The Ultimate Minority

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

I like the libertarian principle of non-aggression. What it says, essentially, is live and let live. Don’t commit aggression against another’s person or property – and this is key – don’t use the force of government to commit aggression in your name. A great introduction to the principle of non-aggression can be found in Chapter 1 of Dr. Mary Ruwart’s book Healing our World, available for free online.

In my college years, I used to work nights as a bar bouncer to help keep up with school and living expenses. We bouncers had a term for the guys who came in to the bar, got drunk, and caused trouble – we called it “Budweiser muscle.” Through careful study of behavior over the years, I learned that the guys who got aggressive, those who talked the biggest talk and stirred up the most trouble were the weakest. They were always eager to get others involved in their fight.

I see the same dynamic at work with those who zealously support government and its aggressive wars. They tend to be belligerent nationalists, buying into the war propaganda and talking tough while their government is off killing people.  They allow the government and the media to dehumanize the individuals who are the target of government aggression, so they don’t think twice about their killing.

There is a difference between one who is fit for freedom, as Eric Hoffer said, and one who is not. Those unfit for freedom do not have respect for the rights of others, and will use aggressive force (whether by themselves or through their government) to infringe upon others. Those fit for freedom understand and practice live and let live where there are differences.

The US is the most powerful nation in the history of earth, and our government is the playground bully menacing the small and weak all over the world.  Third-rate nations with no capacity to threaten the United States are portrayed as dangerous and a threat to the US, to justify an attack upon them.

Government attracts people unfit for freedom to its ranks, people who do not respect the individual rights of others and will use the force of government to push their beliefs on others, even if it means “cracking a few eggs to make an omelet” – killing off a few for the “better” of the whole.  They impose their ambitions on their own constituents with some restriction, just enough to keep themselves in office – but they impose their ambitions on people of other lands with wanton disregard for human liberty and aggression on a massive scale.

Being a government employee does not give one the right to commit acts of aggression against sovereign individuals, it doesn’t matter whether you’re just “following orders” or not. The simple fact is that those in military service are not protecting our freedom as the propaganda cries, but instead are carrying out the misdeeds of a murderous, imperialistic lot of criminals in government.

I believe in peaceful interaction with others, following the doctrine of win/win or no play. If two parties engage in mutually beneficial exchange, it’s a win/win relationship. If they’re just too different from one another, live and let live – go separate ways, no play. But when one party commits an act of aggression against another, I believe in responding to that aggression with a greater degree of force than that posed by the aggressor.

There is nothing inherently wrong with a position of strength, in fact, the best way to keep aggression away is to boldly and confidently portray strength, to be used in self-defense.  But if you’re using your great strength as an aggressor, those subject to aggression will retaliate.  A terrorist attack is just such a retaliation.  As long as the US Government is manipulating, controlling, and killing people around the world, expect more hatred toward the US, and more terrorist attacks as a result.

Donut Terrorism

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Neocon columnist / TV talking head Michelle Malkin is insane. Not only is she insane, she is a dangerous propagandist.

She recently railed against Rachael Ray, the foodie, for wearing a scarf in a Dunkin’ Donuts commercial that she claims supports jihadists because of its checkered pattern. In a disgraceful act of kowtowing, Dunkin’ Donuts is pulling the ad. See the writeup at here.

This reminds me of McCarthyism in the 40s and 50s, promoting constant fear among the populace by looking for bogeymen around every corner, perpetuating the government’s expansion and assault on freedom. This is what the mainstream media is selling us.

Terr’ists! Let’s Hang Em!






Get Your News Here

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I don’t mean here, specifically, at Ultimate Minority – but here, in your web browser.

There was a time when if you said you read something on the Internet, it was scoffed at. Even today, it’s a knee-jerk reaction by those indoctrinated into the mainstream media as the source of all that is going on in the world.

Television news, radio and newspapers are dinosaurs on their way to extinction, at least in their current form. They no longer do their job, posing the tough questions and exposing government wrongdoings. Instead, todays mainstream media is nothing more than than a government propaganda horn and a source of sick, twisted entertainment posing as “news.”

We should be offended when Britney Spears, Paris Hilton, and American Idol get big coverage on the TV news, and then a five-second note is thrown in that five soldiers were killed in Iraq yesterday. We should be outraged that Pentagon war propagandists are briefed by the war department, then paraded on TV news as expert analysts.

The very fabric of our society is destroyed by the nightly Murder and Mayhem Report broadcast into our homes. Murder, rape, and pillage have always been exceptional events in any populace, but now they’re happening every day, every minute, everywhere because they’re in your living room. People are afraid to let their kids go out and play, because their reality is shaped by what happened thousands of miles away. Bad things have always happened, the world will never be 100% safe, but the risks of living life seem so much more extreme when we’re bombarded with the images every evening.

The Internet is the free media today. Do some research and find sites that give you the news you’re looking for. If you want real information about war, visit where you’ll find some of the world’s top war correspondents addressing the real issues and exposing the truth. These are seasoned veteran reporters who have a difficult time telling the real story in the mainstream media.

You can listen to streaming audio of radio shows hosted by true patriots – those committed to the ideas of freedom, liberty, and the constitution like Charles Goyette, Scott Horton, and Michael Badnarik – not establishment mouthpieces like Sean Hannity and Rush Limbaugh.

Yes, there are a ton of different opinions and perspectives on the Internet – how do you know who to believe? That is the essence of news and opinion! They should be many and varied, and you should read discriminately. Check more sources! This is how you find opinions that represent your own perspective, and continually challenge them. There’s not a dimes worth of difference between the opinions dished out in the mainstream media, so it is intellectually lazy to lap up the slop they’re feeding.

Government regulation of the media through the FCC, under the guise of protecting us, has destroyed the free media. Huge conglomerates control the broadcast outlets, many owned by the same companies that build tanks and bombs for the governments wars.

The Internet has emerged as the new media, the only true free market of ideas. Watch for government to try and gain control over the Internet as a media source, and mind you, it’ll all be done in the name of protecting you, such as the fascist Net Neutrality push that already has a ton of netizens duped into thinking it’ll “protect” them from paying more, or any legislation aimed at protecting our children. Fight government control, know your sources, and turn off the idiot box.

Everyone should have a basic understanding of economics – it is the most vital school of social theory. Those ignorant of economic principle are easily duped and manipulated by politicians and demagogues (or do I repeat myself?)

As an MBA, I have several years of economics in my educational background. It was a topic of interest for me in the early years. We started with “micro” economics, learning the basic principles of supply and demand – not bad stuff. But after a cursory study of these principles, we quickly moved into “macro” economics. At this point, the study became much more abstract and mathematical. I remember sitting by a pool in Memphis, studying my econ text, trying dutifully to understand exactly how government deficit spending benefited the economy. I never did get it.

It turns out, there was a reason I never got it – it’s all crap.

If there was one good thing I learned from graduate school, it was that I had a lot to learn after finishing it. As Dr. Deming said, business schools do not teach proper theory, they teach the status quo – they teach the perpetuation of our decline.

See, it turns out that there are two major schools of economics – free market (Austrian) economics, and socialist (Keynesian) economics. If I had to sum them up for you in brief, it would go like this:

In the early years of economic thought, governments and economists were always at odds. Economists told governments no all to often; no, taxes are bad. No, deficit spending is bad. No, debt is not good for the economy. No, central banking is not a good idea. No, central planning does not work… Along came John Maynard Keynes, and suddenly governments not only no longer shunned economists, they hired and subsidized hordes of them. These economists advised that taxes were good, deficit spending stimulates the economy, central banking smooths the problems inherent in free markets, and central economic planning is valid and necessary.

It is important to understand that Keynesian economics did not displace the classical, Austrian school of economics by disproving anything the classical school held – it simply moved into a position of style and acceptance. When academics receive funding from government, it is beneficial to promote the school that the government wishes to advance.

One of the great failures of the Keynesian paradigm is in its view of the business cycle. We all hear about economic booms and busts (aka recessions, depressions, slowdowns, etc.) In Keynesian theory, booms and busts are inherent flaws in the market, and government economists, bankers, and central planners all have a role in smoothing the business cycle to protect us from the “excesses” of the free market.

Interestingly enough, the business cycle is created by central economic planning, manipulation of the money supply, and government spending. It all started to turn around when the Keynesians could not explain stagflation, a concurrent rise in unemployment and price inflation. Austrian Business Cycle Theory was able to provide a clear explanation – it all had to do with manipulation of, and intervention in the market by government. Yes, there is variation in a free market economy. Sometimes things are up, sometimes they are down. But the variation tends to be more local, more industry specific, while the economy as a whole maintains relative stability. Only through government manipulation (via central banking, primarily) does an entire economy make mass movements from boom to bust.

A core tenet of the American System, as established, is that central planning does not work. Free people engaging in voluntary exchange create markets and build wealth. Those who would seek government positions do not believe in free markets, they believe in central planning and control. It is only natural that they would support an anti-free market, pro-government school of economics. It is time that we reject socialist economics and all of its falsehoods, and educate ourselves on the virtues of economic freedom.

If you find yourself – or have found yourself – wanting to understand economics, and especially if you were turned off to the study from what you read, I recommend that you immerse yourself in the Austrian school. It’s non-mathematical and intuitive. You can get a ton of free media at the Mises Institute web site.

Your right to travel unencumbered is one of your natural rights – inalienable, independent of where you live or where you were born.

It seems that the right to travel unencumbered is always one of the first rights to be violated by governments. It starts subtly enough – how long after the invention of the automobile did governments step in and say you can’t operate the vehicle without paying them to license it, and that you must pay further fees to license yourself? I remember being taught in high school that driving is a privilege, not a right. How did we come to accept the premise that our means to travel from home to work is a privilege granted by government? Government grants no rights, no privileges. Its only function is to recognize and protect rights.

One could map the violation of the right to travel on a continuum from a free republic to a police state. It first shows up as permits and licenses, moves into heavy inspection and personal screening to remind us that the state can harass us at any time, and finally manifests itself as a requirement that we show our papers lest we be jailed.

The Real ID act went into effect earlier this month, unnoticed or unknown to many. It requires that we all carry a national ID card, and that we’re all in the government database. Further, it is planned that the Real ID will hold an RFID chip, so that our movement can be tracked at any point. No one seems to care. Many a reader will bristle at this post, upset that I have the audacity to challenge such important government action designed to protect us from terrorists, keep out illegal aliens, etc. The reality is that a national ID card will do nothing to make us safer, it will only make us less free. Giving up liberty for safety is always a no-win proposition.

Check out the video of motorist Abby Newman. She was pulled over for no reason, so that the police could check her license and registration, a clear instance of unlawful search and seizure. Abby has the temerity to question the agent of the state, and winds up handcuffed and off to jail.

We accept these searches under the guise of protecting us: Protecting us from drunk drivers, protecting us from ourselves neglecting seat belt use, etc. The state spends our tax dollars to threaten us with television and radio commercials, reminding us that we are under its monitoring and control. This is only a conditioning step, it will get much worse.

In time, you will show your identification to move from point A to point B with greater frequency. You will submit to deeper and more intrusive searches by the state, and you’ll be tracked wherever you go. And when it comes time to round you up for your ethnicity or beliefs, you’ll be easier to find and convict of wrongdoing.

Your neighbors will figure you must be guilty of something if the government is taking you in, resting comfortably at first – later with less ease – that they’re not coming for them.

These pictures are from our October 2006 visit to Washington DC. This is the Washington that you don’t see on TV. (You can click on these pictures to see a full-size version.)

As you approach the Capitol building, everything looks normal enough:

Now look at the second picture. There are barricades on each level of steps, an armed guard tower at the top, and machine-gun toting guards standing on the steps. You can only see one in this pic, but there’s another one on the other side.

In the third picture, we see a zoom on the guard with the automatic rifle:

Does it look like you’re welcome in the building that houses your representatives? Would you dare take a walk up these steps?

Doesn’t this look like something you might see in the former Soviet Union? A full five years after the terrorist attacks, and the place is in lockdown. It’s not just the capitol building, all of DC is one giant security zone. This is what a “war on terrorism” looks like on the home front. Stay back, you’re a threat.


…In a true free market economy with sound money.

I’m writing this entry to challenge a paradigm, to show that so many things we accept as the “way things are” just aren’t so.

The “reality” we have come to know is based on constantly rising prices and the need for constantly rising wages to keep up with the cost of living. These are not realities of the free market – they are a product of fiat money and inflation, creations of government.

When governments can print money at will, creating it out of thin air, their natural incentive is to produce as much as possible to fund the growth of government. When the money supply increases, its value decreases and it is able to command fewer goods in the market place. This leaves us all in the position of constantly trying to earn more money to keep up with the loss in its value – value that is being stolen from us to pay for more and bigger government.

Humans are very adaptive, and we adjust our lifestyles from generation to generation to meet changing circumstances, often without thinking about how or why the circumstances have changed. What once was a single income earning society has become a dual income earning society, with both parents working full time to provide a standard of living that was once provided by a single breadwinner. A college education used to set one apart from the crowd, now it’s simply a prerequisite to get a job. The gap between the haves and have-nots is widening, the middle class is being wiped out.

Few people save, because saving is a constant race to find investments that post gains at a rate exceeding the rate of losses in the value in our money. Much of this is beyond the capacity of the average wage earner. There was a time when a bank savings account, and the interest it compounded, was a good idea. Today, money sitting in a bank savings account is losing value to inflation. If the loss in the value of money isn’t readily apparent to you, try this inflation calculator. Perhaps you can remember the price of something you purchased 10 or 20 years ago – look it up and see what it would cost in today’s dollar.

In contrast, consider a true free market economy based on the gold standard. In such an economy, there would be a limited supply of money available. New gold added to the money supply via mining would be relatively insignificant in the frame of an entire economy.

Since money (gold) is nothing more than a good exchanged for other goods, the limited supply will increase its value as the free market creates more and more goods available for exchange, all competing for a share of the existing pool of money. Established goods become more competitive as producers employ advanced technologies, making it cheaper to produce the good and thus, profitable to exchange for less gold.

Lower prices for consumer goods equals a higher standard of living for consumers. As technologies advance and efficiencies are improved, wage earners are able to command more luxury items with their disposable income. They will need less money for the basics, as the cost of food, housing, and transportation fall. Absent a government-imposed minimum wage, suppliers of simple products such as fast food may provide more value, while the employees of such enterprises require less compensation to enjoy a share of the “good life” provided by the ever expanding, cost-of-living-reducing free market.

Savings increase in value, even without gaining interest! If the purchasing power of money increases over time, then a quantity of gold saved today will only increase in value for the future. Yes, it is possible that storing money in a buried jar is a good idea. Parents who save their wealth, earned in times of lower value, may pass it on to their children, increasing family wealth from generation to generation.

The hallmark of free markets, capitalism, and the American system (as established) is the rise of the middle class. Unlike never before, more and more people were able to enjoy luxuries previously available only to the elites. Let us not confuse a higher standard of living with a higher wage. In fact, in a free market economy with sound money, each generation may enjoy a higher standard of living with lower wages than the previous.

Update:  This post has been the most viewed item at Ultimate Minority.  If the ideas have intrigued you, I recommend reading my posts titled What is Money and Fiat Money for more background information.

When you look at all the media coverage, all the hype, and all the hundreds of millions spent in the presidential election campaign, it reveals something fundamentally wrong with the state of American politics.

We are electing a king.

The executive is only one branch of three in the United States Government, yet ask people on the street who they support for president. Most of them will at least have an opinion, and will know who they prefer by name. Ask that same person who he’s supporting for his representative – chances are he won’t be able to name a single one, and probably won’t know anything about any of them until he’s standing in the booth in November, perusing the names, looking for an R or a D next to the surname. Perhaps one of them will sound familiar…Pull the lever.

This a built in structural property of bureaucracy: It is designed as a hierarchical pyramid, with one at the top and many at the bottom. A society culturally conditioned into central control and bureaucracy in all of their institutions looks to the top of the pyramid for their leadership.

In government, this places the President at the top, with the Congress subordinated below. The States are subordinated below the Federal Government, all smaller departments of the massive pyramid structure. At the bottom of the pyramid lies the individual, nothing more than a subject to government. This is not the intended design of our republic.

We don’t blink an eye when we hear the media discuss our choices for the next Commander in Chief, when of course the President is Commander in Chief of the military only, and only when Congress has authorized the use of the military. The President is not Commander in Chief of the people.

Thomas Jefferson said it is the natural progression of things for government to grow in power and for the people to yield liberty. A belief in bureaucracy, central planning, and executive leadership is an enabler, establishing a structure that the people believe in, one that allows government to seize and centralize power.

There’s a story in the LA Times interviewing an anti-American Iraqi that sums up why military occupation is always doomed to fail. Here is a sample:

Abu Baqr says he had actually welcomed the Americans five years ago when they toppled Hussein. He handed out flowers to U.S. soldiers early in 2003 and played soccer with them in the street. But he said their behavior convinced him early on that they were not leaving and were intent on antagonizing Sadr. By April 2004, Abu Baqr had joined in the first of the revolts against the Americans.

$10 Gas? Why?

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News reports have some analysts now predicting that gasoline will hit $10 a gallon over the next few years. Will it reach $10? No one knows – but the idea alone has the American people asking questions: How will I afford to drive? Will we be able to take that vacation? Should I buy a smaller car, maybe a motorcycle? What will happen to the economy? What will the government do about this? What is the cause of all of this?

They’ll turn on the evening news and read the newspaper – and they’ll be presented with myriad explanations for what is going wrong – but most of it will be misplaced cause and effect analysis at best, blatant deception at worst. I’d like to keep it simple, to provide a lens through which to see and filter what we hear. This will be a two-part post, the first will stay at a higher level, based on two straightforward premises:

  1. This is not a failure of the free market.

  2. Governments are culpable.

The only reason prices rise in a true free market with sound money is when demand exceeds supply, and we will hear a number of analysts giving supply and demand reasons for the price increases:

China’s growing appetite for energy, decline in worldwide oil reserves, lack of refineries in the US, OPEC production restrictions, our insistence on driving big SUVs, labor actions overseas threatening crude supplies, slowing of production by refiners due to low margins – have I started to confuse you yet?

It is axiomatic that these and many other aspects of supply and demand have an effect on prices, but if you view them with the perspective of my second premise, that governments are culpable in this mess, you will see that supply and demand are manipulated by governments. Absent government, the only variables that exist are consumer demand and the ability of the market to deliver what consumers want – and as long as there is demand, free market enterprise is eager to fill it. The only thing that can keep the entrepreneurial spirit from meeting demand would be a true shortage of oil, or the ability to access it and deliver it to the market place.

If there is a true market shortage in supply, consumer demand will change as prices rise. They’ll reduce their consumption, alternatives will arise through innovation on the free market, and supply and demand will move closer to one another again. Price is the signal that provides everyone in the market with the information they need to make decisions.

Let us turn our attention to the second premise: Governments are a major part of the problem. We’ll begin our analysis with a few sub-premises:

  1. Governments are anti- free market because they are based on central planning and control
  2. Governments seek to seize wealth and control resources to their benefit

In a true free market, supply would be limited only by reserves and the ability of enterprise to access them. When government is involved, supply is manipulated and controlled in the interests of bureaucrats, dictators, and central planners. There isn’t anything close to a free market in the major oil producing countries, because the governments have seized control of the oil to the detriment of the people. The reader may quickly point the finger at other governments, but the fact is that many of these regimes were formed by, and are manipulated by, external governments. It was only in the early part of the 20th century that oil in the Middle East was known to be in vast supply, and that oil itself was recognized as holding great strategic value. From that moment forward, empire-seeking governments such as Germany, Great Britain, and the United States have fought wars, divided the region into countries to their benefit, and installed regimes that will bow to their interests. In oil-rich countries where the government resists the empire, they have nonetheless seized the wealth of the oil to the detriment of the people. They are socialist countries, with government controlling their only real source of wealth and distributing just enough pottage to the people to keep them pacified.

War is devastating to supply. Governments launch wars over oil to control its supply, in the sinister belief that they will be assured of a cheap flow of oil if they can wield enough military force over the oil producing countries. One of the primary objectives of the US Government’s invasion and occupation of Iraq was to gain control over the vast resources of that region, to diminish the strength of the Saudi Government and its attempts to wield power by manipulating supply. Iraqi oil production, once at 3.5 million barrels per day, plummeted due to war, sanctions, and more war, and has been less than half its previous average for most of the time since. Reduced supply has increased prices. Another factor is the cost of insuring shipments in a war zone, costs that will be passed on to the consumer. All told, remember when we were told that Iraq would pay for this war with oil, and we’d all see an improved supply of oil and cheap prices at the pump? It doesn’t appear to have worked out. Oil has rocketed from less than $30 per barrel to $120 at the time of this writing. The forecasters, predicting $10 per gallon gasoline, are talking about $200 a barrel.

The reader may ask, absent US Government intervention, won’t we be at the mercy of oil producing countries? The first response is that the producers have an incentive to sell their oil. It is their source of wealth. The second response is that it is their oil, their property. If your neighbor has something you want, you don’t have the right to steal it from him, nor beat him up to make him sell it to you – and you can’t use your government to do it for you either. It is not “our oil.” Again, they have an incentive to sell it, and the US market is their biggest customer. Even Osama Bin Laden understands this when he says that it’s not like they’re going to drink it – they want to sell their product.

At home, the US Government takes on its role as central planner and attempts to manipulate demand, directing resources to the production of alternative energy sources. Taxpayer funds are diverted to favored special interests and immense profits are made on non-viable solutions. Profits, in a free market, are the result of efficient production of goods and services that can be sold at a price higher than the costs of production, because the consumer places value on the good or service that exceeds the cost to produce it. In government subsidized production of non-viable solutions, profits are privatized while the losses are socialized – that is, a chosen few benefit from government contracts and subsidies, receiving money that could not have been earned on the free market, while consumers are forced to make up the difference with their tax dollars. A belief in government and central planning is the culprit – innovation does not occur by specially appointed “experts” (and government officials are experts at nothing) picking the winners and losers, innovation is the result of hundreds or thousands of individuals exercising intellectual curiosity – you cannot know where it will come from. When oil prices signal opportunity, the market will respond. Government planning has resulted in wasteful, inefficient boondoggles like ethanol, subsidized with tax dollars to the point that corn is sold cheaper than it can be produced. This government intervention is a form of tampering with the free market, redirecting resources and causing ill side effects.

We’ve shown how intervention disrupts supply and increases cost, and how attempts to manipulate demand by forcing economically infeasible solutions costs the taxpayer, but there is a much more subtle, more hidden means by which the US government, predominately, is at fault for our pain at the pump.

The biggest hammers in the government’s interventionist tool box – war and subsidies – must be financed with inflation, destroying the value of the dollar and decreasing its purchasing power. A devalued dollar, of course, will purchase less gasoline with each dollar. Many economists have pointed to the falling dollar and the rising cost of oil. This is a good start, although, if we compare the prewar price of oil to the postwar price, we see more than a 400% increase. The dollar, while sliding precipitously, has not lost that much value over the same time frame. What has happened? This will be the topic of my next entry.

Next entry:  Inflation and Gas Prices