Different Echo, Different Drum
by Sam Aurelius Milam III
The discussion of the Oklahoma City bombing continues. I recently read an article, Echoes of April 19, that appeared in the June 1995 issue of California Liberty. Although the article contained some libertarian ideas, it also contained the statement:
Even if this analysis were correct, someone somewhere would dispute it. In fact, it's pure Clintonista propaganda.
In general, terrorism is an attack against non-combatants and is often associated with demands by somebody who claims responsibility. Was the Oklahoma City bombing such an act? I think not. Consider: Americans have lately suffered atrocities and acts of war committed by armed civilians who work for the U.S. government. The bombing was an attack against some of those very civilians. As such, it was a legitimate action against combatants. The other victims were collateral casualties, just like when the government attacks a target. The collateral casualties were unfortunate but unavoidable. After all, it wasn't a smart bomb. Also, there were no demands and nobody claimed responsibility. Only in the government press would an attack be automatically called terrorism just because it is anti-government.
I suppose the confusion shouldn't surprise me. For a long time now, U.S. citizens have failed to understand the deteriorating behavior of the U.S. government. They have believed that they could compromise with increasingly coercive authority. They have thought that comfort or the illusion of security justified the loss of liberty. They have done everything possible to pretend that there is no problem, even though the nature of government has never been much of a secret. Although some of the blame for the present state of things lies with the government, you can't really blame wolves for being wolves. A wise shepherd will guard his flock. A foolish one will lose it. Much of the blame therefore lies with the weak, lazy, cowardly, or ignorant U.S. citizens who have allowed things to get this bad. It's just that I hope for better than that from libertarians.
Incidentally, the Oklahoma City bombers didn't attack the children. They attacked a federal installation that just happened to have some children in it. This is far different than if they had attacked a school that just happened to have some federal agents in it. We don't even know if they were aware of the children. However, the federal agents (FBI and BATF) who attacked the Branch Davidian compound were certainly aware of those children. Lon Horiuchi (FBI) was aware of the infant nursing at Vicki Weaver's breast when he looked at her through a telescopic gun sight and shot her in the face. The Oklahoma City bombers are not thugs. The federal agents are thugs. If, after this incident, federal agents continue to place children in federal installations, then I will declare that the intention of those agents is to use the children as shields. Such cowardly behavior by the U.S. Gestapo wouldn't surprise me a bit.
by Sam Aurelius Milam III
In the U.S.A. today, citizens are required to possess identification. Compliance with this policy is virtually universal. Understanding of its implications is virtually nonexistent.
Identity is a word with many meanings, depending upon how it's used. With regard to providing ID upon demand, identity means the unique designation of one individual which distinguishes that individual from all others.
An individual's name alone isn't necessarily unique, and therefore might not constitute identification. An individual's name associated with an address or other appropriate information is unique. Other things, as well, are identification. Examples are Social Security numbers, driver's license numbers, employee numbers, and credit card numbers. Each of these numbers, within its area of use, distinguishes one individual from all others.
An individual may have many such identities, and any valid identification must reveal at least one of them. Whether the identity revealed is a name and address or a number, anything that (1) reveals (2) identity satisfies two aspects of identification.
Identification must also prove identity. What constitutes proof?
However, such identification will not allow me to cash a check, obtain a credit card, or rent a video cassette. If the identification convinces the individual to whom I present it, thereby satisfying the requirements of identification, and I still cannot cash the check, then there must be another requirement. The identification is insufficient for some reason. To understand why, you must understand the legal meaning of insufficient.
The acceptability of identification provided by such agencies clarifies a fourth requirement of identification, which is that identification must be attested by government. This enables me to provide a complete definition.
From this government monopoly follows an important consequence which, perhaps, isn't obvious. If an
to be "A", and the government says that individual is "B", then what is
that individual's "true" identity? The only identity that will be
recognized is the one for which the individual can provide identification,
and the only valid identification is that provided by the government.
The answer, then, is that the "true" identity of an individual is whatever
the government says it is.
If you doubt the power of government to dictate your identity, I can suggest a couple of tests. Try to persuade the Social Security Administration to give you the social security number of your choice. They won't do it. Remember, you're name isn't your identity, but your Social Security number is. Try to get your state driver's license authority to give you the driver's license number of your choice. Again, they won't do it. It's ironic that you can request a specific identity for your car, but not for yourself.
That these agencies use the name given to you by your parents is conventional, but not necessary. If they put a different name on your card, and refused to change it, you'd be stuck with it. Your real name is the one on your birth certificate, a government document filed with the United States Department of Commerce. It's your real name because it's on the certificate, and not because your parents gave it to you. If they had given you a different name than the one which eventually appeared on your birth certificate, the one they gave you wouldn't count. Your real name would be the one on the certificate. Recall that you can't legally change your name unless you request and obtain permission from the government.
There are many things that you can do only if you have ID traceable to the government. Since you can't do them otherwise, the ID constitutes permission from the government to do those things. Among them are opening bank accounts, buying or selling stock, renting just about anything, making credit purchases, using checks, buying insurance, being employed, buying a house, owning or driving a car, owning a business, getting married, and so forth. That the government doesn't always directly impose the ID requirement is a frivolous objection. The requirement is there, regardless of its private sector camouflage. It's a fact that in the U.S.A. today, it's impossible for anyone to legally transact business of any kind without government ID.
Permission means control. If you must get permission from the government before you can do something, that means you must satisfy any prerequisite that the government imposes upon the permission. The preconditions to obtaining ID continue to escalate, and there is no end in sight. The ID is a prerequisite to almost everything and you can get it only from government. The accumulation of so much power in the hands of government constitutes the very essence of tyranny.
So what about the prophecy in the book of Revelation? I don't believe in the sacred validity of Biblical prophecy, but this passage is in some ways an uncanny description of the present situation. Consider for example, his name in Revelation 13:17.
Finally, consider that the number of the beast was really the number of a man.
I believe that there is no Satan except for man himself, who is surely capable of sufficient evil. There is no Hell except when man creates it for himself, here on Earth. At such creation, man is a true master. It seems likely that man is, after all, his own worst enemy. That is probably the final and most profound revelation.
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The Little Red Hen
author and source unknown
Once upon a time, there was a little red hen who scratched about the barnyard until she uncovered some wheat. She called her neighbors and said, "If we plant this wheat, we shall have bread to eat. Who will help me?"
"Not I," said the cow.
"Not I," said the duck.
"Not I," said the pig.
"Not I," said the goose.
"Then I will do it myself," said the little red hen, and she did. The wheat grew tall and ripened into golden grain.
"Who will help me reap my wheat?" asked the little red hen.
"Not I," said the duck.
"Out of my classification," said the pig.
"I'd lose my seniority," said the cow.
"I'd lose my unemployment compensation," said the goose.
"Then I will do it myself" said the little red hen, and she did.
At last, it came time to bake the bread. "Who will help me bake the bread?" asked the little red hen.
"That would be overtime for me," said the cow.
"I'd lose my welfare benefits," said the duck.
"I'm a dropout and never learned how," said the pig.
"If I'm to be the only helper, that's discrimination," said the goose.
"Then I will do it myself." said the little red hen.
She baked five loaves and held them up for her neighbors to see.
They all wanted some. In fact, they demanded a share. But the little red hen said, "No, I can eat the five loaves myself."
"Excess profits!" yelled the cow.
"Capitalist leech!" cried the duck.
"I demand equal rights!" shouted the goose.
The pig just grunted. Then they hurriedly painted picket signs and marched around shouting obscenities.
The government agent came and said to the little red hen, "You must not be greedy."
"But I earned the bread," said the little red hen.
"Exactly," said the government agent, "That's the wonderful free-enterprise system. Anyone in the barnyard can earn as much as he wants. But, under government regulations, the productive workers must share their product with the idle."
And the little red hen, her neighbors, and the government agent all lived happily ever after, except for the little red hen (who never baked bread again) and her neighbors (who wondered why).
Buck Hunter Shoots Off His Mouth
— Traveling SaleswomanDear Traveling Saleswoman
Go to a theatre costume shop, get yourself a big handlebar mustache, and wear it.