The Impossible Dream Of Classical Liberalism

I have had increasing difficulty in understanding why someone would remain a classical liberal, rather than making the further move to embrace genuine self-government in place of the classical liberal’s objective, “limited government.” My difficulty arises not so much from a dissatisfaction with government’s being charged with protecting the citizens from force and fraud, but from a growing conviction that government (as we know it) does not, on balance, actually carry out these tasks and, worse, that it does not even try to carry them out except in a desultory and insincere way—indeed, as a ruse.

Truth be told, government as we know it never did and never will confine itself to protecting citizens from force and fraud. In fact, such government is itself the worst violator of people’s just rights to life, liberty, and property. For every murder or assault the government prevents, it commits a hundred. For every private property right it protects, it violates a thousand. Although it purports to suppress and punish fraud, the government itself is a fraud writ large—an enormous engine of plunder, abuse, and mayhem, all sanctified by its own “laws” that redefine its crimes as mere government activities—a racket protected from true justice by its own judges and its legions of hired killers and thugs.

This is a view I have not yet embraced. Having now seen it, I find it intuitively appealing. Via Classical Liberalism’s Impossible Dream | The Beacon (and be sure to read the comments).

Tyranny in our time

Both parties have luxuriated in the drunken power of government, at our expense. Mr. Obama did not build the IRS, nor did Richard Nixon, but both wielded it as a weapon. Now the IRS is poised to become the hammer of even our health care. Democrats are furiously converting the welfare state into an authoritarian state right before our eyes, and most in the GOP establishment are too seduced or intimidated to stop them.

via WOLF: Tyranny in our time – Washington Times.

Remember, The IRS Targeted The Tea Party, Not Establishment Republicans

The unspoken 600-pound gorilla in the room is that the IRS did not go after Republican Party groups. There has been some noise made in that direction, but it is just that–noise. The real IRS vendetta was aimed at the Tea Party movement and not at the myriad GOP inside-the-beltway groups like American Crossroads or Americans for Job Security or any of the other interlocking GOP seen as front groups for corporate America.

As I stated elsewhere recently, The Republican Establishment is pea green with envy but also embarrassment “that the IRS did not think them worthy of harassing, or even worse, on the same side as the IRS. In other words, the IRS saw the GOP as too feckless to worry about. Either explanation is not very appealing for the national Republicans.”

via Why the IRS Went After the Tea Party Instead of Establishment Republicans.

Two Muslim men hack soldier to death with machetes in London

‘You and your children will be next’: Islamic fanatics wielding meat cleavers butcher and try to behead a British soldier, taking their war on the West to a new level of horror

One of the men arrested is believed to be Michael Adebolajo

Two men repeatedly stab and tried to behead off-duty soldier in SE London

They shouted ‘Allah Akbar’ attack and told witnesses to film them

Charged at police officers with rusty revolver, knives and meat cleavers

Killing took place 200 yards from barracks and close to primary school

Both men placed under arrest after being treated for gunshot wounds

PM: Killing is ‘sickening’ and Britain will ‘never buckle’ in face of terror

World War 4 is still going on, folks. Via Woolwich attack: Two men ‘hack soldier wearing Help for Heroes T-shirt to death with machetes in suspected terror attack’ | Mail Online.

If We Had No IRS, We’d Have No Scandal

The dismal performance of the IRS is but a symptom of a much larger disease which has taken root in the charters of many of the major administrative agencies in the United States today: the permit power. Private individuals are not allowed to engage in certain activities or to claim certain benefits without the approval of some major government agency. The standards for approval are nebulous at best, which makes it hard for any outside reviewer to overturn the agency’s decision on a particular application.

That power also gives the agency discretion to drag out its review, since few individuals or groups are foolhardy enough to jump the gun and set up shop without obtaining the necessary approvals first. It takes literally a few minutes for a skilled government administrator to demand information that costs millions of dollars to collect and that can tie up a project for years. That delay becomes even longer for projects that need approval from multiple agencies at the federal or state level, or both.

The beauty of all of this (for the government) is that there is no effective legal remedy. Any lawsuit that protests the improper government delay only delays the matter more. Worse still, it also invites that agency (and other agencies with which it has good relations) to slow down the clock on any other applications that the same party brings to the table. Faced with this unappetizing scenario, most sophisticated applicants prefer quiet diplomacy to frontal assault, especially if their solid connections or campaign contributions might expedite the application process. Every eager applicant may also be stymied by astute competitors intent on slowing the approval process down, in order to protect their own financial profits. So more quiet diplomacy leads to further social waste.

Get rid of the IRS and the income tax, and replace with either a flat tax, or my preferred Fair Tax (a retail consumption tax). Via The Real Lesson of the IRS Scandal | Hoover Institution.

D. H. Lawrence on Edgar Allan Poe

This is just genius:

POE has no truck with Indians or Nature. He makes no bones about Red Brothers and Wigwams.

He is absolutely concerned with the disintegration-processes of his own psyche. As we have said, the rhythm of American art-activity is dual.

(1) A disintegrating and sloughing of the old consciousness.

(2) The forming of a new consciousness underneath.

Fenimore Cooper has the two vibrations going on together. Poe has only one, only the disintegrative vibration. This makes him almost more a scientist than an artist.

Moralists have always wondered helplessly why Poe’s ‘morbid’ tales need have been written. They need to be written because old things need to die and disintegrate, because the old write psyche has to be gradually broken down before anything else can come to pass.

Man must be stripped even of himself. And it is a painful, sometimes a ghastly process.

Via DHL Chapter 6, hat tip to Tyler Cowen.

Why I Like Dick

Consider the reality we’re living in today. Schoolchildren kept in line by use of drugs such as Ritalin and Adderall. Technology that is as exasperating as it is necessary. Criminal syndicates operating at the speed of light from the other side of the world. A president with a record so convoluted and opaque that it’s impossible to tell what is false and what isn’t. (See Dick’s short story, “The Mold of Yancy,” in which a presidential candidate is totally unavailable and never seen outside of his video ads, because, it turns out, he doesn’t actually exist.) Masses of people living in virtual alternate universes — game clubs, social media — in preference to dealing with the world as it exists. An encroaching surveillance state intent on tracking every living individual at all times under every possible circumstance. A would-be aristocracy slowly separating itself from the masses. Effectively invisible weapons that can kill from high altitude without the victim even knowing he was targeted.

 

What is this but a Philip K. Dick universe?

 

Dick, it seems, was a far superior prophet than the colleagues who disdained him, because, unlike many of them, he had a line on human nature, which never changes.

via Articles: Philip K. Dick and Our Predicament.