The Ultimate Minority

Whenever you find that you are on the side of the majority, it is time to reform – Mark Twain

What Ron Paul Should do Next

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Anyone who has followed this blog should know first and foremost:  I love Ron Paul.

I came to know Ron Paul in 2007, when I was an apathetic statist.  I hated politics, and I voted Libertarian a few times to cast a vote of dissent.

When Ron came on to the national stage in 2007, I was rejuvenated.  I was no longer apathetic, but active.  I joined a meetup group.  I campaigned locally.  I told everyone about Ron Paul, and tried to multiply my vote as many times as possible by introducing others.  And most importantly, I started reading.

Between my readings and the 2008 election farce, I woke up.  I cleared up my philosophical contradictions, re:  A passion for  liberty and a belief in government.  I came to understand that the State and liberty are incompatible, and in fact, the State was antithetical to liberty.

Many will argue that the Ron Paul movement is a massive waste of resources in the liberty movement, and I sympathize with that argument.  But I also hold it as a principle that in a complex dynamic system, “messiness” is a fundamental property on the path to real change, so I did not denounce his 2012 run as wasteful, even though I did not participate.

In my view, the most valuable outcome of a Ron Paul presidential campaign is that it produces crestfallen minarchists.  A minarchist is one who believes in liberty and the State.  The minarchist understands that government (at least in its present form) is evil, yet believes that it is a necessary evil and must be “bound by the chains of the constitution,” as Thomas Jefferson stated in futility.

I love Ron Paul because he is the most principled person to ever hold office in the US government.  That includes any of the so-called “Founding Fathers.”  No one has ever held that level of power and stayed loyal to principle.  That is an amazing accomplishment, and one that will not be seen again should the State survive another two centuries.  Case in point:  No one should understand Ron’s principles better than his own son, and Rand Paul is just another opportunistic politician.  There will never be a “bunch of Ron Pauls” in government.  He is an anomaly.

And yet, Ron himself must admit that in his decades of involvement in the political system, he changed nothing.  Every time he voted in support of the constitution, he was shot down, usually by a 434-1 margin.  He had no influence on the State whatsoever.  It continued to grow, continued to expand its empire, continued to strip us of our liberties, and continued to destroy the economy.

The only victory Ron Paul can claim is to have awakened a significant portion of Nock’s Remnant.

But even this victory is bittersweet.  Because for many, it only reinforced their belief in the State as a means for liberty.  I do not know what percentage of Ron Paul supporters followed the principles they rediscovered  to their logical conclusion – that the State is incompatible with liberty – but based on my reading and my interaction with many Paulians, it appears that the majority have not given up on the State, but have instead steeled their resolve to correct the problems of politics using politics.

After this election cycle, Ron Paul will be out of Washington, and will retire to his home in Texas.  Many anarchists and voluntaryists have fantasized that Ron Paul is a closeted anarchist or voluntaryist, but I have seen nothing to support this claim.  The closest revelation that I have read was Anthony Gregory’s “elevator moment” with Ron Paul, in which Dr. Paul told AG that he was “more of an Articles of Confederation type.”

So here is my statement of what Ron Paul should do upon retirement:  He should tell the truth – that nothing he ever did in government changed a thing.  He should make it clear that when there was any grass roots movement to change the political system, the system just changed the rules to prevent it.  He should admit that it is the most futile of all futile exercises, and urge his supporters to withdraw support for politics as a means to social change.  He should own up to his principles that government is force, and that the threat of violence can never achieve moral ends.

I do not care what he advocates beyond that statement.  In fact, it would probably be best that he did not advocate anything, but instead leave it to the Paulians to decide their own path to liberty.

This would be a truly fitting crescendo to the Ron Paul legacy.

 

 

A Teachable Moment

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It’s my second year of college, around 1987.  I find my seat for the first day of  an American Government class.  The teacher opens the session by posing a question to the students:  Why is America the greatest country in the world?

I offered an answer:  Because we do more to help the rest of the world than any other country.

There is mixed laughter throughout the auditorium.  The teacher smiles and gives a patronizing reply that I don’t recall.  But I do remember the laughter.  I was taken aback.

The sociologist Morris Massey described moments like these as “Significant Emotional Events,” or SEE’s.  It’s one of those moments  that something strikes you as profound, or shocking, or unusual.  You know at the time that it happens that you’ll remember it for a long time.  This one has never left me.

I’m not sure how much I really believed what I was saying, but I was surprised to be in the company of so many people who obviously believed otherwise.  I did not react with anger or a stoic defense of my position.  In fact, I’d say that this moment probably made me realize that I was not saying something that I truly believed, but instead parroting something I’d heard many times over.  I saw an opportunity to learn.  It was a teachable moment.

Of course, I spent the next 12 weeks learning about government from the liberal point of view.  That class did succeed in moving my views more to the liberal side of the statist spectrum.  As I continued to think politically, I described myself as a “moderate.”

It would take another 20 years for me to discover anarcho-capitalism, to truly begin to address the discomforting questions I felt at that moment.

It saddens me to think that had I been in a classroom with Murray Rothbard, Robert LeFevre, or even a junior college instructor with any understanding of libertarian philosophy,  I could have avoided two decades of philosophical contradiction.

Perhaps you find yourself uncomfortable in defending some of your statements about government from time to time.  Something in your conscience tells you that you’re holding a conflicting idea.  Instead of pacifying yourself with the same old statist answers, look at it as a learning opportunity.  Challenge your assumptions.

A good teacher would distinguish between the concepts of  “America” and “the United States government.”  These two things are so conflated in our education system that most people do not distinguish between them at all.  “America” is a mass of land and large collection of individuals, from which we observe the emergent properties we call society and culture.  The United States government is an institution that draws imaginary lines around “America” and claims a monopoly on the use of force within those borders.

With that observation as a starting point, one can take a more objective look at government.  “We” are not the government.  You are not the government.  The government is not America.  Conflating the two is nationalism.

Nationalism leads one to identify themselves with the government, and the end result is that any criticism of the institution of government is met with resistance, as if it were an attack on the individuals identity.

Sure, we criticize the government.  But only to the extent that we believe it should be “fixed” to work more like we think it should work.  Questioning the legitimacy of the government itself is considered to be out of bounds, usually resulting in a defensive clinging to that tired old platitude:  “Anarchy is chaos!”

There is a deep and rich intellectual history in anarchism.  The ideas the “founding fathers” built this government upon are part of that intellectual history, as they were greatly influenced by the work of John Locke.  Locke was no anarchist, but his work in property rights is a foundation of anarcho-capitalist philosophy.  Quite simply, the ideas of liberty have advanced, and statism was left behind.  The idea of government is in the philosophical dustbin, it is antithetical to liberty.

The Internet is your window to the world of ideas.  Back when I had that window of learning opportunity, no one pointed me to anything really fresh and different.  State-run institutions don’t favor the ideas of liberty, they perpetuate the mythology of statism.  So when you have one of those moments, and you want to challenge your ideas…it’s all out there.  Most of it is free.

I recommend starting with Murray N. Rothbard’s For a New Liberty. It’s available at the Mises Institute here.  On that page you can read the book in your browser, download it as a PDF, or even download an audio version – all for free.  Mises.org is a vast treasure trove of knowledge about liberty.

Perhaps you’ll remember this next time you have a “teachable moment.”

Why I am Anti-War

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I think that for the vast majority, the term “Anti-War” conjures up images of “peace-loving hippies” with no job,  spouting rhetoric about love for their fellow man.

I do have love for my fellow man, but I am not a pacifist.  I own guns, and I am willing to use defensive violence to defend myself and my family, to the point of depriving another of their life should they threaten our lives.

I’m against aggressive violence.  I do not commit acts of aggression against others.

I do not support the State committing acts of aggression against other people in my name.  That is the first principle.  If I cannot morally attack another, I cannot condone aggression against others by a nation state that claims to act in my interest.

Our statist indoctrination has conditioned us to believe that war is natural, and that people living oceans away from us aren’t “real” people, but simply objects to be manipulated.  As if their bodies and the bodies of their family members getting ripped apart by shrapnel aren’t real, have no meaning.

The fact is that we live under the largest, most violent government in the history of the world.  Politicians, under the guise of  “protecting our interests” are killing people the world over, manipulating the state they’re subjected to, installing dictators that rob them of their essential liberty.

We’re conditioned to support such aggression because we believe we are exceptional, and the rest of “them” are “third-world” – somehow less than human.

But that’s not even my primary reason for being anti-war.

I understand that War is the Health of the State, as poignantly stated by Randolph Bourne.  The State thrives on war.  War rallies the people around the State, and enriches the politicians and their friends in the Military Industrial Complex.  It is a means to keep the populace afraid,  looking to the State to protect them from the next bogeyman.

War gives the State legitimacy and fuels its growth.  It is during times of war that the people are most willing to give up their liberty in exchange for safety, and liberties given up are never regained.  It’s the slippery slope.

So War, even if you have no sympathy for the non-people your nation state is killing, is the primary means by which you give up your own freedom.  The State loves War.  You are not being protected, you are being robbed of your liberty.

Wave your flags.  Cheer on the killing.  You are paying with your own freedom, and more importantly the freedom of your children.

On “Revolution”

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There are interesting developments in the Middle East as of late, primarily in the Egyptian protests that ultimately led to the removal of Hosni Mubarak from power.

The mainstream media has portrayed it as largely a scare story – what will result from all this unrest? What will the Egyptian state look like after this revolt? Order must be restored, a new government must be formed.

But of more interest to me is the dialogue on the pro-liberty side, primarily in the anti-state camp.  Many Anarcho-Capitalists are excited about the spectacle of the people rising up against the state.  There is an atmosphere of hope in the idea that the people are casting off their rulers.

But I see it differently, from a systems/evolutionary view.

First, it’s worth addressing why I put the word “revolution” in irony quotes.   It’s because we should think about what revolution actually means.  It implies returning to some previous place.  The natural state of individual liberty will not be realized by returning to some previous state of rule by the few over the many.  It will require an evolution, a passage from the barbaric to the enlightened.

In the American context, those that advocate for a revolution in the present sense idealize a return to the State as supposedly constrained by the Constitution.  As Lysander Spooner makes clear in The Constitution of No Authority, the Constitution either gave us the tyranny we live under today, or was powerless to prevent it.  I’ll take the former.

The fallacy is in the idea of government itself.  Save for a pitifully small minority, the masses of the Egyptian people aren’t taking a stand against being ruled – they’re taking a stand against the present ruler.  While they’ve succeeded in removing one tyrant, they’re only asking for a more “moral” one to replace him.  The most recent protests come from the vast population of government employees, demanding a pay raise so that they may have a larger share of the looting of their neighbor.

Perhaps, as many have speculated, they’ll succeed in getting a “democracy.”   If so, they will only succeed in putting into place the most advanced form of control and extortion that the state has devised.  In democracy, they’ll only enslave themselves more willingly because they believe “we are the government,” and when government fails, it’s their own fault.

Either way, they will not have escaped the fallacy that order in society is a product of a State holding a monopoly on violence.

So the way I see it, “revolution” will have to complete many more cycles before humankind understands the hamster wheel in which they’ve been spinning for what it is.

Here’s the good news:  In all systems, the more interconnectivity, the faster these cycles of change turn.  Interconnectivity changes the rate of change – that is to say, it is an exponential function.  We can’t look at the rate of change in the past and expect some long, linear progression that follows that trend.

The Internet has changed the game, and its effects on the evolution of human society are in the early stages of infancy.  Oppressed people can now see the world outside the control of the state they live under, and begin to ask why they shouldn’t be more free.   They can read ideas about individual liberty that weren’t in their state-programmed education system and ask real, critical questions about the premise that anyone should be ruling them in the first place.   And perhaps most importantly, the time period between revolutions will be shorter – compressing the mistakes into a shorter time frame and making them more obvious, and the history will not be written by the State that replaced the previous one.

This is why all States desire the ability to shut down the Internet at their command.

As these cycles shorten, the lessons become increasingly obvious.  We “revolted” against one tyrant, only to replace him with another.  We tried “democracy” and found it simply a fraud in which we are allowed to participate in the election of our rulers, but we were still ruled.

To paraphrase W. Edwards Deming, one day our time will be looked back upon as a historical curiosity – an age of mythology in which individuals were enslaved to the idea that they needed rulers, and they allowed – nay, advocated – an institution to hold a monopoly on the use of violence while naively believing that the individuals who sought a seat in that power center would act “selflessly” in the interest of others, not to advance their own agenda of power and control.

The Libertarian Party of West Michigan produces a cable TV program that I have participated in a number of times as their token anarchist.  This particular session was titled Money, The Fed, Capitalism, Socialism.

The Producer, Erwin Haas, has graciously provided a copy of the program for viewing on the Ultimate Minority.

My aim for this session was to describe what money is, how it works in a free market, and how / why the State always seeks to take control of it. I do the first hour, and then about 1/2 hour at the end.

Statists argue that government benefits mankind by managing the “unfettered free market,” guiding progress and protecting us from harm.

In his book Man Makes Himself, Gordon Childe outlines the history of human progress in the 2,000 years prior to the Egyptian Empire (the first “great civilization”) with the contributions made:

The two millennia immediately preceding 3000 B.C. had witnessed discoveries in applied science that directly or indirectly affected the prosperity of millions of men and demonstrably furthered the biological welfare of our species by facilitating its multiplication. We have mentioned the following applications of science: artificial irrigation using canals and ditches; the plow; the harnessing of animal motive-power; the sailboat; wheeled vehicles; orchard-husbandry; fermentation; the production and use of copper; bricks; the arch; glazing; the seal; and – in the earliest stages of the revolution – a solar calendar, writing, numeral notation, and bronze…

The 2,000 years after the revolution, say from 2600 to 600 BC – the entire span of Egypt – yielded only four contributions: decimal notation; an economic method for smelting iron; truly alphabetic scripts; and aqueducts for supplying water to cities.

In fact, two of those developments – alphabets and iron smelting, were developed in areas on the fringe of empire.

In the period of the rise of the state, mythology and control take over and human progress suffers. Innovation is stifled, scientific discovery is hampered.  The wealth created by innovation is diverted from funding further research and progress to the ruling class in the state.  The parasite draws from the host in wealth, productivity, and innovation.  Mankind suffers.

(H/T to Brett Veinotte at School Sucks Podcast)

The Slippery Slope

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I Just finished reading “They thought they were free:  The Germans 1933-45.”  Milton Mayer was an American professor who lived in postwar Germany.  He wrote this book in 1955.

There were several parallels I found between the individuals living in Nazi Germany and the people in modern day America.  But most prominent in my highlighting was the following:

Mayer asked a German professor why he did not resist the Nazis, and he replied:

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One does not see exactly when to [take a stand]…Each act, each occasion, is worse than the last, but only a little worse.  You wait for the next and the next.  You wait for one great shocking occasion, thinking that others, when such a shock comes, will join with you in resisting somehow.

Tyranny does not happen overnight.  It is not an event as so conveniently illustrated in history books.  Tyranny comes step-by-step, in gradual form.  Like the boiling frog, continually accustomed to warmer water, good people give in to tyranny for expediency, for personal interests, and for the good of the many.

But what is your “line in the sand?”  Do you have one?  When does the state go too far?

I posit that most people do not have a line in the sand.  In today’s terms, those who object to the next level of government control over health care will lose the battle with congress (already done) and will, over time, stop arguing about it.  In several years, they’ll be arguing within the realm of that current reality, when health care gets worse, and arguing for more state intervention to make it better.  The question as to whether the state should be involved at all will be bygone.

Good people settled bit by bit, day by day, with the tyranny that overtook Germany because it was gradual and incremental.  No one wanted to stand outside the norm and be a radical, scorned by public opinion.   The best thinkers could see where it was going, but were certain that the consequences would be visible to all in some event.  They were wrong.

That, my friends, is the slippery slope defined.

Us and Them

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One of the more interesting (of many) paradoxes of statism is that people simultaneously esteem and loathe politicians.  Most would deny the former sentiment, but a belief that the state is a collection of experts tasked with running society and the economy betrays that denial.  Further, this esteem is  manifest in their reference to politicians as “leaders,” “authorities,” and “officials.”

The elephant in the subconscious tells the individual that the political class wields power over them, but the discomfort of this nagging truth is alleviated by labeling politicians and bureaucrats as “public servants,” with statements such as “we are the government,” mitigated by the belief that “we” hold ultimate power with our vote.  After all, we can “throw the rascals out” anytime they don’t do our bidding.

But even more powerful is the assumption that politicians act in “our” best interest, that the people who enter into the realm of “public service” do so to help others, which implies that they are on a higher moral plane than the average person.  As for the government bureaucrats, it is assumed that they are necessary to fulfill societal needs that cannot, or would not, be provided without a government.  In the case of welfare, for example, this implies that the rest of us would not take care of our fellow man because people are greedy and self-interested,  but those who enter into “public service” do care, and that their willingness to step up and provide something that other people will not indicates a higher degree of honor and selflessness.

Here’s the key:  This entity we call government is nothing more than a collection of individuals, and ALL individuals act in their self interest.

Politicians are not altruists.  They do not care about people any more than any of the rest of us. They don’t subordinate themselves to “serve” others. There is no such thing as selflessness. Any choice that an individual makes is an expression of self interest – even the most charitable act is performed because it provides psychic reward to the individual.

But politics is not charity.  Politicians and government bureaucrats are not “serving” the rest of society, they’re pursuing their self interest, and those interests are either the attainment of power over other people, or a cushy, stable job with lucrative benefits from which one is unlikely to ever be fired.

When you build an institution that has a monopoly on the use of force, the people who will aspire to join its ranks are those who wish to wield that power over others; to reward their friends and punish their enemies.  They’ll ally themselves with the worst element of the private sector that will provide them with wealth in exchange for protection from competition in the marketplace.

It is difficult to attain wealth and status in a free market – these people are unfit for such enterprise.  They use force to get what they want.  They steal and call it taxation.  They murder and call it war.  They rob the people of their liberty under the guise of protecting them.  They impoverish future generations while they plunder the present and steal from the future with debt.  They are authoritarian sociopaths representing the worst element of humanity.  Politicians and high-level bureaucrats are not to be regarded with esteem, but derided with scorn.

As for the low-level bureaucrats, most people are reluctant to hold them accountable for all the theft, murder, and mayhem resulting from the dictates of their superordinates – after all, they’re just another one of us – average people looking for a stable job with good benefits.  When they push mounds of paper on us, collect the taxes, and carry out the use of force against their fellow man as commanded by the politicians and high-level bureaucrats, they’re just “doing their job.”

This vox populi is reinforced by the notion that low-level bureaucrats (as well as the high-level bureaucrats and politicians) pay taxes like the rest of us.  But let’s analyze this:

Why do government employees pay taxes?

Imagine a band of stagecoach robbers with one dominant leader.  After a successful pillaging of some hapless travelers, they divvy up the booty.  The gang leader takes his cut, then distributes shares to the henchmen.  Then he demands that each henchman give back 30% of what they just received.  Wouldn’t it be much simpler to just give them 30% less in the first place?  The money the state expropriates from the productive sector pays for the cost of government. “Taxes” paid by government employees are nothing more than an exercise in moving money from the right hand to the left, and then back to the right.  It’s a shell game designed to blur the distinction between the productive sector and the thieves who rob them of their wealth, to mask their plunder and make it appear as though they are “one of us,”  just another taxpaying citizen.

If they did not pay taxes, it would make it clear that they do not obtain their money by adding value in the productive sector like the rest of society.  It would reveal them as a separate class of individuals who live off the wealth created by the production of the underclass; as nothing more than a garden-variety parasite.

The most menial job in the marketplace is nobler than that of a politician or bureaucrat, because the common laborer earns his wage through voluntary exchange, providing products and services to people that have a choice to buy or not buy.  He must satisfy his customers to survive.  Government is a monopoly; there is no choice.  You pay whether you value the “service” or not, and it doesn’t matter if you’re left unsatisfied, you can’t take your business elsewhere.

Politicians and bureaucrats are nothing more than a band of thieves writ large, with less honor than the common highwayman.

It is Us and Them, and from their perspective they are the privileged class, we are mere mundanes who must submit to their rule and produce – so that they may leech from our productivity.

An Introduction to the Non-Aggression Principle

This is the first post in a series, in which I will define and apply the Non-Aggression Principle to issues of moral and ethical confusion.

The NAP in three easy sentences:

  1. You have the right to your life, liberty, and property.
  2. You do not have the right to aggress against the life, liberty or property of another.
  3. You cannot delegate a right that you do not have.

Steps one and two are easy.  In fact, it is the general philosophy that the vast majority of people operate under  in their day-to-day lives and in their interaction with others.

Step three is where the vast majority of people fail, due to their indoctrination into the immoral idealogy of statism.  The very idea of government is a violation of the Non-Aggression Principle, and an individual’s belief in government is the root of the personal moral and ethical conflict he faces when advocating government action.

Government is the Means by Which we use Violence Against our Fellow Man.

If you don’t have the right to use violence against your neighbor’s life, liberty, or property then you cannot delegate that right to another person, nor a group of people calling themselves “government.”

An Example

If you don’t like the fence your neighbor is putting on his property,  you can either use persuasion and tact to express your opinion and try to get him to change his mind – or perhaps get several of your other neighbors together who share your concern and address him as a group.  If it’s that important to all of you, perhaps you can even offer to contribute funds to help him pay for a fence that is more to your liking.

What if he still refuses, and proceeds with his plans?  Well, you could march right over to his house, call him out, and beat him profusely until he agrees to do things your way.  Of course, that would be immoral and a violation of the Non-Aggression Principle – and, more importantly, your actions will have consequences.  Perhaps you wind up on the short end of the stick, and find yourself bloodied in the street picking up your teeth.  Or perhaps he gets you back later, or maybe the rest of your neighbors come after you for using violence against him.

The point is that there is a reason we don’t aggress against our neighbors as a general rule.  We understand that it is immoral and unethical, and we understand that there are usually consequences for our actions.

So this is where step three comes in:  Instead of aggressing against him ourselves, we go to the local shop-of-thugs calling themselves government, and use them to go after our neighbor.  If there isn’t already a fencing ordinance telling him what he can do with his property, maybe we can persuade the band of thugs to pass one.  Then they’ll go to his house as our “representative” and demand that the neighbor do with his property as we wish him to do, irrespective of his property rights.  What are the consequences if he refuses?  Threats of fines and imprisonment.  And what if he should stand his ground, assert his property rights, and demand that he be left alone?  The local thugs will send their enforcement arm to his property, and if he should resist them and defend his property, they will bludgeon him with their batons, administer him 50 thousand volts of electro-shock with their portable torture devices, or – ultimately – kill him should he have the temerity to fight the aggressors.

All of this because we don’t respect the property rights of our neighbors, and we are willing to use force against him to make him do as we would like him to do with his property.

You don’t have the right to violate his property,  you don’t have the right to use violence against him, and you can’t delegate a right that you don’t hold yourself.  You cannot appoint a representative to do your violence for you, it is just as immoral as doing the violence yourself.

Indoctrinated with 13+ years of immoral statist idealogy, most individuals cannot accept the third statement of the NAP – it slams into their own cognitive dissonance, that self-protective reflex that protects them from being wrong, that tells them that the state is not violence, that the state is “us” and it acts in “our” best interests.

The fact is that the state is nothing more than a monopoly on the use of violence.  It is the gun in the room that no one wants to acknowledge.  It is the means by which we use violence against our fellow man.

Understanding and embracing the Non-Aggression Principle is the key to liberty and a peaceful, prosperous society of individuals acting in their own interest while respecting the rights of others.  I will be writing a series of entries on the NAP, and it has its own category link in the left-hand navigation.

terrorthreatjokeOn Christmas Day 2009, twenty-three year old Nigerian Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab attempted to ignite an explosive device aboard Northwest flight 253 as it approached Detroit.  The details are still coming in, but it appears as though he had only partially ignited the explosives attached to his leg, causing a flash and smoke setting himself on fire , but failing to cause catastrophic damage to the airplane and its 289 passengers.  Alert individuals and crew were able to subdue the attacker before he succeeded in his plan to take the plane down.

There are several important points to consider in the midst of this media frenzy:

Lesson One:  The state did nothing to protect you.

Despite being in the “orange” state of high threat level to domestic and international air travel since 2006, despite billions of dollars in expenditures, despite all the controls placed on your ability to travel unencumbered, taking off your shoes, having your toothpaste, shampoo, and fingernail clippers confiscated, your personal effects rummaged through, all the no-fly lists – the state completely failed to prevent this attacker from boarding a plane with explosives.

Lesson Two:  The state put you in danger in the first place.

With over 800 military bases in 140 countries around the world; with constant war in the Middle East, invasion of Iraq and Afghanistan, constant threats against Iran, destabilization of Pakistan, unconditional support for the evil state of Israel, a proxy war in Somalia…and on and on… the biggest, most powerful empire in the history of the world has its tentacles in everyone’s business around the globe – killing people on their own land, installing and supporting dictatorships, and manipulating their economies to the benefit of corporate interests in the US.

This is what motivates individuals to commit acts of terrorism, and for as long as it continues, terrorist attacks will continue.

Lesson Three:  Individuals take action to protect themselves.

With all the failing of the state to provide protection, individuals took action to protect themselves and those around them.  In this case, several alert passengers and crew acted to subdue the attacker and prevent him from carrying his plan to its ultimate end.

Central planning and control does not work, especially in the case of terrorism.  Individual action is best confronted by dynamic, individual response.  Because of this, airlines are much better suited to handle their own security, as they have an interest in providing safe transportation for their customers.  The state subordinates all actors to itself, and forces them to comply with one-size-fits-all rules that are helpless against terrorism.

Lesson Four:  The state will grow as a result, despite its failure.

Even after a complete and utter failure to protect individuals, the state will grow in its power and control.  More controls will be put in place, and traveling by air will become more onerous and invasive of individual liberty.  Unlike free market solutions that go out of business when they fail, and are replaced by better and more effective solutions, the state always grows when it fails.  It will capitalize on the fear generated by this near-successful terrorist attack.

Lesson Five:  People will continue to look to the state for protection.

With all the evidence clearly pointing to a failure of the state, the people – conditioned through a lifetime of state-run education and state-run media to believe in it as their protector, will ask for more state control to protect them.  The bigger hammer theory will apply, as in, “what we need here is a bigger hammer.”  When the only tool in your toolbox is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.  When the only tool in your personal philosophical toolbox is statism, you’ll believe that you only need more of it to fix every problem you encounter.

The slippery slope gets steeper.