How to Fix Detroit in 6 Easy Steps

detroit
Abandoned automobile factory in Detroit.

The news is full of stories of Detroit, and understandably so. It’s an unmitigated disaster. But I know how to fix it.

Seriously, I do!

I have a plan that would cost the state of Michigan nothing – not a cent. It wouldn’t cost DC anything either, and it would turn Detroit into the most thriving city in North America. As a bonus, it would give the remaining property owners in Detroit a financial windfall.

Here’s the plan:

  • The federal government (in writing) forbears taxes, regulations, laws, and impositions for a hundred years to the area of the current municipality of Detroit and to all persons and commercial entities resident there.
  • The government of the state of Michigan forbears taxes, regulations, laws, and impositions for a hundred years to the area of the current municipality of Detroit and to all persons and commercial entities resident there.
  • All municipal government agencies within Detroit are disbanded.
  • All state and federal offices within the city of Detroit are disbanded.
  • The federal government guarantees that entry and exit to/from Detroit will remain unchanged from the current conditions, and that no obligations will be placed upon residents of Detroit in any other place.
  • Federal and state governments immediately cease all payments to residents of Detroit. (They may resume payment to those persons if and when they are no longer resident in Detroit.)

The final legal document would be more complex than this, but those are all  the main points necessary.

What this plan does is to return Detroit to its natural state – to the way it was managed when the first settlers arrived. (In other words, not managed at all.)

And think of the money that will be saved by Michigan and the feds. Billions per year.

And Then…

And then we have a free for all… and a good one. Think of Hong Kong, but easy to get to.

Businesses would begin to relocate the next morning. Hundreds of them, thousands of them. The people who still owned and lived in their homes would be offered lots of money for their properties.

Libertarians and conservatives, disgusted by the gang in DC, would load up and drive to Detroit. Productive former residents would return. Thousands of opportunity-seekers, anarcho-capitalists, and pot-smoking hippies would be gathering their money and buying property.

Detroit would, within only a few years, become the coolest city on the planet – by FAR.

But, But…

“But there won’t be any police!”

“There won’t be any courts!”

“It will be non-stop murder, death, and mayhem!”

You wanna bet? Do ya? (And you don’t think Detroit has non-stop mayhem already?)

The people who come to Detroit would be coming to escape from their chains and to be productive. These are precisely the kinds of people who clean up a town. And with no taxes to pay for a hundred years, they’d have plenty of extra money to spend on whatever services (security or otherwise) that they wanted.

The Truth

The truth, of course, is that the state and fed guvs will never agree to a plan like this one, for a single reason:

Because they fear it would succeed.

They’ll let every last person in Detroit rot before they’ll let a group of producers live free of their chains.

Detroit returned to its natural state would expose the great lie of the government game – that we can’t survive without them.

Paul Rosenberg
FreemansPerspective.com

Featured image courtesy of Albert duce, wikipedia.org

Commerce: The Permanent Rebellion

commerceCommerce, by its very nature, is born free. And more than this, it forever fights to remain free. At almost every time and place, commerce evades regulations and controls; it serves its own will, not the wills of rulers. Markets spontaneously emerge at every opportunity, even when they are outlawed and punished. Commerce seems to have an existence of its own, like an independent organism.

Even under the worst oppressions recorded in history, commerce continued. This was true in the USSR and it was true in Nazi Germany, and it remains true now, even as the Western world runs headlong into a surveillance-state abyss.

All that said, please don’t imagine that in referring to commerce, I am including the mega-corps that seek to dominate the Earth in partnership with states. That is not at all what I mean, as I will explain below.

I’m going to start this issue by explaining the depth of this rebellion, which is permanent; it continues in our time as in all others.

Opposing Models

Commerce does not rebel against regulation because of excesses. Rather, it is contrary to regulation by its very nature.

Commerce is a productive strategy. Strategies that exert control over commerce are oppositional – they restrain production. The two are inherently opposed: on one side are people struggling to produce, and on the other are people struggling to either slow production or to skim it away.

In 1908, Franz Oppenheimer, a German physician and sociologist, published a book entitled The State. In it, he made the very important observation that there are only two primary modes of survival upon planet Earth: The Political means and the Economic means. Oppenheimer says this:

There are two fundamentally opposed means whereby man, requiring sustenance, is impelled to obtain the necessary means for satisfying his desires. These are work and robbery, one’s own labor and the forcible appropriation of the labor of others.

This stark statement is crucial for understanding how men live in this world – and how they have always lived in it: Men survive by either producing or by taking the goods of others. However many layers of publicity and complication there may be, every act by which men feed themselves can be broken down into one or the other of these two.

The great problem with the above statement has never been a question of its truthfulness but that so many people are uncomfortable facing such a truth directly.

The statement that commerce and regulation are eternally at odds is merely a restatement of Oppenheimer.

Acts of Will

Both commerce and control involve acts of will.

  • Commerce involves individuals choosing to perform productive actions, such as growing food, making shoes, and so on.
  • Control involves individuals choosing to allow or disallow the willful acts of the productive, or to remove the fruits of production from the producers.

Commerce is an effect of active will. Commercial controls are the implementations of contrary wills, seeking to restrain the commercial will. The two are eternally at odds.

It is worth explaining here that the controllers of the Earth (that is, the various state rulers) are always forced to undermine independent will. They do this, not because they are all inherently cruel, but because their enterprises become nearly impossible if they don’t suppress individual will.

Ruling men by force alone is expensive; far too expensive to support rulership over a significant area. People who are ruled in that way quickly learn to hide their produce before it can be taken, or simply to run away. You cannot cage intelligent beings like you can beasts – it doesn’t work; they adapt.

To rule humans effectively, you must subvert their wills. You must make them believe that their wills are flawed and that using them is wrong. This is, of course, precisely what has been done since several millennia BC.

The will behind commerce, however, is born of the desire to survive, and that is not something that can be trained away. The survival instinct is permanent, and commerce endures as its great tool. Even though people have been deeply conditioned to surrender their wills to the state, they remain able to use their wills for survival, and that leads directly to commerce.

And since survival is hard-wired into us, commerce always pops back up, no matter how hard it is put down. However much it may be punished or repressed, it will forever rebel and return. Commerce is a permanent rebellion.

Because of this, nearly all arguments against it – certainly from the ruler’s side – are based on the need to restrain freedom. As economist Milton Friedman once wrote:

Underlying most arguments against the free market is a lack of belief in freedom itself.

[Editor’s Note: This article is an excerpt from our flagship newsletter Freeman’s Perspective – Issue #29: Commerce: The Permanent Rebellion. If you liked it, consider taking a risk-free test drive. Not only will you gain immediate access to the rest of the issue (which shares fascinating examples on how commerce thrives in some surprising places), but you’ll also be able to enjoy the entire archive – more than 520 pages of research on topics of importance and inspiration to those looking for freedom in an unfree world. Plus valuable bonus reports and all new issues as well. Click here to learn more.]

Paul Rosenberg
FreemansPerspective.com

Money Issues in the US: Why Can’t We Party Like It’s 1905?

money issues in the USWhen writing historical things, I try to include perspective from people who actually lived through the events. And for money issues in the US, I’m able to do that back to about 1905.

So, do you think life was nasty, brutish, and short in 1905? That there were poor and starving people falling dead on every street corner?

Hardly.

The Wright brothers were flying for 30 minutes at a crack; Einstein was upgrading the laws of physics; telephones and electric lights were being installed all across America; Henry Ford was getting the final pieces in place for his moving assembly line and Model T; radio was being developed; art was flourishing; and the world was more or less at peace.

Sure, we have far more tech and better medicine now, but mostly because the people of earlier times (like the 1905 era) gifted it to us.

People in 1905 lived in heated homes, refrigerated their food, had access to professional physicians, traveled the world (mostly on trains and ships), read daily newspapers (there were many more of them in those days), watched movies, and ate just about the same foods we eat.

So, was it really that bad a time?

No, it wasn’t. In fact, it was better in important ways.

Money Issues in the US: The Facts Don’t Lie

Consider this:

The working person of 1905 kept his or her money. They ended up saving somewhere between a quarter and a half of everything they made – after living expenses.

It’s hard to be completely precise when reconstructing the budgets of average people in 1905 (records are hard to find), but we do have enough for a good, close guess.

Here’s how finance worked for a working family man of 1905:

Annual income:           $700.00
Annual expenses:      ($350.00)
Annual savings:           $350.00

If you’re thinking that I’m taking liberties with these numbers, let me assure you that I’m not – I’m being conservative. For example:

  • The income figure should probably be higher. I’ve found figures of well over $800 for construction workers.
  • As for expenses, I rounded up from a New York Times article, dated 29 September, 1907. It specified $325 per year.
  • Added to that is the fact that many people grew their own food during that time, which would skew the figures further.
  • As noted initially, I compared these numbers with stories I heard from relatives who lived through the time. My uncle Dave, for example, used to tell me how he got a job paying $390 per year sweeping floors as an unskilled immigrant (who spoke almost no English) in 1903.

The next time you drive through an old part of town and see the grand old houses, remember that people were able to build and buy them because their paychecks weren’t stripped bare. There were no income taxes in 1905, no sales taxes, no state taxes, and not much in the way of property taxes.

There was also no such thing as a military-industrial complex in those days, and – miracle of miracles – the rest of the world survived!

And Now…

Today, the situation is much, much different. The average working family pays about half their income in combined taxes: income taxes (to the state and the Feds), payroll taxes, property taxes, gas taxes, utility bill taxes, sales tax, local taxes, and on and on.

So, figuring an average income of just over $50,000 (the 2011 figure). And combined taxes of about $25,000, the average American family is left to pay bills like these:

Mortgage                     11,000
Car payments              6,000
Gas, repairs, etc.         2,500
Property taxes             2,500
Food                              3,000
Total                          $25,000

That leaves people zeroed-out. And again, I’m being conservative, and I haven’t included a number of smaller expenses.

And if you think I’m going overboard, look at this graph of the savings rate from between 1947 (as far back as I could find) and 2009. This graph covers more than families, but it paints a clear enough picture:

money issues in the US

Great Grandpa Did It, So Why Not Us?

Your great grandfathers faced very few of the taxes that we face. (The government survived on tariffs.) There was no social security either, and – believe it or not – the streets were never full of starving old people. Families were able to take care of their own – it’s not that hard when you’re saving half of your income!

We have forgotten that it was once possible for an average person to accumulate money. The truth is that productive people should be comfortable. Well-off, as they used to say.

So, why can’t we party like it’s 1905?

You might want to think about that question. Here’s a thought that may be useful:

You can complain about abusers all you like, but the people who obey the abusers are also to blame.

Paul Rosenberg
“Money Issues in the US: Why Can’t We Party Like It’s 1905?”
FreemansPerspective.com

The Systemic Abuse of the Productive Class: It Ends When We Say it Ends

productive classThe productive people of this world are being abused. We all know it and we all complain about it. And most of the things we complain about (taxes, stupid laws, politicians and bureaucrats doing ridiculous things) are backed by large, powerful systems. That is why I chose “systemic abuse” for this article’s title.

The idea of a system being abusive by nature often bothers people in a deep and obscure way, but that characterization is true. If we try to blame “one bad actor,” we are lying and we know it.

I’m not going to waste time on the abuses of the current world systems. You must be aware of them, and you can get lists of complaints from many other sources.

Instead, I want to explain how we producers are really the controlling group in the world, even though most of us don’t know it. We as a group can end our abuse whenever we change our minds about it, and we as individuals can do a lot to bring that about.

But in order to face a life without abuse, each producer will have to do some serious soul searching and adjustment. That sounds strange, I know, but it is true. It will become clearer as we proceed.

Knowing Ourselves

Let me begin with this: You don’t have to be a superstar to count yourself among the producers. In fact, you don’t even need to have a job. What matters is that, given a choice, you would rather create than live off of the production of others.

If you feel good coming home from an honest day of work; if you like pointing at something and saying “I made that;” if you care about your work as a carpenter, trucker, housewife, nurse, welder, shopkeeper, clerk, farmer, rancher, engineer, or any of a hundred other professions, you are a producer.

This desire for production is in us from childhood and perhaps from birth. It is natural to beings who have the ability to perceive, to will, and to compare before/after results. Even infants get satisfaction from willing and succeeding. Buckminster Fuller said it well: Every child has an enormous drive to demonstrate competence.

With these being the essential characteristics of producers, it would seem natural for them to generally feel good about themselves and to be generally confident. You would expect them to be proud of being the source of all the products and wealth in the world.

This, however, is not what we see. Rather, we see producers who are morally timid, who shrink when someone accuses them of being offensive, who fear being envied. Most modern producers don’t feel they have full rights over their own lives. They believe it in measure, of course, but they also believe that other people (namely the operators of institutions) have a legitimate right to tell them how to drive, educate their children, spend their money, ingest substances, report their business dealings, and on and on and on.

As we’ve said a lot recently, this comes back to a perverse root assumption:

It is right for other people to order me around.

It is easy to see that so long as producers keep believing this, those who order them around will abuse them without end.

On the other hand, if the producers ever stop believing that their role in life is to be ordered around, the world changes in an instant – radically and dramatically for the better. The values of production, if ever dominant in the world or any section of it, generate not only prosperity, but morality.

The System and the Productive Class

As long as the productive class think it’s right for systems to order them around and siphon off their production, the producers will be abused forever. It is as simple as that. So, let me say something clearly and even with indignation, which I think is warranted:

We build the system’s roads, we build their monuments, we supply their banquets, we build and drive their limousines, we build their governor’s mansions, and we cut their grass and install their air conditioning and repair their roofs. We pay their policemen and their firemen and their tax men. We pay for their cars and their gas and their guns and their bullets and their uniforms.

Without us, they have nothing but words. If we ever decide not to play their game, they are done. It doesn’t matter how many enforcers they have on their payrolls – the moment we stop complying, those enforcers will see the end of their paychecks and will return home at night to face strong questions from us, their neighbors.

We producers are manifestly unhappy about what the systems of the world are doing to us, but most of us don’t think we have any right to dictate to them. The truth, however, is this:

Without us, they are destitute, and we don’t need them.

How This Happened to Us

What has happened is that we’ve been demoralized. We understand quite well that our wealth has been damaged; we understand much less well that our souls have been damaged.

In all of our lifetimes, the inherent dignity of work has been absent. Since the industrial revolution, when people took boring jobs simply for better pay, work has become something that most people try to escape. This has been a mistake.

Work is the insertion of creativity into the world. Creating things, improving things, or making it possible for other people to create is rewarding and important. Work is good, noble, and deserving of respect.

In our times, however, work has been replaced as something to respect by status, a gorilla-level instinct. It was a devolution.

We all learn about status at an early age, hearing stories about the rich, handsome prince and the most beautiful woman in the kingdom. We are told that only the exceptional few count.

All through our lives we are shown images of the unique and the few. For example, fashion models are not chosen merely for beauty, but for exclusivity. There are plenty of short, beautiful women, but they never show up in the ads, for the simple reason that they are many. Only the 1/50th of 1% who are exceptionally tall and good-looking are shown. The rest of us are then provided with products to make us feel we are approaching their exclusive level.

We have been living through a period dominated by hierarchy – where people who order other people around are important, and all others are an undifferentiated mass.

All of this is fraudulent and manipulative. Worse, it has left most of us with an inferiority complex. We are the unnamed peasants, the mundanes, the “workers.”

There are many types of beauty in the world, many types of greatness, many reasons for respect. We can all partake, not just the rarest among us.

The importance of work should be judged by its creativity and by the benefit it brings, not by how much it controls. People should esteem others because of their virtues, not because of their positions. People should do good deeds based on their personal sense of benevolence, and this should not be limited to things that are chosen by ‘leaders’ in high positions.

What the productive class needs most is to have their confidence restored. They need to see status and exclusivity as the barbaric and manipulative ideas that they are.

We can be much more than we have been, and we would enjoy it a great deal. The problem is that we haven’t considered ourselves worthy. After all, we’re not the people in high places who get to order everyone else around.

We need to get over this.

[Editor’s Note: This article is an excerpt from our flagship newsletter Freeman’s Perspective – Issue #14: “The Systemic Abuse of the Productive Class: It Ends when We Say it Ends.” If you liked it, consider taking a risk-free test drive. Not only will you gain immediate access to the rest of the issue (which includes 3 ways in which you can just “opt out”), but you’ll also be able to enjoy the entire archive – more than 520 pages of research on topics of importance and inspiration to those looking for freedom in an unfree world. Plus valuable bonus reports and all new issues as well. Click here to learn more.]

Paul Rosenberg
FreemansPerspective.com

The Era of Fiat Currency Capitalism

fiat currencyI have worked long and hard to gather a broad perspective on history. I don’t doubt that there is value in specialization. In fact, I would have great difficulty doing what I do without good specialists.

Nonetheless, my particular set of abilities suits me to play specialist for short, intense periods, and then to integrate my gleanings into a larger whole.

One of my general conclusions has been that if we were to give a name to the last 40 years of Western history, we’d have to call it the era of fiat currency capitalism. There is a contradiction built into this term, of course, since fiat currencies and capitalism are oppositional, but such an inherent contradiction is also highly representative of this period.

Having been inside of this contradiction most or all of our lives, it can seem almost permanent and inevitable to us. Nonetheless, it will end, and probably before terribly long. As Robert Louis Stevenson once wrote:

Sooner or later, everyone sits down to a banquet of consequences.

For the last 40 years, things that should have crashed and burned have not crashed and burned, and it was fiat currency that permitted the consequences to be scorned. Western culture and millions of minds have been bent in the process.

Fiat versus Reality

Fiat currency is money based upon nothing at all. The Monopoly money shown above has the same actual value as the Dollars, Euros or Pounds in your pocket. For the moment, the paper in your pocket will buy you food and furniture, but not because it has any real value.

Our daily money is created by politically-favored groups who have been granted monopolies on the creation of currency. (They are referred to in polite company as central bankers.) They create our money, from nothing, and all others are forbidden from doing so. If that sounds crazy, it’s because it is.

The only people with any authority over these currency monopolists are politicians, and that isn’t terribly strong. (In the case of Great Britain, the monarch has some control as well.)

I won’t bother trying to list the ways this astonishing privilege could be abused. Feel free to play with the possibilities on your own. And do remember that more or less every dirty trick that people could get away with, they have eventually used… and bankers have never been exceptions.

This new era began in 1971, when the previous international monetary arrangements, the Bretton Woods system, fell apart. On May 5th 1971, US dollars flooded the European currency markets and threatened the Deutsche Mark. The central banks of Austria, Belgium, Netherlands and Switzerland stopped all dollar trades. Who was behind this flood of trades is unknown to me but it was apparently someone with inside knowledge. At about the same time, the French were, via complex arrangements, redeeming their dollars for gold from the US Treasury, as Bretton Woods allowed. (It was gold that kept the system honest. If you thought games were being played, you could turn in your paper for actual gold.)

If the US had allowed redemptions to continue, they would have lost all their gold reserves. So, on August 15th 1971, the US pulled out of their monetary agreements and refused to redeem any more dollars for gold. (This was called closing the gold window.) Bretton Woods fell apart and, very shortly, no major currencies were redeemable; everything became fiat currency, based on government edicts alone.

This change from redeemable money to fiat currency has affected Western life immensely. For more than 40 years, life in the West has been based on money with no value, which has spawned a lot of other things that have no value.

Quigley’s Chart

The chart below is my modernization of a chart used by Carroll Quigley, one of the best generalist historians of the 20th Century. The chart displays his seven primary factors of Western Civilization, and how they have varied over the last thousand years or so. You’ll notice that I’ve circled our era in red and called attention to the form of economic organization with blue.

fiat currency

As I’ll illustrate below, fiat currency has had significant influence, not only within the ‘Economic Organization’ category I have highlighted, but also over ‘Political’, ‘Economic Control’, ‘Dominant Group’, and even ‘Intellectual’. It has more or less defined our era. So, if I am correct that the reign of fiat currencies is ready to end… big, big changes lie in our future.

Horrific Debt

Fiat currencies allowed politicians to spend money without raising taxes. They did this by creating debt. I won’t spend time on the complex process involved, but every new Dollar, Pound or Euro that is created also creates more than its own value in debt. The currency is spent immediately but the associated debt can be pushed back indefinitely.

Faced with this situation, politicians asked their central bankers to create more and more money, which they quickly spent. Whether on social programs or wars, sensible or not, politicians spent money like there were no consequences attached.

But by spending in this way, the politicians also spent the tax receipts of future generations. Every new dollar requires the central bankers to sell more than a dollar’s worth of bonds, which are debt. This debt has been pushed endlessly toward the future… to the point where American children are now born $70,000 in debt, with five times that much promised.

All bonds are claims against future earnings. The children of the West have had decades of taxes pledged to bondholders they will never know, for money that was spent years before they were born. And, yes, it really is that bad.

The Welfare State

The debt of the Western states was spent on something, obviously, and the most notable destinations for that money were “welfare state” programs. This worked in the favor of politicians in the old, reliable way: by promising voters free stuff. And, more importantly, fiat currency allowed them to make good on those promises without raising taxes.

The most crucial fact about debt-funded welfare, however, is that it made it seem that politics could produce magic. Government was able to give massive streams of money to groups that placed ideals above reality. “Wishing makes it so” seemed to work. This corrupted the reasoning of millions of people and punished those who did hold doggedly to reason. And, this corrupting influence has continued for a long, long time.

Wall Street Contributed to the Damage

The people who work on Wall Street, and in the other financial capitals like London, tend to be aggressive and competitive. On top of that, the big financial firms place them into highly competitive situations like “the top producer gets a double bonus.” It should then be no surprise that such people would want to get in on the central banking game, and to create their own money from scratch.

Central banking need not be the only way to create money; any trusted debt can be used. Here is what Alexander Hamilton (who created central banking in the United States) had to say about this in his Report on Public Credit in 1790:

It is a well known fact, that in countries in which the national debt is properly funded, and an object of established confidence, it answers most of the purposes of money. Transfers of stock or public debt are therefore equivalent to payments in specie. [“Specie” was silver or gold.] In other words, stock, in the principal transactions of business, passes current as specie.

Hamilton’s formulation in plain words is this: Debt can be used as money, and people will accept it as money.

So, if the clever boys of Wall Street and Fleet Street couldn’t get in on the central banking game, they could nonetheless create a new version of it, by using new types of debt as money. (Though this was probably the result of many small decisions rather than one large one.)

What most people don’t know about Alexander Hamilton is that it wasn’t only American central banking that he created; he also created Wall Street. That his securities dealer descendants pursued an alternate way to create money seems almost fitting.

Wall Street’s new debt money is called derivatives. A derivative is a contract whose value is derived from other quantities. Derivatives have existed for a long time, but in the past dozen or so years the financial centers of the world have pumped out stunning amounts of them in a wide array of new configurations. All of these derivatives have their own value. It was one particular type of these financial products that seems to have started the crash of 2008.

I am not expert enough to reach any conclusion as to what specific fallout can be expected from this but $600 trillion dollars of synthetic monetary instruments have to be significant.

Indeed, it goes far beyond just money. The era of fiat currency capitalism has changed who we are in broad and disturbing ways.

[Editor’s Note: This article is an excerpt from our flagship newsletter Freeman’s Perspective – Issue #07: The Era of Fiat Currency Capitalism. If you liked it, consider taking a risk-free test drive. Not only will you gain immediate access to the rest of the issue (which shares 5 ways in which fiat currency has changed us for the worse), but you’ll also be able to enjoy the entire archive – more than 520 pages of research on topics of importance and inspiration to those looking for freedom in an unfree world. Plus valuable bonus reports and all new issues as well. Click here to learn more.]

Paul Rosenberg
FreemansPerspective.com

Turn On Tune In Drop Out – A Modern Interpretation

turn on tune in drop outThis was a big phrase in the 1960s, as young people turned away from the corporate conformity of the 1950s and decided that they wanted more out of life than being an adequately-fed cog in a big machine.

Let’s be honest and admit that the modern corporate script involves selling your own wishes and dreams for paychecks. I know that a lot of us have played along with it because of necessity, but this is not a way of life to cling to, it’s a way of life to escape.

You are meant to live your life. Yes, I know it can seem hard, but it’s the only life that’s really worth living. You have to give meaning to your life, and you’ll never get it by following the televised script and hoping for pats on the back from the people who are playing along with you.

This life you have is precious. Human beings are engines of creation; we are able to imagine and to turn our imaginations into reality. And we are capable of supercharging our creative abilities by sharing our lives and loves with other people. We are astonishingly capable creatures.

Don’t waste all your life’s abilities in a corporate cubicle. You’ve already seen how that goes: Work excessive hours, go home tired, watch TV, sleep, and start over. Your kids end up in mini corporate worlds called “schools,” where they are taught to sit, be quiet, obey, and turn off their internal desires and loves. If you play that game you’ll miss most of your life in the process, as well as most of your children’s lives.

Once you get some corporate inertia going, it is all too easy to get sucked into it permanently. Don’t let that happen to you.

So, here’s my modern (and slightly adjusted) interpretation – Tune In, Turn On, Drop Out:

Tune In

Wake up and see the world as it is. Turn off the talking heads on TV and get to know the real world. Stop spending all your brain cycles on celebrities, sports heroes and gossip hounds – get to know your neighbor and the old woman who lives around the corner, strike up a friendship with someone on the other side of the world. Travel. Spend your time with real people; get to know them, and reveal yourself to them. It only seems weird because the people who programmed you didn’t want you to think freely.

Do you think I am being dramatic by referring to “the people who programmed you”? If so, read this:

Education should aim at destroying free will so that after pupils are thus schooled they will be incapable throughout the rest of their lives of thinking or acting otherwise than as their school masters would have wished.

That was from the highly esteemed Bertrand Russel, by the way, and I’ve got plenty more of them. Take this seriously, because your programmers have been.

Tune in to yourself rather than your programming: What do you really want? Most people can list a dozen things that bother them, but not a single thing that they really want. This is a problem. Find out what you want. What do you love? What do you want to work for?

Do you remember all those times in the Bible where Jesus berates people for being “hypocrites”? Well, the real word he used was actors – as in stage actors. And whether you are religious or not, this is crucial: Stop acting in someone else’s play. Take off all the masks and find yourself.

Turn On

Start doing what you love. Don’t wait for someone else, do it yourself. Start helping your friends and neighbors, spend serious time with your children – not at a game or a party, but just you and them, talking. Find out what they love. Tell them what you love, what you are proud of, what you regret. Tell them you love them. Tell them things you don’t tell your friends. Let them know you.

Start living, not merely existing. DO the things you feel an urge to do. And don’t fall into the usual trap of “what if I make a mistake?” That’s simply fear-based conditioning. Resist it. Do what you love, and in so doing, you will turn yourself on.

Are you going to go through your whole life and never follow your own wishes, always sacrificing them to the tyranny of other peoples’ opinions? Please don’t do that to yourself – you’ll suffer greatly for it when you’re old.

Screw all the expectations and turn on – act on your own will.

Drop Out

Stop wasting your time and energy on governments and arguments and politics. Drop out of their mindset and start reclaiming all those wasted hours. Lying politicians are simply not worth your devotion. Drop the endless party fights and stop arguing about them. Politics is ugly, and politics on the brain makes us ugly.

Stop paying attention to the hundreds of ads you see every day – they are scientifically designed to grab your thoughts. Turn away. Stop buying trendy things, and definitely stop buying things for the purpose of impressing other people.

Stop trying to fit in, and stop living according to other people’s expectations. Let them call you weird. Let them talk about you. Stop caring about it. If they were real friends, they wouldn’t treat you like that. So if they are willing to call you names, you’re better off dropping them now.

Don’t fight the system – that just keeps all of your energy and attention focused on them. Forsake the system and start creating a better life for yourself, the people you love and the people you respect. Stop giving all your life’s energy to a barbaric system of force and manipulation.

Let the system go; all of it. Move on and let it rot where it sits.

But We Need A Plan!

No, you don’t. You need a life!

Let go of the plan addiction. Life is organic, not mechanical.

First of all, you need to identify what you want to create with the precious life you’ve been given. Not what you want to stop, but what you want to make.

If you’ve never been told to do this before it may seem hard, but you can do it if you try.

Don’t sit and wait. Stop talking and start doing.

ACT!  NOW!

Paul Rosenberg
Turn On Tune In Drop Out – A Modern Interpretation
www.FreemansPerspective.com

Government Against the People: It Gets Worse In the Late Stages

government against the peopleAll governments – communist, capitalist, fascist, monarchy, theocracy, whatever – survive on the skim. They take money from productive people, by force or threat of force. However prettied-up or justified this fact may be, it remains the central fact of rulership.

It’s a simple but disturbing truth: A late-stage state’s modus operandi must always be “government against the people” – an MO that is inherently predatory. And it’s not because the participants are all sociopaths (though many are).

At most times, governments try very hard to skim quietly, as with payroll taxes, where the producer’s money is taken away before he or she ever holds it in their hands. That’s also why tariffs were a traditional tax – the average person never saw it, and didn’t feel violated.

But when governments are massively over-extended, they lose the luxury of the quiet skim and become more aggressive. This is simply what happens in long-established, monopolistic institutions, like governments. They spend wildly to make themselves look good, then find they need more money. Not willing to cut their spending, they have two choices:

  1. Debasement of the currency, which they always do first. But this trick never works for very long, since people do engage their minds when conducting commerce and adjust their prices to counteract the debasement.
  2. Squeeze the producers dry, any way they can.

The Problem of Legitimacy

You may wonder why the governments don’t just cut their spending. That would seem an obvious choice. But they can’t cut spending without tarnishing their image as the mighty protector and the great fount of human compassion. People pay taxes willingly because of this high and mighty image; lose the image and you lose tax compliance.

Think about it: the governments of the West portray themselves as the saviors of the weak, the healers of the sick, and the fixers of every problem. But if they stop paying off the poor, there will be riots, and the producers will get hurt. No longer being protected, they may no longer consent to having their money taken away from them day by day.

Governments function on legitimacy more than force. If they lose their legitimacy, they are done. Therefore they cannot cut spending.

The Philosophy of “Government Against the People” at Work

Our Western civilization is at a late stage, just like Rome in the 5th century, or Greece in the 3rd and 4th centuries BC, or like the Egyptians and Sumerians before them. The same basic suite of problems engulfs them all at these stages, but we will use Rome as example, since that is the closest to us in both time and temperament.

Take a look at the two graphs below.

This one shows the Roman debasement, which involved mixing cheap metals (such as lead) into their silver coins:

government against the people

Now look at this one, showing the debasement of the dollar, which involved the creation of debt-based currency:

government against the people

 These are essentially the same chart, showing the same phenomenon.

What came next for Rome was the abuse of the producers.

Rome taxed in very different ways than modern governments, so I won’t take pages to describe it all, but I will give you a few highlights:

  • The local elites who were charged with collecting taxes couldn’t keep up with Rome’s demands and started running away. Rome couldn’t find anyone willing to accept these very high positions, no matter how much prestige was attached.
  • People adapted to avoid taxes, and Rome passed new laws in response. (This helped create the serfdom of the middle ages.)
  • People ran away to the Germanic and Frankish areas that surrounded Rome. To illustrate that fact, here’s a quote from a man named Salvian the Presbyter, from about 440 AD:

Thus, far and wide, they migrate either to the Goths or to the Bagaudae, or to other barbarians everywhere in power; yet they do not repent of having migrated. They prefer to live as freemen under an outward form of captivity, than as captives under the appearance of liberty. Therefore, the name of Roman citizens, at one time not only greatly valued, but dearly bought, is now repudiated and fled from, and it is almost considered not only base, but even deserving of abhorrence.

I could go on at length, but I think you get the picture. There were taxes on income, taxes on sales, arbitrary taxes, farm taxes, plain confiscations, and so on. If you had a friend close to the emperor, you had a chance to be ignored, but if not, you were mercilessly bled dry. (And even a friend with the emperor’s ear might not help.)

Your Choices Now

I think it’s quite clear that we’re in the same civilizational stage as late Rome. What happens to us won’t be identical, but it will be similar. The one great advantage we have now is information. If we pay attention, we are able to see what is happening before it hits. We can also adapt to avoid most of the consequences. We may not like it that we have to adapt repetitively, but history doesn’t give us many options – late stage mega-institutions will behave like late-stage mega-institutions.

And in the short term, the “Government against the People” philosophy is not going to disappear. In fact, it’s likely to get much worse. Our choice is to get out of the way, or not.

Paul Rosenberg
FreemansPerspective.com

[Originally published at Nestmann.com]

The Strangest Secret: Why You Should Run Away

why you should run awayOne of the more instructive experiences of my life occurred when was when I was a teenager, barely sixteen years old.

My dad, whom I had previously considered to be incredibly over-protective, put me on a cross-country bus and sent me, alone, to visit my grandmother, some two thousand miles away.

For two straight days I was on my own, surrounded by people I had never met, in places I’d never been, and thrown into situations that I could never have expected. The experience did something to me: I learned about a strange world and how to get along in it, alone, with no one to run to.

The benefits I felt from this trip didn’t have to do with traveling. This wasn’t about getting from point A to point B – this was about wandering through the unknown. And that was an idea that rather bothered me.

During my youth, there was a common idea that moving around was a bad thing. You were supposed to stay in your place unless you had a good reason to do otherwise. People who moved around were considered suspicious and even dangerous. The benefit that I felt from wandering clashed with what I had been taught.

When I returned home from this journey, I returned to the regular American distractions of sports, school, and all the other shiny objects that grab at young people’s minds. But I never forgot the strange feeling that stuck with me from that journey.

Sometime later, I came across a passage in Shakespeare’s Two Gentlemen of Verona:

I rather would entreat you to see the wonders of the world abroad, than,
living dully, sluggardized at home, wear out your youth in shapeless idleness.

That wasn’t precisely what I had felt on my adventure, but it was close. It would be some years before I would travel seriously, but I decided right then and there that I would make it my life’s goal to see the world.

That experience, which I’ve come to call The Strangest Secret, is not unlike Earl Nightingale’s message of the same name. Both concepts lead to a rich and fulfilling life.

Defining the Strangest Secret

At some point after I finished school, my intellectual curiosity bloomed and I began reading in earnest. And as I did, I found out that other people had discovered value in wandering, much like I had. Soon enough I discovered that I had only seen half of the picture – the actual virtue I had felt was about much more than wandering.

Eventually, as my mind matured through study and experience, I began to understand what this strange virtue really was. And then, to my deep surprise, I began to find this odd virtue – commonly considered to be an undesirable trait in my youth – was present in the lives of the greatest men and women of all time.

The first people I found it in were the great spiritual leaders: Abraham, Moses, Buddha, Jesus, the Apostles and Confucius. I found it fascinating that all of them partook of the same ritual.

Later I found more religious leaders that had done the same thing: Martin Luther, Jan Hus, Thomas Aquinas, and others.

Over time I learned that the world’s great philosophers and poets had also been initiated into this strange rite; people like Diogenes, Pythagoras, Sappho, Cicero, and the great John Locke.

The great men that shaped Western Civilization also shared in it: Peter Abelard (the founder of modern learning), John of Salisbury (who defined the rule of law), Stephan Langton (the author of Magna Carta), Christopher Columbus, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Paine, and others.

If you keep looking, you even find that many of the world’s greatest authors, musicians and inventors make the same list: Victor Hugo, Daniel Defoe, Frederic Chopin, Leo Tolstoy, John Dos Passos, George Orwell, Albert Einstein and Nikola Tesla.

Exactly what is this transforming, empowering and strange secret? It is this: The virtue of running away.

“Running Away” as a Path to an Exceptional Life

If you were raised at all like I was, the idea that running away is a virtue will trouble you. I’m sorry about that, but when you find one thing that the greatest men and women of history have in common, you might want to examine it, regardless of how it makes you feel.

None of us lives entirely by ourselves (nor should we), but living with others inevitably leads to a web of expectations imposed upon us, a web that quickly engulfs every aspect of our lives. These people aren’t necessarily doing anything wrong; this is simply what happens among groups of people: they learn to expect things of you, and you learn to expect things of them.

But this web of expectations also locks us in place, and because of it, we too-easily come to see ourselves as playing a certain type of role in life. And this is what the great men and women broke out of. Do you remember how many times Jesus criticized people for being “hypocrites”? What he really called these people was actors – as in playing a role on a stage.

Separation frees us from the roles we’ve grown accustomed to. By running away, you strip off the accumulations of your lifetime and find yourself underneath.

Break Away from the “Web of Expectations”

I’m not telling you to abandon your family, of course; obligations to spouses and children are not things to be tossed aside. But I am telling you that at some point in your personal development, breaking away from your web of expectations is critical. If Moses and Buddha and Abelard and Sappho and Franklin couldn’t release their talents without it, you probably won’t either.

Beside, once you get over the terror of it, you’ll be forever glad that you did. You will reclaim the real you from the expectations – even demands – of the people who have surrounded you. And in time, even those people will probably be glad you ran away. They’ll more than likely freak out at first, but if you come back a better person, they may get to like him or her better than the old, fits-our-expectations you.

I have a friend I’ll call Pete, who desperately wanted to expand his life, but just wasn’t getting any traction. After multiple frustrations, he decided to move himself and his young family – for an indefinite time – from the American Midwest to a small town in the southern US… somewhere entirely different and a thousand miles distant. He contacted an acquaintance at the destination, and asked for some help finding arrangements. He and his wife took a brief scouting trip, and they just moved, without even a clear job offer.

Years later, my friend recounted that it was a frightening adventure, but that without it he never would have clarified his understanding of himself – too much of what he had been doing and thinking was intertwined with the desires and opinions of others. He needed to be someplace where, in the words of an old bluesman, he was “nuthin’ to nobody.” And within a few years the man’s life had indeed changed, and very much to the better.

Somehow, sometime, you need to face the world as “nuthin’ to nobody,” and re-assess who you are.

Maybe the idea of running away still troubles you. If so, that will be your issue to work through – I can’t do it for you and I wouldn’t try. All I am telling you is that there is something very important here, something of pivotal importance to the best men and women of history. What you do with it is your choice.

What places do you want to see in your lifetime?

Paul Rosenberg
FreemansPerspective.com

“The Strangest Secret: Why You Should Run Away” was originally published at EarlyToRise.com

Could an Inside Sneak Attack on Bitcoin Destroy It?

attack on bitcoinThis is important.

I’ve been warning about an outside attack on Bitcoin for some time, but the biggest threat may come from inside: from people who profess to love Bitcoin.

The people I’m talking about don’t love Bitcoin itself, and they don’t love the freedom it brings, no matter what they say. Instead they love the money they hope to make by becoming the new techno-riche: successors to Zuckerberg, Gates and the rest. (Yes, that’s an unfair thing for me to say, but I’d also be willing to bet large on it.)

The people I refer to are a neo-plutocracy – insiders who wish to institutionalise Bitcoin, making billions for themselves while turning it into just another version of PayPal.

The Attack on Bitcoin begins…

One long-time bitcoiner has been warning for some time that this group controls the Bitcoin Foundation. He describes them as “regulatory statists.” He has analyzed their backtalks since their beginning and has been telling anyone who would listen that they wished to politically co-opt the Bitcoin market.

At last weekend’s Bitcoin conference, he was proved correct.

Robert Wenzel of economicpolicyjournal.com reported this, directly from the conference:

The most important vibe I am picking up at the event is that there are many money players who want to get Bitcoin up and running and are willing to play by government rules, that is, register all accounts they open and take down the name, DOB and social security number of Bitcoin buyers and sellers… Many of these players argue that it is impossible to battle the government, [one developer] told me that “It is a period to build the baby and not send it to war.”

No sooner than that passed my screen, I got an article entitled Winklevoss twins on Bitcoin: Time to work with the Feds. The article quotes Cameron Winklevoss (one of the Facebook twins) saying this at the conference:

I don’t think anyone wants a fight – I think everyone here wants to build Bitcoin, to work with regulators, cooperation is really the way forward.

Let’s be clear about this:

Bitcoin is a new thing. If it is forced into the old mold of politics, regulation and control, it will become just another tool of an oligarchy. And the prospective Bitcoin oligarchy are precisely those people who wish to shove Bitcoin, against its nature, into the same old statist, plutocratic mold. The result would be a few dozen insiders getting very rich and leaving the rest of us back where we started.

Regardless of the new plutocracy’s creative justifications and their fear-based scenarios, Bitcoin will be neutered and co-opted by governments and bankers if they get their way.

This is the largest single threat facing Bitcoin at the present time. Fear and greed work, and corruption follows with them.

I am not alone in this, by the way. Bitcoin expert Mike Gogulski has come to the same conclusion, writing “the Bitcoin Foundation is TOXIC and must dissolve.”

An unnamed “old radical” warned about precisely this in 2012.

The inside threat to Bitcoin and therefore an insider attack on Bitcoin is real, and was on open display over this past weekend.

What do to

If bitcoiners are serious about human liberty – as opposed to the same old crap in a new wrapper – they must turn hard against this neo-Plutocracy and their promises of an easy way out. Nothing great comes easy, and important things are more often killed by their supposed friends than by their enemies.

I will close with a comment Martin Luther once made to a young assistant who was asking God to save them from their enemies. Please take it to heart:

We can handle our enemies. God save us from our friends.

Paul Rosenberg
FreemansPerspective.com

The Bitcoin Threat: Real or False?

bitcoin threatAn increasing number of people have complained about governments and central banks in recent years, even using the word “tyranny” to describe them. They are, of course, called names in the establishment press: conspiracy theorists, mainly.

Calling someone a name, however, does not erase their argument (at least not among rational people) and both the governments and the big banks stand accused.

Up till now, however, these accusations were never accepted by the general public. The average guy really didn’t want to hear about the evils of government money. After all, that was the only thing he had ever used to buy food, clothes, gasoline, cars, and so on. He didn’t want to acknowledge the accusations because he feared what might happen to him without his usual money.

Now, however, we have a brand new currency (called Bitcoin) available to us: something radically different. This gives us a new way to directly address the subject of monetary tyranny, providing a clear test for the governments and money masters of the world:

If they are truly NOT tyrannical, they will leave this new currency alone.

If they ARE tyrannical, they will attack the new currency because it eats into their scam.

In other words, Bitcoin is a test for “the powers that be.” The way they deal with this new method of exchange will reveal their true nature.

If they ignore Bitcoin, they refute the charges of tyranny. If they attack it, they verify those charges.

After all, what honest reason could there be to attack an inherently peaceful tool for transferring value?

Prospective Reasons

Reasons to attack Bitcoin have recently appeared in the “public square.” Here are the three most popular ones, each followed with some analysis:

It can be used for money laundering.

Of course it can be used for money laundering — ANY currency can be used for money laundering. Currencies are neutral — that is their purpose! Currencies are valuable precisely because they can be exchanged for anything else — that’s why we use them!

Moreover, dollars and Euros and Pounds are used for money laundering every day. Consider the recent money laundering crimes of HSBC and Wachovia/Wells Fargo. These banks laundered hundreds of billions of dollars for violent drug cartels. And consider that this amount of laundered money is several hundred times the value of every Bitcoin in existence.

No one from either bank went to jail. Neither bank was shut down. Neither bank suffered more than a minor fine. So, how much of a concern can money laundering really be to governments and banks? Clearly not much.

But, since they accuse Bitcoin of being used for bad things, let’s be clear about the situation:

  • Every mafioso uses government money.
  • Every drug smuggler uses government money.
  • Every terrorist uses government money.
  • Every pornographer uses government money.
  • Every criminal of every type uses government money.

They also use the telephone system and the mail and banks and a wide variety of government services. But government money is good and Bitcoin is bad?

The argument fails.

It could destabilize the current system.

A tiny, new currency is a threat to the long-established king of the hill? Comparing Bitcoin to dollars, Euros and Yen is like comparing an ant to a dinosaur. This is a threat?

Please understand also that no one is forcing anyone to use Bitcoin. If you don’t think it’s a great idea, you don’t have to use it. If its price movements (relative to dollars) bother you, you don’t have to use it. How is that destabilizing to the current system? It is entirely separate.

And what of the current system? It was falling apart on its own before the Bitcoin program was ever written. And I could go on at length on the insane levels of government debt, hundreds of trillions in derivatives, rehypothecation, and innocent people being forced to bail-out failed banks.

The current system has massive problems, but none of them can be blamed on Bitcoin.

This argument fails also.

Bitcoin provides no customer protection.

Well, no, it doesn’t. Bitcoin is a currency, not a legal system.

What is implied by this argument is that the government banking system does protect customers. That is an outright lie. People are ripped-off via the banking system every day. And more than that, consider what happened just a month ago in Cyprus: Thousands of innocent people were ripped-off BY the banking system — purposely — all at once and without recourse. This argument is, really, an insult to one’s intelligence.

And I should add something else: If Bitcoin is used properly, the crime of identity theft (a big problem with government money) vanishes – there is no identity available to be stolen.

So, again, the argument fails. Only those people who believe anything a government says will buy it.

In the End

In the end, it is said, we judge ourselves. Bitcoin has now put governments and banks in the position of judging themselves. They will write their own verdicts.

It should be interesting to watch.

The Bitcoin Threat: Real or False by Paul Rosenberg
FreemansPerspective.com