Personal Liberty or Empire?

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What were the founding father’s major intent?  Was it personal liberty or the building of an empire? Hamilton favored a strong national government; my opinion is that he would fit in quite nicely with our modern collection of scumbags, but even he could talk a good game when he needed to (see quote below).  I just can’t see how those historical figures (particularly, Jefferson, Madison, Franklin, Washington, Paine) could be characterized as a group who envisioned that they were building a great imperial power, rather than a haven for individual liberty.  Which would they favor?  Compare them to the national leaders now.  Give me a quote, a story, a verified fact, anything that shows the kind of trust in the federal (i. e. national) government that the power elites of today have, not to mention the yearning for more regulation by a large sampling of our current population (and when I say federal I mean national).  I am not a historical scholar, but I’ve spent quite a bit of time reading the intent of the founders, and postings of the likes of Tom Woods, Thomas DiLorenzoBrad Birzer, et al., and half my day searching for a snippet of an example that they thought a leviathan national state was a good thing.  It certainly wasn’t their intent when they seceded from England.  Here are a few quotes I found:

“if we can but prevent the government from wasting the labours of the people, under the pretence of taking care of them, they must become happy.”–Jefferson

“Does the government fear us? Or do we fear the government? When the people fear the government, tyranny has found victory. The federal government is our servant, not our master!”–Jefferson

“No Free man shall ever be debarred the use of arms.” Thomas Jefferson

Declaration_independence

“If the representatives of the people betray their constituents, there is then no resource left but in the exertion of that original right of self-defense which is paramount to all positive forms of government, and which against the usurpations of the national rulers, may be exerted with infinitely better prospect of success than against those of the rulers of an individual state. In a single state, if the persons intrusted with supreme power become usurpers, the different parcels, subdivisions, or districts of which it consists, having no distinct government in each, can take no regular measures for defense. The citizens must rush tumultuously to arms, without concert, without system, without resource; except in their courage and despair.” Alexander Hamilton, The Federalist Papers # 28.

“…those overgrown military establishments which, under any form of government, are inauspicious to liberty, and which are to be regarded as particularly hostile to republican liberty.”–Washington’s Farewell Address 1796

First, read Thomas Jefferson, George Washington, Thomas Paine, or Ben Franklin’s words, then try picturing their approval of an NDAA that allows for indefinite detention of U.S. citizens without trial, or 900ish overseas bases in 130+ countries, or of a federal government that can spy on its population with drones.  Imagine what they would think as they were introduced to the modern NSA, CIA, and DHS.  Hell, imagine how much coughing you would hear if they knew about a graduated income tax (look at #2 at this site, then read the rest…uggh!).

Frankly, I could care less at this point in my life what the founding fathers thought.  I don’t necessarily need THEM to prove that individual liberty is more valuable than building an empire.  OK, let me rephrase that: Individual liberty and free Human Action are the ultimate good for humanity and giant nation-states are a source of pernicious evil.  You simply can’t have an overbearing national government and freedom, too.  Pick your poison.  You can enlist in the military, wave your flag, patriotically say you “Love America,” just don’t say it’s about liberty.

If you believe in individual liberty, then work for it, fight for it, spread the word and educate.

If you are not in favor of individual liberty, then at least be honest with yourself.  You prefer the collective over independence.  Stop waving the flag and saying you believe in freedom.  The Stars and Stripes are NOT a symbol of freedom any longer…they represent something far different in a large portion of the world.

Oh, and if you prefer the collective over the individual you are horribly in error.

 

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Federal

Aside

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federal (Adjective)

1. Having or relating to a system of government in which several states form a unity but remain independent in internal affairs.

2. Of, relating to, or denoting the central government as distinguished from the separate units constituting a federation.

Contrast with national

 

 

Adjective
  1. Having or relating to a system of government in which several states form a unity but remain independent in internal affairs.
  2. Of, relating to, or denoting the central government as distinguished from the separate units constituting a federation.
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A Long Row to Hoe…Censorship Runs Deep

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According to the link below:  Facebook censors content.  The question is whether Facebook wants to be part of the problem or part of the solution.  In a real market economy, they would be considered a private entity and can censor what they choose.  Of course, the line is blurred when you have corporatism, no?

You see, Facebook has a motivation to stay “sponsored” by the state.  Don’t they?  If they fall out of favor, they won’t get special protection.  They need to stay “too big to fail.”

http://www.naturalnews.com/038484_Gandhi_quote_Facebook_censorship.html

The follow-on question is whether the Facebook as an institution really thinks the State should have a monopoly on force.  Are they really that good?

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Suicide Among Soldiers

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Several stories are out today about how there were more deaths by suicide in the U.S. military than by combat in 2012.  Stories can be found at Salon, CBS and others I’m sure.

The facts say that 313 soldiers (I assume that means Army and doesn’t include Air Force, Navy, Coast Guard, etc.) successfully committed suicide.  Comparably, 212 soldiers (again, this implies only Army) were killed in Afghanistan combat.  Both articles also imply that the suicide rates are on the rise in the military.

Rifleman

Now, I am a peacenik.  I think war is a tool of the state, and the state represents the most unrestrained form of violence.  There is very little that can justify war, particularly when it comes to the United States and the past 100 years (World War II was the last war that even came close to being “justified” for U.S. participation, but even that is arguable).  There certainly can be times when an individual “person” must fight for himself when they are threatened, even with lethal force.  Likewise, there MAY be a time when a fictitious organization (i.e. government) that falsely claims to represent 300 million people may have a reason to kill the population of another geographical land mass because they are subjects of another illegitimate authority, but I can’t think of any.  The bottom line is that war is quite literally, stupid.

However, I caution those who are anti-war from jumping on any suicide statistics to make a case for anything.  These news stories got me to thinking, and of course they got me to trolling for thoughts and facts.

These 2 sites alone helped to come to some conclusions about why these suicide rates are inconclusive.  Here’s the list:

  1. The data comes from the government.  They can cook the books any way they want.  In other words, the data is being released to the funding source, as well as the opinion source.  There are many agendas driving the release of these statistics.  One must always ask, “Why are these statistics being released?”
  2. The numbers are comparable to civilian population…maybe.  The comparable rate of suicide to the civilian population is inconclusive.  The Johntreed site says its 140/100,000 for military and 124/100,000 for civilians.  It is unclear whether this data filters for age, race, gender, etc.
  3. The numbers are really small – In any case, what is not emphasized is that this rate is miniscule for either population.  In other words, 303 suicides in a population of 1,129,283 (this includes reserves) can hardly be considered an epidemic.
  4. Again, the numbers in/out of military are comparable…maybe.  The freethoughtblog site shows different numbers released by the Rand corporation, which also show lower raw rates in the general population.  Of course, this is until they adjust for population factors that they can determine, which of course makes the rate higher in the civilian population.
  5. No data exists for populations comparable to the military-screened population.  The freethought site brings up a good point.  Military members are pre-screened for mental illness, drug use, competency, debt and criminal history.  Then, on top of that they are put through a strenous test of basic training, which thins the “population herd” even further.  It might be extremely difficult to control for this in a general population study.  Intuitively, you might think that the comparable rate of suicide among soldiers might be more frightening after you consider that individuals who are prone to commit suicide have already been weeded out.
  6. What about the military mind?  No data exists, as far as I know on how a population with the psyche willing to kill another in combat (i.e. sign up for military service in the first place) affects the propensity to take one’s own life.  This is regardless of whether or not the individual is in the military or has seen combat.  I think this could be important, although I await data.
Politics by Other Means

Politics by Other Means

A final note for the anti-war crowd (and I’m with you):  a large proportion of these suicides (miniscule already) appear to be from personnel who have never seen combat.  Hardly a hard-hitting case for the effects of the trauma of war.

Bottom line: The news about suicide rates this year in the Army don’t really amount to much as far as evidence for or against war.  Furthermore, I have my doubts about whether there is even a story here.

I’m sure there is much more data, but these stories aren’t it.  Please feel free to contribute to the discussion.

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The Difference Between Building and Destroying

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Destroying is easy, building is difficult.  The examples abound.  To kill a man is quite simple…all it would take is a powerful enough weapon…think of the game Clue:  revolver, rope, wrench, candlestick even!  On the other hand, to save a person is a much more complex thing.  It requires expertise in biology, an understanding of how the body works, the interconnectedness of all the systems.  To repair a body correctly usually requires a well-trained team.

Simple

Simple

Complex

Complex

Eating food is simple.  All you have to do is throw it down the gullet.  Poof, it is gone.  You’ve destroyed it.  To prepare a great meal is another thing.  You have to plan, to measure, and everything has to be timed.  For your meal to be a masterpiece, you must tend to every detail.  Building requires time and understanding.

Designing and creating a building of any type requires quite a bit of work.  You have to sit down with all of the engineering equations to figure if it will stand.  You have to consider form vs. function, and whether an artistic impression will be left with the inhabitants.  You have to consider all that the structure will be used for.  Then, you must hire a team of contractors and builders who work together to erect it.  In today’s world you need a team of lawyers and accountants, not to mention tax experts as well…you have to make sure everything is up to code.

On the other hand, isn’t destroying a building very simple?  You just blow it up with a giant bomb…poof, it is no longer a building, but a pile of rubble.  If it is wooden, it could be set alight with a match and a can of gasoline.  The building would then be ashes.  Destroying is simple.

Boom!

Boom!

Beware of simple solutions.  If something seems to good to be true, it probably is.  Something for nothing usually means somewhere, somebody is being destroyed.  Or possibly, you are being broken down in a ruse.  There are simple concepts that are helpful, but simple explanations often are a result of a failure to consider second and third order effects.

Slow down.  Take some time to consider whether your thoughts, your ideology, or your concept of reality is correct.  To build you must take time.  By being in a hurry you risk destroying.

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