Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Happy Birthday Franz Oppenheimer

Franz Oppenheimer was born on March 30, 1864 in Berlin; he died September 30 1943 in Los Angeles. This is not the Oppenheimer associated with the Atomic Bomb. Our Oppenheimer exposed the mythology of the "social contract" theory of the State, by showing its roots in conquest and violence.

Oppenheimer started out as a physician. Then he studied economics and wrote his PhD dissertation on David Ricardo. After accepting a call to serve as Chair for Sociology and Theoretical Political Economy at Johann Wolfgang Goethe University in Frankfurt/Main (the first chair dedicated to Sociology in Germany) a cooperative agricultural community of individual farms (called a "Moshav") was founded by Jews using Oppenheimer's blueprint. Oppenheimer later taught in Palestine. He fled Nazi persecution to Los Angeles, and became a founding member of The American Journal of Economics and Sociology.

Oppenheimer's book The State looks at the origins of this political entity:

"The State, completely in its genesis, essentially and almost completely during the first stages of its existence, is a social institution, forced by a victorious group of men on a defeated group, with the sole purpose of regulating the dominion of the victorious group over the vanquished, and securing itself against revolt from within and attacks from abroad. Teleologically, this dominion had no other purpose than the economic exploitation of the vanquished by the victors."

"No primitive state known to history originated in any other manner. Wherever a reliable tradition reports otherwise, either it concerns the amalgamation of two fully developed primitive states into one body of more complete organisation, or else it is an adaptation to men of the fable of the sheep which made a bear their king in order to be protected against the wolf. But even in this latter case, the form and content of the State became precisely the same as in those states where nothing intervened, and which became immediately 'wolf states'." (p. 15)
Economic Man and Political Man

Oppenheimer made the compelling observation:
"There are two fundamentally opposed means whereby man, requiring sustenance, is impelled to obtain the necessary means for satisfying his desires. These are work and robbery, one's own labor and the forcible appropriation of the labor of others. Robbery! Forcible appropriation! These words convey to us ideas of crime and the penitentiary, since we are the contemporaries of a developed civilization, specifically based on the inviolability of property. And this tang is not lost when we are convinced that land and sea robbery is the primitive relation of life, just as the warrior's trade - which also for a long time is only organized mass robbery - constitutes the most respected of occupations. Both because of this, and also on account of the need of having, in the further development of this study, terse, clear, sharply opposing terms for these very important contrasts, I propose in the following discussion to call one's own labor and the equivalent exchange of one's own labor for the labor of others, the “economic means" for the satisfaction of needs, while the unrequited appropriation of the labor of others will be called the "political means." (pp. 24-25)
Albert Jay Nock introduced these concepts to American readers in his own book Our Enemy, the State.

h/t Wikipedia

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Defense of Marriage

President Obama has decided not to execute the law known as "Defense of Marriage Act," even though, as Chief Executive of the Executive Branch of government, his job is to execute laws legislated by the Legislative Branch. Obama has judged the law to be "unconstitutional," even though judging laws is arguably the job of the Judicial Branch of government.

Wayne Allyn Root makes a good point:

What would the media's reaction have been if President Bush had decided he would no longer defend the Civil Rights Voting Act on constitutional grounds?

They would have been outraged, of course.

The Constitution is dead meat. Nobody in Washington D.C. really cares what it says or what it was intended to do.

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

"In God We Trust"

The U.S. Supreme Court yesterday chose not to hear an appeal by atheist Michael Newdow from a decision of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals that the national motto, "In God We Trust," as found on currency and elsewhere, violates Newdow's Constitutional rights.

Religion Clause: Cert. Denied In Challenge To "In God We Trust" Motto

The Appeals Court decision was rendered by a different panel of 9th Circuit judges than the one that ruled in favor of Newdow's attack on the words "Under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance, only to have it denounced by Congress and thrown out by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2004 on a technicality.

Long before these 21st-century cases, the 9th Circuit ruled back in 1970 that words like "God" in the Pledge and judicial oaths has no "theological" meaning, that is, does not refer to "the Supreme Judge of the World," or "The Great Lord and Ruler of Nations," or the God of the Bible, but is a secular term, "ceremonial" and "patriotic," designed to inculcate obedience to the State.

History shows, however, that America's Founding Fathers placed their trust in the God of the Bible, not a secular State.

Courts today, imposing the religion of Secular Humanism on our nation, are afraid to say that "In God We Trust" does not refer to God, or that it does and it's "unconstitutional," so they usually resort to technicalities to avoid hearing the case.

Those courts which have been brave enough to take the case, but hypocritical enough to uphold such references to the God of the Bible by calling them instances of "ceremonial deism," forget earlier cases in which "deism" was held to be inconsistent with the founding ideals of this "Christian nation" (e.g., Vidal v. Girard's Executors, 43 U.S. 127 (1844)).

Friday, March 04, 2011

Balanced Budget and Fair Tax vs. the Constitution

Lawrence Vance has a nice essay explaining why those who invest time or money promoting a "Balanced Budget Amendment" and/or a "Fair Tax" are part of the problem, not part of the solution:

Lessons from a Bloated Budget

If Washington D.C. "balanced" its spending on the Department of Education with increased revenue from a "Fair Tax," America's Founding Fathers would say we still have "tyranny."

More votes in Congress are required to amend the Constitution than are required to annually balance a budget. Who really believes that an unbalanced Congress would vote for a balanced budget amendment that really required them to do what they already refuse to do?

Such an amendment would only be for show. At best. The only Amendment such politicians would vote for is one that actually buttresses their tyrannical powers.

Politicians who take the Lord's Name in vain by violating their oath of office through their support for spending which exceeds the enumerated powers of Congress are not "fiscally responsible" if they spend trillions of unconstitutional dollars. An attempt to "balance" an unconstitutionally tyrannical budget is the mark of a sociopath who cares more about the empty slogans that will lead to re-election than he cares about millions of Americans who will suffer.

"Cause Suffering."
Those are harsh words to apply to good conservatives who promote "the Fair Tax" and a "Balanced Budget Amendment."
America's Founding Fathers would have even harsher words.

Soldiers Protect Us?

We're often told that The Troops Defend Our Freedoms.

Of course, the Generals don't protect the freedoms of anti-war groups like the Westboro Baptist Church:

Retired AF generals target Westboro lawyers - Air Force News News from Afghanistan & Iraq - Air Force Times

Robert Nisbet pointed out that the military destroys decent, civil culture:

How the Military Encourages Immorality

Here's an example from the Westboro Baptist Church voicemail:

[[ WARNING: Soldier Speaking -- Violent Language Alert ]]

Don't worry: your First Amendment Freedoms are safe in the hands of soldiers like these.

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

What Friends of Freedom Can Learn from the Socialists


Richard M. Ebeling writes:

On March 14, 1883, a German philosopher living in exile in London passed away. When he was buried three days later in a modest grave where his wife had been laid to rest two years earlier, fewer than ten people were present, half of them family members. His closest friend spoke at the grave-site and said, “Soon the world will feel the void left by the passing of this Titan.” But there was, in fact, little reason to think that the deceased man or his long, turgid, and often obscure writings would leave any lasting impression on the world of ideas or on the course of human events.

That man was Karl Marx.

Advocates of liberty often suffer bouts of despair. How can the cause of freedom ever triumph in a world so dominated by interventionist and welfare-statist ideas?

What friends of freedom need to remember is that trends can change, that they have in the past and will again in the future. If this seems far-fetched, place yourself in the position of a socialist at the time that Marx died in 1883, and imagine that you are an honest and sincere advocate of socialism. As a socialist, you live in a world that is predominately classical liberal and free market, with governments in general only intervening in minimal ways in commercial affairs. Most people—including those in the “working class”—believe that it is not the responsibility of the state to redistribute wealth or nationalize industry and agriculture, and are suspicious of government paternalism.

How could socialism ever be victorious in such a world so fully dominated by the “capitalist” mindset?

Yet within 30 years the socialist idea came to dominate the world. By World War I the notion of paternalistic government had captured the minds of intellectuals and was gaining increasing support among the general population. Welfare-statist interventionism was replacing the earlier relatively free-market environment.

continue reading:
What Friends of Freedom Can Learn from the Socialists