Mafia versus Federal Bureaucracy
by Jim May
Having read the article in the August Frontiersman entitled If At First You Don't Succeed...., I decided to answer the question, "Is there a difference between the Mafia and the Federal Bureaucracy?" The difference is as the difference between night and day. The first difference that crossed my mind was that the Mafia is a business. The Mafia has to show a profit to survive. No profit, no Mafia. On the other hand, the Federal Bureaucracy gets a steady income from the exploitation of its
One might argue that the Federal Bureaucracy is legitimate and the Mafia is not. That is true only under the rules of the Federal Bureaucracy.
Dealing with the Federal Bureaucracy is mandatory. You either deal with the Federal Bureaucracy or you will be punished. Dealing with the Mafia is much less a result of coercion than dealing with the Federal Bureaucracy. Are you forced to buy drugs, gamble, or rent a prostitute?
Being an enterprise that depends largely on transactions of a free market nature, the Mafia must have credibility. Without predictable and consistent behavior, it is less likely to retain customers and remain in business. The Federal Bureaucracy can change the rules as often as it likes because it is dealing with slaves. If the change makes a previously unregulated action against the rules, the Federal Bureaucracy can punish the slave for the act even if the slave involved is ignorant of the change in the rules.
In summary and in answer to the question, "Do you feel more intimidated by the Mafia or by the Federal Bureaucracy?", I would have to choose the Federal Bureaucracy. Under the Mafia, I am a free man. My person and property are my own. Under the Federal Bureaucracy, I am a slave. My person and property are on loan from the Federal Bureaucracy.
Please send all comments to me in care of the.
|A Message To
Washington: Cease and Desist!
by Dwight Filley and Michael Finch
Is America headed for a Constitutional crisis? An anti-Washington populist uprising? Is mass secession in the wings? A few years ago, asking these questions would have seemed absurd. And then came Colorado.
The Colorado state legislature has fired the first volley in what may become the most heated political battle of the '90s. By more than a three-to-one margin, the Colorado legislature recently passed House Joint Resolution 1035, claiming sovereignty over the federal government. HJR 1035 is no less than a "Notice and Demand to the federal government, as our agent, to cease and desist, effective immediately, mandates that are beyond the scope of its constitutionally delegated powers."
Now Illinois has followed Colorado's lead. In the last days of the legislative session, both the House and the Senate passed a resolution identical to Colorado's. State Representative David Phelps (D-Eldorado) explained, "The federal government should not be allowed to micromanage the affairs of the citizens of Illinois."
What's this? State governments claiming sovereignty? Demanding that the United States government cease and desist? This is the sort of language that got South Carolina in trouble at Fort Sumter back in 1860. What are Colorado and Illinois up to?
The truth of the matter is, these states are merely re-asserting a right they — along with the other 48 states — always have had. Before the original colonies would ratify the Constitution, they insisted that the Bill of Rights — the first ten Amendments — be added. And the 10th Amendment clearly states: "The powers not delegated to the United States, nor prohibited to it by the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people."
The colonies never gave Washington authority to set highway speed limits, to create artificial "rights" to medical benefits, or regulate gun ownership, or require cities to meet air and water quality standards, or any of the scores of other mandates that agencies of the federal government currently impose on the 50 states.
The trouble with power is that whoever has it always wants more. Despite seemingly ironclad limits built into the Constitution, Washington has assumed ever more power over the past two hundred years.
But across the country, state legislatures aren't going to take it any more. Their efforts build on a landmark United States Supreme Court decision, New York v. United States [112 S. Ct. 2408 (1992)], in which the Court held that Congress may not commandeer the legislative and regulatory processes of the states by making them accept nuclear waste.
Representative Charlie Duke (R-Monument, CO) wrote and pushed through HJR-1035; in Illinois, Doug Hoeft (R-Elgin), Dave Phelps (D-Eldorado), and Ed Petka (R-Plainfield) led the sovereignty battle. And Colorado and Illinois are not alone. Tenth Amendment resolutions have passed in a number of states.
What exactly would a state do if Washington refused to "cease and desist?" After all, the last time states tried to oppose the will of the federal government, a Civil War was fought.
Some interesting ways have been proposed to put teeth into the states' threats. One is for a state legislature to demand that its congressional delegation appear before them at an annual hearing, face-to-face and in front of cameras, to answer questions about why they voted so often to place financial and regulatory burdens on their own constituents.
A more radical plan, suggested by Representative Duke, calls for Coloradans not to send to Washington the taxes they would normally pay. Instead, Colorado taxpayers would mail their federal taxes to a Colorado-administered escrow account. Then, if the Washington politicians have behaved themselves, the money would be forwarded to them. If not, Colorado would keep the money until they shape up.
This is strong stuff. But then, in addition to being unconstitutional, federal mandates are bankrupting state and local governments. The U.S. Conference of Mayors reports that unfunded federal mandates cost the City of Chicago $70.8 million in 1993 alone; Schaumburg and Quincy paid over $3 million; and five other Illinois communities paid more than $1 million. Businesses are feeling the squeeze, too. Implementation of the Employee Commute Options Act, an Amendment to the 1990 Clear Air Act, will cost the nearly 130 companies in McHenry County $200 to $300 million over the next 15 years.
The issue of federal mandates is exploding. Irate state leaders are making pronouncements that haven't been heard in over 130 years. It's time to pay attention to these alarms, since they surely are signs of widening cracks in America's system of democratic governance. Political changes now can avert the kind of crisis that once led to the deaths of tens of thousands of Americans.
Dwight Filley is a Senior Fellow with the Independence Institute, a think-tank in Golden, Colorado. Michael Finch is Public Affairs Director of The Heartland Institute.
Enjoyed the Frontiersman [September], especially the letter from Canada. I think Susan has too high an opinion of the U.S., but she surely makes conditions in Canada depressingly clear . . . .
— Shirley Lewis, Sunnyvale, California
Thanks for your letter. I agree with you about Susan Riggs. Maybe we've been similarily in error, and have too high an opinion of Canada.
In ancient Athens, those who admired the Stoic philosophy of individualism took as their motto: "Abstain from Beans." The phrase had a precise reference. It meant: DON'T VOTE. Balloting in Athens occurred by dropping various colored beans into a receptacle.
To vote is to express a preference. There is nothing implicitly evil in choosing. All of us in the ordinary course of our daily lives vote for or against dozens of products and services. When we vote for (buy) any good or service, it follows that by salutary neglect we vote against the goods or services we do not choose to buy. The great merit of market place choosing is that no one is bound by any other persons selection. I may choose Brand X. But this cannot prevent you from choosing Brand Y.
When we place voting into the framework of politics, however, a major change occurs. When we express a preference politically, we do so precisely because we intend to bind others to our will. Political voting is the legal method we have adopted and extolled for obtaining monopolies of power.
Political voting is nothing more than the assumption that might makes right. There is a presumption that any decision wanted by the majority of those expressing a preference must be desirable, and the inference even goes so far as to presume that anyone who differs from a majority view is wrong or possibly immoral.
But history shows repeatedly the madness of crowds and the irrationality of majorities. The only conceivable merit relating to majority rule lies in the fact that if we obtain monopoly decisions by this process, we will coerce fewer persons than if we permit the minority to coerce the majority. But implicit in all political voting is the necessity to coerce some so that all are controlled. The direction taken by the control is academic. Control as a monopoly in the hands of the state is basic.
In times such as these, it is incumbent upon free men to reexamine their most cherished, long-established beliefs. There is only one truly moral position for an honest person to take. He must refrain from coercing his fellows. This means that he should refuse to participate in the process by means of which some men obtain power over others. If you value your right to life, liberty, and property, then clearly there is every reason to refrain from participating in a process that is calculated to remove the life, liberty, or property from any other person. Voting is the method for obtaining legal power to coerce others.
Don't Vote. It Only Encourages Them! - If you want good things to happen in your community you'd better get out and do them yourself. Voting doesn't improve a situation. Hard work does. By voting you allow a politician to do whatever he wants to do. Then he says he did it because you told him to.
Do You make a Difference? - We doubt it. Politicians do whatever they want to do. Then they say "it's the will of the people." Experts think that 98% of the Senators and Representatives who run for reelection this year will win. Incumbents have enormous campaign funds, financed by special interests. Since most candidates and propositions win by thousands of votes, scholars speculate that people realize their vote won't make a difference. Maybe they vote for the entertainment value. They vote for the fairy tale; that we're all going to get something for nothing.
Why Elections Aren't In April - Elections are about money. Tax money. Your money. Politicians compete in order to spend it. It makes them powerful. It makes some of them rich. When you vote, you give them justification for spending your taxes. Politicians call it a "mandate." They always have enough mandate, but never enough money. Here's what they want to do: make you think they're going to spend more on you than you paid in taxes. Politicians want you to think you're going to get a free lunch.
There's No Free Lunches! - You can't get something for nothing. Think of what you want for your community. You want peace and prosperity. You want safe neighborhoods and good schools. You want to be protected. You can't buy those things, not for any amount of money. You can't get them by a speech, or a vote, or a law. Good things come from hard work. If you want good things to happen, you'd better do it yourself.
Voting Isn't Freedom - Some of you may write in and say that if we don't vote, we're against America. Or you'll suggest we go live in a communist country where we'd be forced to vote. If this country is really free, you must be able to abstain from voting. Free people don't have their lives dictated by the votes of their fellow citizens. Voting is the method the majority uses to tell the minority how it's going to be.
Might doesn't make right, we say. Don't vote! It only encourages politicians! Instead, think of some good things that need doing. Let's get out there and do them!
Grocer John Roscoe, owner of the 102-store Northern California chain of FOOD & LIQUOR (P.O. Box 886, Benicia, CA, 94510) mini-markets began distributing grocery bags bearing the above two commentaries before the 1988 elections. Customers grabbed up the bags as collectors items, mementos of an election that has turned off many voters.
Mr. Roscoe, who started the Benicia-based chain 28 years ago, said government has become "more and more coercive" since he went into business. "There's a lot less freedom than I had 30 years ago." He said he faces more regulation every time a city council meets. "I'm for more self-government." Roscoe claims he's a member of no political party and distrusts politicians in general. "I have greater faith in the American public than most politicians do," he said.
Mr. Roscoe received a stern letter from California Secretary of State March Fong Eu condemning him for expressing his opinion.
This article was given to me by someone who got it from Liberty Bell, the BBS of the Santa Clara Libertarian Party. 408 243-1933 (8N1)
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Money (the series): Durability and Portability
by Sam Aurelius Milam III
Suppose you go to the bank to cash a check and they give you ice cubes as money. You'll notice something wrong with this money by the time you get over to Safeway. You'll arrived at the checkout stand with a wet pocket, but no money. This loss in value between the bank and the store will reveal to you one of the Rules of Money. To be good money, a thing must be durable. If it isn't durable, it won't hold its value between the time you receive it and the time you need to use it. That means it won't make very good money.
Suppose you learn from your mistake, and refuse to accept non-durable things as money. Suppose you sell your extra car and accept as payment a large lot full of timber. After all, a redwood log, even laying on the ground, will survive for years and be unaffected by temperatures that would melt even a big block of ice. If your money is in this form, it will be durable. However, when you run out of corn flakes, there will be a certain problem in getting your money to the food store. A redwood log won't fit in your wallet, and probably not even in your Mercedes. As you ponder this difficulty, you'll discover another of the Rules of Money. To work well as money, a thing must be portable. (When they said you couldn't take it with you, they meant — later.) $
Next Month: Divisibility
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