Tag Archives: Individual Rights

What’s Behind the Global Erosion of Civil Liberties, Privacy and Property Rights? By Charles Hugh Smith

Hint: it has something to do with the size of governments. From Charles Hugh Smith at oftwominds.com:

The second essential step is to recognize how the spectacles of “news” and entertainment distract our attention from this erosion of basic rights.

Hierarchical power structures like city-states arose as problem-solving solutions, not just for the elites who benefited from the concentration of wealth and power but for the citizenry. This dynamic underpins the analysis presented in my recent book Global Crisis, National Renewal: when nation-states and global hierarchies no longer solve the key problems of their populaces, they dissolve and are replaced by some new arrangement.

It’s easy to see how hierarchies benefit the leaders / elites at the top, but there’s always a trade-off to the populace ceding power/control to elites: we will cede control over our lives in exchange for benefits we cannot gain by ourselves, starting with security from invasion and starvation, i.e. the existential threats posed by Nature and other human organizations.

Over time, as energy surpluses and knowledge increased, city-states aggregated into nation-states and empires. These larger organizations were able to solve problems on a larger scale than city-states.

When these entities could no longer solve existential problems (surpluses diminished, elites failed to provide successful leadership, etc.), they eroded and then collapsed, and were replaced with some other more successful organizational arrangement.

Over time, the citizenry of some regions began expanding the benefits nation-states and their elites were expected to provide in exchange for power: the state was expected to secure the rights to individuals’ property and various civil liberties relating to the free exchange of ideas and knowledge, freedom of worship, and having a say in national decisions.

Globally, these basic human rights are being eroded by state-elite over-reach and consolidation of power beyond what the citizenry agreed upon. For example, the citizenry ceded power to the state to protect individuals’ privacy from the surveillance and information-gathering of both the state and private interests.

As Richard Bonugli and I discuss in our podcast on Eroding Civil Liberties and Property Rights, these privacy statutes are still on the books but they are routinely disregarded by both state agencies and private-sector interests with little functional enforcement by state agencies tasked with protecting the citizens’ rights to privacy.

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Most All That Is Rational, Good, Beautiful, and Moral Has been Destroyed in Favor of Collective Idiocy, by Gary D. Barnett

Collectivism—the concept that an individual’s rights are always subordinate to the will of a collective—is history’s most dangerous and destructive idea. From Gary D. Barnett at lewrockwell.com:

“Collectivism holds that the individual has no rights, that his life and work belong to the group (to “society,” to the tribe, the state, the nation) and that the group may sacrifice him at its own whim to its own interests. The only way to implement a doctrine of that kind is by means of brute force – and statism has always been the political corollary of collectivism.”

~ Ayn Rand (1964). “The Virtue of Selfishness”, p.122, Penguin

It has always been so, but considering the past two and one-half years, most of mankind has universally acted as non-human members of a non-caring mass. The explanation for this lies in the human phenomenon called “Mass Formation Psychosis.” From a pragmatic perspective, this boils down to the elimination of the individual in society in order to satisfy the predisposed nature of the non-thinking idiotic herd seeking feigned safety and group acceptance. Rational and critical independent thought completely disappear when crowds gather; this attitude based on what is referred to as ‘group think,’ which actually means, no intelligent or intellectual thinking at all, just agreement without exception with the majority.

The false assumption of solidarity and the unwarranted perception of unity that necessarily accompanies any ‘thought’ of the ‘common good,’ which is neither common nor good, is only an illusion, and one that has to be accepted without proof or validity in order to perpetuate the state sponsored narrative. The dynamic of group lies and propaganda, something I refer to as societal shared obsolescence, is the core underlying premise expected and demanded by the ruling ‘elite.’ This state of mind by the masses can only lead to total failure and self-induced slavery, so any expectation of safety in numbers in this circumstance is asinine.

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If It Can Happen in Canada, It Can Happen Here, by Gary D. Barnett

Constitutions don’t protect people’s individual rights because governments are always hell bent on taking them away and people allow them to do so. From Gary D. Barnett at lewrockwell.com:

“Constitutions become the ultimate tyranny,” Paul said. “They’re organized power on such a scale as to be overwhelming. The constitution is social power mobilized and it has no conscience. It can crush the highest and the lowest, removing all dignity and individuality. It has an unstable balance point and no limitations.”

~ Frank Herbert, Dune Messiah

What is going on in Canada is atrocious. I am not just talking about the treatment of the “truckers” or ‘protest.’ I am not just talking about the ‘state’s ‘laws,’ and I am not talking about any government document claimed to be a protector of the people, when in fact it is always the opposite. I am talking about the extreme tyranny present in Canada at this time, that can and will be here in the U.S. soon unless mass dissent is forthcoming.

Trudeau is certainly an evil monster, but then so are most all politicians, or any who choose to rule over other men, regardless of the governing process in place. There is no such thing as freedom by government ‘contract;’ there is only freedom if the individual takes it, protects it, holds it, and lives it. Governing systems are meant to first reduce, and then eliminate all freedom, and no constitution is worth the paper on which it is written. It is simply a document created by politicians in order to fool the people into believing that rights have something to do with governments protecting those rights for the very people that are subject to that same government’s rules and laws. This is an impossible contradiction, but nonetheless, belief in this nonsense has fooled Americans, and many others throughout history. Many still cling to the stupidity that somehow the rights of man can be listed on a meaningless governing document called a ‘contract;’ one enforced by the state in question, when not one citizen signed or agreed with its content. This is the essence of an ignorant society easily fooled into accepting slavery.

This is why it is imperative to understand that the only protection of men and their freedom comes from each individual’s ability and willingness to protect and gain his freedom by simply claiming it, and living in such a manner as to never acquiesce to any collective or state rule. Government cannot under any circumstance bestow any right, nor can it take any right away from the individual, unless the individual voluntarily allows this to happen. The only reason slavery can exist is because the lowly human is too weak and fragile to defend himself due to one or another irrelevant and inconsequential fear of life itself. This is the pathetic side of the human animal, but it does not have to be so.

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Taking Liberty for Granted, by Andrew P. Napolitano

A governments that does not protect its citizens’ natural rights can and should be replaced with one that does. From Andrew P. Napolitano at lewrockwell.com:

“Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty.”
— Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826).

No one knows if Thomas Jefferson personally uttered those words. They have been widely attributed to him, but they don’t appear in any of his writings. If he did not literally utter them, he uttered the sentiments they offer. They remind us not to take liberty for granted.

As America returns to pre-pandemic normalcy, we should think about the dangers of taking liberty for granted. This column has argued frequently that personal liberty is our birthright. It is a natural right. It doesn’t come from the government. It comes from our humanity, which is a gift from God. As God is perfectly free, so are we.

The Declaration of Independence and the Constitution presume that our liberties are natural and cannot be suppressed or taken away by the government absent due process.

Due process requires a notice of charges, a fair hearing with all constitutional protections at which the government must prove fault, and the right to appeal. The Constitution doesn’t grant liberty; it restrains the government from infringing upon it.

Some liberties are so essential to the pursuit of happiness that the Constitution prohibits their infringement, period — with or without due process. These are the liberties that we exercise every day — worship, speech, peaceable assembly, self-defense, privacy, ownership and use of property, commercial transactions, travel. We voluntarily establish governments to protect our liberties.

Are the governments we have established morally legitimate? They are when they have, as Jefferson wrote in the Declaration, the consent of the governed, and when they defend our liberties. Absent consent and defense of liberty, government is not legitimate.

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Wu Flu vs. the Spanish Flu? by Eric Peters

Aside the rights of each individual in a group, a group itself has no rights. From Eric Peters at ericpetersautos.com:

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A reader asks about comparisons being made between WuFlu and the 1918 Spanish Flu and specifically whether the precedent set then is legitimately applicable today.

He writes:

I am on a trivia email list that puts out a little “on this date” article each day and yesterday (March 4) marked the date in 1918 when the first “Spanish flu” cases were reported; so the article was facts about that pandemic.

It noted that in 1918 Americans social distanced, wore masks and schools and businesses were closed for months at a time, just like today. I see some issues with the comparison though; firstly that the demographic of the deaths and serious illnesses were quite different (Spanish flu affected young adults much more than WuFlu has) and also that medical care wasn’t nearly as equipped to treat symptoms a century ago as they are today and many deaths from the Spanish flu were due to misdiagnosis and improper treatment by doctors. I’ve noticed many in the media want to shoehorn WuFlu into the Spanish flu – “It’s 1918 all over again!” Do you believe there is a historical basis for such a comparison and what in your view would be a libertarian response to a pandemic the scale of the Spanish flu (if any different from the views toward WuFlu edicts)?

I think the main issue here isn’t who gets sick – or how sick or even how to treat the sick – but rather the same issue that’s the unspoken core issue of almost everything today since almost everything today has become an issue of the collective vs. the individual  . . . which is really a false paradigm, once you dissect it a little.

Because there is no collective – other than as a rhetorical device.

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World Coming Soon From Joe and Kamala: Hooray for the Revolution! by Philip Giraldi

A Biden/Harris presidency will further constrict freedom in the US and around the world. From Philip Giraldi at strategic-culture.org:

There is something quite scary about the way leading Democrats have persistently wrapped their attempts to control the American people in platitudes and self-righteous drivel. Joe Biden and Kamala Harris, who are currently pulling their team together, are no different than the Clintons and Obamas who preceded them and are already on course to establish conformity by diminishing the fundamental rights that have been hitherto enjoyed by the American people.

The current war being waged against the United States and its constitution hinges on the expressed desire to extirpate “white supremacy” aka “white privilege” aka “systemic racism.” It is a convenient campaign slogan as it immediately creates guilt and apprehension in those white people who are foolish enough to believe it. It also is a vague enough term that it becomes possible to wrap a lot of other issues into it, like gun control, destruction of traditional education, reparations and affirmative action, and even de-policing urban areas. As minorities allegedly suffer disproportionately from coronavirus it might even be expanded to include mandatory national lockdowns every time a pandemic appears, as Biden has suggested in the past.

We are already seeing how some crimes are no longer crimes if they are committed by sanctimonious social justice warriors. Prosecutors in a number of states are dismissing charges against rioters because they have “concluded the protesters were exercising their basic civil rights.” It is generally being claimed that prosecutions continue for the “real” crimes of arson, looting and destruction of public property, but at least one liberal California District Attorney will not charge anyone who maintains that he or she was doing what they did to combat racism or feed their families. She calls it considering the “needs” of the looters. The looted shops that will as a result go out of business and whose employees become unemployed evidently have no “needs.”

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America After the Election: A Few Hard Truths About the Things That Won’t Change, by John W. Whitehead

Regardless of what party has been in power, the government has gotten bigger and more intrusive, and individual liberties have shrunk. From John W. Whitehead at rutherford.org:

“If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear.”—George Orwell

The American people remain eager to be persuaded that a new president in the White House can solve the problems that plague us.

Yet no matter who wins this presidential election, you can rest assured that the new boss will be the same as the old boss, and we—the permanent underclass in America—will continue to be forced to march in lockstep with the police state in all matters, public and private.

Indeed, it really doesn’t matter what you call them—the Deep State, the 1%, the elite, the controllers, the masterminds, the shadow government, the police state, the surveillance state, the military industrial complex—so long as you understand that no matter which party occupies the White House in 2021, the unelected bureaucracy that actually calls the shots will continue to do so.

In the interest of liberty and truth, here are a few hard truths about life in the American police state that will persist no matter who wins the 2020 presidential election. Indeed, these issues persisted—and in many cases flourished—under both Republican and Democratic administrations in recent years.

Police militarization will continue. Thanks to federal grant programs allowing the Pentagon to transfer surplus military supplies and weapons to local law enforcement agencies without charge, police forces will continue to be transformed from peace officers to heavily armed extensions of the military, complete with jackboots, helmets, shields, batons, pepper-spray, stun guns, assault rifles, body armor, miniature tanks and weaponized drones. “Today, 17,000 local police forces are equipped with such military equipment as Blackhawk helicopters, machine guns, grenade launchers, battering rams, explosives, chemical sprays, body armor, night vision, rappelling gear and armored vehicles,” stated Paul Craig Roberts, former Assistant Secretary of the Treasury. “Some have tanks.”

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It Began With Saaaaaaaaaaaafety Seats, by Eric Peters

Governments don’t take away your freedom all at once, they do it bit by bit. From Eric Peters at ericpetersautos.com:

The government requires that all kids – almost teenagers – be tied down like furniture every time they are transported in a car. This wasn’t always the case.

Why has it become the case?

Answering that question requires asking the question: What business is it of the government – of other people with various titles – to decree such things? Do these other people own your children? Do they own you? They are implicitly asserting at least partial parental oversight authority.

Where did they get this authority?

Did you, the parent, give it to them? If you did not, how is it that these other people have come to wield it over you?

It is said – by some – that it is  “unsafe” for kids to be in cars without being in saaaaaaafety seats. And yet hundreds of millions of them – almost everyone who achieved adulthood before the early 1990s, before the government mandated child (almost teenager) ssssssssaaaaaaaafety seats for all – grew up not being strapped into them without suffering any injury at all.

Some did, of course. Some also tripped and fell. Others fell harder. Some drowned. A few also died from various things, some of them possibly avoidable.

So there is a degree of risk. As with everything in life. We all face risk every day, to varying degrees. That is not at issue. What is at issue is who gets to decide which risks – and to what degree – are acceptable.

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Justice Sleeps and ‘We the People’ Suffer: No, the U.S. Supreme Court Will Not Save Us, by John W. Whitehead

Unfortunately, the long running trend of Supreme Court decisions has been to expand government power and eviscerate individual rights. Don’t expect Trump’s next pick to reverse or even slow that trend. From John W. Whitehead at rutherford.org:

“The Constitution is not neutral. It was designed to take the government off the backs of the people.”—Justice William O. Douglas

The U.S. Supreme Court will not save us.

It doesn’t matter which party gets to pick the replacement to fill Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg’s seat on the U.S. Supreme Court. The battle that is gearing up right now is yet more distraction and spin to keep us oblivious to the steady encroachment on our rights by the architects of the American Police State.

Americans can no longer rely on the courts to mete out justice.

Although the courts were established to serve as Courts of Justice, what we have been saddled with, instead, are Courts of Order. This is true at all levels of the judiciary, but especially so in the highest court of the land, the U.S. Supreme Court, which is seemingly more concerned with establishing order and protecting government interests than with upholding the rights of the people enshrined in the U.S. Constitution.

As a result, the police and other government agents have been generally empowered to probe, poke, pinch, taser, search, seize, strip and generally manhandle anyone they see fit in almost any circumstance, all with the general blessing of the courts.

Rarely do the concerns of the populace prevail.

When presented with an opportunity to loosen the government’s noose that keeps getting cinched tighter and tighter around the necks of the American people, what does our current Supreme Court usually do?

It ducks. Prevaricates. Remains silent. Speaks to the narrowest possible concern.

More often than not, it gives the government and its corporate sponsors the benefit of the doubt, which leaves “we the people” hanging by a thread.

Rarely do the justices of the U.S. Supreme Court— preoccupied with their personal politics, cocooned in a world of privilege, partial to those with power, money and influence, and narrowly focused on a shrinking docket (the court accepts on average 80 cases out of 8,000 each year)—venture beyond their rarefied comfort zones.

Every so often, the justices toss a bone to those who fear they have abdicated their allegiance to the Constitution. Too often, however, the Supreme Court tends to march in lockstep with the police state.

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Truth about the West: The Only Non-Oppressive Civilization, by Vasko Kohlmayer

What other civilization has ever tried to protect individual rights? From Vasko Kohlmayer at lewrockwell.com

Hey, hey, ho, ho, Western Civ has got to go.”

— Jesse Jackson

“Western Civilization is not, for me, a curriculum of democracy and reason and greatness; it is a history of inequality and oppression,” writes Scott Ross, a teacher. Mr. Ross is by no means a rare ideological outlier among his peers. The view he holds has been taught and propagated at universities across the United States and Western Europe for decades. The situation has become so dire that Yale University has recently cancelled its formerly excellent course called “Introduction to Art History: Renaissance to the Present,” because it was allegedly too Eurocentric. Some among the shrinking number of universities that still offer such courses use them merely as a platform to attack the very culture whose achievements they are supposed to teach. The alleged oppressiveness of the West is the leitmotif that dominates their critiques. This view has boiled over into the larger society and is commonly held today by those on the political Left. We have seen a disturbing display of this mindset during the recent riots when “protesters” kept methodically attacking and destroying symbols of Western culture.

Although it is true that various forms of oppression have been practiced in the West over time, oppression is by no means unique to the West. Oppression has been, in fact, a feature of every civilization that has appeared on the face of this earth. We could say that human history is – in one way – a history of oppression: It has common for those with power to exploit, trample upon and take advantage of their fellow human beings. There is nothing particularly surprising about this, since selfishness and rapaciousness are prominent aspects of human nature.

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