Chapter 7 
   * Government defined  
   * Descriptions of Government    
   * Corruption in Government  
   * The Real Function of Government  
   * What Government Responds to  
   * Political Intentions are Irrelevant  
   * Failures and Contradictions of Government  
   * Government Murders During the 20th Century  
   * The War On Drugs  

   My critique of government is based on the idea that there exist ethical 
principles which are external to government - i.e., which exist 
independently of government. Many statists assert the opposite idea: that 
there are no such independently-existing principles, and that government is 
necessary for (among other things) the creation of ethical principles. 
   The flaw in their argument is that if there were no independently-
existing ethical principles then there would be no principles according to 
which a government could be established, and no means by which the behavior 
of government could itself be judged. Since the ostensible purpose of law is 
to protect rights, if there are no natural rights then there can be no 
standard for judging the legitimacy or efficacy of government-made laws. 
(See Chapter 5  * Natural Rights) 
   See reference 
   When a social metaphysician (an individual who holds the consciousnesses 
of other people, not objective reality, as his ultimate frame-of-reference) 
becomes a politician, he aquires the coercive power to impose his decrees 
upon other people. This is his way of manipulating "reality." Here you see a 
psychological explanation for the attitude held by many stateolatrists: that 
the government is the ultimate foundation for morality, ethics, and law. 
This also helps explain why many tyrants have the certainty that their 
decrees actually do constitute reality, and why those tyrants are often 
quite literally incapable of perceiving any inherent contradictions in their 
laws. In their minds, the law IS reality. But if government were actually 
the foundation of morality, if social justice did in fact spring from law, 
then laws would in fact create the social justice which they are ostensively 
intended to create. The existence of widespread injustice proves this 
statist thesis to be wrong. The practical implementation of that idea, by 
both fascist and communist States, has resulted in the most horrendous 
atrocities the world has ever endured. 

   * Government defined 
   We must keep firmly in mind the essential difference between governments 
and other agencies that deal in force. A government intends to profit from 
the initiation of force. A private agency (including a protection agency) 
intends to profit from trade. A government uses force to gain values. A 
private protection agency uses trade to gain values. Both deal in force, but 
the government uses it offensively whereas the private agency uses it 
   This is also true of law. Government institutions of law have a purpose 
different from that of the institutions of common law. Common law and its 
institutions facilitate voluntary interactions; government law and its 
institutions implement involuntary interactions. 
   Not only is it the case that government intends to profit from the 
initiation of force, government is structured in such a way that its 
functioning can ONLY result from the initiation of force. Without taxation, 
government could not function. This is the reason why government cannot 
mitigate failure without also eliminating opportunities for success. 

   A critique of the Randian view: 
   Rand defined government as "an institution that holds the exclusive power 
to enforce certain rules of social conduct in a given geographical area. A 
government is the means of placing the retaliatory use of physical force 
under objective control." 
   Attempting to circumvent its implications for coercion, others expand on 
this definition by claiming that in a free society the government is 
prohibited by a constitution from initiating force. 
   Barbara Branden makes perhaps the best presentation of the Randian view 
of government. She claims that government is 
   "a social agency that performs the task of formulating and enforcing the 
laws of a country. The concept does not entail that a function of that 
political body will be the initiation of force. But because it is true that 
a factual function of government IS the initiation of some extent of force, 
people fail to grasp the possibility of an alternative to that factual 
function. They fail to separate the concrete from the abstraction. They have 
failed to differentiate some particular instances of government from the 
abstraction as such." 
   There are several flaws in these notions: 
   If, as Rand claims, the institution has exclusive power, how can it be 
prevented from aggressing since, being exclusive, there can be no 
restraining power to stand against it? The initiation of force cannot in any 
way be prevented except by bringing to bear against it an equal or greater 
force. But if government holds exclusive power, then there cannot exist any 
greater force, and thus government cannot be limited in the use of its 
force. As used by Rand, the concepts of "exclusive" and "objective control" 
preclude one another. 
   The constitutionalists make the mistake of confounding the notion of 
"prohibit" with the notion of "prevent." It is quite obvious that to forbid 
some action is by no means to prevent that action, and the idea that a 
document can, of itself, pose a restraint on the behavior of an organization 
of men possessed with weapons of destruction, is simply absurd. The only 
thing that can counter the power of a gun is another gun. A written 
constitution won't stop a policeman's bullet, no matter how vigorously you 
wave it, nor how vociferously you assert its provisions. As Mao Tse Tung 
taught, "All government power grows out of the barrel of a gun." Thus it 
follows that all anti-government power MUST also grow out of the barrel of a 
   The abstraction that Barbara Branden comments on is not an abstraction 
from perceivable concretes - there is not now and never has been a 
government that did not aggress against its subjects. It is not "some 
particular instances of government" that manifest this attribute, it is ALL 
instances of government that do so. The aggression is a universal and 
FUNDAMENTAL characteristic of ALL governments. It is universal because every 
government, to be territorially exclusive, must compel every person within 
its domain to acquiesce in its sovereignty. It is fundamental because that 
acquiescence underlies all the other functions of government. Aggression is 
therefore a definitive characteristic in forming the concept "government." 
It is not epistemologically proper to hypothesize a non-existent concrete (a 
government without aggression) and subsume it within an abstraction. Barbara 
restricts the abstraction to an unjustifiably narrow set of particulars, and 
in so doing creates not a valid concept but a fiction.  
   To speak of a government that does not aggress is like talking about a 
vegetarian cat. This is a phenomenon that you can IMAGINE, but it is not 
something that exists in reality. This view of government is rather like the 
belief in cold fusion or the planarpophagous view of memory transfer. 
   We must perceive things as they are, not as we might want them to be. 
   The word "government" has an easily discernable meaning which can be seen 
by anyone who looks deeply enough into the factual nature of its fundamental 
distinguishing characteristic. To think about, and talk sensibly about, a 
phenomenon which does NOT share that fundamental distinguishing 
characteristic, we should select a verbal label different from the one that 
is already applied to the entity which DOES possess it. Thus it is improper 
to use the word "government" in the way the Randites use it. 
   If we could institutionalize non-aggression we could not properly call it 
   Nock made a distinction between the State and Government: 
   "Government is an agency with strictly limited powers, devoted to 
protecting individual rights to life, liberty and property. The State, on 
the other hand, is an offshoot of government that develops when some people 
capture the machinery of government and pervert it, using its powers not to 
protect rights, but to violate them, to exploit people by confiscating their 
wealth, regulating their activities, and subjugating them whenever necessary 
to enhance its own illicit power." 
   This distinction is spurious. "Government," as Nock describes it, is 
something that has never existed. The State is not an offshoot of government 
- something that develops from the corruption of government - the State is 
in fact the only one of the two institutions described by Nock that has 
existed in history. Except for some private agencies, limited in scope and 
subsumed by the State, there has in fact never been what Nock calls a 
   A conceptual distinction can be made between the coercive institution I 
have described above as "government" and the more general notion of "the 
means by which order is maintained in a society" (the means may not 
necessarily be a government). Some people would use "state" to denote the 
first and "government" to denote the second, but this would be ambiguous - 
for communication - in view of the widespread equivalence between the words 
"state" and "government," so I will use "state" and "government" 
synonymously, and use "governance" to denote the idea of "a means by which 
order is maintained in a society." 
   Coercive power is that which defines government and makes government 
different from any other social institution. All other differences between 
states and other institutions flow from this fundamental characteristic. 
Thus the proper definition of government is "the strongest gang of 
aggressors in a particular area at a particular time." 

   * Descriptions of Government 
   "Government is not reason. It is not eloquence. It is force." ... George 
   Gandhi: "The State represents violence in a concentrated and organized 
form. The individual has a soul, but as the State is a soulless machine, it 
can never be weaned from violence, to which it owes its very existence." 
   Mencken: "The typical lawmaker of today is a man devoid of principle - a 
mere counter in a grotesque and knavish game. If the right pressure could be 
applied to him he would be cheerfully in favor of polygamy, astrology, or 
cannibalism." [Or infanticide, as we have seen in Philadelphia and Waco.] 
   Lane: "The nation is nothing at all but simple force. Not in a single 
nation are the people of one race, one history, one culture, nor the same 
political opinion or religious faith. They are simply human beings of all 
kinds, penned inside frontiers which mean nothing whatever but military 
   The essential characteristic of States and quasi-States (e.g., the PLO 
and the IRA) is that they initiate force to implement their policies. 
Viewing the State all through history, we can see no way to differentiate 
the activities of its administrators from those of a professional criminal 
class. Thus there are no ethical differences between a hoodlum protection 
racket and a State, save scale, sophistication, and success in conning the 
victims into acceptance of its behavior. 
   Rand was wrong about the government's desire to maintain a semblance of 
morality. Although I believe such a desire existed in the past (until the 
last half of the 20th century), a "semblance of morality" implies that there 
exists a moral principle which is external to the government and which the 
government considers itself under obligation to abide by. Such a 
consideration is impossible within a context in which all morality is 
derived from the government. 

   * Corruption in Government 
   When I attribute some purpose to government, I do not mean to imply that 
individual people who are members of government explicitly hold that purpose 
as their personal objective. This is quite frequently NOT the case at all! 
What I am attempting to do is explain the consequences of government in 
terms of institutionalized behavior whose implementation results in those 
consequences. Just as no one really INTENDS to kill himself when he begins 
to be an alcoholic, nevertheless his behavior has that as its consequence. 
The only choice a man has is what actions he will take. He has no choice 
about the consequences of those actions. They are rigidly determined by the 
law of cause-and-effect. By the Law of Identity. 
   Being merely human, a percentage of bureaucrats can be expected to be 
corrupt, thus as the number of bureaucrats increases there will be more 
corruption. By the same token, increased legislated criminalization means 
that more property rights are controlled by government, thus there comes to 
be greater scope for corruption. The more severe are the legal constraints 
on private markets, the more valuable become the rights controlled by 
government, thus the reward for corruption increases. 
   "In every government on earth is some trace of human weakness, some germ 
of corruption and degeneracy, which cunning will discover and wickedness 
cultivate." ... Thomas Jefferson 
   Police corruption occurs in those areas where entrepreneurs would supply 
voluntary services to consumers, but where the government has decreed that 
those services are illegal: drugs, prostitution, gambling, etc. Where 
gambling, for example, is outlawed, the law places into the hands of the 
police the power to sell the privilege of engaging in the gambling business. 
In short, it is as if the police were empowered to issue special licenses 
for these activities, and then proceeded to sell these unofficial licenses 
at whatever price the traffic will bear. Whether consciously or not, the 
government proceeds as follows: first it outlaws certain businesses, then 
the police sell to would-be entrepreneurs the privilege of engaging in those 
   This is one area in which the most frequently-heard apologia for 
government is quite true: government is necessary to create the 
infrastructure upon which rests other social behavior. As well as providing 
the legal infrastructure for police corruption, for the immigration horror 
stories, for the drug war violence, and for countless other ills, the 
government also provides the infrastructure for more general moral and 
ethical wickedness, through the teachings in its compulsory education    
program (see Chapter 11), and through the examples of its own vicious 
behavior: young people who base their ethos on government are getting their 
examples from the Rodney King video. 
   See reference 
   Be that as it may, given the unfortunate and unjust laws, the police 
corruption described above may be highly beneficial to society. Society may 
be better off if corruption induces police to ignore many of the victimless 
crimes, thus leaving police resources available to prevent real crimes. 
Ignoring many laws, such as housing codes and oil import restrictions, would 
improve social welfare. In a number of countries, there would be virtually 
no trade or industry at all in the absence of the "corruption" that 
nullifies government prohibitions. 
   But how sane is the moral foundation of an institution that requires the 
corruption of its members to achieve beneficial ends? 
   As I try to make clear in my writings, I oppose government not only for 
what it is and what it does, but also for what it makes possible. Getting 
rid of government would not directly eliminate all the ills of the world, 
but it would free people to eliminate those ills themselves - "to take out 
their own garbage" as I put it. The elimination of those ills is something 
that government has clearly failed to do. 

   * The Real Function of Government 
   Have you ever wondered just what the government is REALLY doing while it 
is claiming to "serve and protect"? In 1971, the FBI office in Media, Pa. (a 
suburb of Philadelphia) was raided and a large quantity of documents seized. 
This raid was considered so important by the FBI that it closed about half 
its offices throughout the country, concentrating its resources in the 
remainder so as to provide for greater secrecy in its operations. An 
analysis of the seized documents was subsequently published in the Los 
Angeles Free Press, 24Dec71: 
   40% surveillance of political groups 
   30% internal administrative matters 
   15% "ordinary" crime 
    7% military AWOLs and deserters 
    7% draft resisters 
    1% organized crime 

   Governments all behave in fundamentally the same manner, regardless of 
what they say their politics are. Perhaps they might be more accurately 
perceived as big machines that do what they are programmed to do rather than 
as bunches of people. A culture develops within government that is 
completely dominated by the advocates of government action. From 
constituents to lobbyists to journalists, the lawmakers very rarely, or 
never, come in contact with anyone who advocates government INaction. Every 
employee at every level of every government department is affected and all 
those expensive people think they have to DO SOMETHING to justify their 
salaries, and every action is another interference with freedom, keeping 
people from doing what they want to do or making them do things they don't 
want to do. A bureaucrat dreads being accused of doing nothing - he has to 
do something to make it look like he's DOING SOMETHING - so he will 
continually proliferate rules. One result is that the American court system 
is drowning in the avalanche of legal pollution that could appropriately be 
called hyperleges. 
   Government pours forth a continuous stream of legislation, forcing pro- 
freedom groups to spend time, energy and money defending old gains rather 
than reaching for new ones. 

   If we view crimes as being behaviors that conflict with the interests of 
the segments of society that have the power to shape government law, then we 
realize that the government merely tries to balance the demands of 
conflicting interest groups, and to discriminate among them on the basis of 
their relative electoral power in order to determine who gains and who 

   A primary function of government is to act as a mechanism to take wealth 
from some and transfer it to others. Governments protect individuals' 
property against the depredations of others as a shepherd protects his sheep 
from shearing by others. But against their own government, individuals have 
to protect their accumulated wealth as best they can themselves. 

   Special interest politics is a simple game. A hundred people sit in a 
circle, each with his pocket full of pennies. A politician walks around the 
outside of the circle, taking a penny from each person. No one minds; who 
cares about a penny? When he has gotten all the way around the circle, the 
politician throws fifty cents down in front of one of the people, who is 
overjoyed at the windfall. The process is repeated, ending with a different 
person. After a hundred rounds, everyone is a hundred cents poorer, fifty 
cents richer, and happy. And the politician walks off with fifty bucks in 
his pocket! 
   The modern welfare state is merely a complicated arrangement by which 
nobody pays for the education of his own children, but everybody pays for 
the education of everybody else's children; by which nobody pays his own 
medical bills, but everybody pays everybody else's medical bills; by which 
nobody provides for his own old-age security, but everybody pays for 
everybody else's old-age security; and so on. 

   Those who claim that government, bad though it may be, is an absolute 
necessity for protecting people against crime, must explain the fact that 
for every 1000 crimes the American police are aware of, only one criminal is 
ever sentenced to prison. 
   Nor does government protect people against foreign aggression - on the 
contrary, it coerces the people (by means of what is euphemistically called 
"selective service") into protecting and preserving the government's own 

   * What Government Responds to 
   For many years I had a vague, non-specific realization that government in 
America is somehow fundamentally different from most other governments. But 
I could not specify precisely what that difference is founded on. I believed 
there to be a much stronger connection between government and the public 
here in America than in other countries, but I could not identify the nature 
of that connection. Then, when the passage of Proposition 13 in California 
in 1978 (by a margin of 2 to 1 at the polls) touched off a nationwide run of 
similar legislation in other states, I came to realize just how it is that 
the government is responsive to "the people." I now believe that elected 
officials base (sometimes, but not always, explicitly) their behavior on 
statement I use three terms very carefully and deliberately: perception, 
will, and majority (not the majority of the whole population, but the 
majority of the voters). 
   Most political behavior is not based on the will of the majority, but is 
based on what the politician PERCEIVES to be the will of the majority. (This 
explains the influence of lobbyists and other pressure groups.) Of course, 
this does not account for ALL political behavior - a lot of it is 
straightforwardly venal, and much is intended simply to increase the power 
of government. But in almost all situations where the issue under 
consideration is the subject of considerable publicity, the politician will 
do what he THINKS the MAJORITY of the voters WANT him to do. I believe there 
are no limits to this. None whatsoever. They believe that God's Ultimate 
Truth is engraved upon the impermanent stone of political polls, and, as 
Mencken observed, they would, if they thought it politically expedient, 
legislate infanticide just as readily as they voted in Prohibition and the 
War on Drugs. 
   This thesis leads to an answer to the question: "Why don't politicians 
understand principles?" If my argument is correct, then it is an immediate 
conclusion that politicians CANNOT have principles (except the one that I 
have attributed to them). Any man who insists on shaping his behavior by 
reference to ethical or moral principles, rather than electoral pragmatism, 
would probably not get elected. If his insistence on principle were to be 
adamant while he was in office, he would surely not get re-elected. Thus I 
see a selection process in action - a process which ensures that politicians 
will not be the sort of people who understand and act on principles. 
   The notion that politicians refer to "accepted religious principles" has 
considerable merit too. If the politician cannot see, clearly and 
explicitly, the will of the majority, he will act by default, as it were. He 
will consult whatever set of "principles" he holds implicitly, usually some 
set of religious ethics or, lacking that, a collection of cliches and 

   * Political Intentions are Irrelevant 
   The State makes promises to its citizens that it cannot even try to 
fulfill without employing means that frustrate their own ends. As the gap 
widens between promise and fulfillment, perceptive and honest people in the 
political system tend to dissociate themselves from the process, leaving it 
to those who are unscrupulous enough to accept and practice fraud. As the 
State extends its power, increasingly callous practices are required of 
increasingly callous people. The worst get on top, and try to stay there. 
Politicians have to be wicked: the requirements of office are such that no 
benevolent mind could meet them. Once a man has chosen to become part of the 
State, it is the nature of the institution that determines the context 
within which he functions, and controls the ways in which he can function - 
regardless of his intentions. A pernicious system is not made less so by its 
adherents' intentions that it do good. 
   For example, police training systematically presents the idea that it is 
right to force others to obey orders. Thus individuals who become police are 
subjected to gradual changes in themselves which, like the motion of the 
hands on a clock, may be difficult to see at any particular moment, but 
which are nonetheless inexorably cumulative. A man or woman of only 
moderately authoritarian tendencies at the time of first entering the police 
force soon begins to accelerate down the path to savagery. Perhaps the first 
time he witnesses fellow officers beating up a suspect, the new recruit is 
astonished and horrified. But he says nothing because so many officers with 
greater experience and authority accept the violence. The next time, the new 
recruit looks the other way and feels terribly upset. By the third time, he 
merely thinks: "Oh no, not this cruelty again." By the twentieth or the 
thirtieth time, the no-longer-rookie cop is accustomed to seeing such 
injustice, and after many years on the force, such a man or woman thinks 
nothing of performing such acts. But nowhere along the line could the cop 
see himself turning into a bully. He sees himself as civilized, but a 
policeman is civilized only so long as those under his authority act in such 
a way as not to arouse his innate savagery. Remember, no one can initially 
become a policeman unless he has already accepted the basic premise that 
coercion is ethically proper. His willingness to enforce victimless crimes 
is the direct proof that he is non-libertarian. Though he clothes his 
savagery in politenesses, this does not make him civilized. 
   Power corrupts; absolute power corrupts absolutely. What this means is 
that brutality affects the tyrant, too. Once a person becomes accustomed to 
it, that person's mind changes, becoming farther and farther dissociated 
from reality. Eventually, the trappings of tyranny become an inherent part 
of his nature in a process so gradual and seemingly so logical that he 
hardly knows what has taken place. He IS what he's done over the years. 
   When a dog urinates on a fire hydrant, he's not committing vandalism. 
He's just being a dog. 
   No matter how well-meaning the individual policeman may be, the 
parameters of the institution in which he functions compel upon him this 
alternative: to accept the conditions of the institution or to withdraw from 
participation in it. Part of "accept the conditions of the institution," 
whether it is a police institution or a military institution, is the 
requirement that the participant renounce his own moral autonomy, abandon 
his own sense of ethical judgment and allow himself to become the instrument 
of the judgments of his superiors: he must sell his soul. Once he has done 
this there are no limits to the wickedness he is capable of. He has lost 
that dimension of the spirit which defined his humanity. 
   It doesn't take an advanced degree in Sociology to understand what I'm 
trying to say. My thesis was encapsulated with remarkable precision and 
clarity in this comment from a teenage high-school dropout residing in an 
inner-city ghetto: "Naw, I could never be a cop. Cops gotta fuck with 
people. I couldn't do that for a living." 

   "When statesmen forsake their own private conscience for the sake of 
public duties they lead their country by a short route to chaos."... Sir 
Thomas More. 
   And after he has done it for a sufficient length of time, he will become 
so immersed in the life that no other alternative will be conceivable to 
him. "When National Socialism has ruled long enough, it will no longer be 
possible to conceive of a form of life different from ours."...  Adolph 
   Many men have no honor, but at least it is possible for an individual man 
to have honor. It is not possible for a government to have honor, simply 
because no one within it can keep his honor while continuing to condone and 
participate in the dishonorable behavior that is an inevitable concomitant 
of government. 
   Every individual who begins working within the political system in an 
effort to accomplish anything enlarges the system by his own presence. This 
is always true, even when the intent of the activist is the reduction of 
   Success in the free market rewards the virtues of thrift, hard work, and 
far-sighted entrepreneurship. Success in politics, on the other hand, 
rewards the ethical vices of demagogy, mendacity, and expertise in the 
wielding of terror and coercion. The politician's job consists in 
sacrificing some men to others. Thus, no matter what choices he makes, they 
cannot be just. Proceeding from an unjust basis, he can have no rational 
standards by which to judge. Hence, the good people - from any rational 
point of view - will tend to rise to the top in a free society, while 
ethical scum will tend to rise to the top of a statist system. 
   The idea that the Libertarian Party can effect any changes in the 
performance of government is based on an incorrect assumption: that there 
can be honest, sane and benevolent people among members of the government. 
Even if a man desires very strongly to accomplish some good and beneficial 
end, he cannot do it through means which are fundamentally evil and, by 
acting via these evil means, he makes himself immoral REGARDLESS OF HIS 
INTENTIONS. It is as impossible for an honest and just man to participate in 
government as for an atheist to become an archbishop. Or a priest to become 
an abortionist. In each case, the alternatives differ in terms of 
fundamental principles so opposed that there is no possibility of overlap. 
   The purpose of becoming a politician is to compel your values on other 
people. Although you can become a political candidate for the purpose of 
using the election process as a means of education, you cannot use a 
political office except by means of coercion. That is simply not possible. 
   Throughout the history of government, there has been one thing only that 
has tied government behavior to the facts of reality: the necessities of 
military action. When you are making guns and bombs, you HAVE to know what 
reality is. Without this compelling link to reality, all government behavior 
would be totally insane. Even with it, most government behavior is 
irrational at best - madness otherwise. 

   * Failures and Contradictions of Government 
   There are many who claim that without government there would exist much 
more suffering and distress. In response to this manifestation of the 
"WouldChuck" fallacy I can only say that I am honest enough to admit that I 
do not know how much suffering and distress there would be without 
government. All I can do is point out some of the more blatant examples of 
how much suffering and distress there are WITH government, and observe that 
under the plausible pretext of protecting person and property, governments 
have spread wholesale misery, destruction, and death all over the earth 
where peace and security might otherwise have prevailed. They have shed more 
blood, committed more crimes, tortures, and murders in struggles with each 
other and with their subjects than society would or could have suffered in 
the absence of all governments whatever. 
   Here I want to present just a few examples of how government fails in 
practice. If you read the newspapers and newsmagazines regularly, you will 
quickly see that these examples are merely tiny drops in the huge bucket of 
government's incompetence and viciousness. 

   One of the unintended consequences of tyranny is that it forcibly 
stultifies creative endeavor. The object of a tyrant is to control 
everything in his domain. He cannot control something which he does not 
understand, therefore all things which he does not understand must be 
   As was very clearly explained to me one day by a local sheriff, he has 
not only the legal authority, but a legal mandate to interdict anything that 
HE considers to be unusual behavior. There I was, faced by an armed thug 
with an IQ of probably about 90 (maybe 95 on a good day), demanding that I 
give him an account, comprehensible to HIM, of my behavior. My behavior is 
generated by the choices and decisions of a mind whose IQ is 70 points 
higher than his, and yet that behavior must, by authority of law and force 
of arms, be subsumed within HIS cretinous intellectual frame of reference. 
The "unintended consequence" of this situation, and of tyranny in general, 
is that genius is constrained to function within the limited scope of 
mediocrity. Thus your society is forcibly deprived of any benefits from my 
"unusual" nature, and what you DO get is only what the thug finds 
comprehensible: a dishwasher and a janitor. And that, ladies and gentlemen, 
is precisely what you DID get for the last 14 years of my working life. 
Think about this next time you step into a voting booth. Think about this 
next time you send a cheque to the IRS. How many creative minds does your 
tyrannous government turn off, directly or indirectly - intentionally or 
   The worst failing of tyranny is that it does not acknowledge the 
existence of human experience beyond the scope of its own ideas. Thus the 
greater the tyranny, the more impoverished the society, because it is 
restricted to that which lies within the frame-of-reference of the tyrant. 
   Freedom MUST be preserved! Not for the multitude who do not want it, but 
for the few who must have it in order to exercise their creativity. 

   The most notable examples (because they do not crop up periodically, but 
are continuous in their manifestation) of the incompetence of government are 
health-care in America and the environmental laws. 
   America has suffered a health-care crisis ever since government began 
passing laws regulating the medical profession. Every health care law ever 
passed has succeeded only in shifting the problems from one area to another 
- not in eliminating the problems, many of which have been caused by the 
laws that were intended to relieve them.  
   America has suffered an environmental crisis ever since government began 
passing laws intended to preserve the environment. Every environmental law 
ever passed has succeeded only in shifting the problems from one area to 
another - not in eliminating the problems, many of which have been caused by 
the laws that were intended to relieve them - or caused by the government 
itself: the environmental bills run up over a half century of nuclear 
weapons research are now coming due. 

   Scientific American, March 1995, contains an essay describing the effects 
of The Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act, telling how, 
"in typical fashion, the lawmakers gave little forethought to the social and 
economic consequences of the act." Some of its consequences run "directly 
contrary to the ideal that motivated NAGPRA in the first place." In 1992, C. 
Timothy McKeown of the Department of the Interior stated that he would feel 
the department had done its job if all parties [to the act] were 

   Consider the requirements of the Gramm-Rudman law. And their actual 
effect on the federal budget deficit. Gramm-Rudman was not the first attempt 
to balance the budget, only the best-publicized. Anyone who has kept track 
of the legal mandates of these laws, and their subsequent actual effects, 
knows that the government's batting average in this area is precisely zero. 
Are you sure you would want to invest any money on the assumption that the 
present (1995) debate on balancing the budget over the next seven years has 
any significance whatsoever? Don't be a fool. The federal budget will never 
be balanced, and the federal debt will never be paid. 

   The Minimum Wage: The first thing that happens when a law is passed that 
no one shall be paid less than $3 for an hour's work is that no one who 
cannot produce the equivalent of $3 an hour for his employer can be employed 
at all. You cannot make a man worth a given amount by making it illegal for 
anyone to offer him anything less. You merely deprive the employee of the 
right to earn the amount that his abilities would permit him to earn, while 
the employer is deprived even of the moderate services that the employee is 
capable of rendering. In brief, for a low wage the government substitutes 

   The December, 1991, issue of SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN contains an excellent 
example of the precept that government is grossly inefficient at best, and 
counterproductive at worst. 
   An essay on "Homelessness in America" touts government as the only 
effective means of coping with the problem, and presents as an ideal remedy 
"a joint effort started in 1989 by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and 
HUD. Under the Homeless Families Program, nine cities, including Atlanta, 
Baltimore and Denver, will receive a projected $600,000 grant each over five 
years to implement services for homeless families. The program also makes 
available 1,200 Section 8 certificates, public housing assistance funds, 
worth about $35 million over five years.... To date, the initiative has 
helped more than 100 homeless families move from emergency shelters to 
permanent housing." 
   What you see here is the government providing 100 dwellings, but when you 
look slightly deeper you observe that in so doing, the government 
expropriated enough wealth to have provided 160 houses. How so? Well, 
consider that during the two-year period "to date," this project had spent 
over 16 megabucks to provide those 100 homes. (That comes to $160K per 
dwelling.) But this occurred at a time during which the average cost of a 
new house in America was less than $100K. The 16 Megabucks, if spent by 
private builders, would have provided 160 dwellings. The more the government 
spends on housing, the fewer houses there will be in relation to the number 
that could have existed without government intervention. 
    Robert Heinlein once remarked: "Ten-dollar hamburgers? Brother, we are 
headed for the hundred-dollar hamburger; for the barter-only hamburger. But 
this is only an inconvenience rather than a disaster as long as there is 
plenty of hamburger." 
   So far there is still plenty of housing and hamburger in America (at 
least in comparison with countries where housing and food production are 
completely controlled by government). But as government intervention in the 
economy becomes more and more pervasive, the economy will become less and 
less able to provide these (and other) necessities of life. And the fewer 
houses produced, the more people will clamor for the government to "do 
something about the problem of homelessness!" And every time it does 
something, there will be still fewer houses produced, simply because 
government is not the solution - government is the problem. 
   (For a more thorough account of the effects of government on the housing 
market read THE FEDERAL BULLDOZER by Martin Anderson.) 
   Government does not cause affluence. Citizens of totalitarian countries 
have lots of government - but very little of anything else.  

   That same issue of SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN contains an article on America's 
Wetlands. In its attempt to preserve these ecological areas, the federal 
government has implemented several programs, including the 1972 Clean Water 
Act and the 1985 Swampbuster program. In spite of these schemes, some 300K 
acres of wetlands are lost every year, and the Department of the Interior 
estimates that less than half of America's original wetlands still exist. 
   The government's latest effort, the l991 Wetlands Guidelines, was used to 
evaluate 22 of Washington State's recognized wetlands. To the surprise of 
the scientists, only four of the 22 wetlands would still be so classified 
under the new rules. Many experts say the document is filled with 
inconsistencies and loopholes that could lead to the loss of designation for 
half of the nation's remaining wetlands. There are also several other bills 
pending in Congress that would alter the definition and relative value of 
wetlands. Each agency involved in wetlands management - the Army Corps of 
Engineers, the Fish and Wildlife Sevice, the Soil Conservation Service and 
the Environmental Protection Agency - uses different guidelines to define a 
   Secretary of the Interior Manuel Lujan, when asked to define 'wetlands' 
   "I take the position that there are certain kinds of vegetation that are 
common in wetlands, pussy willows or whatever the name is. That's one way 
you can tell, and then if it's wet." 
   Here we see a situation worse even than the housing debacle described 
above. At least in the area of houses, there are SOME dwellings constructed 
as a result of the government's policies, even though the government's 
behavior in this area is grossly inefficient. But in its dealing with 
wetlands, the government is actually counterproductive. The more it passes 
laws and creates agencies, the more the wetlands vanish. 

   The automotive industry's anticorrosion treatments produce a zinc-rich 
sludge that in the past was sent to a smelter to recover the zinc and return 
it to the industry. But a decade ago regulations began listing such 
wastewater treatment sludges as hazardous. The unintended consequence is 
that the smelters can no longer receive the sludge, because it has become, 
in name, a hazardous material, and the regulatory requirements for accepting 
it are too severe. The zinc-rich sludge is redirected to landfills, thereby 
increasing costs for automobile manufacturers and producing a waste disposal 
problem for future generations. This situation clearly illustrates what is a 
serious problem: well-meant environmental regulations, because they put up 
high barriers to reuse, often have the bizarre effect of increasing both the 
amount of waste created and the amount to be disposed. They might more 
accurately be viewed as anti-recycling regulations. 

   The imposition of restraints on Japanese automobile imports to the USA 
during the 1980s shifted the composition of those imports away from small 
cars and towards larger cars, as the Japanese attempted to increase their 
revenues without increasing the number of units they sold. Yet larger cars 
are relatively fuel inefficient. Thus the protective efforts of the US 
government had the unforeseen consequences of increasing the average amount 
fuel used and pollution produced by imported cars. 

   The police cannot prevent crimes, rarely solve crimes - or even find out 
about them - and certainly do very little to rehabilitate criminals. Worse 
yet, once they have the training they naturally want to use it, and they see 
one of the safest ways of doing so in the enforcement of victimless crime 
   As of 1990, the San Francisco police will no longer investigate 
burglaries where the value of goods stolen is under $10K. Nor will they 
investigate bad-check cases if the amount is under $2K. In 1988 they 
investigated only 26% of all violent crimes reported - but they spent 73 
million dollars waging the drug war. 
   The Dade County police respond to only 2 out of 7 calls for help from 
their citizens. 

   The Savings and Loan industry is going down the tubes, US Banks are 
failing in record numbers, the FDIC is running out of money, loans are hard 
to come by even for the most creditworthy borrowers, and the economy merely 
creeps along despite remarkably low interest rates. Welcome to the latest 
banking crisis - in this era of central banking which was supposed to 
prevent such things. During more naive days, nearly everyone imagined that 
private banks were inherently unstable and that financial crises could be 
averted only through the good graces of wise regulators. Recent events make 
it quite clear that government intervention itself is a key source of 
   The Federal Reserve governors base their hunches about inflationary 
pressures - and the actions required to stifle them - on selected economic 
indicators, but the indicators they monitor reflect the fact that inflation 
is a sequential process: it shows up first in wholesale prices, then in 
retail prices, then in wages. So by the time wages begin rising, it is too 
late for the Fed's actions to affect the primary cause of the phenomenon 
they are trying to deal with. 

   President Clinton has continually argued that because of a flaw in the 
free-market (sic) system, US companies invest so little in long-term 
research that they risk losing their technological edge to overseas 
competitors. But a long-term view of research investment will readily show 
that it is the fickleness of government intervention that so upsets the 
field. Politicians tend to be shortsighted by their very nature. Issues that 
don't affect their electoral prospects tend to drop out of their 
consideration. The usual rule of thumb is: out of congressional sight and 
interest, out of budget. 
   The Superconducting SuperCollider had a price tag of $12G. It was 
canceled by Congress in 1993 after about $2G had been spent - a worst of 
both worlds outcome. 
   As power shifted across the aisles of Congress after the 1994 elections, 
supporters of the Advanced Technology Program felt a chill creep into 
discussions of the program's future, which can no longer be taken for 
granted. Even its present is under debate. Congress is also threatening 
major changes in NIST's growth. But in the late 1980s it was Congress that 
had actively pushed for government promotion of commercial research. 
   The rise of statism has seen a general economic thrust away from far-
sightedness and the building of capital and toward destructive looting of 
the stock of capital for short-term profit. The increasing scope of law-
making, and its associated transfers of property rights from private 
individuals to government, undermines the private property arrangements that 
support a free market system. This process creates considerable uncertainty 
about the future value of those private rights that have not yet been seized 
by government. When resource owners are relatively uncertain about their 
continued ownership of those resources, they tend to use them up relatively 
rapidly and have less incentive to enhance future production capabilities. 
Thus resources will be overused and underproduced. Even for statist-minded 
businessmen, the inevitable erosion of confidence in the future that results 
from the government's continual policy reversals, irresolution in the face 
of electoral whims, and stifling bureaucracy, makes long-term business 
planning impossible. 

   Ask yourself what products and services are currently least satisfactory 
and have shown the least improvement over time. Postal service, elementary 
and secondary schooling (one of the government's greatest failures is the 
public school system), police protection, sewage disposal, and railroad 
passenger transport would surely be high on the list. Ask yourself which 
products are most satisfactory and have improved the most. Household 
appliances, TV and radio sets, computers, supermarkets and shopping centers 
would surely come high on that list. The shoddy products are all produced by 
government or government-regulated industries. The outstanding products are 
all produced by private enterprise with little or no government involvement. 
Yet the public has been persuaded that private enterprise produces shoddy 
products, that we need ever more government employees to keep business from 
foisting off unsafe products at outrageous prices on us poor ignorant and 
vulnerable consumers. What the government refers to as "Fair Trade" consists 
largely of the government devising new ways to protect consumers against the 
scourge of low prices and high quality. 

   Regulation of economic activity is often justified and upheld by the 
courts on the fictitious grounds that a laissez-faire economy inevitably 
leads to "excesses" and "abuses," necessitating regulation which amounts to 
prior restraint upon private freedom of action; yet similar attempts at 
prior restraint of government action are routinely struck down, even as 
judges cite the resulting excesses and abuses as a small price to pay for 

   In every session of all the legislatures of America, programs to solve 
the nation's debt, create jobs, and remedy social problems are launched with 
great fanfare and wonderful speeches. But then, when no one is looking, the 
politicians go back to their offices and the promises are forgotten. 
Although the scenarios that triggered the programs are frequently 
discredited, the bureaucracy permanently retains all the power it 
accumulated through the legislation that created the programs. 
   With such great fanfare and wonderful speeches, the Humphrey-Hawkins 
"full employment" bill was enacted in 1978 (when the unemployment rate was 
6.1%). It set a national goal of reducing unemployment to 4% by 1983. In 
1983 the unemployment rate was 9.6%. 
   In 1850, when Massachusetts became the first state to force children to 
go to school, the literacy rate in that state was 98%. Today, after nearly 
150 years of compulsory government schooling, the literacy rate is 91% 

   Many government institutions, intended to help people deal with 
emergencies, start on small budgets. As the years go by the bureaucrats who 
run these agencies want to rise in professional standing. They make 
connections with congressmen; they find reasons to appropriate more money; 
they hire more people. They rise, become more powerful, and the more these 
agencies grow the more they clamor for money and personnel. Meanwhile the 
budget deficit grows from the spending orgy. The public rebels, and the 
competition gets ugly. Now money goes to who screams the loudest in the 
halls of government. To get the government's attention, they must have 
something scary to scream about, so they create an atmosphere of fear. Now 
that a "terrible doom" is around the next corner, science sidesteps the 
caution of peer review and jumps to science-by-press-release. The public is 
left, not with an understanding, but with an emotion. 
   Because those in favor of a government subsidy have much at stake, their 
lobbying efforts will be intensive and well financed. To the individual 
taxpayer, however, the impact will be at most a few dollars a year. 
Accordingly, opposition is usually muted and dispersed. In concert with the 
lobbyist is the politician. Being human, he seeks a measure of personal 
importance, prestige and influence. Thus his interests are not served by 
minimizing the role of the state, but by maximizing the role of the 
institution of which he is a part. He will have a natural inclination to 
insist that increased regulation is the appropriate remedy for any social 
problem. And so, year by year and decade by decade, the bureaucracy grows 
larger and larger, and the tax burden builds higher and higher. 
Totalitarians eventually gain the advantage, and it is merely a matter of 
time before freedom is extinguished. 
   As the problems created by partial controls multiply, there is a logical 
extension of partial controls to universal controls and it is here that the 
full and horrible price of abandoning free market principles is made 
explicit. Productive capacity and the incentive to work decline continually; 
and therefore the government is eventually led to seize control over all 
production and distribution. 
   Even when the people become aware that the government is hideously 
bloated, they have little incentive to curtail it. On the one hand, people 
don't have the foggiest understanding of "spontaneous order," i.e., that 
problems can be solved by unplanned processes that are not the result of any 
controlling authority's specific intentions or conscious designs. (The 
economic process by means of which everyone is provided with shoes is an 
example of such a "spontaneous order" phenomenon.) On the other hand, people 
don't understand that many of the social problems they face are the result 
of past government actions, and that the only real solution for them is an 
indirect one, to wit: to repeal earlier programs and let individuals take 
care of things themselves. 

   The argument that the functions of government law are the assignment of 
property rights and the protection of those rights is a dishonest argument. 
Government governs by means of mediating wealth transfers, imposing behavior 
controls, and protecting (and expanding) its institutions. But don't expect 
honesty from government: in June of 1984, the Supreme Court ruled 
unanimously that prosecutors need not honor plea-bargain agreements. The 
Court maintained that as long as a plea-bargain agreement is "voluntarily 
accepted by a suspect with full awareness of the consequences," prosecutors 
are not bound to abide by it. 
   It seems that the more open and forthright the government is, the less 
obliged it is to be honest! 

   How well do delinquency treatment programs reduce recidivism? On average, 
45% of program participants are rearrested, versus 50% of those left to 
their own devices. Programs that concentrate on teaching job skills and 
rewarding pro-social attitudes cut rearrest rates to about 35%. "Scared 
Straight" and "Boot Camp" programs actually tend to increase recidivism 
slightly. Some of the seemingly best ideas have led to worsening of the 
behavior of those subjected to the ideas. Locking kids up will not reduce 
crime and may eventually make the problem worse. 
   One study tracked 10K males, born in Philadelphia in 1945, for 27 years; 
it found that just 6% of them committed 71% of the homicides, 73% of the 
rapes and 69% of the aggravated assaults attributed to the entire group. 
   If one were to predict that every boy in the study who was arrested early 
would go on to commit violent crimes, one would be wrong more than 65% of 
the time. Those so misidentified are known as false positives. All 
delinquency prediction models consist of about 50% false positives. 

   Just how violent is the American workplace? A report in the WSJ (13Oct94) 
reveals that 59 employees were killed by co-workers in 1993, out of a total 
national workforce of 121 million people. That is one in 2 million. The 
National Weather Service puts the odds of getting struck by lightning at one 
in 600K. 
   A series of overblown news reports, widely misinterpreted research and an 
emerging army of consultants have driven companies to a fear of their own 
workers that is unjustified. Executives are scared to death, but they're 
scared of the wrong thing. 

   According to the Statistical Abstract of the USA, the per capita loss to 
crime each year is $5760. But this pales in comparison to the $20470 that 
you could put into your pocket each year if government were abolished. (You 
can calculate this amount by summing up the total revenues of all federal, 
state, and local governments, then dividing that sum by the number of non-
government working people. The figures above are for the year 1990.) 

   There are always the types who insist on running the show but who 
wouldn't lift a finger to take out the garbage. Freedom means, in part, that 
we'll all have to learn to take out our own garbage, since in a free society 
no one will have the means to compel others to do it for us. Freedom makes 
demands on people. That's why government is so highly considered - it makes 
"the other fellow" do the work. One reason government in America is being 
pressured to create a socialized medical system is that such a system lets 
the government take care of another worry. An anarchist looks after him or 
herself. Too many people in this world can't and won't. They will look for a 
savior, a dictator or a committee to do the work, and will cheerfully make 
any sacrifice in order to be saved and cared for. 
   But the government answer has not worked; it will not work; it can not 
work. Unfortunately, the workable solutions are not permitted by government. 
   Government is a disease masquerading as its own cure. You can see the 
disastrous symptoms of this disease in the faces of the people. In their 
eyes you can see the flame of hope slowly dying, drowned by the harsh 
reality of survival in modern America as the nation sinks into the swamp of 
fascist tyranny. 

   * Government Murders During the 20th Century 
   In Millions (thru 1985) 

   War      35.7    (battle deaths:  WW1 9   WW2 15) 
   Non-war 150.5 
   Total   186.2 = 5% of earth's population during that period. 
                   This averages out to be one murder every 15 seconds. 
   Communist governments: 126.2 
   Fascist governments:    23.4 
   Democratic governments:   .9 
   This distinction among government types, although certainly useful for 
deciding where you should choose to live, is seen to be somewhat spurious 
when you consider that the Italian massacre of the Libyans must be 
attributed to Fascism - but the French massacre of the Algerians must be 
attributed to Democracy. I really doubt that it made any difference to the 
dead Arabs who considered themselves neither Libyan nor Algerian, fascist 
nor democratic. 
   Communists don't scare me; communist governments scare me, but the 
frightful thing is the government, not the communist. The Hutterite sect of 
Christianity, whose beliefs consist of pure and absolute communism, has 
existed for over 400 years, and during that time there has never been a 
murder by one of its members. 
   Keep in mind that this little expose of government murders includes only 
those people who were directly murdered by governments. It does not take 
into account the tens of millions who died in the deliberately-caused 
famines in the Soviet Union (8 million during the 1920s) and China (30 
million during the 1950s). Nor does it count those poor unfortunates 
repatriated by the Allied governments in Operation Keelhaul. Nor does it 
encompass all the damage and suffering caused by enslavement, property 
seizure and income theft that are perpetrated on a regular basis by ALL 
   Every minute 30 children die of hunger and disease. But during that same 
minute government spends the equivalent of 1.7 million dollars on war - war 
that is more and more directed against civilians: During WW1 civilians 
represented only 15% of all fatalities. By the end of WW2 the percentage had 
risen to 65%, including Holocaust casualties. In today's (1995) hostilities, 
more than 90% of all of those injured in war are civilians.  
   As Ayn Rand was fond of saying, the enormous population growth of the 
capitalist societies during the 19th century should of itself induce any 
life-loving person to embrace capitalism. Well, the perpetration of 186 
million murders should of itself induce any life-loving person to reject 
   You have been told all your life that the police serve the people, that 
they are the guardians of civilization. During a recent one-year period 
(1986), these were the rates of murders committed by police in various 
American cities: (the government does not call these "murders," but they are 
killings by the police, in the line of duty, of innocent civilians who are 
not suspected of any crime. No prosecutions ensue from these incidents.) 
   Dallas       .924 per 100K of the population (9) 
   Los Angeles  .743                            (22) 
   Denver       .700                            (4) 
   Houston      .462                            (8) 
   NYC          .185                            (14) 
   The numbers in ( ) are the actual number of people murdered that year. 
   Dallas and LA have the two highest rates of all cities in the country. I 
do not know how the other listed cities rank, and these are the only data I 
have. (The FBI does not keep track of these numbers.) 
   The census bureau classifies the USA urban population as being 167M, or 
74% of the total. Urban is considered to be communities of 50K or more. I 
assume that most of the murders occur in urban areas and so I use the 167M 
as a population base for these two extrapolations: 
   1. Using the lowest murder rate available (.185) there would be just over 
300 murders per year nationwide. 
   2. Using the average of all the murder rates (.603) there would be just 
over 1000 murders per year nationwide. 
   It is probably safe to assume that at least one poor citizen is being 
murdered by the police every day somewhere in the country. Contrast this 
with the rate at which police are being murdered: just over 100 per year. 
These statistics ARE kept by the FBI - and widely publicized. In fact there 
is a national day of mourning observed for murdered police - it is in May 
each year. 
   You might ask "Who are these poor people?" (Keep in mind that police do 
not accidently kill people; when a policeman takes out his gun and shoots 
it, he is TRYING to kill somebody. When a civilian performs the same action, 
it IS considered by the government to be an act of murder.) They range from 
a 5-year-old boy in Stanton CA to a 70-year-old woman in Dallas. They 
include an entire family of 11 people (including 4 children) who were 
DELIBERATELY burned to death in Philadelphia by the city police department, 
who held off the fire department until the fire had done its grisly work. 
This happened in May of 1985. After a two-year investigation, the city 
government announced that "no laws had been broken" by anyone involved. And 
mayor Goode boasted (yes, it was actually a boast!) that "the city 
government is more powerful now than it was then." 
   During the decade of the 1960s the Philadelphia city police murdered its 
citizens at the average rate of one per week (2.5 per 100K on an annual 
basis). This caused such a scandal that it provoked an investigation by the 
Federal Justice Department and the city cleaned up its act a little bit even 
though there were no indictments. 
   And if deliberately (and legally) burning children to death does not 
convince you of the viciousness of government, what would? 
   If you are a decent and benevolent person, you ought to believe in 
something different from what has killed so many people, and espouse an 
ethics that human beings could actually live by, and work for it to become 

   * The War On Drugs 
   In view of the furor over "crime" in America, it is rather enlightening 
to peruse some of the actual measurements of this "crime." These data come 
from the Statistical Abstract of the United States, 1992 edition, pages 180 
thru 195. They clearly show the results of the Republican (Reagan/Bush) 
regime's emphasis on fighting drug use. 

   Total number of criminal offenses known to the police: 
   1980 13.4million     1990 14.4million     a rise of 7% 

   Drug arrest rates (per 100K population) 
   1980 256    1985 346     1989 527         a rise of 106% 

   Tried in U.S. District Courts: 
   Marijuana    1980 2thousand  1990  5thousand   a rise of 150% 
   Other drugs  1980 3thousand  1990 13thousand   a rise of 333% 

   Sentenced to prison in U.S. District Courts: 
   1980    Total 14thousand   Drugs  4thousand 
   1990    Total 28thousand   Drugs 14thousand 
            a rise of 100%     a rise of 250% 

   Observe that half the sentences nowadays are for drug crimes and that the 
number of drug sentences today equals the total number of sentences for ALL 
crimes in 1980. 
   For every 1000 non-drug arrests made by the police, three criminals get 
sentenced to prison. For every 1000 drug arrests, 16 are sent to prison. 

   An examination of the breakdown of the "Total number of criminal 
offenses" reveals that many categories of violent crime changed little 
during the 1980s. In fact, the increase in the total population of America 
has resulted in a per capita DECLINE in several of these rates: 
   Total of offenses known: -2.2% 
   Murder: -7.8% 
   Total property crime: -4.9% 
   Burglary: -26.6% 

   An analysis of these numbers reveals clearly that there is indeed a 
"crime wave" sweeping America. But it is not murderers and burglars who are 
responsible - it is people puffing the wrong kind of cigarettes who are 
overloading the nation's prisons. The FedGov's response - putting more 
police onto the streets and pouring more money into the coffers of local 
law-enforcement agencies - is counterproductive: it can only exacerbate the 
situation because it will lead to a more vigorous and thorough enforcement 
of the Drug Laws. 

   Some measures of the insanity of the Drug War: 
   The morphine required for a $100 fix from a dirty needle in a back alley 
could be purchased from the local drugstore for just $1, if not for the 
anti-drug laws. In 1973, John Hospers calculated that two-thirds of the 
violent crime in New York City would quite simply and quietly disappear 
overnight if all the drug laws were repealed, since that is the proportion 
of the crime that is caused by addicts who need the money for a fix. Half 
the prisoners in the Texas state prison system are there for violation of 
drug laws, NOT for violent crimes! How peculiar that the government does not 
blame the obesity of fat persons on the merchants who sell them food, but it 
does blame the drug habits of addicts on the merchants who sell them drugs. 
   On the positive side, it is clear that government itself would benefit 
from a change in drug policy: reclassifying marijuana possession from a 
felony to a misdemeanor reduced the felony caseload of the Los Angeles 
police by 25%.  
   You might think that sooner or later the government would realize the 
insane idiocy of its policy on drugs. But keep this in mind: although 
Prohibition lasted only 14 years, the Drug War has continued for over two 
generations with no sign of abating. Remember also that the Nazis did not 
abandon their persecution of the Jews, even when the manpower involved was 
critically needed to defend the gates of Berlin itself. Thus there is no 
reason to surmise the government will cease its insanity short of out-and-
out social collapse. 
   I see another rationale for the government not only to continue this 
insanity, but to amplify it: An American's enthusiasm for law and order is 
directly proportional to the degree to which he believes his personal safety 
and livelihood are threatened. When the perceived threat grows, so does his 
willingness to be policed. If the average American can be led to believe, 
through the government's stridently minatory propaganda about drug use, that 
these "rabidly crazed" marijuana puffers (remember the movie, Reefer 
Madness?) pose a horrifying threat, then an increasingly alarmed public will 
demand that every federal, state, and local police resource be augmented to 
combat the "narco-terrorists." This is good news for police budgets 
   It's asking a lot of a politician to defy a political culture that treats 
speaking reasonably about the pros and cons of legalizing drugs as if it 
were on a par with speaking reasonably about the pros and cons of 
   Nor do I see hope in attempts to elicit public discussion of the issue. 
Discussion is futile when directed not toward general principles but merely 
toward the specific phenomena which are consequences of those principles. 
This precept becomes eminently clear during debates about legalizing drugs. 
They invariably degenerate from a very brief and superficial mention of the 
underlying principles into lengthy disputes over the specific means that 
would be used for distributing the drugs if they were to be legalized. But 
these disputes always assume the existence of a Controlling Authority that 
would have jurisdiction over drugs. 
   A disagreement that does not challenge fundamentals serves only to 
reinforce them. If, for the question: "Do you want slavery?" your opponents 
manage to substitute the question: "What kind of slavery do you want?" then 
they can afford to let you argue indefinitely; they have already won their 
point. Thus do the proponents of statism set the terms of the debate by 
swindling the advocates of Freedom into an implicit acceptance of the 
statist premise. If you allow them to get away with this, they will 
eventually end up setting the terms for everyone's life. But that is the 
ultimate goal of the State: to set the terms for everyone's life. 

   There are other, less widely-known, aspects of the government's drug 
policy that have severely detrimental effects on American society: 
   The FDA doesn't want anybody to be killed by medicines (that would look 
bad for the FDA's record) but they don't care how many people die of 
diseases resulting from the government's prevention of the development and 
sale of medicines. 
   Put yourself in the position of an FDA official charged with approving or 
disapproving a new drug. You can make two very different mistakes: 
   1. Approve a drug that turns out to be dangerous. 
   2. Refuse approval of a drug that would have been beneficial. 
   If you make the first mistake you will become infamous. If you make the 
second mistake, nobody will ever know it. Thus, with the best will in the 
world, you will inevitably tend to delay or reject any and every new drug. 
You will compel the drug companies to Shrug. 
   An examination of the therapeutic significance of drugs that are 
forbidden in the US but are available elsewhere in the world, such as in 
France, reveals this in action. 
   And in those instances where the approved drug turns out to be a bummer 
(such as Thalidomide), not only do the drug companies have a vested interest 
in concealing this (as the tobacco companies did for decades) but even the 
FDA has a vested interest in looking to justify its original decision to 
approve the drug. 

   As many as 95% of cancer patients can get relief if properly medicated. 
Tragically, many continue to suffer needlessly. A 1993 study found that 85% 
of the physicians who treat cancer patients provided inadequate relief for 
the majority of those in pain. What accounts for the astonishing gap between 
the degree of relief that is possible and the suffering that still persists 
in reality? Sadly, the effort to improve the management of pain has been 
enormously restricted by the war on drugs. The years of antidrug campaigns 
have left both the public and health care professionalds with greatly 
exaggerated fears about the risks of opioids, which are still the most 
effective known painkillers. 
   Many studies have shown that the medical use of analgesic drugs is safe 
and does not cause psychological addiction in those who had not previously 
shown such a tendency. Even when patients can administer the drug themselves 
with bedside pumps they rarely deliver more than they need to suppress their 
pain. Those who receive opioids may become physically dependent - that is, 
the drug must be withdrawn slowly to prevent the physical effects of 
withdrawal - but this state is very different from true addiction, which is 
characterized by constant craving and compulsive drug-seeking behavior. 

   The psychiatric profession is also deeply affected: 
   To therapists, the addict needs help to solve a problem, the problem 
being that he uses a drug of which they disapprove. But to the addict, the 
only problem is how to get the drugs he wants. He doesn't see himself as 
"sick," and he doesn't want "treatment." Authorities who are intervening to 
control his behavior react as tyrants always do - whether they be central 
planners trying to make their citizens conform to some national plan, or 
foreign policy planners trying to control people in other countries - by 
getting angry with the people who don't appreciate the intervention of 
"experts" into their lives. The victimizers, in short, blame the victims. 
They demand the right to enforce their ideas at the point of a gun, that is: 
through the power of government. And this IS a problem. 
   The principle role of medical, and especially psychiatric, professionals 
in the administration and enforcment of chemical statism is to act as double 
agents - helping politicians to impose their will on the people by defining 
self-medication as a disease, and helping the people to bear their 
privations by supplying them with drugs. This is a major national tragedy 
whose very existence has so far remained unrecognized, and whose 
consequences may be devastating. (See Chapter 12 - Dictatorship American 
   See reference) 
   Consider that the tranquilizer Valium is the most widely-prescribed drug 
in the USA. Its sale is a multi-billion dollar business. Suppose something 
happened that resulted in the cessation of its distribution (and also that 
of other similar drugs). What would be the effect on all those stressed 
people whose mental stability depends on such drugs? Kurt Saxon maintains 
that this might well be the most devastating result of a collapse of our 
economy. All those neurotics might go crazy and destroy everything in their 

   It is laws which create much of social context - the Prohibition laws 
created the "Alcohol War" context. Today's Drug laws create today's "Heroin 
War" context. Unjust laws are creating a deeply divided and corrupt society, 
where the appearance of orthodoxy is everything, and intelligence, humanity 
and common sense count for almost nothing. 
   If a man long afficted by a toxic chemical suffers sudden convulsions and 
then dies from them, one might validly say that the convulsions were the 
immediate cause of the death, so long as one remembers the ultimate cause. 
The same is true of a country addicted to a toxic ideology.  
   Throughout history, rulers have picked on various scapegoats to divert 
attention from the results of their policies, including Jews, Christians, 
eccentrics and now drug users. If drugs were really so terrible why were 
they completely legal between 1776 and 1914 - without serious social 
problems? It is not the drug that is the problem, but the ideology of 
   Edmund Burke observed that "it is ordered in the eternal constitution of 
things that men of intemperate minds cannot be free. Their passions forge 
their fetters." Nor can men of infantile minds and childish habits be free. 
Their state-induced passions forge their fetters. 
   Governments cause pain, misery and suffering by passing laws, and then 
point to that same pain, misery and suffering (which were caused by the 
laws) as the reason the laws are necessary - and even why the laws should be 
more strongly enforced! Nowhere is this spurious chain of "cause and effect" 
more devastatingly manifest than in the War on Drugs. The real cause of 
immigration and drug-war horror stories is the enforcement of anti-
immigration and anti-drug laws, not the people forced into dangerous and 
degrading circumstances by those laws. (When was the last time you read 
about armed thugs doing battle over the distribution of Aspirin or Valium?) 

   On to Chapter 8
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