April 21, 2014

Merry Christmas: Mary gives birth to a great libertarian

TAMPA, December 24, 2012 ― It’s not a surprise that libertarian themes pervade many iconic Christmas specials. After all, they celebrate the birthday of one of the great libertarians of all time.

In the Gospels, government is exposed as evil right from Jesus’ birth. A paranoid Herod is willing to kill all of the babies in the kingdom to try to eliminate the perceived threat represented by Jesus.

 

Tax collectors are considered de facto sinners, on a par with prostitutes. Libertarians would consider this unfair to prostitutes, but for the times this couldn’t land better.

Jesus himself doesn’t disappoint, either. From the moment he begins his ministry, he wages a nonstop verbal war against the hypocritical, oppressive, tax-devouring Temple priests. Jews at the time were required to pay annual taxes to the priests and were also expected to come and make sacrifices at the Jerusalem Temple. Of course, they had to buy the livestock for the sacrifices from the priests and deal with the priests’ money changers in order to do that.

That’s why the libertarian from Galilee kicked them out. This would have been considered a revolutionary act.

One can’t help but equate Jerusalem at that time with Washington, DC, an entire city of tax-fed, opulent wealth.

Jesus has no patience for excessive regulation, either. When he encounters a Jewish law that does not address actual criminal activity, he encourages his followers to break it. When the meddling scribes confront Jesus with allowing his disciples to eat without washing their hands, Jesus lets loose with his customary anti-government invective, calling them hypocrites and then instructing “the people” to ignore this idiotic law and focus on not committing real crimes instead. (Mark 7:1-23)

Libertarians are not corporate apologists

TAMPA, October 22, 2012 – In the wake of Ron Paul’s campaign and with Gary Johnson rising in the polls, libertarianism may just get a hearing for the first time in decades.

Already, the usual fallacies have resurfaced. If you don’t want the government to run education, you must be against education. If you don’t want the government to run healthcare, you must not want people to get healthcare.

This misunderstanding is often summed up with comments like, “I’m not sure I’m comfortable with an ‘every man for himself’ society.” This springs from the absurd assumption that human beings never confer benefits upon one another except when forced to do so at gunpoint.

One corollary of the “every man for himself” theory is that a libertarian society would “let corporations run wild,” resulting in a small, wealthy elite controlling all of the resources and exercising oligarchical rule over the rest of society. (So do we live in a libertarian society now?)

Most people would probably be surprised at the libertarian stand on corporations. In a libertarian society, they wouldn’t exist. Corporations are creatures of the state. They are created by the government and endowed with privileges that individuals do not have. This contradicts a fundamental premise of libertarianism, that all people are created equal and have equal rights.

Continue at Communities@ Washington Times…

Government Cannot Be Run Like a Business

Despite his big-government record as a governor, Mitt Romney has run for president as a conservative who would allow the free market to work. To bolster his credibility, he points to his success as CEO of Bain Capital. Romney led that company to become one of the largest and most successful private equity investment firms in the nation.

Many of his supporters have been able to look past the fact that he consistently raised taxes and pioneered Obamacare in Massachusetts because of this private sector success. They echo Romney’s argument that “the government should be run like a business” and believe that only a proven, successful businessman can do the job.

There are two problems here. The first is that history has already shown that successful businessmen are terrible for the free market whenever they get anywhere near government power. The second is that government cannot ever be run like a business. Its very nature makes that utterly impossible.

Regarding the first problem, one need only study the 19th century. If you don’t like the progressive movement, you can thank the 19th century Republican Party for creating the conditions that led to its birth.

The entire period is a record of big business getting together with government to intervene into the free market. Always under the pretense of protecting consumers, the true purpose of these interventions was limiting or eliminating competition for connected companies.

For example, Republicans wrote and passed the Sherman Anti—Trust Act. Standard Oil’s competitors were unable to deliver similar quality oil at the same price, so they went to the government for help. They successfully broke up a company that at the time the Act was passed had over 300 competitors and had lowered its prices for decades. Why? So that they could survive selling their oil at higher prices.

John D. Rockefeller, founder and chairman of Standard Oil, learned from this experience. Contrary to popular myth, Rockefeller was not a robber baron in the oil business. Like Romney, he had achieved his success honestly in the market through reinvestment, voluntary contracts, and his commitment that ““we are refining oil for the poor man and he must have it cheap and good.”[1]

However, when he got into banking, his strategy was different. Having seen the advantages of having government as a partner, Rockefeller made sure that he was well-represented at the secret meetings held on Jekyll Island to create the Federal Reserve System.

Pitched as a consumer protection against bank instability, it set up a government cartel that controls the money supply, interest rates, and most banking activity in general. Free market economists cite the Federal Reserve System as the chief cause of economic booms and busts, including those that led to the Great Depression and the 2008 housing crisis.

Railroads provide another example. 19th century government-subsidized railroads were plagued by fraud, waste, and recurring bankruptcies, while James J. Hill’s non-subsidized Great Northern Railroad operated profitably. Unable to compete, his subsidized competitors persuaded the government to pass the Interstate Commerce Act of 1887 and the Hepburn Act of 1906. As Thomas Dilorenzo observes, “What these two federal laws did was to outlaw Hill’s price cutting by forcing railroads to charge everyone the same high rates. This was all done in the name of consumer protection, giving it an Orwellian aura.”[2]

Romney’s economic policy as laid out on his issues page continues in the interventionist tradition. According to Romney, “History shows that the United States has moved forward in astonishing ways thanks to national investment in basic research and advanced technology.” He must read the same history books as Barack Obama. True proponents of free markets argue that entrepreneurs have moved the United States forward despite government intervention, not because of it.

Romney makes the distinction of “investing” in basic research rather than “politically favored approaches” to energy solutions. However, basic research is just another investment that should be made by private capital in the hope 0f profits, not by government for “the common good.” The latter is just more of Barack Obama’s collectivism repackaged. It will yield similar results: more bridges to nowhere, bankruptcies, and waste.

Despite the popular conservative misconception, government cannot be run like a business. Government simply does not exist under the same conditions as private firms. It does not receive its money voluntarily from its “customers.” The ability of customers to choose not to buy is the driving force behind all market innovation and efficiency. Private companies are not owned and run by more noble creatures. They are simply under conditions that force them to innovate and control costs in order to survive.

Contrary to the arguments made by Romney, Santorum, and Gingrich, there is only one role for government in a free market economy: to protect private property rights and enforce contracts. Regardless of good intentions, anything else the government does destroys the market. Only Ron Paul understands this. If you truly believe in free markets, he is your choice for president.

Tom Mullen is the author of A Return to Common Sense: Reawakening Liberty in the Inhabitants of America.


[1] Folsom, Burton, Jr. John D. Rockefeller and His Enemies from The Freeman http://www.fee.org/pdf/the-freeman/0805FreemanFolsom.pdf.

[2] Dilorenzo, Thomas How Capitalism Saved America Three Rivers Press New York 2004 pg. 120

OWS and the Tea Party: In the Ball Park But Haven’t Found Their Seats

As the 2012 elections approach, there is now a left wing protest movement to mirror the right wing Tea Party. Occupy Wall Street (OWS) and its many offshoots claims to represent “the 99%” of Americans who are not among the richest 1%. Like the Tea Party, OWS sees economic catastrophe ahead if America’s economic system is not fundamentally changed. However, unlike the Tea Party, which places the blame for America’s economic woes on the doorstep of politicians, OWS points the finger squarely at Wall Street – and anyone else that makes enough money to qualify for a “1%” membership card.

It is actually refreshing to see Americans from both sides of the political spectrum interested enough to actually object to something. Whether marching around and carrying signs actually accomplishes anything is debatable. However, the Tea Party has already shown that political careers can be made or ended when enough people get both fed up and organized. While OWS is not as politically organized as the Tea Party was at this point in 2009, it has already made it over the toughest hurdle – getting a critical mass of people off the couch and out into the streets. As labor unions and other left wing special interests get more involved, it is likely that a bona fide political movement will emerge from the present confusion. Like the Tea Party, OWS might even change a few seats on their side of the aisle. But what then?

If the results of the Tea Party Congress are any indication, the answer to that question is “nothing.” Yes, the new Congress made some symbolic statements, like requiring the members to read the Constitution aloud during the opening session. However, when it came to actually advancing their supposed agenda in a substantive way – cutting the size of the federal government and reigning in deficits – not much happened. A proposal emerged to cut $100 billion out of the $1.6 trillion deficit, which would have been meaningless even if it passed. Beyond that, it’s been business as usual inside  the Capitol, with Congressmen from both sides of the aisle continuing to spend money that the federal government doesn’t have and kicking the can a  little further down the road.

Left wing Americans should already know that the electoral process is unlikely to produce substantive change. As the third year of Obama’s presidency draws to a close, there is almost nothing of substance that either his supporters or his critics can point to that differentiates his presidency from that of George W. Bush. Both championed and got passed an expansion of government involvement in the health care system that costs taxpayers about $100 billion per year directly and likely causes distoritions in the health care market that are far more costly than that. Both started a few new wars in the Middle East. Both expanded the federal government’s power to spy on its own citizens. Both passed “sweeping regulatory reforms” that further crippled America’s already weak economy. Both expanded executive power unconstitutionally. Both set new precedents in attacking the Bill of Rights.

However, the similarity between the two that should resonate most  with OWS supporters is this one: both filled their cabinets with Wall Street and corporate insiders and never made a move that those special interests didn’t like. Sure, Obama made some populist, anti-business statements early in his presidency, but when it came to “Change” in the healthcare system, his program turned out to be a half trillion pear year handout to the health insurance industry. That wasn’t exactly what the true believers had in mind, but it was business as usual for corporate-owned Washington.

In short, two hugely trumpeted “revolutions” in American politics – a leftwing  one in 2008 and a right-wing one in 2010 – have failed to move the needle one degree in Washinton, D.C. A lot of articles were written and a lot of television talk shows were provided with material about both, but absolutely nothing has changed. Sooner or later, one has to answer the question: Why not?

The answer is that even the genuine grassroots members from both the left and the right don’t understand what is ailing America. They know something is wrong, but decades of government propaganda bolstered by shoddy education have left most Americans unequipped to figureout what it is. In fact, both the Tea Party and OWS share the same fundamental misconceptions about The Problem.

Both the Tea Party and OWS believe that Republican presidents, especially Ronald Reagan, had somehow created a laissez faire capitalist economy during their presidencies. The Tea Partiers believe that America must get back to Reaganomics, while OWS believes it was the root cause of today’s problems. Both of them are wrong. Neither Ronald Reagan nor George W. Bush signed one bill that substantively made the American economy more laissez faire. In fact, Bush actually signed Sarbanes-Oxley, which he himself called “the most sweeping regulatory reform since the New Deal.” Even what the media called “deregulation” during the Reagan years was mostly regulatory tweaks that were passed under Carter. Tom Woods covers this in detail in Rollback, so I won’t attempt to reconstruct the whole argument here. In short, “deregulation” never happened. It was just one huge, Jedi mind trick, similar to “hope and change.”

That brings us to misconception number two: regulation itself. Both movements misunderstand the relationship between our present corporate economy and government regulation. The Tea Party believes that getting rid of regulations as Reagan supposedly did would “get the government out of the way” of America’s corporations, resulting in huge gains in productivity and employment. OWS believes that more regulations will reign in “corporate greed” and protect the little guy from those same rapacious corporations. Again, both of them are wrong.

A truly unregulated free market would not result in a few, large corporations controlling every economic sector. Nor would it result in most of society’s wealth being concentrated within a small percentage of the population. While no one alive has ever lived under such a system in terms of the entire economy, we have seen it in a particular sector within the last two decades. As Bill Bonner pointed out, the high tech industry existed for a time as an unregulated free market. Did this result in entrenched corporations getting bigger and concentrating even more wealth in the hands of a few? Absolutely not. As Bonner reminds us, “They created an entirely new industry…with new companies nobody had ever heard of. And then, they destroyed some of the biggest businesses in America.”

Government regulation creates barriers to entry for new firms and dampens innovation. In other words, it insulates entrenched corporations from competition, causing the very consolidation and concentration of wealth that OWS objects to. That’s why established corporations never object to new regulations. Why should they? They end up writing the regulations themselves with one thing in mind – protect their position from the competition that would occur in a free market. That’s what makes left wing support for increased government regulation so tragically ironic. It’s like they are rushing to the scene of a fire with a sistern full of gasoline.

The Tea Party purports to favor less government regulation, but they have no idea what the results would be. They, too, do not understand the difference between our present corporatist system and a free market. Were the economy truly deregulated, most of the corporate giants that they hold up as symbolic of the free market would be gone. Only those that could deliver better products at lower prices in the face of unrelenting competition would survive – and only for as long as they could continue to do so. Upward mobility would return. Large fortunes would again be made by “college drop-outs, computer nerds, products of teenage mothers and broken marriages” (Bonner again), just as the misnamed “robber barons” largely came from the ranks of the poor. Conservatives didn’t like that in the 19th century – and they might not like it now, either. But that’s what the free market does. It rewards innovation, productivity, and achievement, regardless of the social pedigree of the innovator.

Neither OWS nor the Tea Party recognizes how economically destructive the gargantuan U.S. military establishment is. There were some left wing protests against the Iraq War during the Bush years, but that is a non-issue for OWS. Now that there is a Democrat running the empire, the left seems to have made its peace with war. The left never objected to the continuation of the decades-long occupations of Europe, Japan, Korea, or the 130 or so other countries that the U.S. government currently has troops in. In purely economic terms, those programs dwarf the active wars.

Of course, support for this trillion-dollar-a-year abomination is a key plank of the Tea Party movement, which is against taking money from one American and using it to buy healthcare for another American, but has no problem taking money from one American and using to (supposedly) buy “freedom” for people in other countries. Not only is this direct transfer of wealth draining America of scarce resources, but it has completely skewed what’s left of American manufacturing towards producing products that don’t increase wealth. Wealth is only increased when products are produced that people voluntarily buy. No one voluntarily buys weapons or the services of military personnel. And those resources in turn don’t produce anything at all.

Both the left and the right view imperialism as somehow part and parcel of laissez faire capitalism. Nothing could be further from the truth. The foundation of capitalism is voluntary exchange. There is nothing that a military force can do under the guise of “protecting America’s vital interests” or “opening up markets for American companies” that has anything to do with capitalism or voluntary exchange. Even if an army really did influence people in other countries to trade with American companies, that would not be capitalism any more than Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac influencing people to take out loans was capitalism. When it’s not voluntary, it’s not a free market. Whatever its true purpose is (and there are a lot of theories about that), the U.S. government’s massive military establishment is just another large, bankrupt government program.

However, the most harmful misconception that OWS and the Tea Party share is not really a misconception at all. It is the failure to recognize the most destructive element in the American economy – the Federal Reserve. The failure of either movement to make the Federal Reserve a priority or even acknowledge its existence explains many of the other misconceptions. Both the artificial booms that each attribute to their presidents of choice – Clinton for liberals, Reagan for conservatives- and the inevitable busts that each blame on  presidents of the other party- Carter and Obama for conservatives, Bush 1 and Bush 2 for liberals – can all be traced back to the predicable results of Federal Reserve monetary policy. Even if all of the other economic interventions were eliminated and this one intervention were left in place, most of the economic problem would still exist.

The Tea Party claims to oppose Obama’s “socialism,” but fails to see the Federal Reserve as a fundamentally socialist institution. Its stated purpose is to transfer wealth from one individual or group to another at the direction of central economic planners. It doesn’t get much more socialist than that. A few conservatives might object to the way that a particular Fed chairman conducts the business of the Fed, but almost none object to the Fed itself. Yet compared to the transfer of wealth that occurs when the Fed inflates the currency, all of the U.S. government’s welfare programs combined pale in comparison. Since the Fed transfers wealth to Wall Street and corporate America, one might understand their reluctance to oppose that aspect of it. But what about a small group of government hacks attempting to direct the entire economy? If that’s not “socialism,” then what is?

OWS is similarly disinterested in the Federal Reserve, even though it exists to transfer wealth from the 99% to the 1%. For both groups, ignorance is probably the majority of the problem. The Fed has managed to stay out of the spotlight for most of the past century, taking the credit for supposed recoveries and avoiding all blame for the business cycle itself. Yet, even if it did what it purported to do, it should still be Public Enemy No. 1 to both OWS and the Tea Party. Until most Americans understand how destructive this institution is, no amount of “reform” is going to make our economic problems go away.

So, the next election will be influenced by two grassroots movements committed to solving America’s problems. One says that the problem is government. They are right. The other says it is corporations and the financial elite. They are also right. As a friend of mine likes to say, both groups “are in the ball park, but they haven’t found their seat.” One can only hope for a moment of clarity on both sides. If they could only see things as they really are, they’d be marching side by side.

Tom Mullen is the author of A Return to Common Sense: Reawakening Liberty in the Inhabitants of America.

© Thomas Mullen 2011

The Government Can’t Regulate Safety (And It Shouldn’t Try To)

President Obama has come under heavy criticism for his dictatorial “shakedown” of BP and rightly so. Considering the presidencies of Woodrow Wilson, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Lyndon Johnson, and most recently, George W. Bush, it is no small accomplishment for a president in 2010 to actually commit an unprecedented violation of the U.S. Constitution. I am sure that sooner or later his extortion will be described by his supporters as “bold,” which is the new euphemism for the illegal exercise of arbitrary power.

However, during the June 15 speech* in which he announced this and other planned incursions into what is left of the free market and the rule of law, the president made one very correct observation about the Minerals Management Service (the federal regulatory agency in charge of regulating oil drilling). He said,

“At this agency, industry insiders were put in charge of industry oversight. Oil companies showered regulators with gifts and favors, and were essentially allowed to conduct their own safety inspections and write their own regulations.”

The president correctly recognizes that this is a problem. One cannot reasonably expect that a regulatory agency is going to police an industry if the policemen are all hired directly out of the companies that they are supposed to regulate. However, the president’s statement begs the question, “Who should replace these industry insiders in regulating the safety of deep-water oil drilling?”

The only possible answer is that government-appointed bureaucrats, with no knowledge of or experience with the machinery, equipment, and specific engineering principles associated with deep-water oil drilling should replace them. Of course, logic dictates that if unqualified people start making rules about how equipment and machinery that they don’t understand is operated, there are going to be a lot more accidents. Is there no way out of this dilemma?

There is an important distinction to be made between “laws” and “regulations.” A law is a statute that prohibits conduct that constitutes intentional harm to someone by another person. There are laws against murder, theft, fraud, and other crimes of aggression. A law should always be the exercise of a negative power (the new healthcare bill violates this fundamental principle).

A regulation, on the other hand, has an entirely different purpose. Regulations attempt to prevent economic agents from having the opportunity to harm another person or the environment, whether intentional or not. So, regulations either prohibit actions that do not constitute harm to other people, such as procedures that are considered unsafe by the regulator, or actually compel the regulated person or entity to do certain things that the regulator deems necessary (a positive power). This is why it was necessary for the Minerals Management Service to recruit its regulators out of the oil industry. Who else can tell an oil company how to run an oil well?

However, the president is a bit disingenuous in implying that this agency is unique in being peopled with industry insiders. The practice of hiring insiders to regulate their former employers is the norm in Washington, as is the practice of the regulated companies actually drafting the regulations that they are to be governed by themselves.

If you think that this means that the resulting regulations don’t do a very good job of protecting consumers or the environment, you are correct. Workers aren’t safer since the creation of OSHA, food and drugs aren’t safer since the creation of the FDA, consumers aren’t protected by the Consumer Protection Agency, and as we are now painfully aware, the oceans aren’t safer because of the Minerals Management Service.

However, this “public-private partnership” (formerly known as fascism) does accomplish one thing. It creates massive compliance costs for the companies that are regulated. Combined with the fact that the regulations are written specifically to give an advantage to existing conglomerates, these artificially high start-up costs have the effect of insulating large, established companies from new competition. The result in each regulated industry is a small group of large corporations that have traded their liberty for the high profits resulting from artificially limited competition.

This does not mean that there are not conflicts between government and the corporations. Since the regulations are far too numerous and onerous to be followed, the regulated companies are constantly violating them. When a consumer or environmental issue makes the news, there is an immediate call for more or better regulations to prevent a similar incident from occurring again. The politician uses the incident to seek more power, while the corporation seeks greater protection from competition. The consumer pays higher prices and gets products that are of lower quality and safety than those that would be available in a free market.

This dysfunctional relationship between government, business, and consumers is allowed to persist for only one reason: the widespread misconception that it would be more profitable for unregulated industries to gouge their customers and sacrifice their safety and that of the environment in order to reduce their costs and widen their profit margins. This incorrect assumption flies completely in the face of history.

BP will pay at least $20 billion, not in fines for violating regulations, but in compensation to the people whose lives and properties were damaged by their negligence. There are already widespread rumors that they will be broken up and sold off because of the financial vulnerability resulting from the fall in the price of their stock. Similarly, Enron went bankrupt due to market forces and its officers were prosecuted for breaking the laws against fraud. Both of these outcomes would have been the same without the existence of the regulations and regulatory agencies that governed these companies, because they occurred as the result of the government enforcing property rights, not regulations. When property rights are enforced, the profit motive discourages companies from exposing themselves to liability. Those who do not heed this natural law quickly find themselves out of business.

Thomas Jefferson once wrote, “No man has a natural right to commit aggression on the equal rights of another; and this is all from which the laws ought to restrain him.” He was right. It is a violation of liberty for the government to try to prevent crime or negligence, which it is unable to do anyway. There will always accidents, regardless of regulations that attempt to prevent them. If you want to maximize protection of consumers and the environment, regulations are not the answer.

A truly free market without artificial barriers to new competitors will force companies to constantly improve their products, services, and production processes and limit their exposure to liability. It will also force them to please their customers. The companies that do these things the best will outperform and eventually eliminate those companies that do not. This does not represent “companies regulating themselves,” as President Obama argues, but rather regulation by economic law.

Liberals constantly rail against Big Oil, Big Pharma, and large corporations in general. However, they then call for expansion of the fascist regulatory complex that created them and keeps them big. The cure for the disease is not more of the bacteria that caused it. If you want to see fairness to consumers and protection of the environment, a truly free market is the only answer.

*Transcript of entire speech

Check out Tom Mullen’s new book, A Return to Common Sense: Reawakening Liberty in the Inhabitants of America. Right Here!

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© Thomas Mullen 2010

>What Do Oranges, Furnaces, and Your IRA Have in Common?

>On Friday, an average American spent the entire day with the federal government without ever leaving his home. No, there was no knock on his door by some plain-clothes Gestapo. Neither was he treated to one of those infamous “no-knock raids” where a small army of thugs with various acronyms spelled out on their backs burst into the homes of the innocent and terrorize whomever happens to cross their paths. Nothing so dramatic happened that day. However, the long arm of the federal government made itself equally palpable nonetheless.

The first thing that he tried to do that day seemed innocuous enough. Being a native of Western New York and now living in Florida, he attempted to schedule a pick-up to ship some freshly-picked Florida oranges to a friend back home. He had purchased the oranges from a local orchard a day earlier, putting aside about two dozen for his friend in the wintry north. Anyone who has eaten oranges fresh from the tree here in Florida can tell you what a difference there is in freshness and taste from those purchased in grocery stores in the north when they are several days or weeks older. There is also a significant difference in price, especially this time of year. Oranges in Florida cost about $.40 per orange, while those same oranges cost about $1.50 each when purchased in Western New York.

For all of these reasons, our average American decided to do something nice and send a couple of dozen freshly picked oranges up north. That’s when he had his first encounter with the federal government. It turns out that what he was attempting to do was extremely dangerous and therefore prohibited by USDA regulations.  According to the USDA website,

Under current federal regulations, all shipments of fresh citrus are prohibited from leaving Florida unless they meet certain requirements, including:

• Inspection of the grove within 30 days of harvest;

• Treatment of the fresh fruit with a special decontaminant;

• Issuance of a federal limited permit that must accompany the fruit. The limited permit confirms that the inspection and treatment have been carried out; and

• Clear marking on the packages to indicate the fruit is prohibited from being delivered to other citrus-producing states.

The reason given for these regulations is that they are “designed to prevent the spread of citrus canker to other citrus-producing states while preserving Florida’s fresh fruit citrus market.” Surely the reader is familiar with citrus canker – that pandemic scourge that rivals swine flu in its danger to all of humanity if not for the federal government and its regulations.

There are a few consequences of this legislation that the government would have us believe are purely coincidental. The first is that the federal government is now authorized to collect a tax, which is all the fee for the “limited license” really is. The second is that citrus growers are effectively insulated by law from any out-of-state competition. Ironically, the federal government supposedly derives its authority to impose such a regulation from the commerce clause of the Constitution – which was written to prevent protectionism by the states!

The effect of these regulations is that consumers everywhere – in citrus producing and non-citrus producing states – pay higher prices for oranges. For those states without citrus growers, the licensing costs and higher costs due to limited shipping options are passed on to consumers. This is what explains Western New Yorkers paying $1.50 per orange. Even in citrus producing states, consumers pay a higher price than they otherwise would if their in-state growers had to compete with out-of-state growers freely shipping their products into the market. Of course, the government and its “progressive” supporters would have us believe that these are merely necessary costs of public safety. It couldn’t be that large, corporate citrus producers had anything to do with lobbying for and perhaps even writing these regulations, could it? Surely, the additional profits and insulation from competition are purely coincidental, aren’t they?

Having resigned himself that he could not ship the oranges himself without the federal license, which was not cost-effective for two dozen oranges, our subject acquiesced to send the oranges directly from an orchard licensed to ship out of state (at a premium price) and moved on to his next order of business. He needed a furnace for one of his rental properties. Being a small businessman who owned or managed approximately 100 properties, it was his responsibility to repair or replace any home appliances that ceased functioning. As a furnace is a significant cost for a small business, he consulted a well-known internet resource to see if he could get a deal on purchase and installation. He found several vendors advertising low-cost installations for home furnaces.

The cost of the home furnace that he selected was about $800. The cost to have a licensed HVAC contractor install the appliance was approximately $1,700 (remember this is New York), for a grand total of $2,500. The vendor on the internet worked for one of the established HVAC contractors that sell and install these appliances. He was offering to sell the furnace at the advertised price of $800 and install it for $300. This represented a savings of $1,400 – significant for a small property management company. When the small businessman offered to accept the offer and pay by credit card, the internet vendor educated him on what was going on. The transaction would have to be executed in cash, because it would be in violation of federal regulations. Not wishing to run afoul of the law, the small businessman declined and acquiesced to pay the $2,500.

It should be remembered that the vendor was not offering to sell stolen goods. He was selling the actual furnace at the same price that the HVAC contractor was selling it at. The internet vendor was merely offering to do the installation labor at what amounted to a real market cost of about $300. Why can the HVAC contractor charge $1,700 to send the exact same technician to install the exact same furnace? Only because it belongs to a cartel that is created by federal regulation and licensing requirements. Again, the reason given is public safety. We can’t have just anyone installing HVAC equipment or we would all be blown up within a week. It couldn’t be that large, corporate manufacturers and HVAC contractors associations lobby the government to pass these competition-stifling regulations, could it?

What did our average American businessman do next to garner the attention of the federal government? Nothing. Frustrated and having spent an inordinate amount of time on two seemingly simple activities, he decided to call it a day. However, the fact that he was sitting in his home doing nothing does not necessarily mean that he was free from federal intrusion. While reading some personal e-mails, one popped into his inbox from his financial advisor. It concerned his IRA.

A few years earlier, he had decided to take a portion of his retirement savings out of his traditional 401K and put it into an IRA with a company that specialized in foreign stocks. His strategy was to protect his savings from the ongoing depreciation of the U.S. dollar and the structural weakness of the U.S. economy in general, which was and is based almost purely on consumption and borrowing. The firm with which he opened his account invested his retirement money in foreign companies with strong balance sheets that were paying dividends. Overall, the investment strategy was sound and relatively conservative. In any case, it was his money to do with as he saw fit. Or so he thought.

It seems that since “the crisis,” the federal government had taken an interest in him in this respect as well – as always for his “protection.” His broker informed him that a “Client Profile” that he had been required by federal law to fill out upon opening his account had to be filled out again. However, since the company that he opened the IRA with specialized in foreign stocks, he now had to mark “Speculation” on his risk profile. The company had to have this signed affidavit on file in order to legally continue to manage his account. This was all designed to protect him from unscrupulous fund managers who might buy foreign stocks with his retirement money without telling him how risky said foreign investments might be.

Absurdity abounds in this regulation. The stocks in our subject’s portfolio all had strong balance sheets (modest debt-to-equity ratios) and were paying dividends. To invest in these, according to our government, is “speculation.” However, to invest in U.S. Treasury bonds – the bonds of an enterprise that is currently losing $1.6 trillion per year, has over $12 trillion in debt, and over $60 trillion in unfunded liabilities – would qualify as “low risk.” However, there is more to this story than pure government incompetence.

Consider the effects of a regulation such as this. There is some percentage of people who wisely got out of U.S. stocks and U.S. dollar-denominated assets in general over the past several years. However, after the misinformed propaganda campaign by our government against speculators as the cause of the recent financial and economic crises, there are a number of reasons that those people might not want to be labeled as “speculators” themselves. They might erroneously perceive speculation as unpatriotic or even evil, given what they have heard. The less gullible might fear more onerous federal actions against them once they are officially identified as speculators. In any case, this regulation is going to cause some people to close their accounts with companies that deal in foreign stocks or at least shift their assets back to U.S. stocks.

This is going to have the effect of raising the price of those U.S. stocks that these “speculators” decide to buy. That price increase does not represent real market forces at work, because without the regulation, the investors would have left their money in the foreign companies. Again, this is supposedly the unintended consequence of a regulation that is nevertheless necessary to protect the public. Who just happens to benefit? As usual, it is the large corporations whose stock prices will appreciate and who also just happen to fund the campaigns of the people who passed the regulation in the first place. Doesn’t anyone see a pattern here?

None of these regulations actually benefit the public. The citrus and furnace consumers pay exorbitantly higher prices and are certainly no safer from danger because the corporate cartel member filled out a government form and paid a licensing fee. How many people have to die from FDA-approved drugs (or from the unavailability of unapproved drugs) before this is sufficiently clear to average Americans? In the case of the foreign stock investor, he is actually harmed by the regulation if as a result of it he takes his money out of safe, foreign investments in viable companies and puts it into shaky U.S. corporations or soon-to-be-downgraded U.S. Treasury debt.

Progressives supposedly support these regulations in order to protect average Americans from the large corporations that they vilify at every opportunity. As we have seen ever since their hero, FDR, instituted this fascist regulatory structure in the 1930’s, they achieve exactly the opposite result. With each new set of regulations, large corporations grow richer, more influential, and more insulated from competition – all at the expense of the “little guy” that the regulations supposedly protect. To quote another progressive hero from the 1960’s, “When will they ever learn?”

>Make Obama Watch Ghostbusters

>It should be abundantly clear by now that the indisputable facts of economics and history are not sufficient to prevent our government from embarking on another expensive, disastrous program. While the debate on government destruction of the health care industry continues in the senate, President Obama prepares to make a trip to Copenhagen. There, he and other elite “experts” will cook up a new assault on private enterprise in general – under the tired pretense of “saving the environment.” Since intellectual, scholarly attempts to convince our rulers of the error of their ways have failed, I humbly suggest a simpler solution: make President Obama and the U.S. Senate watch the 80’s classic, Ghostbusters. Everything they need to know about government’s role in the environment is there. It is also presented simply enough that even a career politician can understand it.

The Ghostbusters story begins with three university professors who decide to try their hand in the commercial sector. They start a going concern with their own money to investigate paranormal activity. They face hard times early on, spending “the last of the petty cash” on Chinese food. They have a dearth of customers and face the fate of the majority of new businesses in their first year: bankruptcy. There is no suggestion that the government will bail them out. The market has seemingly determined that there was not sufficient need for their services and they will have to figure out some other product to offer to their fellow human beings in order to make a living.

However, at that moment, a disturbance occurs in a local hotel and their first paying customer places an order. The Ghostbusters successfully capture the offending spirit and collect their fee. The incident results in some publicity for the young firm and business booms. Soon, the Ghostbusters are running their own commercials and have more business than they can handle. They bring on a fourth Ghostbuster to keep up with the demand.

So far, the story has been a happy one for all parties concerned. The Ghostbusters have achieved success and have become enriched. Why? They have earned their money by making New York City safer (more “ghost-free”) and have created jobs in the process. Most importantly, all of this has occurred through private, voluntary exchange. The Ghostbusters’ customers pay their fees happily because the Ghostbusters offer them a service that they deem worthy of the price.

However, a story without a major conflict is no story at all. Ghostbusters is a superior story in that it correctly recognizes the source of all human conflict: government. Instead of the rather mundane epilogue that the story would have had at this point, where competing firms enter the ghostbusting market, prices fall, and soon all of society can afford to have a paranormal housecleaning, government instead rears its ugly head. A representative of the EPA knocks on the Ghostbusters’ door. What happens next couldn’t be more analogous to the real world.

The EPA agent Walter Peck is played to perfection by vastly underrated William Atherton. What is abundantly clear from his limited time onscreen is that, as a low-level federal agent, his primary motivation is not protecting the environment but rather lording it over any individual or business that fails to immediately submit to his absolute authority within his petty fiefdom. Under the pretense of protecting the environment, he attacks a private enterprise that has harmed no one, has helped the community, and has created jobs.

Having obtained legal authority to invade the Ghostbusters’ facility, despite the lack of evidence of any crime, Peck discovers what he deems to be a threat to the environment in the Ghostbusters’ ghost storage equipment. Of course, sophisticated equipment that could pose a threat to the environment is ubiquitous in a developed, industrial nation. However, thus far in the story, the Ghostbusters have managed their equipment safely and responsibly. They have done so both out of respect for their own safety and the safety of others and because their livelihood would be jeopardized if the ghosts they had captured were to escape and return to re-haunt the premises of their customers.

Despite pleas from the Ghostbusters, the EPA agent shuts off their ghost storage machine and chaos ensues. Remember that up until this point in the story, no environmental disaster has occurred related to the Ghostbusters’ supposedly dangerous equipment. However, by violating the liberty and property rights of the Ghostbusters under the pretense of a false threat to the environment, the government has created a real environmental disaster that now threatens everyone’s lives. In fact, the entire world is now actually threatened because of this one government intervention.

Consider how closely this story recreates the real world, ghosts and goblins notwithstanding. The government’s record on protecting the environment has followed this pattern without exception since the moment that activists got the idea that government force could save the world. Among the sparkling achievements of government environmentalism has been the banning of DDT, a safe and effective insecticide that was vilified and ultimately banned because of its supposed threat to the environment. Subsequently, farmers were forced to employ less effective insecticides that really do harm the environment, while a later study showed that DDT could actually be eaten by humans over an extended period of time with no adverse health effects.

In another historic blunder, the government decided to employ its ability to override private decisions via the threat of violence in order to encourage the production and distribution of ethanol, the fuel additive made from corn. This had the unintended consequence of causing food shortages and skyrocketing prices while failing to significantly affect America’s dependence on fossil fuels. The crowning achievement of this boondoggle was the revelation that the production of ethanol actually consumes more fossil fuel than it produces and is a net positive in carbon emissions. Had property rights been protected instead of destroyed by the government, none of this would have happened.

Most recently, the government decided that it would address two problems at once by “stimulating the economy” with its Cash for Clunkers program. Not only would this supposedly help the economy, but because those trading in their clunkers would have to buy “greener” cars (with other people’s money), it would also help the environment. Of course, the result was that perfectly good used cars were destroyed while their owners took out loans for new ones, resulting in a decrease in wealth and an increase in debt for society as whole. In addition, it turned out that the owners of the clunkers had previously been limiting their driving due to either concerns about breakdowns or the general lack of pleasure inherent in driving their clunkers. Once provided with new cars by the government, they began driving far more than they previously had, producing more exhaust and consuming more fossil fuels. Another government disaster funded by legal plunder.

As in the movie, every attempt by government to use its coercive power to protect the environment not only fails, but actually creates the very problems it purports to try to solve. In most cases, the problem does not even exist until the government undertakes to solve it. What is government’s solution? Always it is to attack private property and free enterprise.

It never ceases to amaze me that the American public at large exhibits absolutely no skepticism towards the politically-connected segment of the environmental movement. For 100 years, members of a certain political movement claimed that private property and free enterprise would destroy society. The 20th century proved them absolutely wrong. Those societies that did away with private property and free enterprise were destroyed themselves, while those that (for the most part) retained property rights flourished. Subsequently, the members of this same political movement suddenly became activists for the environment, studied the problem, and concluded that there was only one way to save the earth from environmental disaster: by abolishing private property and free enterprise. Does no one find this conclusion – by these people – an odd coincidence? Does no one even suspect their motives? Are we a nation of fools?

President Obama, please watch the movie. Appoint a “Ghostbusters Czar” to ensure that every legislator in the federal government watches it as well. When you have had time to reflect upon its profound message, please declare the environmental war on private property over. If you are looking for wise stewards of the land, you will not find them within the ten square miles you presently inhabit. However, there are some 300 million people that can do a better job just outside of town.

Check out Tom Mullen’s new book, A Return to Common Sense: Reawakening Liberty in the Inhabitants of America right here!

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© Thomas Mullen 2009

>What Is This Free Market We Keep Hearing About? Part II

>Previously, I wrote an article entitled “What Is This Free Market We Keep Hearing About?” In it I attempted to demonstrate that a free market is the only economic system compatible with liberty, in addition to being the system that will yield the best results for society. The dissenting views were familiar ones, which I will attempt to answer.

The first category of dissenting opinions came from those that somehow misunderstood the article to have argued that a free market exists right now, or has existed in the recent past (perhaps under the Republican regime that has thankfully gone the way of the hula hoop). For the record, we have not had any semblance of a free market since at least the New Deal, and probably not since the institution of the Federal Reserve and the income tax in 1913. If anything, we have had markets that have been “progressively” less free in each succeeding decade, the trend accelerating markedly during a few notable periods, including the 1910’s, the 1930’s, the 1960’s, and the present devastation of our liberty that is occurring before our very eyes. As I have argued more extensively before, the Bush years did not represent free markets.

The next broad category of comments could generally be grouped as those which implied that a truly free market system would amount to no government or restrictions at all and therefore necessitate that market participants would have to be trusted to “do the right thing” at the expense of their own profits. Those making this argument went on to say that history shows that “the corporations” or other wealthy market participants will always choose profit over the good of society.

This is a complete misunderstanding of the concept of free markets presented in the article and of the non-aggression principle of liberty in general. “Non-aggression” does not mean the absence of the use of force (government) under any circumstances. In a free market, there is a very necessary role for government to play, just as in nature there is an appropriate time for the use of force. Specifically, the government brings force to bear against those who have committed or are committing aggression against another’s rights. In a truly free market, the government prevents any party from using coercion or fraud to secure an exchange of property. If a company lies on its financial statements to attract investors or credit, it is the government’s job to prosecute those responsible for fraud. If a company employs violence or the threat of violence in trying to eliminate its competition, it is the government’s responsibility to prosecute the aggressor in defense of the victims.

However, if the company participates in exchanges of property whereby all participants voluntarily consent to the terms and all information pertaining to the transactions are represented truthfully, then that activity is beyond the reach of government, just as speech, religion, and conscience are beyond the reach of government because they do not represent acts of aggression against anyone else’s rights.

With the natural boundary of non-aggression enforced, the market requires no consideration for any participant other than the pursuit of profit. With truly free markets, it is never true that society is threatened unless firms sacrifice their profits to benefit society. Rather, firms can and should pursue only profit so long as they commit no aggression against another’s rights. The law should never be a positive force – it should never compel anyone to do anything. It should only prohibit certain actions, namely those that amount to aggression (fraud being aggression against the rights to property). It is this principle that is consistently violated by our modern brand of “regulation.”

This brings us to a third category of objections, namely that insufficiently regulated markets have resulted in the massive consolidations that have occurred over the past quarter century, decreasing competition and creating overly influential corporations that dominate markets and our government. This argument is rooted in the same misconception as the first – that we have had free markets at some point in our recent past. However, even if one argues that some “deregulation” has taken place and that is the reason for the consolidation, the position still begs one question. Why are new competitors not entering the market to compete with these overly dominant corporations?

There are only two possibilities. One is that the corporations in question have achieved natural monopolies. A natural monopoly is a good thing. It means that one firm is producing products of such high quality and such low price that no other firm is able to compete with it. A natural monopoly can only be sustained as long as the monopolist continues to offer products that consumers prefer over all others based upon their own voluntary decisions. Natural monopolies harm no one.

The only other explanation for a dearth of competition is that there are artificial forces at work that are keeping competition out. This means that market participants are not acting voluntarily, but make their choices under some type of coercion. There is only one entity that can legally coerce participants in any market – government. In fact, it has been the ocean of rules and regulations itself – in violation of every market participant’s natural rights – that has led to the dearth of competition in our supposedly free markets. This conclusion is intuitive. If the corporations are not natural monopolies then their competition must have been eliminated unnaturally or artificially, i.e, by the government.

It is abundantly clear that our labyrinthine regulatory structure is an artificial barrier to new competition, particularly since the regulations are now written by the very corporations they are supposed to govern. However, the root of the problem is not bad regulations or corruption. It is the fact that any barriers to human action exist at all beyond those that prevent aggression. Even without back door deals and outright corruption, these artificial barriers necessarily favor entrenched market players over new firms trying to enter the market, as compliance with regulation drives up start up and compliance costs beyond what all but the largest firms can afford.

The so-called “deregulation” in many of our markets did nothing to dismantle this quagmire of regulation, but merely eliminated barriers to consolidation while continuing to insulate established players from new competition. The results were predictable but certainly not the results of natural market forces. The proper solution to this problem is not to violate the rights to liberty and property by prohibiting one company from buying another, but rather to remove the further violations of those rights that our massive regulatory structure represents.

On this point there were some thoughtful comments attempting to determine whether corporations have rights or whether only people have rights. I would argue that the rights in question when discussing corporations are those of the shareholders, who retain all of the same rights to life, liberty, and property as any other market participant. Some argued further that the shareholders obtain certain privileges granted by government, particularly in limiting liability, that justify taxes or restrictions that would not be justified on individuals.

However, this argument ignores the fact that corporations are required to register and therefore declare to all of society their corporate status. As the decisions to form a corporation, buy its stock, lend it money, or purchase its products are all made voluntarily and with full knowledge of its corporate status, there is no justification for government to impose special restrictions upon a corporation outside of those disclosure requirements necessary to inform the public that it is a corporation.

Finally, there were those that argued that unfettered free markets result in corporations achieving too much “power,” rather than merely too much wealth. Corporate “power” is a misnomer. Power is the ability to use force. Only government has power. It is government’s sacred duty to wield that power only in defense of each individual’s rights. No matter how much wealth a corporation obtains, it exercises no power, unless it literally spends its capital to raise an army and engage in open rebellion. Clearly, this has not been the case. However, it is also clear that corporate or other wealthy interests have used their wealth to buy political favors and to induce politicians to pervert the laws themselves, leading directly to the quasi-fascist economy that we find ourselves confronted with today.

This has been a failure of government, not the free market. It is certainly not admirable when an individual or group uses its wealth to achieve injustice. Nor are interested parties participating in a free market when trying to bring government force to bear upon competitors or other market participants. However, it is ultimately government that is entrusted to preserve justice. The members of government are never compelled to allow wealthy interests to persuade them to abandon their duty. It is the government’s job to say “no,” and when they fail to do so they are destroying the free market, not licensing it.

This brief article certainly does not answer every specific argument made against free markets, but it does illustrate something common to all of them: all objections against free markets result from a misunderstanding of what a free market is. A free market is one in which no one’s rights are violated, resulting in all transactions occurring by mutual, voluntary consent. Participants in a free market practice the non-aggression principle. This does not require unrealistic virtue from market participants, because it is government’s duty to enforce the non-aggression principle. Every economic problem plaguing American society today stems from some departure from the free market, which is some violation of the rights of market participants. Justice is the protection of those rights. Social justice can only be achieved when absolutely free markets exist. Properly understood, freedom and free markets are one and the same.

Check out Tom Mullen’s new book, A Return to Common Sense: Reawakening Liberty in the Inhabitants of America. Right Here!

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>What is This Free Market We Keep Hearing About?

>“…every man, as long as he does not violate the laws of justice, is left perfectly free to pursue his own interests his own way and to bring both his industry and capital into competition with those of other men.”

– Adam Smith (1776)[1]

As President Obama and his pet Congress continue their crusade to expand the reach of government into our lives, “conventional wisdom” continues to tell us that socialized medicine, rampant wealth redistribution, and government control over one industry after another is “necessary” because of the supposed failure of the free market to adequately address the needs of society. The way the “free market” is characterized by politicians and media pundits, it is not surprising that most Americans seem to regard it as some sort of special interest group (Mr. Undersecretary, the gentlemen from the free market are here to see you). Doubtless, when most Americans hear the words “free market,” they picture the CEO’s of Detroit automakers flying in on corporate jets or Wall Street financiers busy mastering the universe. This mischaracterization of the free market is ironic, seeing as both of these groups have recently sought and obtained capital from people who were not free to refuse (taxpayers).

So, before trying to ascertain whether or not the free market has failed society, it is necessary to define exactly what it is. This is not so much difficult as it is inconvenient for those who either wish to exert control over our lives or who wish to be controlled by those that they believe can offer them security in exchange for their liberty – even if it means destroying liberty for everyone. For both of these groups, the “free market” is something that must be characterized as something that it is not. To recognize it for what it is would both threaten their own ability to justify their positions and concede to their victims that what they advocate is in fact abject slavery. Neither result is palatable to opponents of the free market, so gibberish is necessary for them from both a moral and practical perspective.

So, let us say here what it seems that no one anywhere wants to come out and say: the free market is simply all members of society exercising their inalienable rights. It is nothing more and nothing less. Any other system, by definition, violates some or all of these rights.

Every individual has a natural right to labor and to keep the fruits of his labor (his property). This is his only means of pursuing his happiness. There is only one role for government in this area: to defend the property of each individual against theft by another person or group. A truly free market limits government’s role in regards to property to this natural boundary – for any further role constitutes government committing the very crime it exists to prohibit.

Every individual has a natural right to liberty – to do as he pleases as long as he does not commit aggression against the equal rights of another. In a free market, there can be no “regulation” (as we incorrectly understand the term today). The laws that restrict human action must be limited to those few necessary to ensure that no individual is forced or defrauded while paticipating in an exchange of property nor forced to accept any terms that he does not freely consent to. As the quote from Adam Smith illustrates, one cannot talk about “free markets” without at the same time incorporating the Non-Aggression Principle of Liberty. While Smith is generally regarded as the “father of capitalism,” he never actually called his economic system by that name. Instead, he referred to it as “a system of natural liberty.” Given the confusion that now accompanies the word “capitalism,” it might be better to revert to Smith’s terminology.

Since a free market is by definition the only system that allows individuals to exercise their rights, to say that an unfettered free market does not work is to say that society will not work unless those rights are systematically violated and that those violations must be protected by the law. A greater perversion of justice is unimaginable. Yet, the majority of our elected officials champion exactly this. Sadly, the majority of their constituents blindly parrot their horrific slogans.

In response to this argument, the more cunning opponents of liberty will say that we have given the free market a chance to work and it has failed. False prophet of freedom Alan Greenspan is notable among this gang of vipers. However, any lucid analysis of the difficulties that we find ourselves in now can indisputably be traced to the aspects of our society that prevent free markets. Bad mortgage loans were made because government committed the fraud of monetary inflation combined with the theft of guaranteeing loans with taxpayer money. The skyrocketing cost of health care is a result of government committing the theft of taking money from one individual and using it to buy health care for another, suspending the natural law of supply and demand with artificial demand. Contrary to the idea that individual rights must be balanced with societal needs, it is the violation of individual rights that causes all of our societal problems, most pervasively our economic problems.

As it is merely the economic application of the Non-Aggression Principle of Liberty, the free market is the only system that allows individuals the ability to exercise their right to pursue their happiness. By doing so, they naturally seek to profit from their labor and compete with each other without committing aggression against each other’s rights. History shows that individuals acting in this manner produce enormous benefits for their fellow human beings. The steam engine, the automobile, the airplane, the telephone, and virtually every other technological advance that provides a tangible improvement in the quality of human life have been the result of human beings peacefully competing with each other for profit.

Conversely, the atomic bomb, the concentration camp, and every other technology which serves the purpose of death, destruction, and enslavement have been the result of governments forcefully confiscating property from their citizens which would otherwise have been put to productive use.[2] It has only been by violating the individual, inalienable rights to life, liberty, and property that any of these horrors were able to come to fruition.

The free market has not failed. The free market is Freedom itself, and while it has only occurred for brief moments throughout history, it has never, will never, and can never fail. When we are confronted with gibberish about the failure of free markets and the need for government to “play a role in the economy,” or for a “public-private partnership,” let us not let ourselves be led into a carefully framed argument about what might provide more health care, produce more automobiles, or save more jobs. Let us recognize these arguments for what they are: a declaration of war upon our inalienable rights.

As our Declaration of Independence states, government’s purpose is to secure our rights, including our inalienable right to a free market within which to exchange our property. Whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of this end, it is our right and our duty to alter or abolish it. Not only must we resist further government expansion into our economy, we must begin dismantling the institutions of tyranny that government has already established over the past century. Our representatives must hear this from us every day until they call off their attack upon our rights or until they can be removed from office. There is nothing in any of our lives that is more important than this right now.

Check out Tom Mullen’s new book, A Return to Common Sense: Reawakening Liberty in the Inhabitants of America. Right Here!
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[1] Smith, Adam An Inquiry into the Wealth of Nations from An Inquiry into the Wealth of Nations: Selections edited by Laurance Winant Dickey Hackett Publishing Indianapolis, IN 1993 pg. 165
[2] The reader should avoid confusing private companies developing weapons for the government with “the free market.” The fact that the companies are privately owned does not mean that they are operating in a free market. Quite the contrary. Since the buyers of their products do so involuntarily (taxes), the development of new weapons and subsequent sale of them to the government has nothing to do with a free market.

>Claire Morrissey Interviews Tom Mullen

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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yq-mvaGZ8Ak&feature=channel

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yc2vEDommss&feature=channel

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=slZwRWGQnaw&feature=channel

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mUulnF8psLo&feature=channel

Check out Tom Mullen’s new book, A Return to Common Sense: Reawakening Liberty in the Inhabitants of America. Right Here!