The Libertarian Vanguard

Anti-State • Anti-War • Laissez-Faire

David Cameron’s Bizzare Totalitarian Message to the U.K.

The Independent – “Britain is too tolerant and should interfere more in people’s lives, says David Cameron

Wow, holy crap!

Usually I have a lot to say when a politician utters something so blatantly tyrannical, but in this case you really just have to read what the man said.

Maybe this is more acceptable across the pond, but I would hope that, to American ears, it sounds downright absurd and frightening.

Cameron’s comments are brief—but no less insane—so I can share them here in their entirety. From The Independent article above (including the hyperlink embedded in the original):

Britain is too “passively tolerant” and should not leave people to live their lives as they please just because they obey the law, David Cameron has said.

At the National Security Council today Mr Cameron unveiled a series of measures that he said would crack down on people holding minority “extremist” views that differed from Britain’s consensus.

“For too long, we have been a passively tolerant society, saying to our citizens ‘as long as you obey the law, we will leave you alone’,” he said.

“It’s often meant we have stood neutral between different values. And that’s helped foster a narrative of extremism and grievance.”

The article goes on to quote another state official who disagrees, so good. At least we know Cameron doesn’t belong to his own Sacred “Consensus.”

To parrot a point made by hilarious (I think so, anyway) anti-feminist YouTube commentator, who goes by “Sargon of Akkad,” a reasonable person might surmise that an epidemic of “passive tolerance” would be a great motive to not crack down on the populace. But what the hell do reasonable people know?

“Peace breaks out across Britain, David Cameron alarmed.”

Advertisements

Jonah Goldberg’s Comical Lack of Self-Awareness

National Review – “Why the Left Will Never Talk about Its Real Agenda

From his newsletter, the G-File, published to the National Review website May 16, Jonah Goldberg endeavors to criticize the left and to disrobe its “real agenda.”

Taking aim at liberals and progressives (who else?), Goldberg chastises them for their failure to realize that “[t]he State is a human institution, run by humans who are all too human. The problem is that many people want it to be more.”

Hm, well this is a bit embarrassing…

All the skepticism of governments’ ability to engineer societies is great, but what exactly does one call the ongoing Wilsonian project to spread democracy worldwide? You, Mr. Goldberg, support that! Even if democracy isn’t Goldberg’s primary objective, and even if he tends to mostly glom on support for Republican wars, his grandiose vision of what states are capable of is at least as unrealistic as that of the leftists whom he criticizes.

Not only do America’s wars abroad constitute massive wealth redistribution programs to those who neither need or deserve it, but many, if not the majority of our wars, have involved sweeping attempts at some form of social engineering (whether that be to destroy, or rebuild). Governments’ total inability to manage man, society, and economy doesn’t disappear once it crosses an ocean.

In fact, the disparate, widely-distributed knowledge required to accomplish such an agenda is even less available than it is on the domestic front. Government planning fails everywhere, at least in large part, because decision-makers simply do not have access to all of the relevant, on-the-ground knowledge required to make informed decisions. As state power and decision-making become ever-more centralized, one-size-fits-all solutions are foisted upon an ever-larger number of people, with ever-greater blunders as the result. This holds true for war and foreign policy as much as it does for domestic economic programs.

Many on the right still fail to understand this. No matter how much of everyone else’s money and resources government hurls at a problem—real, perceived, or made up—it will not solve the problem. Not for poverty, not for illiteracy, and certainly not for terrorism.

It’s almost as if our right wingers (I refer to those of the neocon-fellow-traveler persuasion) believe that utopia is forever out of reach, unless it is implemented by the United State (singular on purpose), by force. Where ballots and politics fail domestically, bunker-busters and depleted uranium do the trick abroad. America can spread democracy and build governments for entire societies, it just has to incinerate you and poison your progeny for thousands of years first. If our jingoistic conservatives had their way entirely, one wonders how much more the wars overseas would find their way home.

Insofar as Goldberg calls out the left’s cult-like reverence for political power, you won’t find an argument from me. The term “statolatry”—coined by Italian fascist Giovanni Gentile—immediately comes to mind: the religious idolization of the state. While Goldberg’s own comparison of gods and governments does seem to hold water, he may want to reevaluate just what alter he kneels to.

Cantwell on Violent Revolution

Chris Cantwell’s Blog – “Violently Overthrow the Government

Libertarian blogger Chris Cantwell has made a name for himself by saying things that many of us, if not most, are uncomfortable acknowledging. His above article is a good example of that.

Cantwell suggests that violent insurrection is indeed a viable, ethically-justified, practical path to genuine political liberty. He posits that the continual use of force against state agents could boost the costs associated with the job until it is no longer a desirable occupation.

On the moral side, I actually don’t have much of a problem with this. I, nor you, nor anybody owes the state any form of restraint. The use of armed resistance against state-enforcers is, in most cases, morally equivalent to its use against any other criminal invader. An institution boasts an implicit claim to your stuff, and sends men with guns to enforce its demands. This is not a civilized human interaction.

The problem with the use of force against the state, though, is practical, not moral.

The “increase the costs of state-employment by making it more dangerous” strategy is one which is itself dangerous, with its own prohibitively-high costs. I don’t know about you, but I seem to be under the impression that (especially) the American government wields the greatest repertoire of destructive force mankind has ever seen.

While Matthew Reece makes a good point—that a counter-revolutionary state would have interest in maintaining the domestic infrastructure, and therefore wouldn’t unleash its entire arsenal—I don’t think this quite levels the battlefield. The American people—or at least the small minority willing to resist—can hardly face down the police, let alone the military!

We’ve seen the potential of asymmetric warfare in examples such as Afghan and Vietnamese guerrillas, yet the Americans whom they opposed were fighting abroad, in an unfamiliar territory, and the American military was still able to inflict massive damage and death tolls, with decades-long repercussions for both societies. Are we willing to risk such an outcome? It would certainly seem that failure in this endeavor would mean an eternal discrediting of libertarianism in the eyes of the public (“Libertarians? Oh, those assholes who tried to start a war with the government, who got all those people killed, who disrupted all normalcy in the lives of regular, non-political people? Fuck those guys!”).

This brings me to another point, which for sake of brevity I won’t spend a lot of time on. While the abstract ideal of violent resistance is, I think, morally sound, the on-the-ground reality of insurrection is much messier. Revolution—even Cantwell’s atypical rendering of it—is a bloody, chaotic, often catosrophically-destructive endeavor. The prospect of government deception is readily apparent, citizens aren’t exactly guaranteed to pick the “right side.”

Look at the type of bloodlust frenzy Americans were whipped into during the Waco standoff. “Just go in there and end it,” many said. Such a confrontation was only a tiny example of what real revolution would look like, I fear that a larger-scale attempt would result in a standoff not with government, but with the American people. Call me squeamish, but I’m not sure if that’s really something I’d like to participate in.

On net, I don’t think this society is ready for insurrection, whatever its merits may be. While education and political activism have been inadequate, overly-gradual methods of social change, I believe a successful revolution would be impossible short of more education and activism. There’s probably no distinct line where, once crossed, we are “ready”  for armed resistance, but nonetheless, a real fight would require a much larger consensus than exists today. As libertarians become an ever-larger minority—perhaps some day a majority—a second American Revolution may possibly become a more attractive option.


NOTE: Cantwell has since changed his position regarding the use of force. I just thought it’d be fun to talk about his first article, most of which I agree with.

Also, mind you, I’m speaking very hypothetically here. I am not encouraging you to go shoot government officials. If life is something you find in any way desirable, don’t do that.

Montana House Bills Strike Hard Blows to Police State

Voices of Liberty – “Montana Just Nullified the Federal Police Militarization Program

Daily Caller – “Montana Gov Signs Major Bill To Protect You From Asset Forfeiture

Montana recently passed HB 330 and HB 463, bills which aim to curtail police militarization and civil asset forefeiture practices, respectively.

HB 330 will enforce “[l]imitations on excess property provided to local law enforcement” by the 1033 program, the DHS grant program, or any other program which involves federal transfers of military hardware to local police.

Examples of equipment which the bill seeks to limit include:

(a) automatic weapons not generally recognized as suitable for law enforcement purposes;

(b) drones that are armored, weaponized, or both;

(c) aircraft that: (i) are combat configured or combat coded; or (ii) have no established commercial flight application;

(d) grenades or similar explosives, including but not limited to flash-bang grenades, stun grenades, and grenade launchers;

(e) silencers;

(f) long-range acoustic devices; or

(g) tanks or tanklike vehicles.

In addition, law enforcement will now be expected to provide reasons for future equipment acquisitions—forcing them to justify their longings for tanks, MRAPS, sound cannons, and machine guns—as well as an online public record detailing what hardware the department has received.

HB 463, on the other hand, goes after the long-rampant practice of “civil asset forfeiture” (a fancy phrase for “Hey, you, gimme that!”).

The summary of the bill perhaps provides the best explanation of what it aims to do (taken out of all-caps for better readability):

An act generally revising forfeiture laws;

requiring a criminal conviction for forfeiture of property;

requiring notice of seized property;

providing for a pretrial hearing to determine the validity of the seizure;

requiring a hearing upon criminal conviction to determine whether property must be forfeited;

requiring proof by clear and convincing evidence that seized property was used in connection with or constitutes proceeds from the commission of a criminal offense;

providing exceptions for innocent owners and persons with an ownership interest in seized property;

applying pretrial hearing and innocent owner provisions to criminal forfeiture laws…

Officers will also be required to fill out an itemized receipt, documenting all seized property so that it doesn’t disappear into some bottomless evidence locker, never to be returned to its rightful owner.

In general, this bill shores up the ever-crumbling right to due process, and raises “burden of proof” standards.

Cops can still get their hands on military arsenals and steal your stuff with little accountability, but in Montana, at least, it just got a bit harder.

OPTIMISM.

Rubio New Neocon Favorite, Approves of Israeli Settlements

MondoWeiss – “Rubio calls out Clinton over settlements — and his biggest donor funds one

Anyone who calls the West Bank “Judea and Samaria” is, by my wise estimation, a propagandist for Israel or neocon hack—or do I repeat myself?

Rubio does use that ridiculous moniker.

His largest campaign contributor, Norman Braman—expected to give $10-20 million to Rubio— is also a financial contributor to Israeli settlements in the West Bank (he gave over $300,000 to the Ariel settlements).

So, we’re left with two very displeasing options, granting that Rubio is a serious contender in the distant election.

One is Rubio’s Democrat rival, Hillary. She’s absolutely horrible on just about everything, but she’s shown signs she may be critical of Israel and settlements. “Good” positions from potential candidates are not exactly in extreme abundance, but we’ll takes what we can gets.

As far as Rubio, or really any neocon cardboard cut out, the upside is the potential re-charging of the anti-war movement, considering its sails lose all wind when a Democrat is in office. That’s the bad side of a Hillary victory, more war apology from the left.

Neither is a very bright prospect, but these are the schmucks we’ve got to work with.

Oh, and Rand.

At Least 700 “Significant” Nuclear Accidents 1950–1968 Alone, FOIA Docs Show

The Guardian – “US nearly detonated atomic bomb over North Carolina – secret document

In 1961, a B-52 bomber carrying multiple hydrogen bombs broke up over North Carolina, narrowly avoiding a catastrophe.

Out of the four safety mechanism switches in place to prevent unintentional detonation, only one actually worked in at least one of the two H-bombs that plummeted to earth as a result of the accident.

Some time after, the supervisor of the nuclear weapons safety department at Sandia National Laboratories, Parker F. Jones, wrote a secret report, aptly titled “Goldsboro Revisited or: How I learned to Mistrust the H-Bomb.”

And that is indeed the point here: nuclear weapons, most especially the terror-inducing hydrogen bomb, are downright dangerous. Even if you (naïvely) trust the political classes of nuclear weapons states to never make light of their use, such weapons nonetheless constitute a grave threat to humanity.

Those with their finger on the button effectively hold all of mankind hostage. Despite safety protocols, not only are accidents always possible, but the prospect of a madman ruler coming to the fore remains ever-present as well. No mortal ought to possess the god-like destructive capability offered by these weapons, it’s only a matter of time before they’re misused again.

In fact, one might argue that nuclear weapons are impossible to be used correctly. Their very nature essentially ensures that they can’t be targeted to kill only genuine belligerents. Any practical use imaginable will entail the mass slaughter of innocents, making nukes implicitly immoral.

For an elaboration of the libertarian view on war in general and nuclear weapons in particular, see “War, Peace, & the State,” by Murray N. Rothbard.

Garland Shooters on Twitter: NSA, where you at Bro?

New York TimesTexas Attacker Left Trail of Extremist Ideas on Twitter

It’s fortunate this didn’t turn out as bad as it could have, but I can’t help thinking: despite all the massive privacy violations, bulk-collection surveillance, “public-private partnerships” between big telecoms and the federal government, these incidents are never prevented.

Isn’t that the stated purpose? People like Michael Hayden seem to believe that vast, international surveillance programs can prevent acts of terrorism, but when have they?

Hey, maybe I’m being too cynical here, but such programs aren’t really new, yet we’ve had—to name a few off the top of my head—the Oklahoma City bombing, the first World Trade Center bombing, a large amount of mass killings and school shootings, the 9/11 attacks, etc. etc. A huge proportion of incidents prevented have been fraudulent FBI entrapment jobs, victimizing a political out-group, and the mentally handicapped (seriously, dude), or attacks which failed due to the incompetence of the attackers themselves.

The NSA, as well as the other 4,000 or so US intelligence agencies, have failed the test of success. Even apologist Mike Hayden admits that bulk-collection simply sucks up too much data, rendering it fairly useless. Nonetheless, the NSA has adopted a modus operandi of “collect it all, store it all” in its surveillance of Americans and foreigners alike.

Despite the constant deception and secrecy of all intel agencies, many of these programs no longer hide in obscurity. There are almost certainly operations still unknown to the American public, but for those we do know of, I can only hope that their continued failure will elicit ever-larger responses. The American government has granted itself what Ed Snowden called “the greatest weapon for oppression in the history of man,” it’s becoming more obvious to everyone that’s all it is.