The “market” isn’t a “thing” or a “place”, it’s a process. More specifically, it’s a process of voluntary cooperation among hundreds, thousands, millions of individuals operating within an environment where the only prohibition on the statute books is the use of force. All actions must be volutarily entered into. Pretty simple, right? It is, but seems to be one of the most difficult concepts to explain to someone not already amenable to the notions. “What should government do?” “We have to do something!” “There ought to be a law!” It is nigh impossible to explain persuasively to most people that the process of voluntary interaction that libertarians short-hand into “the market” is the source of all prosperity, that too much “law” (artificial law, or “legislation” as Hayek would call it) and too active a government is the source of poverty, strife, unemployment, crime, and conflict. More on this in the excellent article, The Market Doesn’t Solve Problems; People do.
The foundation of the philosophy of liberty is voluntary cooperation. To expand voluntary cooperation as far as possible is to expand liberty. At the heart of the desire to expand voluntary cooperation is the understanding that the liberty for every individual to make their own choices, unencumbered by government restriction and regulation, is the source of all prosperity.
How often do you see cops speed through town twice as fast as everyone else? Or turn on their lights to make an illegal u-turn or drive through a red light? All the time. This lady apparently got sick of it, and chased the cop down, who was allegedly doing 90mph. He apologized to her, but what are the odds that she could’ve received a beat-down and night in jail instead? A cop confident enough to believe he can break the law with impunity probably wouldn’t draw the line at speeding.
He’s the only candidate to win the state while opposing the crony Renewable Fuel Standard.
…in case the Empire attempts to embarrass Iran. (article)
All the belly-aching by law enforcement about unbreakable encryption services has been for naught, as a new report finds that the technology isn’t as malevolent as the Surveillance State would like us to believe.
There is no trade-off between liberty and security. Indeed, security stems from liberty, not from government.
Sheldon Richman writes on the manner in which James Madison and the Federalists undercut the Anti-Federalists at the Constitutional Convention.
Rather than protecting our liberty, liberty is undercut at every turn by government. It does this primarily, not by stealing us or our children away in the night, nor by directly taking our every last cent. Government consolidates its power through the creation of cartels in all sectors of the economy. Think of money, banking, healthcare, education, the university system, food, etc…The list goes on and on. These sectors of the economy have been cordoned off via regulation, safe from the effects of free competition. Banking is completely immune to competition, this activity is controlled completely by those with cartel-creating power. The method by which government creates a cartel is through regulation. Regulation builds a wall around the industry in question, protecting the established players, and funneling customers to their services. When we make use of the healthcare sector, go to the bank, attend a university, etc., we are playing our part as customers of the cartel system. Through restrictive regulation, our ability to choose with whom to do business is greatly diminished. Governments cartelize the economy via regulation to restrict our choice of where to spend our money, and where we decide to work. It’s insidious because we never notice the choices that will never exist due to government regulation.
The choice isn’t between regulation versus deregulation, but what mechanism should regulate the economy? Should self-interested bureaucracy impose top-down regulation that restricts choice and benefits merely themselves and their comrades in the industry to be regulated? Or should the market be regulated by the free, individual choices of the millions of people who buy, sell, and speculate in the market on a minute-by-minute basis? Government fears the outcome of the latter, and will do anything to prevent it.
…is the Drug War bureaucracy. Nixon declared a “War on Drugs” in 1971, proclaiming that “America’s public enemy number one is drug abuse”. Since that declaration, police have militarized to an unfathomable extent, deadly synthetic drugs that are easier to produce in an environment of Prohibition have left a a mountain of bodies, criminal gangs have ballooned, with all the violence that goes with it, and US prisons have been bursting at the seams with non-violent drug offenders. Billions of dollars have been poured into this futile crusade with nothing to show but the predictable, tragic social disintegration that comes along with the creation of a black market. The chief lesson that the Drug Warriors have failed to learn, because it would threaten their paycheck, is that their creation of the black market is the source of the chaos, not drug use. The government’s enforcement of Prohibition is the enforcement of the black market, which means that government, either intentionally or unintentionally, is protecting the drug market for the most violent of the drug cartels.
An environment of Prohibition incentivizes the creation of violent, black market criminals. An environment of Prohibition incentivizes the employment, by law enforcement, of those who are less inclined to restraint themselves in dealing out violence. The drug cartels rely on the policy of Prohibition just as the US Police State relies on it. The Drug War is the domestic Warfare State’s Golden Goose, it’s the excuse for the massive network of surveillance, war goodies handed down to local cops, no-knock raids, and trigger-happy cops. The Drug War is the reason minorities are rightfully afraid of the police. The Drug War is the outlet for the Bush/Obama power grabs that were sold to protect us from “terrorists”. From the Patriot Act all the way down the legislative line, these instruments of tyranny and oppression are now aimed at you, the citizen.
America’s public enemy number one is NOT drug abuse, it’s not terrorism or some other trumped-up social affliction. The number one enemy is the government that professes to protect us from ourselves, the government that constructs a massive bureaucracy upon our politicized fear.
The Drug War is now a jobs program for the hundreds of thousands of federal and state minions who do its bidding. That bureaucracy has no interest in seeing drug use wiped out; only an escalation of the domestic war will increase their power and their pay.
Steve Horwitz explains the difference, and dissects the false arguments of those who would rule us.