This is the last in a series. We began by wondering how come some people get to boss other people around…
We’re not talking about wives and husbands or employees and their employers. In those cases, the bossing is legit. Husbands ask for it. And employees can walk off the job anytime they like.
We’re talking about people who have the right — by law — to tell other people what to do. The TSA agent…the policeman…the building inspector…the customs agent…the IRS clerk…the FDA…the CIA…the FBI…
It is a remarkable thing, don’t you think, dear reader? It says right there in the Declaration of Independence that ‘all men are created equal.’ Equality under the law is supposed to be the law of the land. And yet, some people are clearly above the law…some give orders to complete strangers…and some people even claim the right to make laws any way they want.
There are laws that tell you not to murder…and not to steal. In the 10 Commandments given to Moses, God named 10 laws that he considered important. But the folks walking the floors of Congress, the EPA, the SEC, the IRS and a plethora of other government agencies have added 10,000 more commandments. ‘Thou shalt’ this… ‘thou shalt not’ that. You can barely go to the bathroom or drill an oil well, without asking permission from a dozen different bureaucracies. ‘Ignorance of the law,’ is said to be an ineffective defense. But it’s a very effective explanation. There are so many laws, rules, regulations, edicts, commandments, prohibitions, interdictions, injunctions, requirements and obligations that you are bound to miss one or two of them.
The latest Defense Authorization Bill just passed by Congress shows how far the law-makers and law-enforcers will go. The doctrine of habeas corpus goes back to before the signing of the Magna Carta in 1215. It was an ancient Anglo-Saxon limitation on the power of government. If the feds held a prisoner, a writ of habeas corpus required them to “produce the body.” The government had to either release the person or charge him with a crime. For more than 800 years, this gave people some protection against government.
But now, in the Year of Our Lord 2011, the Congress of the United States of America, with the complicity of POTUS, himself, has seen fit to deny the right of habeas corpus to American citizens. Henceforth, the feds can capture you, put you in prison and waterboard you every day for the rest of your life. They don’t have to charge you with murder or jay-walking or any crime at all. They don’t have to let you talk to a lawyer. Or to your spouse. Or to your Congressman… They don’t have to read you your rights or provide any evidence against you. Like the Argentines in the ’80s, they just ‘disappear’ you. And you’re gone forever.
The Guardian reports:
Human rights groups accused the president of deserting his principles and disregarding the long-established principle that the military is not used in domestic policing. The legislation has also been strongly criticised by libertarians on the right angered at the stripping of individual rights for the duration of “a war that appears to have no end”.
The law, contained in the defence authorisation bill that funds the US military, effectively extends the battlefield in the “war on terror” to the US and applies the established principle that combatants in any war are subject to military detention.
“It’s something so radical that it would have been considered crazy had it been pushed by the Bush administration,” said Tom Malinowski of Human Rights Watch. “It establishes precisely the kind of system that the United States has consistently urged other countries not to adopt. At a time when the United States is urging Egypt, for example, to scrap its emergency law and military courts, this is not consistent.”
Rand Paul, a strong libertarian, has said “detaining citizens without a court trial is not American” and that if the law passes “the terrorists have won”.
“We’re talking about American citizens who can be taken from the United States and sent to a camp at Guantánamo Bay and held indefinitely. It puts every single citizen American at risk,” he said. “Really, what security does this indefinite detention of Americans give us? The first and flawed premise, both here and in the badly named Patriot Act, is that our pre-9/11 police powers were insufficient to stop terrorism. This is simply not borne out by the facts.”
So now the feds, whose salaries we pay, can spy on us with drones we paid for too. They can send a swat team to disappear us…and keep us in prison.
Our question is: ‘what gives them the right?’ What bread to these people eat? What air do they breathe?
We’ve seen the theories. We’ve seen them in practice too. The ‘divine right of kings.’ The ‘social contract.’ ‘From each according to his abilities…’ ‘The greatest good for the greatest number.’
What they all have in common is that they are not theories, but apologia. One claims to know God’s own plan. Another imagines that the powerless masses agreed to be pushed around. Still another pretends that it’s for their own good.
Some of the excuses are implausible or unbelievable. Others are absurd. The ‘theories’ make no sense. But the facts are undeniable. And the fact is that there are always some people who are willing, ready and able to boss others around. Some rulers — the ‘insiders’ — are smarter than others. Some are nicer. Over time, you see all sorts. Their goal is always the same — to take power and wealth away from the outsiders. How much? As much as they can get away with.
You may wonder, for example, how come the governments of the developed countries all seem to be in the same deep hole of debt. If you listened to the politicians, for example, you might conclude that France and America were an ocean apart. Actually, overall tax, spending, and debt levels are similar in all OECD nations. And tax levels, generally, are about 10 times higher than they were in the last century. And their forms of government are about the same too — even though the insiders claim to have very different ideas about how to govern.
The genius of modern democracy is that it makes the citizen a party to his own enslavement. Rather than give up 10% of his output to his feudal lord and master, he gives up 30% to 50% to his democratically-elected bosses. They tell him what to do. And he believes he is giving the orders!
And then, he believes he has discovered the best form of government in the world. It is so good he can’t wait to force others to be democrats too.
Bill Bonnerfor The Daily Reckoning
Since founding Agora Inc. in 1979, Bill Bonner has found success and garnered camaraderie in numerous communities and industries. A man of many talents, his entrepreneurial savvy, unique writings, philanthropic undertakings, and preservationist activities have all been recognized and awarded by some of America's most respected authorities. Along with Addison Wiggin, his friend and colleague, Bill has written two New York Times best-selling books, Financial Reckoning Day and Empire of Debt. Both works have been critically acclaimed internationally. With political journalist Lila Rajiva, he wrote his third New York Times best-selling book, Mobs, Messiahs and Markets, which offers concrete advice on how to avoid the public spectacle of modern finance. Since 1999, Bill has been a daily contributor and the driving force behind The Daily Reckoning. Dice Have No Memory: Big Bets & Bad Economics from Paris to the Pampas, the newest book from Bill Bonner, is the definitive compendium of Bill's daily reckonings from more than a decade: 1999-2010.
What would you advise us to get out of this pickle?
I think you’re overreacting. Water-boarding is not that bad. At least people don’t get drawn and quartered. (So far) And trials are messy and inefficient. Let’s have the authorities start a Soylent Green factory.
Love Bill’s writings!
PEOPLE WILL CHEER AS YOU ARE JAILED FOR LIFE
Great article. And yes people will cheer loudly as each accused (but uncharged) terrorist is led away. Until it is their own turn.
I’m a recent convert to your sceptical point of view at DR but consider this. My recent studies indicate that your particular democracy was hijacked before you were born, starting I believe in 1913.
Maybe it was a weakness in the constitution, maybe it was the particular immigrants who arrived prior to 1913, maybe it was the fickle finger of fate.
You and we all I suppose, have lived with an
ever more powerful and corrupted system since then.
I’m not sure it’s wise to condemn democracy when one’s only significant experience with it is the USA’s form of democracy.
Civilization is threatened now by this. The wise and the educated and the brave need to do something. It seems hopeless doesn’t it.
I’m so glad it has become mainstream to discuss these ideas.
Almost certainly it is too little too late – but at least there is an awakening.
Our wise Overlords see this awakening occuring as well. That’s why they’re moving so quickly and so boldly.
This isn’t going to end well I’m afraid. God be with all of you.
Call Denny Crane!
Great series of articles. Bill Bonner’s descriptions of “insiders” and “outsiders” illustrates perfectly the real split in America (even though most “outsiders” currently have no idea how they’re being robbed and duped, or by whom). The fact that Americans show almost no outrage at all at the way their basic rights have been eroded by the National Defense Authorization Act is just the latest example of how asleep the citizenry is. Its both stunning and sad, really, that basic freedoms can be rubbed out so quickly and with so little resistance.
“And employees can walk off the job anytime they like.”
The single common trait of government is inepitude. Thus, try as they may, there isn’t a chance that the full thrust of the United State’s misguided policies will prevail. In the end, their half-measures will not only fail, but will actually provoke precisely the behavior they condem.
If you look through history, there is an undeniable self-correcting mechanism at work that, as BB used to say, insures people get what they deserve and not necessarily what they expect. This principle is not less true of governments than it is of the individual investor.
These ‘self corrections’ tend to get people killed in their millions.
“McCarthy,” he said, “consistency has never been a mark of stupidity. If our State Department boys were merely stupid, they would make a mistake in our favor once in awhile.”
Bruce, Since 1945 the Insiders have overthrown or interfered with 50 popularly elected governments and or popular movements against dictatorships, killing up to 10,000,000 people (mostly innocent) and making enemies of what, a few billion others? And most of the nation cheers them on. We are dealing with the masters of propaganda.
So while we wait for the self correction to take effect, there might be a bit more unpleasantness to endure.
Here is a comment I posted on a previous article that exposes these evil banking institutions and the henchmen, also known as congressmen. : “The idea of the world’s authorities is not to solve the debt problem, but to make it larger.” – of course ! Their plan to destroy America is well underway – They create as much debt as they can for America and invest billions into the Far East and use their influence over the Far East to make it profitable for others to do the same with their money. The idea is to build up the East at the expense and destruction of the West. This is because these international bankers of London and New York have never considered themselves Western in the first place and they themselves originate from the East and hate the West. These Illuminati bankers of London and New York are the prophesied 2 horned, second beast of Revelations. (the First beast was the Catholic church whose wounded head is being healed by the second beast that now rules the world) They funded communism while sitting in New York pretending to the world that they oppose it and they funded Hitler while pretending to oppose it as well. If they cant get what they want from their corrupt politicians, they they create wars – EVEN WORLD WARS – to get what they want. What better way is their to rule the enemy than to weaken them by making them fight each other ? Then when we are weakened us enough economical through debt (this was always the communist plan for America specifically) and they have weeded out any opposition through all these domestic laws against “terrorism”, their billions of colleagues in the East can invade !
WWW3 = Communist/”former” Communist alliance from the East – inbvading all countries in the West. It will make the armies of Ghengus Khan look pathetic in comparison. Who alone can defend us in this terrible day except Christ Himself. Clue : It will happen soon after “all the riches of the world become nothing in 1 hour”
[It says right there in the Declaration of Independence that ‘all men are created equal.’ Equality under the law is supposed to be the law of the land]
Some animals are more equal than others…
“It says right there in the Declaration of Independence that ‘all men are created equal.’ Equality under the law is supposed to be the law of the land] Some animals are more equal than others.”
This country was started and built on lies.
“The path of the righteous man is beset on all sides by the inequities of the selfish and the tyranny of evil men.”
Ain’t that the truth.
Beautifully written, Mr. Bonner.
This law amounts to a declaration of war by the US government and the elitist who own them against the American people.
I just read the book ‘Bloodlands: Europe Between Hitler and Stalin’.
14 million people died in the Bloodlands (Poland, Ukraine, Belarus and the Baltic states) by a deliberate policy by two men who didn’t see people as individual humans but as impediments to the state achieving its objectives. These actions started small, of course, and brick by brick the state created the bureaucratic infrastructure that made it possible.
I’m Canadian and I’ve always respected what America stands for. Even when the rest of the world gripes about American highhandedness, there is still a belief it’s a bastion of freedom and defender against tyranny. Now we watch the American government act in ways that suspiciously resemble the very totalitarian regimes it has always defended against. We are chilled by the implications.
Mind boggling .. the kind of looting that goes on in the guise of doing the right thing!
I would love to see a state secede from the USA an become a small country, friendly, with open trade, etc.
Small govts are ALWAYS better than large ones. The citizens know the leaders, & can interact & influence policies.
As Richard Mayberry frequently reminds his subscribers, there is nothing special about democracy. Democracy is nothing more than mob rule. The principle underlying the creation of America was LIBERTY. And, the “miracle” of America’s creation was the uncommon bravery of those who fought for and won it.
People rarely speak of liberty any longer, but that is precisely what we have squandered while we were busily voting for the next American Idol. I can’t remember who said it first, but it remains absolutely true: “People get the government they deserve.”
I wish we deserved better.
the reason, voting people are stupid and decide on whom to vote by hearing or watching a 10 sec ad campaign. Democracy at its best.
If we ask Obama and the Congressional approvers of this bill: “Does the ends justify the means, does the violation of our basic right as American citizens to be publicly charged and arrested only in violation of a law, timely trial by civil court and innocence until proven guilty, justify persevering a democracy where these rights are not violated?” they must answer Yes, and by so saying and voting they are agreeing that democracy cannot exist.
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