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CHAPTER SIX

STRETCH YOUR IMAGINATION

I, the Teacher, when king over Israel in Jerusalem, applied my mind to seek and to search out by wisdom all that is done under heaven.
Ecclesiastes 1, verses 12-13

"In the province of the mind, what one believes to be true is true or becomes true, within certain limits to be found experientially and experimentally. These limits are further beliefs to be transcended. In the mind there are no limits."
John Lilly

In Chapter One you were asked to stretch your imagination and to consider the possibility of "free market money." The notion that people should be free to choose their own money may have seemed bizarre at first. Most of us, including most economists take it for granted that a country must have one currency, that the government must dictate what that currency shall be, and the government must control the value of that currency. With a stretch of your imagination you can transcend this limitation. This is what F.A. Hayek, winner of the Nobel Prize for Economics in 1974, did. In his book Denationalization of Money he wrote:

"In my despair about the hopelessness of finding a politically feasible solution to what is technically the simplest possible problem, namely to stop inflation, I threw out in a lecture... a somewhat startling suggestion, the pursuit of which has opened quite unexpected new horizons. I could not resist pursuing the idea further, since the task of preventing inflation has always seemed to me to be of the greatest importance, not only because of the harm and suffering major inflations cause, but also because I have long been convinced that even mild inflations ultimately produce the recurring depressions and unemployment which have been a justified grievance against the free enterprise system and must be prevented if a free society is to survive.

The further pursuit of the suggestion that government should be deprived of its monopoly of the issue of money opened the most fascinating theoretical vistas and showed the possibility of arrangements which have never been considered. As soon as one succeeds in freeing oneself of the universally but tacitly accepted creed that a country must be supplied by its government with its own distinctive and exclusive currency, all sorts of interesting questions arise which have never been examined. The result was a foray into a wholly unexplored field."

Many authors attempt to communicate a particular set of ideas, beliefs, and conclusions. They also attempt to persuade the reader to follow a particular pattern of behavior. This chapter attempts to present you with ranges of ideas. It invites you to think for yourself, to select and formulate the set of ideas most appropriate for you. The purpose of these ranges of ideas is to stretch your imagination, so that you will have more options available to you, when it comes to deciding what you will do about the economic rape of America.

VOLUNTARY EXCHANGE
A central issue we need to address is that of value creation, value consumption, and value destruction. Generally, wealth is accumulated through value creation. When you produce and deliver products and services that benefit the lives of others, you create values. They provide you with value in return, usually in the form of money or currency. When you provide opportunities for others to create values - for example, by an invention that saves time and effort, by a medical breakthrough that extends human life, or by creating a great company - you also create values.

When you eat your food or drive your car you consume values. When you transport products from a place where they have little or no value to a place where they are of great value, you consume values (fuel, time, energy) in order to create value (the increase in value of the products transported). Some of the values you consume - for example, the air you breathe and energy from the sun - you receive free and gratis.

Some regard the human individual as the greatest value. If you murder someone you destroy a value. Though you could argue that murdering a "Hitler" - an extreme value destroyer - would on balance represent a creation of value. War represents one of the greatest value destroyers. AIDS is a value destroyer - or, at least, the virus and other factors that bring about AIDS. Sometimes values are destroyed to create greater values - for example, sometimes an old building, though still having value and being useful, is demolished in order to erect a new, larger, and much more valuable building.

Different people value things differently. This makes it possible for people to exchange products, services, and money so that all parties achieve an increase in value. Example: I can apply the information in a particular book to increase my income by $1000 without any additional effort, besides reading the book. (I estimate the cost of my reading effort as $200). It costs the publisher $15 (including company overheads) to produce, market, and distribute the book. I buy the book for $20, and achieve an increase in value of $780 ($1000 - $20 - $200). The publisher achieves an increase in value of $5 ($20 - $15) for every book sold. All parties achieve an increase in value. (Note that even if I had paid $50 or $100 for the book, it would still have been a bargain!)

Generally, voluntary exchange occurs because all the parties involved achieve an increase in value. Voluntary exchange could be called the economic means for obtaining the values necessary for survival. It involves working in order to live.

One could also obtain the values needed for survival through stealing or robbing. When individuals do it, we simply call it stealing or robbing. In the case of slavery, we force others to provide us with values. When many people organize themselves into a "government" in order to steal and rob, we call it "taxation." This could be called the political means for obtaining the values needed for survival.

TAX AS EXCHANGE
How does tax fit into the picture? Please stretch your imagination. Theoretically, taxes could be organized in different ways:

Of course, the word "tax" is inappropriate in some of the above sentences. I leave it to you, the reader, to decide how taxes should be organized, and why - and the implications of taxes being organized in some particular way. Some questions may help:

Please consider:

In the Appendix to Trial by Jury, Lysander Spooner wrote in 1852:

"It was a principle of the Common Law, as it is of the law of nature, and of common sense, that no man can be taxed without his personal consent. The Common Law knew nothing of that system, which now prevails in England, of assuming a man's own consent to be taxed, because some pretended representative, whom he never authorized to act for him, has taken it upon himself to consent that he may be taxed. That is one of the many frauds on the Common Law, and the English constitution, which have been introduced since Magna Carta. Having finally established itself in England, it has been stupidly and servilely copied and submitted to in the United States.

If the trial by jury were reëstablished, the Common Law principle of taxation would be reëstablished with it; for it is not to be supposed that juries would enforce a tax upon an individual which he had never agreed to pay. Taxation without consent is as plainly robbery, when enforced against one man, as when enforced against millions; and it is not to be imagined that juries could be blind to so self-evident a principle. Taking a man's money without his consent, is also as much robbery, when it is done by millions of men, acting in concert, and calling themselves a government, as when it is done by a single individual, acting on his own responsibility, and calling himself a highwayman. Neither the numbers engaged in the act, nor the different characters they assume as a cover for the act, alter the nature of the act itself.

If the government can take a man's money without his consent, there is no limit to the additional tyranny it may practice upon him; for, with his money, it can hire soldiers to stand over him, keep him in subjection, plunder him at discretion, and kill him if he resists. And governments always will do this, as they everywhere and always have done it, except where the Common Law principle has been established. It is therefore a first principle, a very sine qua non of political freedom, that a man can be taxed only by his personal consent. And the establishment of this principle, with trial by jury, insures freedom of course; because: 1. No man would pay his money unless he had first contracted for such a government as he was willing to support; and, 2. Unless the government then kept itself within the terms of its contract, juries would not enforce the payment of the tax. Besides, the agreement to be taxed would probably be entered into but for a year at a time. If, in that year, the government proved itself either inefficient or tyrannical, to any serious degree, the contract would not be renewed. The dissatisfied parties, if sufficiently numerous for a new organization, would form themselves into a separate association for mutual protection. If not sufficiently numerous for that purpose, those who were conscientious would forego all governmental protection, rather than contribute to the support of a government which they deemed unjust.

All government is a mutual insurance company, voluntarily agreed upon by the parties to it, for the protection of their rights against wrong-doers. In its voluntary character it is precisely similar to an association for mutual protection against fire or a shipwreck. Before a man will join an association for these latter purposes, and pay the premium for being insured, he will, if he be a man of sense, look at the articles of the association; see what the company promises to do; what it is likely to do; and what are the rates of insurance. If he be satisfied on all these points, he will become a member, pay his premium for a year, and then hold the company to its contract. If the conduct of the company prove unsatisfactory, he will let his policy expire at the end of the year for which he has paid; will decline to pay any further premiums, and either seek insurance elsewhere, or take his own risk without any insurance. And as men act in the insurance of their ships and dwellings, they would act in the insurance of their properties, liberties and lives, in the political association, or government.

The political insurance company, or government, have no more right, in nature or reason, to assume a man's consent to be protected by them, and to be taxed for that protection, when he has given no actual consent, than a fire or marine insurance company have to assume a man's consent to be protected by them, and to pay the premium, when his actual consent has never been given. To take a man's property without his consent is robbery; and to assume his consent, where no actual consent is given, makes the taking none the less robbery. If it did, the highwayman has the same right to assume a man's consent to part with his purse, that any other man, or body of men, can have. And his assumption would afford as much moral justification for his robbery as does a like assumption, on the part of the government, for taking a man's property without his consent. The government's pretence of protecting him, as an equivalent for the taxation, affords no justification. It is for himself to decide whether he desires such protection as the government offers him. If he do not desire it, or do not bargain for it, the government has no more right than any other insurance company to impose it upon him, or make him pay for it.

Trial by the country, and no taxation without consent, were the two pillars of English liberty, (when England had any liberty,) and the first principles of the Common Law. They mutually sustain each other; and neither can stand without the other. Without both, no people have any guaranty for their freedom; with both, no people can be otherwise than free."

GOVERNMENT, CONSTITUTION, AND LAW
In order for you to choose the best course of action to deal with the economic rape of America, there are more issues you need to resolve. Specifically, you need to clarify your view of, and your relationship to, "government," "constitution," and "law." You need to determine where you stand in relation to these ideas or institutions. It is important that whatever course of action you embark upon is morally and psychologically based on social beliefs you regard as valid.

The views that follow are not presented as "right" or "wrong," "true" or "false." It is up to you to formulate your own views, which may be variations of those here presented - or completely different.

VIEWS ON GOVERNMENT

Allow me to repeat that these views are not presented as "right" or "wrong," "true" or "false." It is up to you to formulate your own views, which may be variations of those here presented - or completely different. It is your views that will determine what you will do about the economic rape of America and it is important that whatever course of action you embark upon is morally and psychologically based on political beliefs you regard as valid. You want to be certain that whatever you do, there will be no guilt, shame, or regret.

VIEWS ON CONSTITUTION

VIEWS ON LAW

To the question, "But what do we replace government, constitution, and law with?," I offer several possible views. Again, I invite you to formulate your own:

Again, let me repeat that these views are not presented as "right" or "wrong," "true" or "false." It is up to you to formulate your own views, which may be variations of those here presented - or completely different. It is your views that will determine what you will do about the economic rape of America, and it is important that whatever course of action you embark upon is morally and psychologically based on your beliefs about lawfulness, legality, and legitimacy. You want to be certain that whatever you do, there will be no guilt, shame, or regret.

But whatever you and I believe about "government," "constitution," and "law," there are billions of people out there who believe the versions disseminated by politicians and bureaucrats (territorial gangsters?), preachers, teachers, television, newspapers, and radio - and there are millions of armed police (more territorial gangsters?) to take care of "unbelievers." To fight or attempt to change the system may be futile - and dangerous. I suggest that, even if you are passionately committed to changing the system, that you consider your personal interests first. It might take 20, 100, or even 1,000 years before any meaningful change occurs...

If you want to make any changes, consider that it is much easier to change your own thinking and behavior than those of others. Changing yourself may empower you; while attempting to change others may rob you of your power. If you focus on what you can do to maximize your own values first, you can reap and enjoy the rewards very quickly - while also empowering yourself to influence others - even if only by example.


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