free, if we abolish all government currencies. And if that happens, then it will be possible that the people will have so much control over their currency and their economic destiny, that we might be able to simply ignore the vast wealth of the rich (reasoning that so much opportunity to create more wealth exists), and/or we could simply refuse to honor whatever currency is popular among the wealthy.
            Of course, when I say “currency”, I mean to include not only money, but things that perform one of the most important functions of money; namely, to store wealth. And the very wealthy don't all keep their wealth in government-issued currency; they spend their money, make investments, buy businesses and lands. And that wealth would be difficult to ignore, and difficult to refuse to honor.
            On the other hand, there's opportunity. If we made full use of the land which is currently not being used, then we would be able to use it, and own it if we wish, and produce as much as we want on our own property. And we wouldn't have to pay anyone else any portion of what we create on our own property, or pay anyone a portion of what we earn on that property. If we did, then we would not be true owners of the land. It is a large planet, and it might be possible to live alongside the wealthy without disturbing their property and property claims.
              On the other hand, royal families are inter-related, and own such vast amounts of wealth, that it's not just business properties and lands that they own, it's entire countries, banks, and whole industries.
             It's one thing to ask “What would I do if I had all the money in the world?”; but it's another to ask “What would I do if money were no longer necessary to get the things I need and want?”. Just as currency is a substitute for money, and money as we know it is a substitute for a real piece of property that is a store of value, money and currency alike are both substitutes for credit. If we had universal access to credit, then nobody would be able to deny anyone service on account of inability to pay. At the grocery store, at the hospital, wherever. I believe that such a scenario would help create a market system which is totally free from barriers to trade, like nothing we've ever seen before.
            That's why currency as we know it, not only does not need to exist; it certainly doesn't need to be issued by one central government.

            So the federal government monopolizing currency or money is not desirable. That means the treasury function of the federal government is out.
            Now remind me again why I can trust my government to protect and defend me, instead of just stir-up enemies to keep me afraid? Why, when the Supreme Court ruled in the case of Warren v. District of Columbia, that the police have no duty to protect me outside of a private contract, should I trust the police to defend me? Much less “monopolize the use of force”, which really just means I have no right to defend myself or carry a gun unless I pay them. Good! We're off to a great start with the idea of security and defense protection being the primary function of government.
            Property protection! We need the police to protect property, because we know that they damn sure have no responsibility to protect people! Ironically, the public police protect property, while private security guards protect people. It's absurd.
            Some Libertarians believe that a person can outsource the responsibility to defend himself. Someone else can defend you, but that is not self-defense, that's defense. But aside from that, there is no reason, for the average person who has not paid the police (and especially not one who hasn't paid taxes), nobody can reasonably expect that the police or military, who supposedly protect him, will come to his aid. And within a reasonable and prompt time frame? Forget about it.

            But courts! We have to have courts, or where else are we going to prosecute all the people who stole the overproduced things that exploded everywhere when the engine of American productivity was unleashed from beneath the burden of misguided and punitive taxation?
            The state is not necessary to maintain courts. If the average citizen understood his rights, and the Constitution, and what a pro se defense is, and what corpus delicti means, and what rights juries have, and what the rights of the accused are, then professional attorneys would either be much fewer in number, or else lawyering as a profession would cease to exist.
            Reforming attorney licensing is not even a solution, because while it pretends to solve the Bar Association's monopoly, it will only end up restricting the rights of people to defend themselves without law licenses.
            If we had a truly voluntary society, then there would be no victimless crime laws, and no prosecution for crimes against the public. More cases – and hopefully, eventually, all cases – could be settled out of court, through private arbitration. Perhaps civil law as we know it would even cease to exist, or become solely a matter of precedent. Individuals would rely more on non-state-affiliated actors and firms to enforce the terms of their contracts, and mutually acceptable arbitrators to resolve their disputes with others.
            Judicial precedent could come to replace legislation (and executive fiat) as the primary sources of law, set by “judges” acting as ordinary people who are trusted equally by both or all parties to a dispute. Reputable firms, not operating for profit, could hire responsible, well-trained “bounty hunters” to apprehend fugitives from justice, and do so safely, and without provoking them or using excessive or unnecessary force.
            It would be a completely stateless legal system. So why do we need the government to maintain a system of justice?

            Do I even need to ask why the federal government shouldn't establish post roads?
            The Constitution authorizes Post Offices, but did not claim to authorize the monopolization of mail delivery services. Government used to monopolize mail service, it doesn't anymore, and that it has allowed competition against itself is a good thing.
            However, it is also a mere concession for a system that is otherwise thoroughly bad, and should therefore not be appreciated. Even though the U.S. mail service no longer monopolizes mail delivery - and it is mostly a fee-for-service, user-fee-based system - it is bankrupt.
            Additionally, the authority vested in the Post Office in the Constitution did not authorize the creation of “post roads”; only their designation. This is a major reason why the federal government's role has so far overstepped its constitutional boundaries; many people's first question about a stateless society is “Who would build the roads?” This question, and the extent of libertarians' difficulty in answering it, have invited countless usurpations of our freedoms, all in the name of maintaining a well-connected modern society with a good highway system.
            ...With suburban sprawl designed to waste land as much as possible, and a highway system that the American military can easily use its tanks to track us all down using our convenient mailboxes and its register of all our addresses.
            Did I mention drones and hoverboards? Automatic brick laying machines? Graveyards full of cars and planes that could be easily repaired and brought to market, or else given away?
            Just a few short decades after the Revolutionary War, New Hampshire allowed people to avoid paying taxes by agreeing to donate labor to public works; specifically, to build roads. That's not only a solution to transportation, it’s an alternative to taxation and jail, and maybe also mandatory civilian national service (depending on how you look at it).

            So why do we need government?
            Presumably, all this development of our public works has to end some day, right? I sure hope so. It would be nice if all of our legislators, and soldiers, and police, could go home to their families, and protect their own homes for once (if our legislators can choose one residence, that is).
            The original idea of our Constitution was that it was a compact, binding all who agree to it into a mutual trust. In the founding document of the country, the Declaration of Independence, the founders stated that they mutually pledged to each other their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor. To pledge to protect one another's lives and fortunes, was a pledge to protect each other and each other's property in the Revolutionary War, and during the peace to come afterwards.
            I do not want to protect somebody else's property. Anyone who works as a private security guard, a police officer, or as military personnel – myself included – has, at some point, asked to himself “Why am I protecting somebody else's property? Who's at home defending my house and my family? Why don't they pay me to just go home?
            For that matter, why don't we simply pay politicians to go home, stay home, and leave us the Hell alone? If they don't bother our families, or try to tax our houses, then we won't either. Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us, for once.
            None of this ranting about the evils of government should cause us to forget that the Constitution is not supposed to be compulsory in the first place. It's only because of the Act of 1871 concerning the District of Columbia, and the 14th Amendment, and the laws concerning congressional apportionment, that we have been tricked into electing to become subjects of the federal government. The feds know that most citizens are so angry at it, that they can't resist the temptation to challenge its usurpations, even if that requires agreeing to concede to all of its decisions in the first place.

            Why do we need government? The answer is: We don't.TM

Part II, Chapter 7: Balancing the Budget and Paying Off the National Debt

            Now that we know government is not only unnecessary but evil... oh wait, did I forget to mention that U.S. soldiers and security contractors raped women and children in Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan, with the help of good old American taxpayer money? Oh well...
            Now that we know that we don't need government, we can come up with a way to balance the budget without any fear that we'll remove any essential government functions (again, because there are none).
            So how do we pay off a $21 trillion national debt? First off, let's assume it's $20 for the sake of convenience and rounding. Also suppose that the GDP, which is close to $20 trillion, is exactly $20 trillion.
            One way to pay off the debt would be to pay it all off at once, in the same year. It could theoretically be done, but it would requiring 100% of the Gross Domestic Product; all of the wealth created in the country in one year. But it would be paid off, and it would be paid off forever.
            Of course, that would have catastrophic effects on the economy; many people would die. So the debt has to be paid off slowly. Why not, for example, pay it off over 20 years, to the tune of one trillion dollars a year?
            You might think that's impossible; but all it would take is 1) the political courage and resolve to get both major parties to agree to pay the debt off, simply because it has to be done, and that it will be done in equal installments over 20 years, and 2) a budget that takes in one trillion dollars more than it spends every year.
            Now, there are a number of ways to do that. The federal government currently spends $4 trillion a year, and takes in roughly $3.6 trillion a year. Now suppose that it spent $4 trillion, and took in $5 trillion a year. Or that it spent $3 trillion, and took in $4 trillion. See what I'm getting at?
            There are infinite solutions to this problem. A federal government that spends $2 trillion a year would only have to take in $3 trillion a year, and our government has already demonstrated that it has the ability to take in $3.6 trillion. Paying one trillion dollars off per year, would mean that we could still afford a $2.6 trillion budget with current federal revenues.
            But we can keep going! We could also have the federal government do nothing, while taking in a trillion dollars a year. Granted, that would be hard to justify, since the taxpayers wouldn't be receiving any services, but maybe by then, people would care more about the fact that our creditors – like China, Japan, and the Federal Reserve – won't be coming after us anymore when the debt is all paid off.
            A few simple balanced budget measures – like PAYGO, or a law that makes all spending discretionary, or a Balanced Budget Amendment to the Constitution – could provide reassurances to our creditors, and to other countries, that the United States economy is back on track, and can realistically pay back the astronomical debts it has incurred.
            And perhaps the best thing about this proposal – at least as far as reformists and big-government types are concerned - is that the size of the government does not have to shrink during this upcoming twenty-year period. The government can be any size – even hundreds of trillions of dollars - as long as it sticks to the plan of paying one trillion dollars off per year, by taking in one trillion more than it spends.
            Although I would not recommend that, due to the reasons cited above.

                 Written on December 27th through 30th, 2018, and January 7th through 8th, 2019
                                                           Published on January 8th, 2019

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