"Posterity, you will never know how much it cost the present generation to preserve your freedom. I hope you will make good use of it. If you do not, I shall repent in heaven that ever I took half the pains to preserve it." -John Adams

Welcome to Patriot's Lament. We strive here to educate ourselves on Liberty. We will not worry ourselves so much with the daily antics of American politics, and drown ourselves in the murky waters of the political right or left.
Instead, we will look to the Intellectuals and Champions of Liberty, and draw on their wisdom of what it is to be a truly free people. We will learn from where our Providential Liberties are derived, and put the proper perspective of a Free Individual and the State.
Please join us!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Fugitive Slave Laws, Jury Nullification and Reality

In regards to the discussion on the radio show yesterday, I've found some information on how jury nullification played an instrumental role in the abolition of the institution of slavery in the united states, against the Supreme Court's own rulings mind you. It's important to remember that it was the Federal Government itself which was upholding slavery against the citizenry who were trying to raise the moral standard of society at the time). Read the Dred Scott v. Sandford ruling if you think I'm distorting anything here.

In regards to nullification:
The Fugitive Slave Law

Until the middle of the 1800s, federal and state judges often instructed the juries they had the right to disregard the court's view of the law. (Barkan, citing 52 Harvard Law Review, 682-616) Then, when northern jurors began to refuse to convict abolitionists who had violated the 1850 Fugitive Slave Law, judges began questioning jurors to find out if they were prejudiced against the government's position and dismissed any who were. In 1852 Lysander Spooner, a Massachusetts lawyer and champion of individual liberties, complained "that courts have repeatedly questioned jurors to ascertain whether they were prejudiced against the government. ... The reason of this ... was that 'the Fugitive Slave Law, so called' was so obnoxious to a large portion of the people, as to render a conviction under it hopeless (if the jurors were taken indiscriminately from among the people)." Modern treatments of abolitionism praise these jury-nullification verdicts for the role they played in helping the anti-slavery cause – rather than condemning them for "undermining" the rule of law and the uniformity of justice.

Spooner's work on slavery and nullification is also online thanks to the Liberty Fund's Online Library of Liberty.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Mises on price controls

The Austrian-American free market economist Ludwig von Mises (1881-1973) left Switzerland for the United States in August 1940. During the war years he wrote a number of books which criticized government intervention and control of the economy, especially price controls and rationing. He had witnessed firsthand how the Nazis used price controls in Europe and saw something very similar happening in the United States during World War 2. He thought the logical consequence of strict price controls would be a system of socialism:

The aim of price control is to decree prices, wages, and interest rates different from those fixed by the market. Let us first consider the case of maximum prices, where the government tries to enforce prices lower than the market prices.

The prices set on the unhampered market correspond to an equilibrium of demand and supply. Everybody who is ready to pay the market price can buy as much as he wants to buy. Everybody who is ready to sell at the market price can sell as much as he wants to sell. If the government, without a corresponding increase in the quantity of goods available for sale, decrees that buying and selling must be done at a lower price, and thus makes it illegal either to ask or to pay the potential market price, then this equilibrium can no longer prevail. With unchanged supply there are now more potential buyers on the market, namely, those who could not afford the higher market price but are prepared to buy at the lower official rate. There are now potential buyers who cannot buy, although they are ready to pay the price fixed by the government or even a higher price. The price is no longer the means of segregating those potential buyers who may buy from those who may not. A different principle of selection has come into operation. Those who come first can buy; others are too late in the field. The visible outcome of this state of things is the sight of housewives and children standing in long lines before the groceries, a spectacle familiar to everybody who has visited Europe in this age of price control. If the government does not want only those to buy who come first (or who are personal friends of the salesman), while others go home empty-handed, it must regulate the distribution of the stocks available. It has to introduce some kind of rationing. 

But price ceilings not only fail to increase the supply, they reduce it. Thus they do not attain the ends which the authorities wish. On the contrary, they result in a state of things which from the point of view of the government and of public opinion is even less desirable than the previous state which they had intended to alter. If the government wants to make it possible for the poor to give their children more milk, it has to buy the milk at the market price and sell it to these poor parents with a loss, at a cheaper rate. The loss may be covered by taxation. But if the government simply fixes the price of milk at a lower rate than the market, the result will be the contrary of what it wants. The marginal producers, those with the highest costs, will, in order to avoid losses, go out of the business of producing and selling milk. They will use their cows and their skill for other, more profitable purposes. They will, for example, produce cheese, butter, or meat. There will be less milk available for the consumers, not more. Then the government has to choose between two alternatives: either to refrain from any endeavors to control the price of milk and to abrogate its decree, or to add to its first measure a second one. In the latter case it must fix the prices of the factors of production necessary for the production of milk at such a rate that the marginal producers will no longer suffer losses and will abstain from restricting the output. But then the same problem repeats itself on a remoter plane. The supply of the factors of production necessary for the production of milk drops, and again the government is back where it started, facing failure in its interference. If it keeps stubbornly on, pushing forward its schemes, it has to go still further. It has to fix the prices of the factors of production necessary for the production of those factors of production which are needed for the production of milk. Thus the government is forced to go further and further, fixing the prices of all consumer goods and of all factors of production—both human (i.e., labor) and material—and to force every entrepreneur and every worker to continue work at these prices and wages. No branch of industry can be omitted from this all-round fixing of prices and wages and from this general order to produce those quantities which the government wants to see produced. If some branches were to be left free, the result would be a shifting of capital and labor to them and a corresponding fall of the supply of goods whose prices the government has fixed. However, it is precisely these goods which the government considers especially important for the satisfaction of the needs of the masses.

But when this state of all-round control of business is achieved, the market economy has been replaced by the German pattern of socialist planning. The government’s board of production management now exclusively controls all business activities and decides how the means of production—men and material resources—must be used.

The isolated measures of price fixing fail to attain the ends sought. In fact, they produce effects contrary to those aimed at by the government. If the government, in order to eliminate these inexorable and unwelcome consequences, pursues its course further and further, it finally transforms the system of capitalism and free enterprise into socialism.

Many American and British supporters of price control are fascinated by the alleged success of Nazi price control. They believe that the German experience has proved the practicability of price control within the framework of a system of market economy. You have only to be as energetic, impetuous, and brutal as the Nazis are, they think, and you will succeed. These men who want to fight Nazism by adopting its methods do not see that what the Nazis have achieved has been the building up of a system of socialism, not a reform of conditions within a system of market economy.
There is no third system between a market economy and socialism. Mankind has to choose between those two systems—unless chaos is considered an alternative.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Questions from the Interior Alaska voter guides

Each time I have asked Mr. Joshua Bennett questions I have recieved very prompt answers. Here are the Q & A for round 1.

What would you say are the top 3 attributes in a candidate?

1. Understanding the Constitution of the United States of America, and the State of Alaska, being willing to follow it even if it's not popular, and knowing that the Constitution limits the candidate if he is elected and not the citizen.

2. Understanding that private "property is surely a Right of mankind as Real as Liberty" and that government is instituted by the people to protect property and who knows it is unjust for a government to deny a citizen the free use of his own property.

3. Understanding that Liberty is for all people, and the elected official is required to see to it that all Citizens' Rights are protected, knowing that compromising even one Citizen's Rights is wrong, and that using force to tax one Individual to give to another is wrong.

What top five principles do you try to live by? Why?

I can narrow it down to two principles:

1. Love the Lord with all your heart.

2. Love your neighbor as yourself.

If you love your neighbor as yourself in all aspects of your personal, business, and public life, which means practicing self control and respecting the Rights of our neighbors, you can sleep at night knowing you always try to do Right by your fellow man, and you can live without the worry of accusations of wrongdoing being brought against you.
And it's how I want my children to live, so I need to show them by example.

What makes a community a great place to live?

A community that practices the "Golden Rule." If we all would, it would be evident that we do not need the government to regulate every aspect of our lives; the freedom that would come with that would encourage the free market and industry to thrive in our local community, and our local society would take care of those less advantaged through neighborly means, and not through the force of government. That would make a great and prosperous community to live in.

Have you ever made missteps in your political career? Care to elaborate or say what you would do differently today?

I have never had a career in politics, and don't intend to make it a career. I believe career politicians are a detriment to our society. Most have never known life outside of the public life, and have never created any real wealth, growth, or contributed to society from the private sector whatsoever. Instead, they take the wealth of the People to empower and entrench themselves, they stifle growth in the private sector by regulating it, and the contributions they make are of other people's wealth, and never their own. No, I don't think I want this to be a career.
If I did anything different, it would be to not run for a political office at all.

Many politicians (whether they run for Senate or School Board) always claim their best for the job due to “experience”, is experience all its cut out to be or are there more attributes we should be looking for?

As I said above, being an "experienced" politician is no attribute at all. Experience in the private working sector would be good, but knowledge of the fundamentals of Liberty and the relationship between the Citizen and the state are attributes I look for.

Website: Bennetts for borough on Facebook. Blog: Patriotslament.blogspot.com. I also have a radio show on Saturdays on KFAR at 10 a.m.

Follow Up to Joshua Bennett
Based on your answer to the political career question, and knowing you ran for Borough Assembly last year I’m curious what your goal is in this bid, especially considering your statement, “If I did anything different, it would be to not run for a political office at all.”

"I do not believe the 'political system' is a very valuable way to effect change. It usually comes down to the two 'sides' dividing the people and getting the people to be against their neighbor, which is anti-Liberty at its core. The problem is because of the 'other guy,' and takes the focus off of the actual problem, the political system itself. All we do when we see one of the parties come to power, is they use political force to push their way on others.
Where does that system and freedom coexist? It can't. So when I said if I did anything different, I would not run, it's because I am not seeking to force my ideals on anyone. I hope to use the forum that candidates get when they run for office to get the message of Liberty out (as I see it, based on history) to as many people as possible who might have otherwise never heard the concept.
If I won the seat, I would simply continue to use that 'bully pulpit' to try and show the fallacy of the system that steals and forces submission ,and contrast it with Liberty, with the hope some people would get it. If we can change people's way of thinking, then we have real change, and an honest change that isn't forced on anyone. Freedom.
But there are other ways to spread the message, which is what I meant by 'not running at all'." 

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Was war the only option?

Here are some interviews with people smarter, more qualified and more experienced than I questioning the permanent warfare state. Can we take the time this weekend to understand what we failed to 10 years ago? I'm not sure people want to understand, but these men offer insight for those who seek the truth.

Andrew Bacevich

Michael Scheuer

Chalmers Johnson

Robert Baer