In the twenty first century, it has become clear to most that there is no divine right or imperative for the existence of an Empire on the earth. As such, an ever-increasing number of peoples have thrown off the yoke of Empire in favor of what has become known as a democratic model of collective governance. Yet simply changing the rules of governance has not put an end to the core ideals of Empire, and governments today that are elected democratically have largely retained the hallmarks of Imperial rule, namely the tendencies toward a central monopoly on the use of force and the right to demand tribute. How can this be?
The purpose of this volume is to gain an understanding of the true nature of Empire and, to convince the reader that Empire, and by extension large scale government, is not only unnecessary, but a great hindrance to human progress. This volume also explores why the Imperial model virtually ensures that the worst elements of humanity will rise to power, where they will ultimately impose their will on their fellow humans by violence. For the violent outcomes that Empires invariably produce are not exceptions to the rule, nor are they merely the norm.
They are literally guaranteed by design.
Once we have grasped the true nature of Empire, we will then will explore the only known antidote to Empire and the only possible means for mankind to rid itself of the lethal effects of Empire on the earth. And it is probably like anything you have imagined.
A colleague from our grad school days in Barcelona recently contacted us from Madrid with an exciting project he and a partner are developing. As such, we are unwittingly trying our hand at the emergent Natural Cosmetics Market.
While Spain and Europe in general appear to be falling apart at the seams, his company is experiencing a boom. As with most smaller enterprises, all it lacks is some well guided investment to transform this mini-boom into a supersonic boom. “El Empujon”, we call it. The big push to get them over the hump, to open new markets, scale production, and create countless jobs in the value chain.
It is just this sort of thing that Governments in the West espouse in word but make nearly impossible in deed.
While the products are all natural, they may be subject to FDA approvals. Then, once the governmental hurdles are cleared, we face a fiercely competitive market where access to the final consumer is tightly controlled by what amounts to a monopoly or at best, an oligarchy, in the cosmetics world. Then there are patents, customs, and any number of mines in the field which must be avoided or diffused to successfully bring the products to market.
How shall The Mint attack this Goliath? We are working on a strategy, which we call, the “Heart of the Beast.” The details of which, for obvious reasons, we shall keep a well guarded secret for the moment.
More on this to come.
In our last correspondence, we presented a hypothesis for dealing with government. Now, we must move the hypothesis down a level. How, then would one test the hypothesis by embracing anarchy, or atheism with regards to government, in a place like Oregon?
Oregon is a State which places a relatively large amount of faith in its political system and, by extension, the power of the government to solve social problems.
The approach seems to work for most. The territory is home to an abundance of natural resources and a great number of people who are willing to go along with the government’s program. In these conditions, the idea and mechanisms of government are tolerated and to an extent championed, for it is possible to live in Oregon and enjoy a relatively high standard of living despite the waste inherent in governmental activities.
However, one can only wonder as to what may be possible here in the great Northwest were the government not to hyper regulate every industry or confiscate 9% of the wages earned by those who labor in its borders (on top of the roughly 21% that the Federal government lays claim to).
Is the average citizen better off living on 70% of his wages? Or, put another way, does the average citizen derive enough benefit from being “governed” that he or she would value it at roughly one third of his or her income?
There are burning questions, fellow taxpayer, that every citizen would do well to ask themselves from time to time. If the mechanism of government were to go away, or be reduced to the spheres where it paradoxically does add value to the economy (note that, were this the case, it would technically cease to be government and become yet another capitalistic enterprise operating in the anarchic surroundings), would it not hold that everyone, including those who work in the unproductive areas of government, would be better off on a relative basis?
The answer, of course, is yes, unless one finds themselves in a position which relies upon the government being able to confiscate a certain amount of resources or the privileges which the mechanism of government may grant them.
However, even this minority would be better off once they adjusted to the reality of life without the idea of government.
What about the Disaster aid, Police and Fire Departments? Aren’t they at least necessary?
Of course they are! And for that very reason, private organizations would quickly spring up to fill these vital roles. In fact, they already exist. They are commonly known as Security and Insurance companies. In Anarcho-Capitalist theory, the array of companies which would arise are called “Private Defense Agencies.” Anyone skeptical about what would arise in a purely anarchic system to replace functions currently delegated to the Nation State is encouraged to study this theory.
For in some ways, the Nation State is simply an over diversified and poorly run Private Defense Agency.
As with any failing capitalistic entity, when a Nation State has gone from being a servant of the people to active enslavement, its lack of popularity invariably shows up in its deteriorating financial condition. This fact alone is proof that Anarchy is the context in which the Nation States of the world today act and operate. On this basis alone it is proper to constantly question the relevancy of the State with regards to its utility against viable alternatives.
Yet despite the failure and bankruptcy of nearly all of the Nation States that have existed and the presence of well developed theories which offer alternatives to these failures, the mechanism of the Nation State remains in place and retains for itself a monopolistic power over defense, welfare, as well as the right to generally meddle in all of the affairs of its subjects at whim.
When living within geographical boundaries of a failing Nation State, it is wise to be prepared to live as if it did not exist, which means that functions vital for one’s existence must be secured by the individual or a cooperative independant of the failing Nation State, for it has been observed throughout history that the authorities of a failing Nation State have a tendency to pillag…we mean, relieve their subjec…we mean, citizens, of their means of sustenance by the most expedient means available.
What is the most expedient means possible? If the Nation State controls the money supply, they simply print money and acquire resources, which is more the rule than the exception circa 2012.
Once a Nation State has begun to relieve their citizens of their wealth in this way, it is possible that those who understand what is going on will convince all to resist by way of armed conflict. However, this is rarely effective, for it tends to replace one form of tyranny with another. These methods rely upon might to make right, which most thinking persons are keenly aware is a losing proposition.
Persons and Nation States, especially those that are desperate and have resorted to robbery, rarely give up their arms willingly or peacefully, so it is up to the individual to peacefully disarm it. This is best done by using a tactic that is not coincidentally very effective against the school yard bully.
How can one do this? For practical purposes, we have compiled a brief list of steps which one could take to avoid and thereby peacefully resist a Nation State which has failed:
1.Money, trade what you want to: Conduct trade in a currency other than the one used to pay the tax. For it is proper to give to Caesar what is Caesar’s. While it may be inconvenient at first to trade using alternative currencies, one may find that it is often not obligatory to use Caesar’s money.
2.Rely on Common sense: Ignore laws and excessive regulations and respect the free will of those you work with. If someone is willing to work for you for less than minimum wage, allow them to work, do not deprive them of a job to comply with an arbitrary wage set by a bureaucrat. Make no conscious distinction between contract workers and employees, for both are freely performing work.
3.An important caveat to this is to not brag about flouting unreasonable laws and regulations. Assume that if you are breaking a legitimate labor law, for example, both you and the employee will know of it and have dealt with it long before the government will deal with it. It is the false hope that government is regulating untenable working conditions that gives rise to untenable working conditions in the first place.
4.Come out of Babylon: If you live in a place where the microscope of government regulation is unavoidable, move until you can freely live a safe distance from it.
5.Cross borders: If language is not a barrier and your trade or profession is not location specific, there should be no resistance from either government to crossing national borders in search of better opportunities, for all stand to benefit from this.
6.Sell what consumers want, not what the government allows you to sell. The greatest test of a product (food included) is public opinion. Government approval of products, like labor laws tend to give the population a false sense of security.
As we have stated above, if the Nation State’s intentions are pure and in harmony with Natural Law, there should be no resistance from them to an individual who chooses to take these steps.
If, on the other hand, the bankrupt Nation State begins to pass and enforce laws against these actions, restricting freedom and by default, trade, in a vain effort to pillage its subjects to pay the politicians’ debts, it then shows itself to be predatory.
Anyone who has attempted to take any the steps above has likely encountered some sort of resistance to taking these actions. What may come as a surprise is that the resistance may not have come directly from the government itself, for the government of a failing Nation State, or any Nation State for that matter, does not have the resources to enforce all of the rules that they put on the books.
Rather, resistance, more often than not, comes from well meaning but misguided fellow citizens who are unwittingly trained by the government’s education system to deter these brave souls on the questionable moral basis of simply obeying the rules, no matter how unreasonable they may be.
“I am an atheist with regards to the world’s government, for I have chosen to live in the Kingdom of God”
Yesterday at The Mint, we took quite a ride through Portland’s plastic bag ban, bisacksuality, the virtues of non-violent protest, anarchy, atheism, and the imaginary construct of government.
If you missed it, we encourage you to give it a read as it will aid greatly in understanding today’s installment. Of course, if your prefer to jump cold turkey into today’s Mint, by all means, carry on.
And onward we must toil, for this is exceedingly important.
Yesterday we offered that the best way to test the legitimacy of government, that is, its right to govern, would be to simply live as if the government did not exist and see where resistance came from.
If resistance were to come from a solid majority, then that would lend credence to the necessity of government. If resistance were to appear in the form of a minority relying on an imaginary framework to create and enforce a series of rules, imposed by one group on other groups in order to gain or maintain an unearned privilege, the legitimacy of the government should be questioned.
Not the legitimacy of those who are governing at the time, mind you, rather, the legitimacy of the apparatus which allows such rule by the minority at the expense of the majority.
For if a majority would be materially better off by simply shedding the illusion of government, why does the idea of government persist?
Let’s face it, it is nice to sleep at night with the idea that someone is watching over us and our assets. Even more comfort may be found in the idea that, were something to happen to ourselves or our assets, we would probably still be taken care of.
Yet these same promises are also the promises of the Almighty God! Why, then, if one were to believe in the God of the Bible, would it make sense to attribute the power of God to a government which is by definition an assembly of fallible men?
The answer, most would say, is that God is unseen, while men, while they may be fallible, can be observed to be acting. This logic is clear. Some may even take it a step further and claim that the government is God’s agent to provide protection and provision to His people. There is certainly support for this idea in scripture. However, it is important to watch how the men act before blindly ascribing supernatural powers to them.
In the case of government, the confiscation of n
early 30% of a person’s income, which is what the average American may expect to pay in the form of Federal, State, and Local taxes, does not exactly fit with most peoples idea of the preservation of assets, nor does the idea of restricting the ability of one to own a weapon fit with the preservation of one’s life.
Yet it is clearly stated in the Bible that he who trusts in God shall be both protected and provided for.
How can this paradox be reconciled? For it is one thing to deny the existence of the unseen God.It is quite another to deny the existence of God on one hand, and on the other assign the attributes of the non existent God to an entity which consistently operates in a manner contrary to the self interest and freedom of the individual, which presumably would be the reason that an individual would deny the existence of God in the first place.
For the sake of consistency, then, the professing atheist must be a professing anarchist as well. If not, one would be at a minimum inconsistent and possbily insane to assent to most if not all of the actions of the government, for the sacrifices required by most governments on the earth far exceed those requested of humanity by the Living God.
Those who know God, on the other hand, would be inconsistent were they to declare that God is their provider and protector and then eschew what God asks of them in favor of fulfilling a requirement imposed upon them by the government when the two come into conflict with each other.
So what gives? Is it possible to be an atheist with regards to the world’s governments without living in defiance of nor toiling against them? Is it possible to simply deal with the inconveniences which appear as a result of a large part of the world’s population acting upon the belief that the government really exists?
In other words, is it possible to live in the world but not be of the world, as the apostle Paul alluded to? For to do so is to choose to live in the Kingdom of God.
The only way to know for sure is for both the atheist and the believer to peacefully and actively test the hypothesis of a government’s legitimacy by living their lives as if the government did not exist, and then patiently wait and see where any resistence to their chosen way of life came from.
Aslong as they are not stealing from of hurting anyone, they should be just fine, right?
As the Fixed income markets continue to crumble, all eyes in Finance are now on a summit of European leaders that will take place next Sunday, when many persons will be watching sporting events, enjoying the outdoors, protesting, or toiling to eke out a meager existence on this earth.
What happens in Europe next Sunday may be simply another act in the game of extend and pretend that until now has been the only strategy employed by Western governments and their Central Banks in response to the bankruptcy of the world’s largest banks and governments.
Since we do not know what will befall mankind this coming Sunday, we must endeavor to understand how the Western world has arrived at this critical juncture in history. We began last week, by exploring the often underestimated contribution of Luca Pacioli to the commonwealth of society: The dissemination of Dual Entry Accounting methods used in Genoa, Florence, and Venice circa 1492.
Today, we will explore the great irony that Dual Entry Accounting – what we call man’s greatest innovation, has made possible what we are calling man’s greatest catastrophe, Modern Central Banking.
In order to do this, we begin with a brief history and explanation of the concept of Central Banking and its relationship to government.
The concept of Central Banking is rooted in man’s need for security as well as his recognition of his co-dependence on his fellow man to increase his well being through trade. It takes time and energy to obtain and protect wealth. It also takes time and energy to barter with counterparties while trading differing goods without a suitable means of exchange.
A bank, in its simplest form, provides a secure place to store wealth. A natural extension of this activity is for the banker to extend credit and act as a clearing house for commerce by assuming a de facto role as an issuer of currency in the form of banknotes which represent a claim on wealth held at their bank. The existence and circulation of these banknotes greatly facilitated trade.
As trade and consequently the wealth of mankind increased both in volume and geographical reach, there was increasingly a need for a larger banking interest to store the excess wealth of the individual banks and to honor the banknotes emitted by the individual banks. This larger banking interest, formed by and for the benefit of the individual banks, is what we today call a Central Bank.
The complexity of maintaining banking accounts was greatly facilitated and made possible on a large scale by the use of dual entry accounting. The ability for individual banks to maintain accounts on a larger scale made possible the existence of a Central Bank to act as a clearing house amongst banks. Hence, our premise that Dual entry accounting enabled Central banking.
Now, on to the role of Government in relation to Central Banking. If Central Banks arose because man needed someone to look after his wealth, governments arose because man needed someone to look after his life. Governments were formed in response to the natural human need for a common defense.
It is not hard, then, to imagine that Governments, in whatever form, relied heavily upon and supported the formation of both individual banks and Central Banks.
Why would Governments need banks and Central banks?
Governments are generally given license by the members of society to use whatever means necessary to preserve their lives. As such, they assume the role as the apparatus of compulsion and coercion in that society.
As the apparatus of compulsion and coercion, the government, by definition, cannot generate wealth. At best, it can only create the conditions under which individuals may create wealth, but the activities of government as a provider of security never directly create wealth. Because they cannot create wealth, they must either borrow from or tax the populace in order to fund their activities of compulsion and coercion.
The Central Bank, as the ultimate repository of wealth, offers a convenient source of both credit and, in a later wave of Central Banks of which the Federal Reserve is a prime example, tax collection services.
As you can see, a Central Bank is an indispensible institution both for individuals in terms of storing wealth and facilitating trade, as well as for Governments who have an insatiable need for tax revenues and credit.
The existence of a Central Bank, for all of the benefits that it may bestow, unwittingly makes the wealth of those it serves a natural target for those who are anxious to obtain that wealth through unjust means.
Central Banking, like alcohol and socialism, may be a good idea when used in moderation. However, each one of these also represents a catastrophe waiting to happen. For if the circumstances under which they are created or used take an unfavorable turn, the wealth and lives of many may be lost in a very short period of time.
Needless to say, the scale of modern Central Banking is beyond what would be advisable, and the potential for catastrophe is unprecedented.
How, when, and most importantly why will this catastrophe take place? We can only answer the why, and we will tackle it tomorrow as we are spent.
Almost nothing of consequence happened today in the markets. Just what one would expect on a quiet August day. Silver and other commodities are poised to go higher, but our guess is that it will wait a month to really hit its stride. At that point, inflation could really be a problem.
August is a time for reflection and relaxation. Casting off the cares of the past 11 months and charging the batteries for another run. At The Mint, we are pondering a great many things. Our dear German friend who has been with us here in Portland the past nine months left for Frankfurt today. She will be missed dearly by all. It seems that Oregon had a special impact upon her as well and she commented that this season has been one of the most pleasant of her life.
Yes, Oregon is a special place.
“There is so much nature here!” she commented upon returning from a trip to Montana. Apparently in Germany every square mile is spoken for, leaving wild animals little room to roam. One of her chief concerns on these excursions was the bears. Who can blame her, with the news coming out of Yellowstone at the time?
She is heading to Barcelona to start a ministry and we wish her well, for she is now one of the family. Hospitality blesses one in ways they cannot imagine.
August thoughts in the US are being rudely interrupted by the presidential campaigns that are warming up in Iowa and are heading to New Hampshire to continue the race in which the winner will declare themselves King of the Americans.
As Bloom County fans may recall, when the Meadow party nominated Bill the Cat and Opus for the job, they concluded that only a complete idiot would apply after careful consideration of the job description which in there estimation included “being blamed for every problem on the planet.”
The complete idiot label came to mind after we heard a comment in a video shared with us by a friend in which Bill Hybels, the Pastor of Willow Creek, a large church in Illinois, noted that the tendency in American dialogue today is to “throw stones first” and ask questions later. He explained that people grab onto comments and statements made by others and publicly villianize them without bothering to consider the context or verify the validity of said statements.
His remarks were made at the Willow Global Leadership Summit while addressing the interesting situation in which Howard Schultz, the CEO of Starbucks, backed out of his contract to appear at the summit after receiving threats of a boycott from a group who claimed that Willow Creek was anti-gay.
He went on to say that this phenomenon is making America “ungovernable.”
Mr. Hybels did not go into detail as to how this phenomenon would make the country ungovernable, but the idea got us thinking. What makes a country governable in the first place? Do people naturally need government in order to survive?
In the sense that people need to feel protected and able to care for themselves and their loved ones, people may need the concept of government. People, knowing their weak state on this planet, need to believe that someone is looking out for them. This need leads them to subject themselves to the idea of government.
Inevitably, those who are entrusted with embodying the idea of government find that they are given quite a bit of power over the lives of others and quickly learn to abuse it.
This leads the subjects to seek freedom from the government while at the same time looking for someone of something else to fulfill the basic needs of protection and material well-being. Seen this way, when a people become “ungovernable” they are rejecting the government under which they are because of a perceived or actual abuse.
It is important to note that, for people to reach this state, they must feel that they are out of options under the current government. Economic hardship has a lot to do with how people perceive their options. It should come as no surprise then that economic hardship is a result of policies which restrictive freedom.
Free men are infinitely more productive than slaves. A policy change in either direction will express itself in economic results. The results in America prove that we are a people becoming enslaved.
When things go well, no one cares who is governing. When things go badly, they become unnaturally preoccupied with the political process. America circa 2011 is moving towards this unnatural preoccupation.
Ironically, the more one concentrates on the government and its political processes, the more it becomes evident that the very existence of a government organized by men may be more a threat to than a protector of the basic needs of protection and material well-being.
We have stated before that in practice the governments of the world today operate like competing defense agencies. It may be, then, that Americans are tired of the current contractor and are searching for another one; one that is less intrusive and has fewer overhead costs to cover.
Will they find it before they are completely enslaved by the current one?