The United States is a banana republic. The Jeffersonian ideal of a series of republics built upon enlightenment values of freedom and reason has died. It wasn’t a sudden death, like that which occurs in a car crash; where one can pinpoint to the second where death occurred. Rather it was a slow lingering death, with organ after organ gradually slowing, a long twilight that ended in the dark of a moonless night.
Some would argue that this is a melodramatic claim, made by some bitter conservative in reaction to the evolution of society, the rantings of a “dead-ender” in knee-jerk opposition to the inevitable and gradual improvement of society. We can test whether or not they are right by comparing the principles of a free society to those dominating the U.S. right now.
The Principles of the Rule of Law
First let us examine whether or not we live under a rule of law.
Joseph Raz described the rule of law as possessing the following properties:
Clearly most of these principles are currently violated, blatantly and routinely:
Now that we have established that the rule of law is effectively dead, the next question to ask is whether or not the rule of law is worth defending? One can even argue that the rule of law is some unrealizable ideal, laws don’t enforce themselves, they are enforced by men. So why should we bemoan the failure to live up to some unrealizable ideal? The answer is, of course, that how well the lawmakers, and law enforcers adhere to the principles of the rule of law is a necessary precondition of how wealthy, prosperous, and pleasant a society is. All of the principles of the rule of law have at their root a governing set of axioms:
You cannot violate Raz’ principles without producing a society that fails to satisfy those axioms. A society that applies the law differently to different people, or is capricous and unpredictable, where the laws are crafted for the benefit of some at the expense of others is a society that discourages productive activities and encourages predatory activities, one that is on the fast track towards tyranny.
Where to Now?
I am not concerned with pointing the finger of blame at any individuals or classes of people. Nor am I concerned with reestablishing the past. Murray Rothbard famously commented the the rot set in before the Treaty of Paris was signed. L Neil Smith pointed to the convention which wrote the U.S. Constitution as the moment the death began, calling it a coup. It is clear that the death began in the 19th century, and has been accelerating in the 20th. Merely dialing the clock back will not address the root causes of the death.
The root cause of the death is the fact that the vast majority of the U.S. populace is completely ignorant of what the rule of law is, and the dangers that accompany its abandonment. Too many people are willing to make deals with the devil for their own benefit, or out of a desire to be left alone. Too many people are interested in short-term gain to recognize how destructive these policies they accept, or even cheer at will be in the coming months. Convincing them to change their ways is a difficult, and even quite likely an impossible task.
The change that must happen is not simply the election of a different president, or exchanging one political party’s control of Congress for that of another. It is not a question of impoved ballot access laws. Nor is it a question of storing a shotgun loaded with deer slugs in one’s closet.
What is required is a divorce. Seccession. Emigration. Passive disobedience. The construction of alternate institutions that bypass the state.
Such actions come at a price, people lose their income, friends, and even their families’ support. But, as unprincipled government takes its toll, those losses will become less and less significant for larger numbers of people, and our numbers will grow. The more the state takes, the more people will resist. Four hundred years ago, monarchs whose treasuries had been emptied by the religious wars of the Reformation began selling charters to colonies in the New World as a means of raising money. The flight of people to the New World, and the tax competition it trigerred led to the flowering of liberty and the spread of Enlightenment values. If we lay the groundwork now, the coming collapse can be turned to our advantage.
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Ignore the State
Now is time to proclaim our 10th Amendment right
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The Federal Constitution Is Dead
Party Like It’s 1773
Government Is Not the Problem
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Bell: Libertarianism 101 .... My Version
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