The Paranoia of Absolute Power: From King John to Modern America

It seems that power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Thomas Jefferson and James Madison were, unfortunately, dead right. ‘Twould be much better if absolute power made the Chief into a benevolent angel, using his power for moral ends, to better the lives of the people in one way or another, if only to get out of their way.

In the future perfect Capitalist society, where the industrious will happily work at their callings, and be materially rewarded for it, and those who wanted little but the freedom to wander, or write poetry, could go to voluntary welfare societies set up by Capitalists who believed in Socialism, — in that society there will be no coercion. One Capitalist may be greedy, but another Capitalist may be a Socialist who thinks that  everyone is entitled to the basics of food (vegan of course), clothing, and shelter. The Socialist-believing Capitalist could donate, or set up himself,  a charity, and set the rules according to his Moral Views. Such a man might agree with Erich Fromm”s argument for Socialism, once made in an interview with Los Angeles television reporter Jerry Dunphy,: “You don’t expect your dog to work. But you feed him. I think a man should be treated as well as a dog.”

Such an argument carries much weight with Silverwolf. But it presupposes and forgets two facts: Firstly, while I may feel compassionate enough to give a meal to a hungry man, the next fellow on the block may not feel the same way, and I don’t have the right to impose my moral beliefs on my neighbor. As a Libertarian, I am only concerned with his actions; and that those actions do not constitute a violation of the Libertarian non-aggression axiom: No man or group of men may aggress against the Person or Property of another man. Such an aggression is regarded by the Libertarian as “invasion”, and it is. Such an invasion is a Crime against the Property Rights of that Man, and since we own our bodies, an attack on our persons is also technically a violation of Property Rights.

Secondly, the Socialist argument above flounders in the face of the fact that by confiscating, or voting to confiscate from my neighbor, money or “taxes” to fund my own personal Socialistic moral views, I am committing an act of Violence against my neighbor, which in itself, is a form of treating a Man like a dog, the very argument used above to justify Socialism.

So, what are we to do in the face of this inconsistency between Capitalism and Socialism?

To Silverwolf the answer lies in a radically free-Capitalist free-market society, where 95% of all people had voluntarily, through no coercion, found something they loved or liked to do, and so there would be a vast Middle Class. Some people, who for their own personal reasons, wanted to accumulate truly vast amounts of Capital and Wealth, could go ahead and do so, but most people would be satisfied with a type of upper class-Middle Class life, choosing leisure and amusement over passion-driven, fanatical accumulation. Emelda Marcoses could accumulate 700 pairs of shoes if they liked, but most sane people would settle for three to seven. More than that would become encumberences to all but the collector.

In this Free-Market  prosperous Free Society, with Thomas Jefferson’s Bill of Rights rigorously enforced, a certain percentage of people would be inclined to give to charity, which would, in turn, support those who were completely physically disabled, like someone in an iron lung, or those who wanted to live completely outwardly indolent lives, but focus all their energy on the Inner Life. These would be called Philosophers and Poets, but the Philosophers and Poets would know that if the people ever became hardened enough, they might stop giving to charity, and then the Philosophers and Poets would have to deal with a precarious situation.

All these arguments are pretty academic now that we live in a world where, given the capacities of our factories, everyone could easily be given a daily ration of grains and beans, a few Mao Suits to wear during the year, and a tent that could easily be Solar Heated. Mist collectors, as we recently saw reported, can now collect and condense enough water out of the air that people can survive on it in very dry climates or areas without a well. (Just the thing you need next time you break both your ankles hiking in Chemehuevi Valley, and your car battery goes dead when you try to start it.) With such condensers,  many desert areas could become livable again. Composting toilets, and the sanitary advantages of the vegan diet, or even charity built septic systems, could serve individuals or tribes when it came to the unthinkables of these few Philosophical Indigents and Poets. (But who would read them, or join in their philosophical explorations? The rest of Mankind would be busily working away at their Callings, havin’ a great ol’ time.) Some Philosophers and Poets would even be so brilliant and engrossing that their productions of Thought and Word would sell on the open- and Free-market, and they’d grow wealthy. Look at the Stones. Jagger is a Damn Good Poet.

But say we didn’t live in such a world. Say that five or ten men owned all the land in America, that they could charge a grand-a-night rent for every man, woman, and child, and since they owned all the agricultural land, they could charge a $100/lb for cornmeal and oats, those delicacies of a vegan society. Obviously people would starve to death, and there would soon be five or ten men left, and their families, and maybe some favored buddies and their concubines.

 Such circumstances of material inequality, Professor Rothbard maintained, only exist where the Crime of Land Theft has taken place in the past, as in Central and South America, and, on a local scale, in parts of the Old American West. In other words, such inequality indicates a massive violation of the Libertarian non-aggression principle, and would have to be rectified.

But in a truly Free-Market Jeffersonian Bill of Rights Society, with a vast Middle Class, no such draconian inequality would be possible. Monopolies and Trusts, though they may exist in certain markets and local economies, soon break down, as happened over and over again to the various “Trusts” in America, because of the phenomenon of the “Price Buster”, the guy in the Monopoly or Trust who starts giving secret kickbacks to favored customers in order to take advantage of the absurd price rise the Trust has created. This happened in Sugar, Kerosene, Train Freight Charges — every kind of Trust. They always went Bust. That is, until they learned to have Government help them restrict competition, from FCC licenses to Teaching Credentials to Barbers Licenses to the Screen Actors Guild, to that crucifier of Youths, the Minimum Wage Law.

So the arguments Socialists always pull out, about how a free-Market would lead back to the poverty of the 19th century and the robber barons, is absurd, and obviously a lie to justify their religion. The Industrial Revolution, as harsh and brutal as it was, had led by the 1920s to the possibility of a comfortable, Middle Class society, although still in the 1920s, 90% of Americans were poor farmers. But the momentum of prosperity was clearly there, and now in 2013 we have an absolutely incredible technological society, so complex that no individual can hope to understand it all, unlike the American Indian and the Kalahari Bushman who could completely understand their environment. They knew Everthing they needed to survive, and were Masters at it. We know nothing, except perhaps our little niche.

For example, in the future, modern  factories could easily manufacture super suits of clothes that were especially perfect for each of the four seasons. Each citizen could buy, or would be given by the Socialist charities, one or four of these suits, and that is all the clothing they would need. The suits would last a few years or decades. But the suits would probably be boring and functional, like Mao suits, as sterile and heartless as the modern bureaucratic services one sees in Great Britain, Australia, and America Northern. Only those who worked would have the capital to obtain their clothing on the free market, where they could satisfy their personal predelictions, like the late Brian Jones, or the connoisseurs of Saville Row.

One thing the anti-Capitalists don’t like to admit is that as people as a whole get wealthier, and the Middle Class grows, the number of goods and services that people want increases, providing more work or jobs, in increasingly more specialized areas, thus creating an even more prosperous society. There would be no end to this in a truly Free-Market society. In a poor society, a hungry arthritic pensioner is not going to hire someone to walk their beloved dog; in an upper-Middle Class society it is possible, and so someone who is unemployed but loves both to walk and to be with dogs, may and probably will be able to earn a wage. In a wealthy Rich society, you might even have those who specialized in walking certain breeds, or had a magical rapport with such breeds, and their wealthy arthritic owners might pay through the nose to hire such people to walk their dogs. Such walkers might become wealthy and noted celebrities, (and then there would be the profits from their book sales when they retire: “Vicious Great Danes I Have Known and Loved”).

But all this wealth, Freedom, and non-coercion is only possible if that Free Society has the Jeffersonian Bill of Rights, and it is here that we see in the Modern World the greatest threat to that great Capitalist Libertarian Society.

Sadly, very sadly for America, the fact that the two most powerful other monolithic Powers in the Modern World. who are completely anti-Libertarian in their attitudes and rule (Russia and the Old Soviet Republics, and Fascist China) and ruled by Paranoid, self-delusional Powermongers, are now in the process of being joined by the one place in the world where there still seemed to be some remaining spark of Libertarian creativity and Freedom left: The United States of America.

That was solely due to the Bill of Rights, and the fact that a large part of her economy was still in the hands of private Capitalists (the Small Businessman and the Investor). But these two Siamese twins, the Bill of Rights and Free-Market Capitalism, were dependent on one clear inalienable Right: the Right of Privacy.

It seems that when the Paranoia of Absolute Power strikes, it strikes first at this sacred, Natural Right, the Right of Privacy, the Right to be left alone if one is not violating the Libertarian Non-Aggression Axiom. This is what that beautiful thinker, Jefferson, as well as Madison and many of the others, could see so clearly, and what the modern politicians are trying to overthrow: that Beautiful Fourth Amendment.

They’ve succeeded in that overthrow of Privacy in the Totalitarian Societies, like Fascist China, and all the dozens of other unspeakable dictatorships that curse this globe, be it North Korea or Zimbabwe.

And they’ve succeeded in the castrated Socialist societies like Australia, where the Australian Board of Statistics can throw you in jail and fine you $170/day if you do not answer questions about your sex life, as we recently saw on a report. And England and the EU, where the individual is tracked and kept track of, from Birth to Death. Never his own Man, but always a cog in the Socialist Machine.

And now, thanks to the Paranoiac in the White House, and the Politicians of both Parties, this violation of the Right of Privacy is coming to America.

Sir Richard Evans, in his brilliant series of lectures on Victorian England, pointed out that it was entirely possible for a man to go through life in Victorian England without ever once having had contact or engagement with Government or the State.

Not so in Modern America, with her dog-sniffing random searches of law-abiding motorists, or Socialist Australia, or Fascist China.

When the Lords put the squeeze on King John, he was forced to cede to them with Magna Carta, and Libertarian Freedom had its first Outbreak.

But when we come to the psycopathic Criminals and Mass Murderers, Hitler and Stalin, we can see what those who achieve absolute power, by absolutely destroying Privacy, are capable of doing. And the more power they have, the more paranoid and bloodthirsty they become. It’s almost like a Law of Nature, a Law that Thomas Jefferson well understood. Go read defecting former-KGB agent Oleg Gordievsky’s great “KGB: the Inside Story”, and you will see what Absolute Power does to the men at the top, as we are now seeing in America, as it becomes more and more a bureaucratic police state, that can harass anyone who criticizes it.

The road from The Lords of England’s victory over King John with Magna Carta, to the Libertarian Jefferson’s victory over King George III with the Bill of Rights, was a long one.

The degeneration from Hitler and Stalin until today is a short one, made all the more sinister by the perversions of modern science and technology. And the Politicians are exploiting that technology to overthrow the Bill of Rights, a Bill that doesn’t talk of “balance” when it comes to Natural Rights, but “Inalienable Rights”, Rights that can never be taken away from any Human Being without violence being perpetrated.

Is Mankind to go forward into a bright upland of Prosperity, non-coercion, and Privacy, or is he to be the plaything of Socialists and Fascists like the head of Fascist China, or the sexually-prying questions of a perverted Hag like Australia’s PM, Julia Gillard?

Strangely enough, Silverwolf believes that Libertarian Man will eventually Prevail over the Fascism and Socialism of the modern Politicians at the top.

Hoooooooooooooooooooooooowwwwwwww! — Silverwolf

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