Posts Tagged: everyone

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"A truly freed market, completely absent state power plays, would likely look a lot different than the current system. We don’t have any way of knowing how people would travel and to where in a free society (or free world!) but it’s safe to predict that if even the current hobbled market offers better solutions for outbreaks than political government does, a freed market would be better yet."

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New Zealand Cops Raided Home of Reporter Working on Snowden Documents - The Intercept

Agents from New Zealand’s national police force ransacked the home of a prominent independent journalist earlier this month who was collaborating with The Intercept on stories from the NSA archive furnished by Edward Snowden. The stated purpose of the 10-hour police raid was to identify the source for allegations that the reporter, Nicky Hager, recently published in a book that caused a major political firestorm and led to the resignation of a top government minister.

But in seizing all the paper files and electronic devices in Hager’s home, the authorities may have also taken source material concerning other unrelated stories that Hager was pursuing. Recognizing the severity of the threat posed to press freedoms from this raid, the Freedom of the Press Foundation today announced a global campaign to raise funds for Hager’s legal defense.

In August, one month before New Zealand’s national election, Hager published Dirty Politics, which showed that key figures in Prime Minister John Key’s National Party were feeding derogatory information about their opponents to a virulent right-wing blogger named Cameron Slater. Hager published evidence in the form of incriminating emails, provided by a hacker, demonstrating coordination between National Party officials and Slater. The ensuing scandal forced the resignation of a top Key ally, Justice Minister Judith Collins, and implicated numerous other National Party officials and supporters. Despite the scandal, the National Party won a resounding victory in the election, sending Key to a third term as prime minister. …

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"Government is the enemy of the poor and the minorities. No supposed progressive vanguard can deny this fact."

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"These concrete collusions between corporate and State power are not necessarily planned or premeditated, but neither are they accidental. A centralized system of politics which grants sweeping law-making and discretionary powers to a relatively small, elite group incentivizes the abuse of those powers in favor of moneyed interests. As the individualist anarchist William Bailie wrote, “Laws are made directly or indirectly in the interest of the capitalist class, and they are always administered and interpreted … in the same spirit.”"

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The Distorting Effects of Transportation Subsidies

Although critics on the left are very astute in describing the evils of present-day society, they usually fail to understand either the root of those problems (government intervention) or their solution (the operation of a freed market). In Progressive commentary on energy, pollution, and so on—otherwise often quite insightful—calls for government intervention are quite common. George Monbiot, for instance, has written that “[t]he only rational response to both the impending end of the Oil Age and the menace of global warming is to redesign our cities, our farming and our lives. But this cannot happen without massive political pressure.”

But this is precisely backward. Existing problems of excess energy consumption, pollution, big-box stores, the car culture, and suburban sprawl result from the “massive political pressure” that has already been applied, over the past several decades, to “redesign our cities, our farming, and our lives.” The root of all the problems Monbiot finds so objectionable is State intervention in the marketplace. …

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Full Context: The Centrist Corporate State Threatens Our Liberty

In The Wealth of Nations Adam Smith famously wrote, “People of the same trade seldom meet together, even for merriment and diversion, but the conversation ends in a conspiracy against the publick, or in some contrivance to raise prices.” It may seem strange that history’s best-known advocate of the free market would cast such aspersions on business people. But there is nothing strange about it. A defense of the market, and of voluntarism in general, should never be mistaken for a defense of particular business interests.

Opponents of the free market love that quote from Smith. For obvious reasons they rarely add the sentences that follow: “It is impossible indeed to prevent such meetings, by any law which either could be executed, or would be consistent with liberty and justice. But though the law cannot hinder people of the same trade from sometimes assembling together, it ought to do nothing to facilitate such assemblies; much less to render them necessary” (book I, chapter X, part II, paragraph 27; emphasis added).

As Smith well knew, government often facilitates such assemblies. Effective “conspiracy[ies] against the publick” would be impossible without state support. Absent political privilege, “contrivance[s] to raise prices” would crumble under the pressure of free competition. It takes a state to make a tariff, a price support, or a punitive tax or regulation on one’s competitors. …

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TSA Agents Unscrewed Urn Dumped Ashes of Man’s Deceased Mother In His Luggage During Search

Last week, Shannon Thomas of Cleveland, Ohio filed a $750,000 lawsuit against “The United States of America, Transportation Security Administration, Attorney General of the United States, Department of Justice,” as well as 10 individual TSA agents who allegedly had a hand in spilling his deceased mother’s ashes during an airport security check.

Thomas filed a complaint after the incident, and waited for two whole years with no response. According to the Lawsuit, he checked in at Cleveland Hopkins International Airport on Oct. 5, 2012, and was intending to board a flight headed for San Juan, Puerto Rico, with a stop in Washington, D.C.

He was on his way to San Juan so he could spread his mother’s ashes, one of the final requests that she had made before her death.

When Thomas arrived in San Juan and recovered his luggage, he found the urn open and the ashes spilled all over the contents of his bag.  A TSA notice was place on top of the mess in his luggage, informing him that the contents of his bags were checked by agents.

Thomas said in the lawsuit that when he was out of view, TSA agents “negligently, carelessly, and recklessly handled the urn in such a way that caused or contributed to its opening,” and “negligently, carelessly, and recklessly replaced the lid of the urn, placed a bag inspection notice in Plaintiff’s suitcase, and sent the bag on its way.” …

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"However, throughout history, socialism has had a broader meaning, which basically boils down to the abolition of the existing capitalist order in favor of a more equitable system without such hallmarks of capitalism as strong class distinctions, boss/employee hierarchies in the workplace, and oligarchic control of the means of production."

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"All of this is to say nothing of later free market libertarians such as Benjamin Tucker who went so far as to identify their completely unregulated, stateless free market with socialism. These radicals saw that the State’s regulations, laws, licenses, and permits in fact acted to consolidate power in the hands of great, monopolistic trusts. The dominance and market power of these large entities, combined with the government’s theft of the land and preclusion of self-sufficiency, allowed the “captains of industry” to acquire wage labor at an extortionate reduced price. It will no doubt come as a surprise to Dickinson that a committed socialist and class warrior like Benjamin Tucker would agree wholeheartedly with Charles Koch’s claim that supporters of regulation are being “hoodwinked.” But Dickinson might not be so surprised should he decide to consider the historical relationship between the interests and prerogatives of capital and those of the State more closely. Like Comte and Dunoyer, Tucker would have treated as laughably absurd the notion that our political overlords would want to hobble the rich. Attacking the “band of licensed robbers called capitalists,” Benjamin Tucker nevertheless advocated consistent free market competition of just the kind that so worries Dickinson."

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Government Undermines Social Cooperation

… Here is the irony: Government intervention undermines social cooperation in myriad ways. To name just one, privileges for favored producers drive a wedge between entrepreneurs and consumers by distorting relative prices and eroding the market’s ability to coordinate supply and demand over time. In general, government “welfare” activity crowds out private solutions that are far more amenable to freedom and cooperation.

Politicians pose as the great advocates of “collective action,” but in fact their schemes increasingly replace mutually beneficial social cooperation with top-down special-interest-driven decrees.