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Mutualist Blog: Free Market Anti-Capitalism

To dissolve, submerge, and cause to disappear the political or governmental system in the economic system by reducing, simplifying, decentralizing and suppressing, one after another, all the wheels of this great machine, which is called the Government or the State. --Proudhon, General Idea of the Revolution

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Location: Northwest Arkansas, United States

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Real Conservatives Fight the Authoritarian Pigs

Via Sunday's Progressive Review. Senbrenner is, as Sam Smith's title says, "Wisconsin's Nastiest Legislator Since Joe McCarthy." He ranks right up there with Orrin Hatch as a mortal enemy of freedom. I'd also add that it's pretty shameful for Sensenbrenner when someone like Jerrold Nadler, an authoritarian liberal police statist in his own right, looks positively libertarian by comparison.

AP - The Republican House Judiciary Committee chairman walked off with the gavel Friday, leaving Democrats shouting into turned-off microphones at a raucous hearing on the Patriot Act. The hearing, with the two sides accusing each other of being irresponsible and undemocratic, came as President Bush was urging Congress to renew the sections of the post-Sept. 11 counter-terrorism law set to expire in September.
Rep. F. James Sensenbrenner Jr. (R-Wis.), chairman of the panel, abruptly gaveled the meeting to an end and walked out, followed by other Republicans. Sensenbrenner said that much of the testimony, which veered into debate over the detainees at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, was irrelevant.

Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) protested, raising his voice as his microphone went off, came back on, and went off again.

"We are not besmirching the honor of the United States; we are trying to uphold it," he said. . .

Nadler said Sensenbrenner, an author of the Patriot Act, was "rather rude, cutting everybody off in midsentence with an attitude of total hostility."

Tempers flared when Rep. Mike Pence (R-Ind.) accused Amnesty International of endangering the lives of Americans in uniform by calling the prison at Guantanamo Bay a "gulag." Sensenbrenner didn't allow the Amnesty representative, Chip Pitts, to respond until Nadler raised a "point of decency."

Sensenbrenner, who believes the Fourth Amendment gives aid and comfort to terrorists, is the same pig who wants to conscript the entire population as police informants in the so-called Drug War.

BILL PIPER, ALTERNET - A senior congressman, James Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.), is working quietly but efficiently to turn the entire United States population into informants--by force. Sensenbrenner, the U.S. House Judiciary Committee Chairman, has introduced legislation that would essentially draft every American into the war on drugs. . .

Here's how the "spy" section of the legislation works: If you "witness" certain drug offenses taking place or "learn" about them, you must report the offenses to law enforcement within 24 hours and provide "full assistance in the investigation, apprehension and prosecution" of the people involved. Failure to do so would be a crime punishable by a mandatory minimum two-year prison sentence, and a maximum sentence of 10 years.

As you might expect, he's also a bluenose "decency" cop who froths at the mouth over dropping the f-bomb on shock radio:

NEWSDAY - Rep. James Sensenbrenner (R-Wisc.), chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, wants criminal penalties for "indecent" speech over the airwaves. Fines weren't good enough. Sensenbrenner & Co. think the likes of Howard Stern should go to jail.

As you also might expect, he voted for the recent bankruptcy "reform" designed to force as many people as possible into Chapter 13 debt slavery when the housing bubble collapses and/or unemployment reaches 25%. And he was a strong supporter of the "Real ID" internal passport system, as well.

Apparently, the central organizing theme of Sensenbrenner's policy agenda is to turn America into a slave labor camp: a giant, dioxin-soaked, minimum wage sweatshop; but that's OK, because it'll be a fundamentalist slave labor camp, where everyone's benevolently protected from seeing bare tit on the Superbowl, or being tempted to stick his dick in the wrong kind of orifice. And as we chop cotton on agribusiness plantations to pay off our indentures to Capital One, or work for $0.15 an hour putting together Chinese radio components in the new American macquiladoras, we can all lift our voices in a rousing chorus of "Let the Eagle Soar."

On the other hand, here (via Jesse Walker on the LeftLibertarian yahoogroup) are some real conservatives, a remnant who haven't yet bowed their knees at the altar of Baal. Maybe we need a new term to distinguish them from "small-government conservatives" like Sensenbrenner who worship the Messianic State. (From, of all places, the Washington Times):

Former Rep. Bob Barr, who led conservative efforts to impeach President Clinton, is leading a group called "Patriots to Restore Checks and Balances" that is focused exclusively on opposing the renewal of the Patriot Act.

The effort also has the enthusiastic support of three of the most influential conservatives in Washington, Grover Norquist of Americans for Tax Reform, David Keene of the American Conservative Union and Phyllis Schlafly of the Eagle Forum.

8 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Barr has said some positive things about opposing the PATRIOT Act (I don't think he opposes all of it, just parts of it), but his stance on the drug war is still terrible as far as I know.

-matt

June 15, 2005 10:24 AM  
Blogger Kevin Carson said...

It sure is. I was also annoyed in early 2003 when, after Powell's address to the Security Council, he said that "loyal Americans" had an obligation to give "their" government the benefit of the doubt.

If you believe the rhetoric of representative democracy, the President and his henchmen are just as much the hired help as is the city dogcatcher. Since when do I have an obligation to believe their claims over my own lying eyes?

But in this political climate, Barr's pretty damned good, comparatively speaking. Anybody who hates both Reno and Ashcroft deserves some credit for it.

June 15, 2005 12:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"But in this political climate, Barr's pretty damned good, comparatively speaking."

Haha...I guess that shows just how shitty the current political climate is.

-matt

June 15, 2005 7:52 PM  
Blogger Vardaman Bundren said...

Kevin,

Would you be able to provide a few words or a link as to how it is libertarian to support bankruptcy protection? My understand has long been that, for whatever reason the debtor finds himself in debt, it is not the state's place to intervene before the creditor's claim to the money.

Thanks.

June 16, 2005 8:39 PM  
Blogger Kevin Carson said...

I tend to agree with Spooner's idea (as I understand it anyway) that the creditor is entitled to whatever assets are available to defray the debt at the time of default, but has no continuing claim to the future labor of the debtor (assuming no fraud is involved). If the debtor is genuinely unable to meet his obligations, the creditor has no right to state help in garnishing future income.

The question is, what form would lending law take under a regime of mutual defense associations, free local juries, and local codes of common law? The present regime, bankruptcy law included, presupposes a state-enforced money monopoly in which access to cheap, cooperative credit alternatives is legally obstructed under the capitalist banks' influence.

So in a free market society, there likely wouldn't be nearly as much high-interest credit card debt in the first place, and there would be a lot more self-organized credit obtained by working people through their own cooperative organizations, on much friendlier terms.

June 17, 2005 9:38 AM  
Blogger Vardaman Bundren said...

I guess my comment did not post the other day. I'll try again.

Does your idea that a free market in money would result in "cheap cooperative credit alternatives" contradict the more common notion amongst Austrians that money--fiduciary media--is expanded greatly by lowering continually the market interest rate below the so-called natural rate?

I ask for two reasons. One, quite often, if not always, the state's policy has contradictory effects. For example, in tobacco policy the state wages a propaganda war against smoking while at the same time subsidizing tobacco farming. Two, it seems, in particular, that it's possible, somehow, for fiduciary media to have its impact more in corporate realm than in the consumer realm of credit.

Any thoughts would be appreciated. Thanks.

June 19, 2005 11:22 AM  
Blogger Kevin Carson said...

I don't think the two necessarily contradict each other. The fed may make make credit artificially abundant for the state capitalist commanding heights, through its fiat money, while making it artificially scarce and costly for the lower classes through restrictions on mutual banks. Certainly, though, the Austrians ought to agree (on purely praxeological grounds) that the price of money under a system of banking market entry barriers will be higher than the "natural" (i.e., time preference-based) rate of interest. It's the same effect as licensing and entry barriers in any other industry.

I don't object to time-preference as such. I just think it varies in steepness with one's wealth and economic bargaining power, and that it's therefore a LOT higher for workers today than it would be in a free banking economy. And with worker control of most capital, time-preference would be a simple decision of how much of one's own produce to defer consuming in order to consume more in the future--not an exchange of one's labor with a separate owning class.

June 20, 2005 1:57 PM  
Blogger Vardaman Bundren said...

"And with worker control of most capital, time-preference would be a simple decision of how much of one's own produce to defer consuming in order to consume more in the future--not an exchange of one's labor with a separate owning class."

Does this mean that you claim it to be unjust for there to be a division of capitalists and workers, or do you accept, perhaps, that given the claim that wealth disparities will always exist and that propensity to consume will always vary between people, some people will naturally specialize in saving and investing and the intellectual labor that goes along with that, while others will specialize in manual labor--each man or woman at least as long as the market allows him--and others in between?

June 20, 2005 4:54 PM  

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