Saturday, September 19, 2009

The Killing Crutch

Please critique this and I will discard or rewrite as appropriate.


This morning I heard that Michelle Obama had visited a farmer's market near the White House.  I thought it was wonderful.  However, having read a little Rothbard, I knew there was something wrong with this picture.  How could the administration be encouraging local growers and such when the big corporate interests are so threatened by them, and when local growers create such independence and strength in the citizenry?  It turns out they have a rather brilliant (albeit perverted) plan.

Google "atrophy crutch" (without quotes). Read the one at Everything2:

Atrophy is the general goal of government and explains a lot of the seemingly unnecessary "help" it provides to people, such as what Michelle said: "I want to reinforce the fact that this market and other farmers' markets around the city participate in the WIC program, the SNAP program, the Double Dollar program, and the Seniors benefits program. And each SNAP and WIC dollar equals two dollars at a farmers' market to purchase fresh produce."

What atrophies here is the farmer's markets' motivation and ability to advertise and educate people who are not on welfare. She's basically saying, look, if you're poor, be a customer of these local food growers and we'll get all the taxpayers to help pay your way.

But why would the government have atrophy as a goal? Don't worry it isn't obvious until you think about it. The weaker you are, the more likely you are to choose the brute force of a government over the hard work of finding and building trading relationships with other citizens to support yourself.  Grow weak and stupid, and see how hard it is to "just say no" when his lordship the president offers to make your neighbor give you dinner.  We wouldn't sink if they weren't trying to sink us, but they know that we wouldn't need them either.  This is the problem England faced in the late 1700s.  They tried using their brute force to keep us enslaved, but that didn't work out too well.  So now governments force support on us wherever we have strength in order to diminish it, and Farmer's Markets is an excellent example.

However, there's a whole other side to the reason government intentionally creates atrophy.  We all know that DC is a whorehouse in which corporations are the tricks, the politicians are the whores, and the taxpayers are their families – the ones who really get screwed. Atrophying the specific abilities citizens have that enable them to avoid using the services of a corporation is a natural goal of the corporation. Since the corporate-government partnership is so seedy and well supported ($2.8B lobbying industry:, we should expect to see government stealthily atrophying whatever they can, and generally that means competition from the little guy.

In any case, I learned that this goes a little deeper.  The NPR story that I heard reports that "Tom Vilsack showed up at that farmer's market, and announced $4.5 million in grants to promote farmers markets nationwide." ( So there's another $4.5M crutch that the government will be using to destroy farmer's markets while pretending to help. If they really wanted to help, domestic military schools and camps like Pendleton and Anapolis would be buying their produce from farmer's markets. Look into that and note the great void.

You may be wondering if I see any role for the money collected through taxation - because if they use it to help, I call it a crutch, and if they use it to harm, I lambast them for harming us.  True enough:  I see no role whatsoever for money collected through taxation.  Once money is taken by force, the only good use of it is to be returned to those who earned it.  The government would have to provide services that people - the people who pay the "tax" - actually wanted.  If they did this, it wouldn't be a tax - it would be a price, just like what private enterprise charges its (hard earned) customers.

This is one small example of the disease that plagues this country.  Please join me in spreading the awareness that government has grown into a deceitful parasite gorging itself with taxes and destroying our independence.  It is a wolf in sheep's clothing.  It soothes us with calming words and superficial kindness as it drains our lifeblood.  But it will be diminished, and sooner if you help.

Monday, September 14, 2009

The Sword of Damocles

The versions of the story from modern times suggest that an imminent danger comes with having wealth.  I have no idea why the story would be told that way.  It seems more an injuction against the method one uses to gain the wealth rather than the actual having of it.  The wealthy person, in this case was, after all, a cruel and unjust king who was known as a tyrant.

James Baldwin wrote the version I just read, and in it, he writes that Damocles says "I now see that I was mistaken, and that the rich and powerful are not so happy as they seem."  Would he have said to King Dionysius, "King Dionysius, whatever threatens you does not threaten me.  This is why you have hung that sword there - because my use of your riches does not put me in danger of your enemies.  I did not ask for the rage and anger that you have brought upon yourself by being cruel and unjust, but only to see how the rich and powerful live.  Surely there are good kings, kind and just, who also have such power and riches.  You could show me that, but you chose to add the sword that your cruelty has created."

No, of course he wouldn't have said that.  Instead, he plays the king's game, pretending that it is his power and riches, rather than the injustice and cruelty he used to get them, that presents imminent danger.  But the story itself does this too, for it says (in Baldwin's words) "And so long as he lived, he never again wanted to be rich, or to change places, even for a moment, with the king."

Did this come through the story, or was it added by Mr. Baldwin?  Does it matter?  Does this story create a fear of being wealthy in you?  Can we, today, tell our politicians off because they use deceit and empty promises to gain power and then abuse it to gain more?  Or will the media pay more attention to the lack of decorum to which our passion drives us (Wilson), than to the unjust cruelty out of which that passion is born?  Or will they invoke the Patriot Act and silence us with threats, or use previously illegal wiretapping to spy on us and stealthily degrade our livelihood in order to prevent us from making these accusations?

The meaning of the sword has been hijacked.  I write to right this wrong.  It is not wealth that raises the sword to your necks, my friends, but cruelty, injustice, and deceit.