Tuesday, January 29, 2013

“The Police State” Brought to you by . . .

So now it happens that Cook County (for those of you outside of Illinois, better known as Crook County) has a corporate sponsor for the real estate tax bills sent out. The ad is right there on the tax bill. Chase Bank is offering a $!00 savings on who knows what. Wouldn’t want to waste my time finding out. My first reaction was, Well, now fascism has no shame. It’s right in the open. But some of my libertarian colleagues see nothing wrong. After all, this is saving taxpayers money holding down the mailing costs. But the marriage is insidious. If you look at the long run, how the marriage of big corporations and government has snuffed out the small businessman, especially at the state level where the big boys are given the tax breaks and everyone else has to make up the difference, by allowing this to happen, one is basically waving the white flag. We will never get to have equal opportunity under the law as long as this type of thing is allowed. Enforcing the 14th Amendment would go much further in reducing our taxes than an advertised corporate mailing does.

But I do see the trend. Not in the too distant future, . . .

Swat-team raid funded by the GEO Group, the leader in private prison administration. “Constitution? We don’t need no stinkin’ Constitution.”

Front yard gardening citation sponsored by Scotts. Green lawns, forever. “Bastions of sameness--It’s the American way.”

Your income tax bill sponsored by H&R Block. “Compliance is a virtue.”

Prison Tortures Reality TV, brought to you by Erotic Leathers, Inc.

"Public Education": Molding students to obedience, compliance and dutiful citizenship since 1642, brought to you by the National Federation of School Boards, with additional sponsorship by the NEA.

Domestic drone attacks sponsored by Northrup Grumman “Because there is a potential terrorist lurking behind every rock.”

This five-mile backup brought to you by the Road Construction Guild of America. Stimulizing America. “You want jobs? We got jobs!”

This limited gun confiscation sponsored by the Brady Center. “Don’t worry. It’ll never happen here.”

“Middle East Bombings, Live!”sponsored by the Military Industrial Complex, Dick Cheney, honorary chairman, hosted by Charles Krauthammer.

Red light ticket citations backed by American Traffic Solutions, your source for red light surveillance since 1984. “You’re on candid camera!”

This Excessive Energy Use citation sponsored by Solar Solutions, Inc. “Who said you can’t tax the sun?”

Uninsured motorist citation sponsored by State Farm Insurance. “State farms were a great idea, State farm Insurance even better.”

“Public Canings of Recalcitrant Teens” brought to you by the Imperial Cane and Strap Co., makers of the finest rattan canes imported from Singapore, when flexibility and sturdiness are required for maximum effect. Tested by the Saint Catherine’s Sisters of the Poor Convent.

Mandatory yearly vaccinations sponsored by the Big Pharma Guild.. FDA Approved,. Liability exempted. “It’s for your own good.”

This printing-press run brought to you by Goldman Sachs. “We know bailouts.”

Dutiful Evaluation of the Aged in Terminal Health (DEATH) Panel, formulated by the Heritage Foundation, Romney/Obama sub group, “After all, you’ve already had a wonderful life.”

As this all becomes reality, we might as well bring this idea to full fruition. As some have already observed, here is an idea whose time has come: mandatory Nascar-style jackets worn by all elected politicians sporting the brands to which they are all beholden. Oh, what a lovely sport.


  1. Excellent essay Ken! Apologies for the delay, but I've been so upset by some things "our libertarian colleagues" (OLC) have said lately that I had to take a break for a week or two.

    Over the years I've (alas) almost come to expect a lot of confusion among OLC when it comes to things like the profound difference between true privitization (goverment withdrawel to allow several companies to compete for customers) and fascism (most of a company's income coming from the taxpayers or government-granted monopoly rights).

    But some recent things said by OLC's really knocked me for a loop. IIRC one was on strike-the-root, and another was by a fairly well known libertarian essay writer. The jist of both of these articles was that it is okay for a libertarian to use the government to get as much money as possible from others!

    One rationalized it by saying that even though you weren't returning the stolen money to the rightful owner, somehow you getting the money was better than "the goverment" getting it (as if your actions won't increase the taxation on others next year).

    The other OLC was really upset about an article in Reason that pointed out that old people are using the power of government to take money from the young, making the lives of the young even worse than they would otherwise be. The OLC claimed that people like him were just getting back the money they put into the system.

    One or both of OLCs even ridiculed anyone who disagreed with them, stating that anyone who did so couldn't (for instance) claim a tax refund. This equating of the trivial with the extreme made me extra sad, as it made me realize just how far so many libertarians have fallen since the days when people did seriously debate the ethics of accepting a tax refund (trivial as it is in the overall scheme of things). In fact, some of us (including myself for several years in the 90s) did end up declining our tax refunds.

    Now of course nobody, even me (even back in my idealistic youth) would say that you can avoid taking other's money completely, including using the public roads and such. But I don't recall anyone back then (the 90s) advocating whosesale use of the government to take money from others, as these two (or more) recent OLCs have.

    And I'm not saying (especially given the economy) that people shouldn't take government assistance when needed. But it should be done with a heavy heart, not glee. Especially when done by old people who spent their lives voting for the very politicians (and making economic choices) that have destroyed the economy. Such people (especially government employees) have probably already gotten out of the system more than they deserve.

    I'm sorry to ramble on so long, but I'm really upset. And it troubles me to think that the very OLCs that think this way are the ones who are most likely to be able to afford to go to conventions, select officers, be delegates, etc. For if one behaves just like a non-libertarian, then why should one be allowed to select the officers and candidates?

    I guess OLC would claim the right derives from them voting libertarian in elections. And yet so many OLCs (especially on STR it seems) say that voting is a pointless waste of time! So what exactly about these OLCs make them libertarians?

    I have long feared that to many being a libertarian is not something you live on a day-to-day basis, but a religion that has certain rituals that, if partaken of, absolve you the rest of the time.

    Except that instead of going to church on Sunday, you go to an convention at least once a year. By attending, and going through the rituals of selecting officers, making trivial (if painful) changes to the platfrom and bylaws, electing candidates, and so forth, for the rest of the year you have dispensation to use the power of government to oppress others as much as you want.

    (And of course the last thing such OLCs want is to actually achieve a libertarian society.)

  2. P.S. Sorry I'm seldom available to particpate in your show live. (Obviously I'd like to.) Bad time slot for me.


  3. Hi Neal,

    good to hear from you. Well, there's bad apples in all groups. I take those things in stride.