How Government Literally Makes People Go Insane

[SOURCE: The Daily Bell]

by Joe Jarvis

The most effective way to change the world if you have kids is to treat them right. Everything could change in one generation if there were a radical shift in parenting.

Unfortunately, some indicators suggest things are getting worse. For instance, there has been an increase in kids hospitalized for attempted suicide or suicidal indicators.

Now we can just hope that parents are becoming more alert to the warning signs and are therefore properly identifying them early in order to prevent suicide.

But the most concerning thing is that these incidents tend to be concentrated at certain times of the year. One of the most likely times for a kid to need a hospital visit because of suicidal tendencies or attempts is in the fall when school starts back up.

There are two probable reasons for this. One, being ridiculed and bullied by their peers makes kids feel like social outcasts, and transitioning to a new school year could increase that. Evolution has programmed the human mind to want acceptance of the group for survival reasons, so being ostracized can make you literally feel like you are going to die because if this was 10,000 years ago, you probably would.

And then there are the drugs. You know, the legalized forms of cocaine and heroine that we give to kids to make them alert, focused, or calm, and manageable. There are all sorts of side effects to the drugs, and based on the spiking and dropping levels of dopamine and other chemicals in the brain, this can cause erratic behavior.

But either way, the school system seems to be the root of the problem, whether it is exposing kids to negative people they don't need in their lives, drugs to help them function "normally" in an abnormal school environment, or just the unnatural environment itself where one is trapped, caged, and coerced in order to prepare them for an equally coercive society afterwards.

Coercion is Ruining Society

It turns out coercion is a serious problem that can lead to mental health issues. Coercion might even cause most of the ills we see in society today. The same thing that makes a teenager lash out and act erratically in opposition to strict rules is what makes people do crazy things in a society dominated by arbitrary and oppressive government edicts.

According to Bruce Levin, PhD, in his article, Societies With Little Coercion Have Little Mental Illness:

Coercion—the use of physical, legal, chemical, psychological, financial, and other forces to gain compliance—is intrinsic to our society's employment, schooling, and parenting. However, coercion results in fear and resentment, which are fuels for miserable marriages, unhappy families, and what we today call mental illness.

It Starts With Your Kids

Most parents have their kids' best interests at heart when parenting, yes some still treat their child like a wild animal that must be broken. So many people in our society would have no idea what to do with freedom because all they have ever known is oppression. It starts in childhood, and evidence suggests that a more free child leads to a happier adult.

Levin points out that some cultures see very little mental illness, and he suggests it is because of the way the children are reared.

For many indigenous peoples, even the majority rule that most Americans call democracy is problematically coercive, as it results in the minority feeling resentful. Roland Chrisjohn, member of the Oneida Nation of the Confederacy of the Haudenausaunee (Iroquois) and author of The Circle Game, points out that for his people, it is deemed valuable to spend whatever time necessary to achieve consensus so as to prevent such resentment. By the standards of Western civilization, this is highly inefficient. "Achieving consensus could take forever!" exclaimed an attendee of a talk that I heard given by Chrisjohn, who responded, "What else is there more important to do?"

Among indigenous societies, there are many accounts of a lack of mental illness, a minimum of coercion, and wisdom that coercion creates resentment which fractures relationships.

How could we expect coercion to yield results as positive as agreement? All interaction should be voluntary; you cannot have positive ends if you do not use positive means to achieve those ends. I am not a parent, and I don't expect perfection from anyone, but parents should at least try to solve issues with their kids without being so forceful and coercive.

Let kids be who they want to be, with the steady hand of your guidance, not an iron fist. Clearly, a child cannot always get what they want, and I am not advocating giving in to any random whim. Just realize how important freedom is for children in order to grow and learn.

This is why the public school system is horribly damaging to a large percentage of children. That is not the only nor best way to learn, and in fact really just teaches obedience to authority. Public schooling sets children up to be mindless drones in the work world, where they will be used to the coercion, but not happy about it.

[Jared] Diamond, in The World Until Yesterday (2012), reports how laissez-faire parenting is "not unusual by the standards of the world's hunter-gatherer societies, many of which consider young children to be autonomous individuals whose desires should not be thwarted." Diamond concludes that by our society's attempt to control children for what we believe is their own good, we discourage those traits we admire:

"Other Westerners and I are struck by the emotional security, self-­confidence, curiosity, and autonomy of members of small-scale societies, not only as adults but already as children. We see that people in small-scale societies spend far more time talking to each other than we do, and they spend no time at all on passive entertainment supplied by outsiders, such as television, videogames, and books. We are struck by the precocious development of social skills in their children. These are qualities that most of us admire, and would like to see in our own children, but we discourage development of those qualities by ranking and grading our children and constantly ­telling them what to do."

Bravo to home-schoolers and free range parenting. They are ahead of the curve by going back to the basics.

Then It's Your Job…

I don't believe the reason so many hate going to work is not the work itself, but the fact that we cannot act like ourselves when at work. We feel coerced in one way or another into not being who we want to be. This is a mild form of coercion, one that often doesn't go beyond venting over a beer after work, or every once in a while both middle fingers and: "I quit!" screamed at the boss.

But is the quiet desperation of a 9-5 you hate–saving for retirement, but probably drinking yourself to death before you get to enjoy it–really the way to live? What if we couldn't afford cable, couldn't afford a new car, or a perfect house–but were happy?

Critics of schooling—from Henry David Thoreau, to Paul Goodman, to John Holt, to John Taylor Gatto—have understood that coercive and unengaging schooling is necessary to ensure that young people more readily accept coercive and unengaging employment. And as I also reported in that same article, a June 2013 Gallup poll revealed that 70% of Americans hate their jobs or have checked out of them.

Unengaging employment and schooling require all kinds of coercions for participation, and human beings pay a psychological price for this. In nearly three decades of clinical practice, I have found that coercion is often the source of suffering…

In all societies, there are coercions to behave in culturally agreed-upon ways. For example, in many indigenous cultures, there is peer pressure to be courageous and honest. However, in modernity, we have institutional coercions that compel us to behave in ways that we do not respect or value. Parents, afraid their children will lack credentials necessary for employment, routinely coerce their children to comply with coercive schooling that was unpleasant for these parents as children. And though 70% of us hate or are disengaged from our jobs, we are coerced by the fear of poverty and homelessness to seek and maintain employment.

In our society, we are taught that accepting institutional coercion is required for survival. We discover a variety of ways—including drugs and alcohol—to deny resentment.

And the government is perfectly happy with the arrangement because it is easier to control–and tax–"normal" people who just go to work every day.

Government Enforces and Exacerbates the Problem

We cannot even live on a piece of land without being coerced by government to earn some money in order to pay the property taxes. But we have to earn more than the amount owed in property taxes because we are taxed on our earnings as well. We are taxed on the vehicle and gas that gets us to work, which require more work to pay off–earnings, again, that must go above and beyond what we need because it will be taxed.

Could this be the overlooked factor that makes America more violent than some other developed nations? Has the American government piled so many laws, regulations, and statutes on top of each other that American citizens can't just go through life without being told perfectly normal, non-violent behavior is wrong?

I think this highlights the problem with mass shootings that many have been pointing out. Whoever the shooters feel they are being oppressed by, they are correctly identifying that they are being coerced. Of course, their response is insane, and probably related to the drugs they take (some of which we also give kids), but there would never be a need for drugs if a coercive society had not reared them.

The hopelessness felt when being forced to spend money, behave a certain way, or not do something you want to do, is one of those gut wrenching deep feelings of despair that grow inside some people until they burst.

But now imagine that the government has taken everything from you. Imagine if they took your car as a civil asset forfeiture? What if your tax burden is 50%? What if you give up on that business you want to start because of the pile of paperwork and extra costs required by the government?

What if they take your kids because they are home schooled, or shoot your dog for no reason whatsoever? All these things happen, unfortunately relatively regularly, in America.

Many of us are baffled by why someone would become a terrorist, especially a suicide bomber. Again, this is the coercion the Middle East is smothered in by the USA. Imagine losing your childhood because you could not go outside because of the American drones. Imagine family members having been murdered by laughing soldiers. Imagine all your hopes and dreams bombed away in the blink of an eye. Again, this is the unfortunate reality for many people today.

In the 1970s, prior to the domination of the biopsychiatry / Big Pharma partnership, many mental health professionals took seriously the impact of coercion and resentful relationships on mental health. And in a cultural climate more favorable than our current one for critical reflection of society, authors such as Erich Fromm, who addressed the relationship between society and mental health, were taken seriously even within popular culture. But then psychiatry went to bed with Big Pharma and its Big Money, and their partnership has helped bury the commonsense reality that an extremely coercive society creates enormous fear and resentment, which results in miserable marriages, unhappy families, and severe emotional and behavioral problems.

>> Original source

Manufacturing Resistance – The American Public is Being Manipulated Into Irrelevance

[SOURCE: Liberty Blitzkrieg]

by Michael Krieger

No honest person could accuse me of being a Trump fan or supporter. I refused to back his candidacy despite my total disdain for Hillary Clinton and pretty much everything she stands for. More importantly, I've written a multitude of articles since he was inaugurated severely taking him to task on a wide variety of subjects. I've tirelessly discussed how he's outsourced his economic policy to Goldman Sachs, and condemned his burgeoning neocon foreign policy, evidenced by his disturbing coziness with the autocratic barbarians of Saudi Arabia.

Nevertheless, the most incredible aspect of the past four months is not how much of a fake populist Trump's proven to be, but how the corporate media's managed to disgust me even more. I'm happy to become outraged at Trump, because I find many things about Trump outrageous. That said, I find it telling that the stuff about Trump that outrages me, is never the same stuff which outrages the corporate media. Why is that?

The reason is the corporate media doesn't mind Goldman Sachs running U.S. economic policy. It also doesn't mind a close alliance with the terrorist state of Saudi Arabia, or our government's endless string of disastrous neocon wars abroad. In fact, when it comes to the latter, the corporate media is reliably the primary cheerleader for unprovoked militarism.

Following the election of Trump, an axis of evil in U.S. politics has formed consisting of the corporate media, neoliberal Democrats (Hillary cultists) and neocons. This alliance has one primary objective, which revolves around obsessing incessantly on a conspiracy theory that deflects attention away from the crimes of our very own domestic plutocrats, war mongers and rent-seekers (you know, the forces that are actually wrecking the country). Russia is the perfect outside enemy to rally ignorant rubes around in order to prevent any real progressive or centrist populism from ever gaining a foothold in U.S. politics. Unfortunately, thanks to the gullibility of the average American, their plan seems to be succeeding.

As I noted earlier today on Twitter:

The reason the "elites" are elites is because they know how to corral and manipulate the sheep.
2017 is the perfect manifestation of it

— Michael Krieger (@LibertyBlitz) [May 16, 2017][2]

The current environment is fertile ground for real populist movements to fight for an improvement in the lives of average Americans, but the public is being fooled into focusing all its energy on an unproven Russia collusion theory which hasn't caused any of our very real national suffering. Our very own homegrown racketeers and thieves are to blame for that, but we're being told to focus our attention on Russia. This isn't an accident people, you're being played, and played quite easily at that.

Ironically, "the resistance" is actually sucking all the air out of what should be real resistance. After spending a few months in the woods, Hillary is now actively moving to co-opt the entire movement. Why's she doing that? I think she still covets the throne, and I think she's power hungry and delusional enough to go for it.

Hillary's positioning to run again, and there's still no viable new third party. Even worse, there's the naive and gullible Bernie Sanders still trying to "change Democrats from within," a laughable and useless exercise. It's unbelievably pathetic and disempowering, but it could get a lot worse. Brace yourselves for a few years of Hillary running around in leather jackets talking like a "populist" as she desperately attempts to reinvent herself. Our national nightmare is far from over.

Meanwhile, to all of you yapping incessantly about Russia, don't complain in 2020 when you get a horrible corporate Democratic candidate and Trump wins. Even if you dodge the Hillary bullet, don't expect for a second to get anyone decent nominated. The "resistance" is clueless and Trump has much better odds of a second term than ever being impeached. The Russia nonsense is all a carefully crafted distraction narrative to keep you stuck on the debt serf plantation and away from organizing genuine resistance. Keep it up, the plutocrats are laughing uncontrollably.

This is precisely why I reserve my most intense contempt for the corporate media. It's quite intentionally focusing people's attention on a still unproven theory that marginally affects their lives, compared to very real issues of economic misery and the neo-feudal world being institutionalized all around them. This is straight up evil. The corporate press is deliberately not focusing on things that really matter to people, and diverting mass attention to what is still just a conspiracy theory. If you have proof Trump is a Russian stooge, let's see it. If not, then focus on the very serious issues that matter and helped elect Trump in the first place. The corporate media, neoliberal Dems and neocons are successfully diverting genuine angst and energy away from pressing economic concerns and toward a imperial geopolitical agenda that benefits the plutocrats and their ambitions. They are manufacturing resistance.

Yesterday's Washington Post article accusing Trump of divulging classified intel to Russian officials is a perfect example of this. It's been blown up as the biggest story in decades, yet I read it and basically shrugged. Imagine if the corporate press rallied this strongly against plutocracy, Wall Street and militarism? Imagine that. We might actually be able to help our fellow citizens who are struggling.

But no, the corporate press isn't interested in doing that. It's interested in keeping you stuck right where you are. Oppressed under a pile of debt and an absence of opportunity. It's sad to watch people get manipulated so easily, but until people wake up and say enough, it's only going to get worse.

In Liberty,
Michael Krieger

>> Original source

The Purpose of Life is to Be a Nobody

[SOURCE: medium]

by Zat Rana

We all experience the world like we are at the center of reality.

We think and we feel in relation to how our senses absorb information and how this information mingles with our personal memories. The subjective perception created by these interactions provides the illusion of importance.

We forget that this perception only exists in our minds and that everyone near us is walking around under exactly the same psychological mindset.

In truth, we're just one of billions, and over the course of history, everything about us is insignificant. Even people like Newton and Einstein, who we revere for their contributions to humanity, are only slightly less insignificant.

Our universe contains one septillion stars (a one followed by 24 zeroes) and a lot of these stars contain many, many more modes of dust that we call planets. If any of us ceased to exist tomorrow, little would change beyond the subjective emotional states of the people in our immediate circles.

Earth would continue its orbit, and the laws of physics would remain in tact. We're nothing more than a fraction of a ripple in an infinite sea of entropy.

Many of us don't like hearing this. It conflicts with the story our mind tells.

We're brought up to think that we're special, and we like believing it. But I don't say any of this as a cynic or to depress you. In fact, quite the opposite. I say it because distinguishing between our subjective perception and the objective reality is the key to living a meaningful and important life.

Acknowledging unimportance liberates us from the grips of the self-centered voice in our head that's chiefly responsible for many of life's difficulties.

It's the voice that compares us to people that don't matter, it's the same voice that convinces us that we're entitled to a comfortable and easy life, and it's indeed this voice that has us chasing arbitrary measures of success.

And the result?

We spend our time acquiring things we don't want or need, we falter at the first sign of hardship and inconvenience, and one day, we wake up to a ticking clock realizing that, all this time, we've lived somebody else's life.

The surest way to be unfilled is to walk around like you hold some sort of a privileged position in the universe. It's not only a completely false and harmful illusion, but it also overlooks the fringe benefits of being a nobody.

I'd like to walk you through them.

1. Being a nobody allows us to truly experience and appreciate the profoundness of the sublime.

In 1757, Edmund Burke published one of the most influential works in aesthetics. It's a branch of philosophy that deals with the nature of beauty.

In it, he separated sensory experiences into The Beautiful and The Sublime.

We're all familiar with The Beautiful. It can be summarized by the standard definition. We see it every day in the things we find stunning and pleasant. The Sublime, however, is different. It's more than just visually enticing. It's overwhelming. It makes us feel small, and it has the power to engorge us.

It's found when we are in awe at the might of nature, it's experienced in the emotion of love, and it's discovered when we are compelled by a great work of art. It's a heightened sense of existence beyond comfort and normalcy.

To fully indulge in The Sublime, we have to give up a part of ourselves. We are forced to accept a degree of inferiority for a connection to something greater. The risk of vulnerability is balanced by the reward of ecstasy.

No one is immune from experiencing this wonder, but an ego and a deep sense of personal importance get in the way. They seek ecstasy without accepting vulnerability, and they then find themselves cornered with fear.

There is nothing desirable about it. It leads to a kind of paralysis that steals the potential of experiencing some of the great joys in life. It may be masked with humor or rationality, but in truth, it's nothing more than insecurity.

Being a nobody, you don't have this problem. You accept that you're already naked, so you may as well put it on display to try and gain something.

More often than not, you do.

2. Being a nobody frees us from the irrational pressures and expectations of an uncertain world.

We live our lives guided by labels and hierarchies. It's how we make sense of a complex reality. That said, these labels and hierarchies aren't absolute.

A tree isn't a tree because a law of nature has defined it as a tree. It's a tree because our cognitive brains have learned to understand it as such. It's our way of translating sensory noise into a mode of organization that's useful.

This is a crucial distinction. Our observation of reality is an approximation confined by the boundaries of language. It's uncertain and in large part unpredictable. As the late Nobel Laureate Albert Camus noted, we live to reason with an unreasonable world and it often leads to a conflicted life.

When you bind these labels and hierarchies too closely to your identity, you anchor your expectations to things that are fundamentally fragile.

If you gain your worth from being a CEO and the fact that you wield a degree of power in the context of a business, rather than, say, from intrinsic values, then you will eventually find yourself in a position of conflict.

Life isn't concerned with your artificial sense of importance. At some point, there will be a divergence between the story you tell yourself and the cold, hard reality. Your net worth won't matter, and the fall will be much steeper.

When you are a nobody, however, you don't pretend that a label — whether good or bad — is anything more than a figment of our collective imagination. You liberate yourself from many of the petty societal pressures of existence.

You may still assume a certain role with pride, but knowing that it doesn't make you any more or less important grounds you on a firmer foundation.

It's a small mental shift that makes a big difference.

3. Being a nobody gives us the humility to realize that it's our struggles that define us, not our desires.

When we convince ourselves that we're more special than what the universe dictates, we tend to develop a sense of entitlement about what life owes us.

We choose to believe the surface-level stories about what happiness and success look like, and we are quick to think that they don't cost a thing.

The harsh truth is that the universe doesn't owe anyone anything. It's utterly indifferent to what you or I want. It exists as it does based on the forces that act on it, and to shape an outcome in our favor, it's on us to pick our battles.

It's fine and well to want an amazing career, but walking around with the assumption that you deserve one won't get you there. It's the price that you are willing to pay that will. It's that initial unrewarded work and those long, long hours of blood and sweat and tears with no end in sight that will.

To accept such struggles, it takes humility. It requires you to acknowledge that you're just like everybody else that wants a great job, a wonderful relationship, and consistent happiness. Your desires aren't unique.

It means that you accept that the difference isn't in what you want, but in what you are willing to suffer for. It's about the trade-offs you're willing to endure, the beatings you're willing to take, and it's about knowing that in spite of all of that, the fruits of your labor may still not amount to anything.

It's about boldly staring life in the face and having the courage to say,

"I might not be much, and I know I won't always get what I want, but it sure as hell doesn't mean that I won't try."

And that, ultimately, is the purpose of life. To try and see reality in its true form and then to do what you can to shape it into what you wish it were.

You're already a nobody, and as am I. We're not owed anything. The sooner we realize that, the sooner we can focus on the things we can change. And there's a lot we can change. It's not easy, but that's precisely why it's valuable.

We're each a negligible part of a vast cosmic entity, and there really is something beautiful about that if you choose to see it for what it is.

>> Original source

Can times get better in America without a major crisis?

[SOURCE: Personal Liberty]

by Bob Livingston

There is war going on now between government and the American people. It's being fought on many fronts. Only a few Americans are aware of the depth and breadth of what is happening, and fewer still are seriously concerned.

You knowledgeable readers of Personal Liberty® and consumers of non-fake news are outliers, making up only a small percentage of the American populace. The vast majority of Americans are unaware, and unaware that they are unaware. They are blown to and fro and easily excited over every fake meme and outrage making its way across social media and headlined on mainstream media outlets.

Did you know that the U.S. has almost as many in prison as China and Russia combined?

The U.S. is a prosecuting attorney haven. What else would anyone expect with more lawyers in the U.S. than the rest of the world combined?

The American system of Justice (just us) is the modern version of the old Star Chamber. A Star Chamber is a system of entrapment that provides no escape. The accused is made to testify against himself and then punished upon confession of guilt.

American jurisprudence is just like the Star Chamber. All rules of evidence in the U.S. start with "pretrial discovery" or the deposition of the defendant. The defendant is sworn to tell the truth which necessarily includes confession and testimony against himself. If he refuses to testify (confess) he is arrested and jailed. If, on the other hand he answers the questions, he will sooner or later incriminate himself.

It is a crime to lie to federal agents (and even local police can charge you with obstruction of justice for lying), but it is not a crime for federal agents — or any investigative agent — to lie to you about any evidence he may or may not possess. In fact, they are trained to lie in order to attempt to extract from you a confession or to coerce you into incriminating yourself in a crime for which they did not even suspect.

The IRS entrapment system is the perfect example of the Star Chamber. If you don't agree to testify (confession), the agent forces your tax return without benefit of deductions. The U.S. is especially aggressive in seeking tax prosecution cases.

America has many political prisoners. The "law" and the criminal code are used to go after anyone who will not conform.

Ninety-nine percent of all cases prosecuted go in favor of the government. Anyone thinking that they have constitutional rights in America need to know this before they go into court against the government. It is almost impossible to beat the king in his own court. He has an ever-full money sack, an army of investigators and lawyers and a sympathetic press at his discretion.

So yes, you are guilty! Believe me, anyone in America can be prosecuted on some tax or other nebulous pretext. There is a crime for all of us. Currently there are some 4,500 listed criminal offenses. These listed Federal offenses have exploded well beyond the statute books and into the morass of the Code of Federal Regulations, giving federal prosecutors thousands of additional vague, complex and technical prohibitions removed from congressional authority or any authority but the federal prosecutors themselves. People are targeted and a crime is found to fit.

As Harvey Silverglate writes in his book, Three Felonies a Day: How the Feds Target the Innocent, it's more than likely that every American commits at least three felonies every day just going about the normal, everyday task of living.

John Stuart Mill wrote in his classic work On Liberty, "Let us not flatter ourselves that we are yet free from the stain of legal persecution." Oxford World Classics 1998 ed. pp34.

The government uses criminal law for political purposes. Oaths are imposed to twist people into self-prosecution.

The American press cannot be trusted to expose the truth. The national press is either part of the Central Intelligence Agency or is owned/controlled by the CIA and the Council on Foreign Relations. The national press is also in an incestuous relationship with both major political parties.

The few independent journalists who manage to make it to prominence must comply with established orthodoxy or be run out of town (see Sharyl Attkisson and Helen Thomas) so they are fearful and intimidated by the government. The press will only tell the government's side of any issue.

Even though government is on the brink of collapse, no one will relinquish power.

Federal judges, as a whole, only rule in favor of the government. Few Americans are aware that the judiciary of the United States is accountable to no one. Thomas Jefferson was correct when he said the most ruthless, dishonest and dangerous segment in our government is the unaccountable judiciary.

Everything lies in their hands, from property values to the national wealth itself. When the rule of law becomes the self-interest of the state, nobody is safe. Your future is destroyed and your savings and assets are not secure.

When a Federal judge does not have any checks and balances to regulate his behavior, the very purpose of the rule of law is defeated.

There is no incentive to obey any law when prosecutors (prosecuting attorneys) and all judges have absolute immunity and when persons of privilege and stature are exonerated for wrongdoing that puts others under the prison (Hillary Clinton and Huma Abedin). It does not matter if they are in direct conflict with the established law and the U.S. Constitution.

The government legal system forces pleas of guilty on threat of much larger sentences if one goes to trial. This, too, is our modern version of the old Star Chamber. You see, we don't have to call it Star Chamber.

Federal, state and local police agencies have become branches of the military (the standing army the Founders feared), outfitted in full military garb and with all the weapons of war. They are trained with an us-versus-them mentality (many of them now come out of the Middle East wars) and respond to even the most minor of all incidents with overwhelming force.

Like judges and prosecutors, LEOs (legally entitled to oppress) enjoy qualified immunity. They are rarely held accountable when their actions lead to the death or injury of someone they suspect of being a criminal. So any system or government agent immune from prosecution can never be wrong, and tyranny reigns. So it is government against the people, not government by the people.

The major parties and the press — aided by foreign money (George Soros) — are also fomenting civil war among the masses. These battles are breaking out in cities across the nation under the guise of protests against offensive speech or ideology and defense of free speech.

But the participants are largely paid actors who are working to incite the populace against itself. What we are witnessing is the Hegelian Dialectic or synthesis, of creating a new order or thesis.

The U.S. is past the point of no return. Even though the system is stained with blood, it will not and it cannot self-correct. And certainly it will not through the political process, which only rearranges the deck chairs. It will have to totally collapse.

So to answer the original interrogative: Can times get better in America without a major crisis?

Not possible!

We must go through the fire to wipe the slate clean. I hope you are prepared. If you are, I will meet you on the other side and together we can rebuild a free nation.

>> Original source

Why Politicians Win (and Workers Lose) Under Socialism

[SOURCE: Mises Institute]

by Hans-Hermann Hoppe

Socialism leads to the politicization of society. Hardly anything can be worse for the production of wealth.

Socialism, at least its Marxist version, says its goal is complete equality. The Marxists observe that once you allow private property in the means of production, you allow differences. If I own resource A, then you do not own it and our relationship toward resource A becomes different and unequal. By abolishing private property in the means of production with one stroke, say the Marxists, everyone becomes co-owner of everything. This reflects everyone's equal standing as a human being.

The reality is much different. Declaring everyone a co-owner of everything only nominally solves differences in ownership. It does not solve the real underlying problem:  there remain differences in the power to control what is done with resources.

In capitalism, the person who owns a resource can also control what is done with it. In a socialized economy, this isn't true because there is no longer any owner. Nonetheless the problem of control remains. Who is going to decide what is to be done with what? Under socialism, there is only one way: people settle their disagreements over the control of property by superimposing one will upon another. As long as there are differences, people will settle them through political means.

If people want to improve their income under socialism they have to move toward a more highly valued position in the hierarchy of caretakers. That takes political talent.

Under such a system, people will have to spend less time and effort developing their productive skills and more time and effort improving their political talents.

As people shift out of their roles as producers and users of resources, we find that their personalities change. They no longer cultivate the ability to anticipate situations of scarcity to take up productive opportunities, to be aware of technological possibilities, to anticipate changes in consumer demand, and to develop strategies of marketing. They no longer have to be able to initiate, to work, and to respond to the needs of others.

Instead, people develop the ability to assemble public support for their own position and opinion through means of persuasion, demagoguery, and intrigue, through promises, bribes, and threats. Different people rise to the top under socialism than under capitalism. The higher on the socialist hierarchy you look, the more you will find people who are too incompetent to do the job they are supposed to do. It is no hindrance in a caretaker politician's career to be dumb, indolent, inefficient, and uncaring. He only needs superior political skills. This too contributes to the impoverishment of society.

The United States is not fully socialized, but already we see the disastrous effects of a politicized society as our own politicians continue to encroach on the rights of private property owners. All the impoverishing effects of socialism are with us in the U.S.: reduced levels of investment and saving, the misallocation of resources, the over-utilization and vandalization of factors of production, and the inferior quality of products and services. And these are only tastes of life under total socialism.

[Excerpted from Why Socialism Must Fail, published in The Free Market Reader.]

>> Original source

Taxation Is Theft

[SOURCE: Zero Hedge]

by Tyler Durden

It's a double-whammy for the U.S. taxpayer. Bloomberg notes that not only are many Americans writing yet another check to Uncle Sam this tax season, they're also paying more to have someone handle their returns. The Labor Department's consumer-price index for tax return preparation rose 2.4 percent, the third-biggest monthly gain ever, to a record in March.

Such trends show why firms like Intuit Inc., the maker of TurboTax, and H&R Block Inc., have spent millions of dollars lobbying Congress to limit efforts to simplify the tax-filing process.

But it gets worse, as Andrew Napolitano writes via The Mises Institute; with a tax code that exceeds 72,000 pages in length and consumes more than six billion person hours per year to determine taxpayers' taxable income, with an IRS that has become a feared law unto itself, and with a government that continues to extract more wealth from every taxpaying American every year, is it any wonder that April 15th is a day of dread in America?

Social Security taxes and income taxes have dogged us all since their institution during the last century, and few politicians have been willing to address these ploys for what they are: theft.

During the 2012 election, then-Texas Gov. Rick Perry caused a firestorm among big-government types during the Republican presidential primaries last year when he called Social Security a Ponzi scheme. He was right. It's been a scam from its inception, and it's still a scam today.

When Social Security was established in 1935, it was intended to provide minimal financial assistance to those too old to work. It was also intended to cause voters to become dependent on Franklin Delano Roosevelt's Democrats. FDR copied the idea from a system established in Italy by Mussolini. The plan was to have certain workers and their employers make small contributions to a fund that would be held in trust for the workers by the government. At the time, the average life expectancy of Americans was 61 years of age, but Social Security didn't kick in until age 65. Thus, the system was geared to take money from the average American worker that he would never see returned.

Over time, life expectancy grew and surpassed 65, the so-called trust fund was raided and spent, and the system was paying out more money than it was taking in – just like a Ponzi scheme. FDR called Social Security an insurance policy. In reality, it has become forced savings. However, the custodian of the funds – Congress – has stolen the savings and spent it. And the value of the savings has been diminished by inflation.

Today, the best one can hope to receive from Social Security is dollars with the buying power of 75 cents for every dollar contributed. That makes Social Security worse than a Ponzi scheme. You can get out of a Ponzi investment. You can't get out of Social Security. Who would stay with a bank that returned only 75 percent of one's savings?

The Constitution doesn't permit the feds to steal your money. But steal, the feds do.

Also in 2012, during a Republican presidential debate, a young man asked the moderator to pose the following question to the candidates: "If I earn a dollar, how much of it am I entitled to keep?" The question was passed to one of the candidates, who punted, and then the moderator changed the topic. Only Congressman Ron Paul gave a serious post-debate answer to the young man's question: "All of it."

Every official foundational government document – from the Declaration of Independence to the U.S. Constitution to the oaths that everyone who works for the government takes – indicates that the government exists to work for us. The Declaration even proclaims that the government receives all of its powers from the consent of the governed. If you believe all this, as I do, then just as we don't have the power to take our neighbor's property and distribute it against his will, we lack the ability to give that power to the government. Stated differently, just as you lack the moral and legal ability to take my property, you cannot authorize the government to do so.

Here's an example you've heard before. You're sitting at home at night, and there's a knock at the door. You open the door, and a guy with a gun pointed at you says: "Give me your money. I want to give it away to the less fortunate." You think he's dangerous and crazy, so you call the police. Then you find out he is the police, there to collect your taxes.

The framers of the Constitution understood this. For 150 years, the federal government was run by user fees and sales of government land and assessments to the states for services rendered. It rejected the Hamiltonian view that the feds could take whatever they wanted, and it followed the Jeffersonian first principle that the only moral commercial exchanges are those that are fully voluntary.

This worked well until the progressives took over the government in the first decade of the 20th century. They persuaded enough Americans to cause their state legislatures to ratify the Sixteenth Amendment, which was designed to tax the rich and redistribute wealth. They promised the American public that the income tax would never exceed 3 percent of income and would only apply to the top 3 percent of earners. How wrong – or deceptive – they were.

Yet, the imposition of a federal income tax is more than just taking from those who work and earn and giving to those who don't. And it is more than just a spigot to fill the federal trough. At its base, it is a terrifying presumption. It presumes that we don't really own our property. It accepts the Marxist notion that the state owns all the property and the state permits us to keep and use whatever it needs us to have so we won't riot in the streets. And then it steals and uses whatever it can politically get away with. Do you believe this?

There are only three ways to acquire wealth in a free society. The inheritance model occurs when someone gives you wealth. The economic model occurs when you trade a skill, a talent, an asset, knowledge, sweat, energy or creativity to a willing buyer. And the mafia model occurs when a guy with a gun says: "Give me your money or else."

Which model does the government use? Why do we put up with this?

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