July 28, 2020

A recent article has criticized Libertarian Party presidential candidate Joe Jorgensen because she appeared on a podcast that had sympathetic leanings toward the, so-called, boogaloo movement.  Despite the sensationalized attempt to suppress any candidate from breaking the American political duopoly  

The boogaloo movement is leaderless and unorganized.  It is merely a phenomenon that started with a ridiculous meme about a likely second civil war in the United States being called Civil War Two: Electric Boogaloo.

This boogaloo phenomenon could be called a caricature of a bad movie about break dancing that somehow gained momentum and latched onto the current zeitgeist of social tension.  It has reached almost absurd proportions, to the degree that participants in this supposed American Civil War should wear Hawaiian shirts as they battle the forces of tyranny.  Somehow, those Hawaiian shirts will give them a tactical advantage akin to those claiming they could penetrate Area 51 by doing a Naruto run.

The whole thing is just preposterous.  However, it also indicates an acceptance of the inevitability of some form of breakdown in legal order.  As government becomes more oppressive, or I should say for clarity’s sake, rather, that as more people try to use governmental authority to oppress other citizens, a backlash will occur.  

The cycle of regime decline and collapse is readily observable.  States tend to self-destruct over time, not necessarily on account of some evil design, although there are certainly some people that have ill intent.  Most people in government service believe that they are doing the right thing.  They've been conditioned to believe in the power of the state to centrally manage society and those workers are simply ‘doing their jobs’.  Yet the unfortunate reality is that the more government takes, in terms of responsibility and authority, the less skillful the use of resources becomes.  This is because politics is brought into implementation by way of bureaucratic management; and bureaucracies are, by their very nature, bastions of socialism.

Socialism is devoid of economic calculation in the employment of resources and is, therefore, inherently wasteful.  Because governments are increasingly consuming more swaths of resources at the expense of the taxpaying public; and because they are socialistically managing those resources, thereby wasting them, the dead weight loss to society increases and the burden becomes ever more onerous to bear.

Just as the original American Declaration of Independence indicates, one of the major grievances spurring that secession was that the king had erected new offices to eat out the substance of the colonists.

So, too, has government become increasingly burdensome upon the population, with new agencies consuming more and more resources at the expense of the taxpayer.  Robert Higgs, in his Crisis and Leviathan, spelled out the “ratchet effect” of how crises serve to precipitate rapid increases in government activity.  While the size and scope of government might reduce to some degree once the crisis has subsided, it never goes back to its original configuration. 

In this way, over decades and centuries, government has a tendency to grow regardless of Constitutions or limited, enumerated powers.  And because government implements policy by way of bureaucratic, socialistic management such policies rarely achieve the intended or advertised effects despite squandering the resources that are dedicated to those tasks.  This leads to great dissatisfaction amongst the population of whom they are expected to serve.  

This dissatisfaction creates more social anxiety.  It is a dissatisfaction resulting from the poor quality of service coupled with the increased consumption of resources available to individuals within society.  The more resources consumed by government leaves less resources for the population at large.

So, there exists a dynamic effect of more resources being consumed by wasteful government and less resources available for private enjoyment.  This is, at essence, a downward spiral of continually failing governmental services, and especially the chief governmental service, the whole reason for enacting government in the first place which is to secure rights: rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.  

It is important to recognize that none of those high ideals can be put into practice with mere political pronouncements and platitudes.  The only way to actually implement the protection of rights is by recognizing a private property standard.

Private property is the whole basis of civilization.  Civilization exists when people respect the property rights of others.  Conversely, uncivilized behavior is characterized by disrespect for private property rights.  Rights, including so-called human rights, are best understood by way of private property boundaries.

True liberalism is premised upon a society and legal system that respects private property.  Private property includes a person's physical body.  It includes their ability to make choices about how they treat their physical body, what they consume, and how they spend their time. 

Yet also, and most importantly, is that they are free to use the products of their labor; to trade their time, labor, and possessions with others according to their own preferences and in ways that they can find agreement with others.  This is an essential ingredient for a peaceful, harmonious, and prosperous society.  Private property rights are indispensable to reducing conflict.

This is also why martial artists (of which every able-bodied American is constitutionally obligated to train) must also study political economy: martial arts teach how to apply force skillfully while the science of political economy teaches when, and for what reasons, to ethically apply that force.

Most people don't want to think about one of the other inherent extensions of the right to private property and that is the right of each individual to choose who helps to secure their own private property, which of course includes their physical body.  

The right of private property includes the choice of security provider.

People can choose to be their own security provider and, to some extent, everyone must ultimately be capable of defending themselves, yet this is highly inefficient.  At some point, people must rest, they must engage in other productive activities in order to create value in the world and exchange what they have to get what they want. 

It is, then, natural that some security specialists emerge to maximize the benefits of the division of labor and social cooperation.  Inevitably, under a truly liberal theory of social organization, specialized security providers form dedicated protection and justice enforcement firms that would probably appear similar to the basic outlines of what we call government today.

However, those governments, in a free society, would lack the latitude to make up the types of laws that they enforce in the way that legislation alters and undermines private property rights in the way currently in practice.  

Law under a strict private property standard is very simple:

Do all you have agreed to do and do not encroach upon other people or their property.

This then, of course, would limit the realm of enforceable behavior to criminal law and contracts.  Yet the key feature of this standard is that it can be universally applied to all people, at all times, simultaneously.  It affords no special privileges to political actors to abuse.

Criminal law is based upon maintaining the integrity of private property and security is about deterring any incursions to private property through the potential and readiness to use force, as well as demanding remuneration when any violations do occur.

Similarly, the enforcement of contract deals with examining exchanges of private property to assure no theft, fraud, or aggression interferes with the validity of the exchange.  So, again, all of this comes back to a private property legal standard and the full implications of recognizing what private property means.  

To reiterate, choice of who provides one’s security, as well as the degree to which one outsources that security, is embedded in the private property legal order.

As governments continually neglect and pervert these simple, universal standards and instead of providing actual security for private property and contracts turns to other things of which they have no legitimate involvement, such as the provision of health care, meddling with the insurance industry, pension products, or inventing wars that have nothing to do with protecting private property or the territorial integrity of a nation, increasing dissatisfaction will result. 

The reality is that protecting private property does not afford much prestige or opportunities to increase one's income in ways seen today, namely, bilking tax-payers to pay for boondoggles.

Government actors and political operatives are generally not satisfied with simply protecting private property.  Like all people, they are seeking increase.  Whatever they have, they want more of it.  They want more wealth, affluence, and authority and this inevitably leads to a clash of interests because these increases to the “public sector” comes at the expense of private individuals.  Yet, to justify this increasing authority, and increased resource consumption on behalf of the taxpaying public, government actors need persuasive outlets.

To do so, they need to enlist certain people to fortify and propagate their justifications.  This is why every court needs clerics and intelligentsia to publicize and popularize, indeed to glorify, state power.  They need to convince the populace of the legitimacy of continually enlarging the scope and sphere of government activity.  To this end they will spin a tapestry of lies. 

All war is based on deception as Sun Tzu wrote.  Additionally, as Carl von Clausewitz wrote, war is politics by other means.  Therefore, all politics is based on deception.  Michel Focault also posited this idea.

We can see this manifested all around us.  All politics is based on deception.  Even the best politicians tend to lie or at least embellish upon the truth so as to win public support for their position or cause.  Even the best bureaucrats, even the most well-intentioned, need to engage in some form of influential, convincing activity to justify their policies and programs, regardless of waste, inefficiency, and lack of authentic demand.  

As someone with over 30 years of military, law enforcement, and other government service I’m familiar with calling most of what government does a “self-licking ice cream cone.”  Most government activity would wither on the vine if not for the coercive taxing power that mandates funding regardless of consumer preference.  

Like a corollary to Parkinson’s Law about work expanding to fill the time available, government bureaucracies expand to consume the resources available.  They will persist and increasingly “eat out the people’s substance” so long as they are funded.   

This is one of the insights Anthony de Jasay wrote about in his book, The State, along with his article The Maximizing State.  Every state, must seek ever increasing access to resources in order to make some people better off.  Those beneficiaries are the people that political actors believe will justify their position.

In order to do that, they need to access resources and, in so doing, they need to make other people worse off.  There are no absolutes in life, there are only tradeoffs.  Those that have seen the ultimate result of this arrangement, government as an omnipotent provider rather than a mere property protector and dispute mediator, recognize its inevitable implosion.

Those that understand the terminal result of profligate, wasteful, omnipotent government understand that social unrest and a breakdown of legal order is inescapable.  These people were once known as preppers.  More recently, those that accept the inexorable upheaval resulting from unrestrained government power have chosen to find humor from the tragedy and shared memes on popular social media.  

Like all leaderless phenomenon and decentralized social movements, a diverse range of people can rally around an idea.  That the boogaloo movement has also attracted, unfortunately, some motivated by bigotry, hatred, or ignorance does not diminish the core insight that some form of cataclysm will result from the current, unsustainable, political and social trajectory.

When tensions are high, and exacerbated by yellow journalism, disastrous consequences are likely to result.  Rather than facilitating dialogue, promoting understanding, and appealing to common humanity, political actors and the sensational media are accentuating division.  As the central economic planners at the Federal Reserve and other extra-constitutional executive agencies are running out of options to obscure the resources being taken out of the hands of the taxpaying public in the name of government, they need to divert public attention.

The tactic is classical divide and rule attributed to Philip the Second of Macedon.  It is the same strategy conquerors and colonizers have used since ancient days to weaken a population so as to extract resources for their own aggrandizement.  Divide and rule remains the tool of aspiring tyrants even in modern democracies although refined through advances in technology and propaganda.  

There are, to be sure, some identifying with the boogaloo that have racist tendencies and outlooks.  There are plenty of people, of all political persuasions, that that take their frustrations out in unskillful ways.  There are some, known as accelerationists, that, in their dissatisfaction with the status quo, want to instigate the inevitable conflagration so as to move past it.  

There are also those identified with the boogaloo movement that have been arrested in violent crimes as well as conspiracies to commit crimes.  There will likely be many more as tensions continue to rise as voracious governments control ever more swaths of what was once in private hands.  

Yet none of this is inherently a product of the boogaloo meme.  Allegations tying anyone and everyone identifying with the boogaloo movement as having racist motivations or aggressive, violent intentions, is just a ploy the mockingbird media and other socialist agitators opportunity to besmirch anyone who recognizes the terminal conflict created by government resource consumption.

The boogaloo simply recognizes that things, as they are, will lead to an inevitable crackup–and they are not wrong.  Political-economic theory explains this quite rationally and the historical record is replete with illustrations.  One simply need only look at the decline and fall of the Roman Empire or the implosion of Tokugawa Shogunate.  

Whenever any governmental entity achieves or enjoys a monopoly on the use of force, relatively speaking, the price of justice and security will rise while the quality will decline until there is a transformative, and likely cataclysmic, event.  

The collapse of the Soviet Union is another case in point.  

Because socialists always run out of other people's money to spend, at some point, through the waste inherent to the inability to conduct rational economic calculation, the socialistic provision of security is a losing proposition from the consumer’s perspective.  Security is about reducing risk and instability.  The socialist production of security exacerbates risk to life liberty and property while also making misery and destruction inescapable.  

Berman's Law and Revolution shows that decentralization is the solution for improving legal theory and practice.  Western civilization advanced in Europe to become more peaceful, cooperative, and prosperous compared to contemporaries because of its decentralized competing centers of legal authority, particularly during the Middle Ages and prior to the 1648 Treaty of Westphalia. 

Real social anxiety begins when multiple actors are competing for a single center of power believing that such a level of control will give them leverage over their competitors.  This was one of the primary drivers of conflict in feudal Japan.  Different warlords vying for control of a unified seat of power to wield authority on behalf of the emperor who was considered a living god and the very source of law.  It was this one source of law that created a ‘king of the mountain’ type scenario whereby leading warriors felt the need to dominate their competitors so as to avoid being dominated by them.  

In contrast, Europe during the same time period had multiple centers of authority, or what Berman calls a “common legal order containing diverse legal systems” that “contributed to legal sophistication.  These specialized systems included merchant law, papal law, maritime law, and common law as alternatives to monarchical law.  There were no absolute authorities and it was the competition among these different centers of law and justice that kept them honest and innovative.  That someone seeking mediation or resolution could take their business to a competing authority ensure that the providers focused on rendering good and honest service to their customers.

The whole notion of needing a ‘law giver’ is misplaced.  Law is not to be made, it is to be discovered in terms of facts and circumstances related to particular cases.  Yet the law, under a common legal order yet with diverse systems, is consistent.  The core of law can be universally applied anywhere among any people and at all times. 

Because law has been so thoroughly perverted by politics, scientific law bears repeating: 

Do all you have agreed to do and do not encroach upon other people or their property.

A maximizing state, and by that it is important to remember that this actually refers to the people that occupy positions in and receive remuneration from the state, cannot be satisfied with an arrangement that limits their power, authority, and control over (other people’s) property.  The security and justice consumer, meaning the taxpaying public, pays for this wasteful consumption at the expense of their own livelihoods and well-being.  

As the late, great, Butler Shaffer once remarked, the once-free people of the United States have been conditioned, through false notions of a social contract, to celebrate a political commitment careening toward self-destruction.  

In sum, Joe Jorgensen is not wrong to engage with those who are sympathetic to the boogaloo movement and see the writing on the wall.  All notions of guilt for recognizing the inevitable consequences of tolerating a monopoly on the use of force, or having conversations with those that do, are also part of that deceitful conditioning compounding social conflict.

The cheerleaders of tyranny want to brainwash the public into believing in the efficacy and the legitimacy of the omnipotent state.  Of course they will make up lies, vilify honest brokers, and try to shame a political candidate merely for engaging in free speech with liberty minded podcast hosts.

The question to ask whenever someone tries to play these guilt by association games is: So what?  

Anyone trying to advance liberty needs to engage with as wide an audience as possible.  Decentralization, radical federalism, secession, and thoroughly minimizing the power of the state is the only path to restore peace from the current collision course with political violence.

Joe Jorgensen is simply trying to spread the message of liberty.  Liberty is the antidote to the monopoly on the use of force that engenders corruption, immiseration, and conflict.  There is no possibility of her winning the presidential election, yet even the message of liberty causes an allergic reaction from socialist agitators.  

Propagating liberty is exactly what is needed at a time like this.  Liberty is how to prevent the boogaloo.