From another angle . . .

Radical Libertarians — What do we want?

On the Mark

A friend asked me the other day, “what in the hell do you people really want?” I promised a short answer and today I feel like providing it. Note; the emphasis is on a short answer. So many great thinkers have gone on at length about how real world libertarianism might work and there are complete books on every aspect of the issue: I only want to tell you what I think we radical libertarians want, not go into a long proof of how it would all work.

First, we ask that we not be the innocent victim of aggression. This is summed up in that old saying, “live and let live”. As long as I am not attacking you or your property then you should not be attacking me in any way. I don’t steal your stuff so why do you send armed men to take my stuff and…

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On living with tyrants

NOVEMBER by Robert Frost

Photo by LMN

We saw leaves go to glory,

Then almost migratory

Go part way down the lane,

And then to end the story

Get beaten down and pasted

In one wild day of rain.

We heard “‘Tis over” roaring.

A year of leaves was wasted.

Oh, we made a boast of storing,

Of saving and of keeping,

But only by ignoring

The waste of moments sleeping,

The waste of pleasure weeping,

By denying and ignoring

The waste of nations warring.

(From A Witness Tree, 1942)

Let’s celebrate the ordinary, for a change

Here’s another unpublished essay pulled from the old backup files . . . posting it as found. -LMN/GM

No way to be a genius

There’s no way I can be a genius, so why even bother? I mean, it’s no fun being ordinary in a world full of genius. On the other hand, it’s all I’ve got, so I’ll try to make the best of it. What seems so easy to others is a struggle for me, though I’m sure I do a few things that some might find a struggle for them. Yet, I see before me, over and over again, so many talented, accomplished, hard-driving persons that I feel overwhelmed by my lack of ability. I’m trying my best, but my best can never compete with what they can do. There must be many others who feel as I do. The thing is: what is our purpose in being here? If it is just to exist as ourselves, is that not good enough? Is it not then sufficient to try our best and be accepting that our best is ordinary, at best, and mediocre or less than mediocre, at worst?

Are there others out there who keep hoping in vain to find some special talent within them that will make all their other failures acceptable? Surely there are. But, perhaps, the sooner we recognize those talents are not likely to materialize, the sooner we can get on with doing what we have to do to survive and with trying to find time to do what we would like to do, because we like to do it. Maybe it is a relief to let go of the idea that we are special beings, beyond, we hope, to our husbands and wives, mothers and fathers, children, and maybe, if we are lucky, our siblings and friends – and, if we believe, to God. Maybe it is truly enough to keep trying to be a good person every day and to accept that we’ll never learn seven languages, or ice skate like Michelle Kwan, dance like Mikhail Baryshnikov, or write like Mark Twain.

It’s hard to maintain a sense of self-respect and value in a world full of high achievers, but it may be possible. Those who aren’t so accomplished in the world of sports, or linguistics, or the arts are often, if they are truly special, adept at the art of making money. They accomplish a certain lifestyle and level of comfort from sheer grit. They hustle to find a sense of superiority over others, though they are not likely to admit to it, in their accumulation of capital. They pretend they are just like you and me, but in their heart of hearts they know they are not, that they are different, and they are quite glad of it. I say: good for them, if they are happy; just quit trying to blend in by pretending you have to clip coupons and buy things at yard sales; it doesn’t work; we aren’t fooled.

Let’s celebrate the ordinary, for a change: worn looking cars with 250,000 miles and counting; sloppy handwriting and below grade level performance in math; apartment living; clothes purchased from Goodwill in the last Sunday of the month sale; a house full of used furniture most of which cost no more than $50; un-manicured fingernails and un-pedicured toenails; calloused hands; old sneakers; Carlo Rossi jug wine; Taco Bell; Eight O’Clock coffee; the laughter of children; and just trying to be as loving and good and kind as we can be. The world needs plain old love and goodness and kindness, at least as much as it needs genius.

October 27, 2006

I am not a fish; I am a free woman

Digging around in our old backup files I found several essays I wrote but never published. It appears I wrote this one for submission to a magazine focused on home education; it’s dated 2006. For better or worse, I have decided to post it as I found it, with only a couple of small edits. -LMN/GM

Row, Row, Row Your Boat . . .

Some of my family and friends think I’m in denial. But what else is new? After all, I’ve been a homeschooling (to put it in the most recognizable term) parent on-and-off since 1988. One would think that’s enough unconventionality to last a life time. Yet, apparently, for me, it isn’t. Without intending to, I find myself swimming upstream in many areas of my life, and I suspect this something I share in common with most readers of this magazine; the article, “A Cheerful Rebel” comes to mind.

This morning, I’m wondering what it means when we say we are “swimming upstream”? Salmon do it when they go to spawn, and then they die. Is this what’s in store for us unconventional-types (an oxymoron, right?)? A long struggle, after which we make it possible for our heirs to continue the struggle and then depart, sounds like an analogy for what it means to be human. Ironically, I’m living my life, to use another cliché metaphor, “outside the mainstream.” So am I simply struggling upstream in a different stream? But if I am in a different stream, then what current am I struggling against? By being in the waters of a different stream, am I not then entitled to go with the flow? In trying to analyze these metaphors, I’ve caught my mind in an eddy, spinning in slow circles.

Let me see whether I can swim far enough sideways to break the eddy’s hold and make some sense of this. Perhaps I need to start with young hatchling salmon. They do indeed go with the flow, out to the ocean to live until it’s time for the ultimate upstream struggle. As one of those salmon, to be outside the mainstream would be to refuse to go to the ocean and be eaten by a bear sooner rather than later; probably before spawning; if one could spawn at all, under the circumstances. Or being outside the mainstream could mean going to the ocean, but refusing to go back upstream for the struggle; or it could simply mean choosing a different stream to struggle up; or to decide to spawn at the base of the stream or some other new spot. But wait a minute; I’m not a salmon, not even a fish. I don’t live in streams; I don’t spawn. I’ll bet you were wondering when I was going to figure that out.

But hold it. I can’t leave this alone yet. I think what these particular family and friends are really afraid of is that I, we, my husband, children, and I, will be eaten by a bear, sooner rather than later. They see going with the flow as a way of having some control over a chaotic world. They are approved of by their fellow fish; they know their places and though they might yearn to take a different course, they prefer the reassurance. They see themselves as accepting their destiny; they believe I am simply denying mine, to my own detriment.

Perhaps they are right. I’d say, most assuredly, they are, except, I’ll say again, I, we, are not salmon, nor fish. What distinguishes us, as humans, is that we have more opportunity to assert our wills than any other animal, for better or worse. Deference is given with regard to asserting the will to the young and to those with financial means. But because I am growing older, have little money at the moment, and have chosen to keep my youngest child at home rather than send him to school while I work full-time, they are sure I am setting up myself and my family to be eaten by a bear. To add insult to injury, I have made the mistake of announcing I intend to earn my living, eventually, as a writer, giving them, as they see it, even more evidence that I’ll soon be nothing but a tasty morsel for Ursa Major. They genuinely fear for us, I think. And I appreciate their care, however much it rubs my scales the wrong way, but I do wish they’d have a little more faith that things might turn out well.

The greatest irony is, while they believe I am denying reality, for me the opposite is true. Despite the strong current always tugging at me, I still want to be just where I am. It is the only place that feels right, all the way down to my bones. I did not choose this way of life out of a need to be contrary for contrary’s sake or stubbornly hold to something I started long ago. If, knowing what I know about myself, I jumped into their current and was swept away, for me that would be the ultimate denial. I would be refusing to acknowledge what my husband and I deeply believe is right. I would be refusing to try to acknowledge what holds the most meaning for me in life. I would be refusing to use the power of my own mind. After all, I am not a fish; I am a free woman.


Ebola: what op is being planned for Western nations?

Jon Rappoport's Blog

Ebola: what op is being planned for Western nations?

by Jon Rappoport

September 26, 2014

In this article, I’m not going to try to recapitulate everything I’ve written about Ebola so far.

I’ll outline two possible scenarios for the near future in Western nations. Scenario 1 and Modified Scenario 1. Both would be planned ops.

#1: Announcement: a vaccine is available. Authorities will declare who should take it. In an extreme situation, people in certain sectors will be commanded to take it. And if they don’t, they will be quarantined, regardless of their health status.

Quarantines in selected areas would be enforced by police and troops stationed on streets, taking people to their homes, ordering them to stay in their homes. In those areas, businesses would be ordered to close.

Flights in and out of selected areas would be shut down.

The vaccine would be called safe, “according to…

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The Dog

The dog had strayed into her life and despite attempts to find its owner and after learning animal control considered him (the dog) armed and dangerous, a fugitive from canine justice, possibly headed for death row should he be caught and detained, she let him stay.

The woman (as she would discover) had opened her home to a real dog, a dog who, in these days of mass confinement of canines, felines, and humans alike, had managed to escape attempts to control him and created a wide territorial loop for himself through the wooded regions bordering the ubiquitous subdivisions.

This dog valued freedom equally with human affection. Smart, persistent, and energetic, a canine Houdini, his skill at escaping collars, tethers, fences, latched doors, animal control officers, and even humans he knew and loved, in a sensible world would have earned him respect but instead just caused him trouble; yet his will to be free persisted.

Thus, despite the excellent food and other creature comforts smitten humans, such as the woman was, provide, he still wanted, when a deer passed through the yard, seeming to taunt him in his confinement, or when a feral cat tried in vain to pass unnoticed across the well-kept lawn that joined one section of wood to another, he wanted, he was compelled . . . to hurl himself at the storm door and hope the latch would give way or to run to the edge of the fenced yard and spring into the air catching his front paws over the top of the wire, using his rear legs as pistons. . . to launch himself into the wild again.

Once free, in the realm of the canine spirits, no human command or plea could stop him until miles of running broke the fever. True, he’d been successfully distracted once by fellow canine scents and scooped up like a puppy, ripped from his reverie, and scolded. Another time he’d been slowed by a skunk he was carrying, the one he’d killed the night before, getting heavily doused in the process with a perfume so thick four baths of baking soda and peroxide could merely dilute it, a skunk the woman had set aside to bury but that had proved so enticing to the dog he’d no sooner been let out the door than he scaled the fence to retrieve it. Thus, freighted with the skunk and perhaps feeling too pleased with himself, the dog was thwarted by a promise of affection from an observant and friendly neighbor, giving the woman time to slip a leash around his neck and take him back.

Despite the woman’s increasingly sophisticated attempts to prevent the dog’s escapes he succeeded now and again, often being discovered soon enough for the woman to run after him until he reached the woods and disappeared. The first few times he had escaped, not realizing the pattern to his wanderings, she walked the neighborhood frantically calling or got in her car and drove anxiously through the adjoining streets, hoping he might appear. But after a few times, the woman saw that he made a loop through the long woods, passing through the neighborhood before beginning it a second time, then tiring by the end of the second and willingly returning home.

With that knowledge, the woman stopped the anxious pursuits, saw no sense in it and saw it could cause more trouble if she wasn’t home to greet the dog, and so she waited to try to catch him after the first loop or at least to bring him in after the second, an exhausted, stinking, briar-scratched, grinning-with-his-whole-body, panting canine, then scold him and put him in the laundry room with a bowl of water, to do his penance.

After one break-out, the woman ended her pursuit at the woods’ edge and headed back to her house, apparently, she later learned, having been observed, tried, and convicted by a neighbor. When the woman went back outside after about half an hour, to try to catch the dog on the pass-through, the neighbor, lying in wait, raised her voice to the woman, adjusting its tone to contain equal parts contempt, malice, and condescension, and called out, “Don’t you even try to catch your dog?” The woman, surprised, pained, tried to explain. Later, she would learn that nothing she could say would matter; predators do not show mercy, especially ones who care a lot.

Another time, the woman, failing to notice a deer lurking in the dark just beyond the fence, let the dog out for his late-night eliminations and turned her back just long enough. A nasal call pierced the still air, then a low growl and rattling wire; another runabout commenced; the dog disappeared into the night. But the woman, knowing what she knew and realizing the utter futility and possibly dangerous nature of wandering through yards and woods in the dark to look for him, went back inside to wait.

The neighbor’s determined knock came soon after, followed by a blustering judgment which smacked the woman’s face as she opened the door, “Your dog is loose! Aren’t you even going to look for him?” Never mind that it was near midnight. Never mind that it was very dark. Never mind what the woman knew. Never mind anything she could say to explain. It wouldn’t matter, though she said it anyway; she made a useless but heartfelt appeal for understanding, a good faith attempt to break through, this time, for the dog’s sake.

He returned on schedule. And this dog, claimed by the neighbor to be a cat-killer but never verified or believed by the woman (a cat-chaser, yes, but cat-killer?) but known by the woman to be a skunk killer (a skunk violating the dog’s territory? any self-respecting dog would have killed it), now this dog, this killer, bore in his mouth a precious cargo indicating he’d crossed paths in the night with a feral cat moving her kittens.

The mother cat would have sacrificed one to save the others, dropping it from her mouth onto the forest floor and leading her pursuer on a wild chase away from the nest. Whether the dog chased the mother cat then went back for the sacrificed one, or whether he stopped then and there, the woman could never know, but she did know the dog had not shaken the kitten to death or left her to fend for herself, desperately pining for her mother; instead, he, the dog, this cat-killer dog, had brought her home, likely a result of his bird-dog instinct, finally releasing the tiny feline from the surprisingly tender grip of his canine jaws into human hands. And the woman knew that now the dog considered this mewling little bundle, her eyes barely open, one of his own, and now their own. The woman knew.

But what she knew and what we all know that should matter most of all, the deep knowledge that smacks of the reason for living, that reeks with the truth, that sings from the heart, that should explain everything to anyone, is so often cast aside in the name of caring. To use logic and reason, to remain calm in the face of difficulty, to trust in what you know, these are considered sins in this caring world.

To care you must confine at all times, and should confinement be escaped, panic accordingly, sufficiently that you are noticed, so that the magnitude of your discomfort can be used as the inverse measure of your transgression, to thus determine whether your lapse in judgment or vigilance can be forgiven or should instead be reviled and used to undermine your reputation as a carer, forever discounting your credibility.

About the woman, some of the more caring neighbors liked to say, “She doesn’t even look for her dog.”

Written by GNM/LMN – September 2014

Metal Scrap, Ash, and Vapor

Fire, carefully used and contained, is cleansing and satisfying. We have the good fortune of living in an area where one won’t yet be arrested for having a little fire pit in the backyard and, when conditions are right, not too dry, not too windy, burning whatever it is that ails that will not produce toxic fumes and ash.

Regarding the toxic-fume family of discards, we must make-do with the recycling center or landfill, which get the job done but without that full sense of closure. There is always the thought that something sent to either of these places might blow from the truck and end up on the roadside or resurface two hundred years later to be studied by some archeologist. Imagine the text on the museum display placard: “Early twenty-first century one gallon milk jug with screw-type lid.”

But last night, watching that crappy, particle board end table, the one held together by thin staples, the one that broke apart as I was about to carry it into Goodwill, be consumed and disappear forever deeply satisfied that part of me that yearns for quality of workmanship and aesthetics, that part of me that knows it is far better to possess no table at all than to carry on a relationship with one such as that.

At the moment, my dining area is overflowing with papers accumulated over many years of chaotic, hectic living. Every piece of paper that might possibly be useful at some future time was layered in boxes or stuffed higgeldy-piggeldy into file drawers. Now I’m yearning to consign this whole mess to the flames but, having had the chance twice now since pulling it all out, I’ve not done it.

My daring side knows I could hurl in the lot without looking and never miss a thing; it takes considerable will to resist this impulse, especially when there is a nice hot bed of coals just waiting. Alas, the conservative side of me insists on hours of sorting and strictly limited hurling. But Ms. Tame, as opposed to Ms. Wild, is likely correct that there will be a few tidbits amongst these piles worthy of the time it takes to identify them, so she wins the debate.

As I continue to get things in order around here there will be less and less for the flames, mostly just garden debris, which is also satisfying to burn, you know, the stuff that doesn’t compost quickly or that might cause trouble later even if it is composted. And the ash goes into the compost to enrich it. But if I achieve my goal of maintaining orderly files, this entails periodic purging likely yielding plenty of lovely fodder for the flames.

Of course, burning old bills and bank statements does not offer the same level of satisfaction as burning an ugly, poorly constructed hunk of junk, but if I achieve another of my goals, I will never own any more of those than I already have, which, thankfully, is not too many. So I shall have to savor last night’s image of the flames mercifully lapping until the thing was only so much metal scrap, ash, and vapor.


[Image Credit to: khrawlings –

A letter from Freeman DeFacto on freedom and the law

Dear Friend,

Sixty some years ago when I was a 20-something and a staunch “conservative,” I too believed in the death penalty administered by the state.

I advocated that it should be administered ONLY when it could be proven BEYOND ANY DOUBT WHATSOEVER that the defendant had committed knowing, premeditated, willful MURDER in the first degree. This seemed only “reasonable.”

As I studied and learned about really true individual freedom and all the assumptions and ins-and-outs and downright corruption of statism I realized that the state should not have the power of life or death over anyone. I began my movement away from “conservatism” and statism toward sovereign individualism.

In a truly-free society, there would be no state. Each individual would govern her_or_himself as a sovereign individual.  Sovereign individuals would form associations for protection of their own life, limb, and property.  No one could be coerced to join an association or remain in one should he not wish to.

I study history mostly in a effort to learn, if possible, how the societal behavior  of mankind has “evolved.”

Upon reading of early English and European history of the times prior to establishment of towns and cities of any considerable size, I learned that before the “nobles and kings” took control of everything, communities administered their own justice. [The nobility later got into administering “justice” because they figured out how to make money from it.]

Justice at that time was defined by the common interpretations of “natural law” [the rules of the universe and its Creator.] Justice simply  meant that each person should get what she or he deserved. Everyone should “do the right thing;” do what’s fair and equitable. Do not be a party to injustice.

As an example: in the “old days,” a victim of maiming, manslaughter, etc. (if he survived) decided the fate of his assailant. Non-surviving victims, were represented by his immediate family, even his extended family, and if necessary, close friends and acquaintances. After a community “trial,” convicted criminals were subject to negotiating their fate with the victim or his representatives.

For murder, there was such a thing as “blood money” by which a “perp” could pay his debt to the victims. Such things were negotiated  with the entire community as witnesses and enforcers. Perps who did not comply with their “sentence” were subject to banishment, shunning, and being open-game for “killing on sight.”

Some perps who had no money or property were offered the opportunity to pay for their crimes by serving as “indentured servants” for designated periods of time.  Many murderers were sentenced to serve the rest of their lives as a “replacement” for their dead victim.

Less serious crimes were settled by restitution plus a fine for punishment. For after all, the aim of apprehending criminals is to right the wrongs done to their victims. Restitution is an absolute minimum.

The state rarely, if ever, these days even thinks about  restitution.  What good does it do the victim for his robber to be put in jail for six months? Restitution plus a compensating payment for time, trouble, and aggravation is much more appropriate.

I commend to you three outstanding books on the subject of a truly-free society and how it could operate.

1. The Ethics of Liberty by Murray N. Rothbard

2. Freedom and the Law by Bruno Leoni

3. The Enterprise of Law: Justice Without the State  by Bruce L. Benson




You can download these PDFs at no charge from

If only we could help bring about a truly-free society.


Freeman DeFacto

(nom de plume of David M. Myers)

The World According to One Cheshire Cat

Other than some fairly respectable local and human interest stories, today’s paper was the usual collection of half-truths and circular reasoning flowing from the blithe or willful acceptance of faulty premises and failure to identify the roots of problems, resulting in the usual failure to offer solutions that do more good than harm.


The worst offender featured today wrote an essay that perfectly illustrates the underhanded, manipulative tactics so often employed by those who favor political ideology and agenda over truth and over respecting the natural rights of human beings.


Self-assured that they have identified the most suitable means to achieve what they deem undeniably worthy ends, these commentators and policy-shapers, i.e., propagandists, advocate the employment of coercion and deceit to achieve them.

Adding insult to injury they refuse to acknowledge the havoc their policies so obviously wreak, all the while patting themselves on the back for their superior maturity and pragmatism.


Today’s worst offender referenced above is syndicated columnist, academic, and former Secretary of Labor, Robert Reich. I found the same essay online, here.


Reich attempts to confound his readers from the start. The headline of his essay, “GOP setting a cynicism trap,” is in itself a cynicism trap.


Using today’s common definition of cynic, “a person who shows or expresses a bitterly or sneeringly cynical (distrusting or disparaging the motives of others) attitude,” one must conclude that Reich, by implying that the actions of the GOP are disingenuous simply by virtue of being GOP, is encouraging the very behavior he purports to decry.


And here is how the essay opens:


An old friend who has been active in politics for more than 30 years tells me he’s giving up. “I can’t stomach what’s going on in Washington anymore,” he says. “The hell with all of them. I have better things to do with my life.”


My friend is falling into exactly the trap that the extreme right wants all of us to fall into — such disgust and cynicism that we all give up on politics. Then they’re free to take over everything.


It seems that Reich’s friend finally understands the truth about government and politics—that there truly are far better things to do with one’s life. But we must not allow too many to start believing that—heaven forfend! If that were to happen, Reich and a lot of his friends would lose power and wealth, and we can’t have that can we?


Reich dishonestly ignores the fact that problems in government and politics are also attributable to democrats and to the system itself; he also implies that participating in politics is a noble duty when abundant evidence supports the opposite conclusion, that politics is the preferred occupation of tyrants who are to be avoided and thwarted, insofar as possible.


Furthermore, Reich implies that participation in politics is the ONLY solution, when clearly this is also not true; people are constantly finding ways to work together and to help one another—it happens every day, without or even in spite of government interference. Look around you.


Reich assumes the reader wants what he wants; and he assumes the reader believes as he does that the GOP is monolithic, that it is extreme (which is meant to be derogatory), and that it is the enemy, no matter what, for reasons that are always implied and never explained. Like a peevish teenager ready to start a gang war, Reich says: ”Then they’re free to take over everything,” implying the results of such a take over would be devastating.


In the next passage, Reich reveals an underlying assumption that is constantly reinforced by those in power: “THEY (Congress, the President, the Supreme Court, etc.) decreed it therefore it MUST be so and you MUST submit.”


Republicans blame the shutdown of Washington and possible default on the nation’s debt on the president’s “unwillingness to negotiate” over the Affordable Care Act. But that law has already been negotiated. It passed both houses of Congress and was signed into law by the president. It withstood a Supreme Court challenge.


Whether you agreed to the terms yourself, as an individual, is deemed irrelevant. Whether a particular act of government changes your life for the worse is also deemed irrelevant. Clearly, your view was never intended to matter, even though you must be made to believe that it does (democracy and all that).


Reich pulls a quadruple whammy invoking both houses of Congress, the president, and the Supreme Court. Zeus has spoken from Mt. Olympus and you walk away at your own peril. Why? Well, because he is Zeus and you are not.


Now we come to the “father knows best” section, in which Reich reminds his readers that while we children often balk at eating our vegetables, in the long run we are glad that we did. He also reminds us that the majority (the father in this case) gets to decide which vegetables to serve and the minority’s (the child’s) opinion will not be taken into consideration. Why? Because THEY said so.


The Affordable Care Act is hardly perfect, but neither was Social Security or Medicare when first enacted. The Constitution allows Congress to amend or delay laws that don’t work as well as they were intended, or even to repeal them. But to do any of this requires new legislation — including a majority of both houses of Congress and a president’s signature (or else a vote to override a president’s veto).


Our system does not allow one party to delay, amend or repeal a law of the land by shutting down the rest of the government until its demands are met. If that were the way our democracy worked, no law would ever be safe or settled. A disciplined majority in one house could always use the threat of a shutdown or default to gut any law it didn’t like.


Notice that Reich reinforces the Because-THEY-Said-So rule. He also further attempts to confuse his readers by referring to statutes as law-of-the-land and conveying the idea that only “safe and settled” law—by this he means “When WE pass it you cannot change it”—will enable people to feel safe and settled (in other words, comfortable), when the truth is that legislation that does not defend and protect individual human rights, among these liberty, should, by all means, be delayed, amended, or repealed.


Reich conveniently fails to mention that tyrants more often than not use the “law” (legislation, statutes) to do the worst of their dirty work and that they use statements such as Reich’s to convince people to submit, even when those people understand with their own minds that it is wrong to do so. Fear works wonders.


He is also dishonest in that he fails to mention that the federal government has not really stopped running, except selectively for political theater, and that if the government defaults it will not be caused by refusal to raise the debt ceiling but by massive entitlement obligations and by dollar creation by the Federal Reserve, neither of which can be sustained and both of which are favored by major players, republican and democrat, and by Obama and his administration.


In the next passage, Reich once again reveals that he is the real cynic (by the modern definition):


So the president cannot renegotiate the Affordable Care Act. And I don’t believe Tea Party Republicans expect him to.Their real goal is far more insidious. They want to sow even greater cynicism about the capacity of government to do much of anything.


The shutdown and possible default are only the most recent and most dramatic instances of terminal gridlock, designed to get people like my friend to give up.


Without evidence Reich invalidates the sincerity of Tea Party republicans. By using the word insidious he implies the Tea Party is a vicious enemy waiting for any opening to attack and hurt others. He implies that it is somehow inherently wrong to mistrust government or to wish to reduce its size and scope or be rid of it altogether, that such an attitude makes one necessarily stealthy, treacherous, and deceitful.


Furthermore, Reich implies that if people such as his friend “give up” on politics they will be allowing treacherous, government-shrinking Tea Partiers to have their way, which would, he also implies, be the most horrible horror possible. He presumes he doesn’t have to explain what exactly the horror would be and that the reader will envision the same. He also implies that it is okay for Reich and the Obama administration and its supporters to have their way but that it would never, never be okay for the dreaded Tea Partiers to have theirs.


In addition to failing to provide evidence to support his implications, Reich fails to mention the way that democrats deliberately and willfully ignored a widespread public outcry against the ACA and pushed it to be approved before being read and fully understood.


If pushing through poorly written and ill-conceived statutes that then become the law-of-the-land is what Reich envisions as a noble democracy, he has proved his friend right. Whose goals are insidious?


Reich goes on to assume his readers will agree that it is a good thing for the federal government to have ever-expanding “capacity to deal with domestic matters.” He also implies that if you don’t agree with him you rank among the insidious, you know: the stealthy, the treacherous, the deceitful.


And on this score, they’re winning. The approval rating for Congress was already at an all-time low before the shutdown, according to a poll released just hours before Washington went dark. The CNN/ORC poll showed that only 10 percent of Americans approved the job Congress was doing, while 87 percent disapproved. It was the all-time lowest approval rating for Congress in a CNN poll.


A recent Gallup survey found that only 42 percent of Americans — also a record low — have even a “fair” amount of confidence in the government’s capacity to deal with domestic matters.


And in a recent survey by the Pew Research Center, 26 percent of Americans said they’re angry at the federal government, while 51 percent said they were frustrated. Only 17 percent said they are basically content with the government. The share expressing anger has risen seven points since January, equaling the record high reached in August 2011, just after the widely unpopular debt-ceiling agreement between the president and Congress.


An essential difference between Reich and others of the same mind and those who seek smaller or no government, is that those urging more government invariably seek to impose their policies by use of force. They do this in the name of the “common good,” through seizing property—forfeitures, fines, regulations, taxes, etc., or by putting resisters, even peaceful ones, behind bars, in cages, if necessary.


In contrast, those insidious Tea Partiers, the ones desiring to shrink government at least a bit, advocate at least some respect for the rights of humankind and in many cases prefer less coercion or force to more.


Moreover, Reich ignores an abundance of evidence that Americans are indeed angry with the federal government, not because of Tea Party rhetoric but because they are more and more aware that the federal government is a corrupt and malevolent leviathan. After all, its excesses are now so obvious they can no longer be ignored.


Reich will never admit that the Tea Party is one reasonable response to a serious and even dangerous problem and not the cause of it.


Next, Reich ironically says that people should ignore the Tea Party, which he claims is encouraging the citizenry to give up on government, and pay attention to government to prevent “moneyed interests” from getting what they want.


This is a deeply ironic statement because the Tea Party was born when people who had not been paying much attention to government began paying attention and speaking out, exactly what Reich advocates.


It’s a vicious cycle. As average Americans give up on government, they pay less attention to what government does or fails to do — thereby making it easier for the moneyed interests to get whatever they want: tax cuts for themselves and their businesses; regulatory changes that help them but harm employees, consumers and small investors; special subsidies and other forms of corporate welfare. And these skewed benefits only serve to confirm the public’s cynicism.


The same cynicism also makes it easier to convince the public that even when the government does act for the benefit of the vast majority, it’s not really doing so. So a law like the Affordable Care Act, which, for all its shortcomings, is still a step in the right direction relative to the costly mess of the nation’s health-care system, is transformed into a nightmarish “government takeover.”


Reich pretends he does not know that much of the Tea Party’s energy has been focused on resolving this very same grievance, “that moneyed interests” use government to arrange regulations to their own benefit—it is called corporate welfare, corporatism, crony-capitalism, crony-socialism, or, in its harshest form, fascism. The Obama administration is among the worst violators in history, pandering again and again to “moneyed interests,” yet Reich encourages people to support it and to revile the Tea Party.


This is obvious and utter nonsense, outright lying, yet it is allowed to stand unchallenged by most in the media and is swallowed by much of the public as the sensible, wise, adult view.


Furthermore, in the last part of the above passage, Reich fails to acknowledge the extent to which government interference—Medicare, Medicaid, tax benefits to employers who offered health insurance in lieu of higher salaries, regulations, and government grants—has for many years interfered with the free market for health care in ways that squelched alternatives and undermined charities.


The nation’s health-care system became a costly mess because government interference was excessive not because government interference was lacking.


The intrusiveness of the Affordable Care Act, the coercive nature of it, is indeed nightmarish to anyone who values privacy and freedom and this is no exaggeration, despite Reich’s attempt to downplay the consequences.


Apparently, he would have us step in what he deems “the right” direction even if we must violate our own moral sense to do it. If his attitude doesn’t fit the definition of bully, what would?


Reich must have grinned like a Cheshire Cat when he wrote the following:


So here’s what I told my friend who said he’s giving up on politics: Don’t. If you give in to bullies, their bullying only escalates. If you give in to cynicism about our democracy, our democracy steadily erodes.If you believe the fix is in and the game is rigged, and that a handful of billionaires and their Tea Party puppets are destroying our government, do something about it.


Rather than give up, get more involved. Become more active. Make a ruckus. It’s our government, and the most important thing you can do for yourself, your family, your community and the future is to make it work for all of us.


With almost unrivaled effrontery, Reich equates Tea Partiers with bullies, this flowing from the keyboard of one of the biggest bullies and supporter of fellow bullies one could hope to find. Let’s face it. Government is a tool to institutionalize and sanction bullying—through legislation and regulation. If you reject this premise, think again.


What happens to those who refuse to cooperate? (Here I am referring to peaceful individuals who have done no harm to others.) Yes, those who refuse are forced to cooperate—either with psychological force, physical force, or both. If they still refuse, further harm is inflicted. If the refusal continues the destruction continues. This is true about government. I challenge anyone to adequately refute it.


Yet this truth can be and is downplayed and ignored and twisted into a supposed virtue, over and over again.


Another truth is that whatever we need to do to “make it work for all of us,” we can do better by respecting the natural rights of individual human beings and not being willing to trample on them because some legislators wrote a statute or because the president signed an executive order or because the supreme court ruled it is so. Honest people will acknowledge this.


Finally, Reich calls Tea Partiers “puppets of billionaires,” knowing full well that the president and most of the rest of Congress are the real puppets of billionaires; Reich, himself, is one of them. Don’t let them or him fool you anymore.


Reich’s essay is nothing more than a blatant attempt to manipulate the reader into feeling a smug satisfaction, for being “smart” like he is. He ignores the facts; he lies; he obfuscates; he assumes the reader will not notice. He grins then his head disappears when you try to catch him. But the grin, the snarl, is really all there is and the joke is on all of us.


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