The Platters released their famous song “The Great Pretender”on November 3, 1955. It’s popularity drove it to the number one position on both Rhythm and Blues and pop charts in 1956, according to Wikipedia. The words of the first stanza go like this:
As children, we all used our imaginations to fantasize and pretend, creating make-believe situations to amuse ourselves. As children and even as adults, some of us may pretend that our personal circumstances or relationships are different from reality as a means of coping with difficulties and stress. Sadly, however, our culture is based on illusions – illusions that a moment’s reflection could dispel, if it weren’t for the overwhelming social pressure to maintain them. For ours is a culture which tolerates institutionalized fraud, larceny and violence, while we live in grand denial.
For example, most Americans pretend that income taxation is not simply an elaborate form of theft. If you have ever tried to point this out to someone in a rational discussion, you probably have been met with variety of excuses, which, of course, have nothing to do with the nature of what the income tax actually is. “How would we pay for roads, schools, or national defense if we didn’t raise the money through a tax on income?” is one such response. Notice that such a retort isn’t an attempt at a direct refutation, but rather a way to side-step the issue – a way to pretend that the income tax is something other than what it is.
As another example, various online publications have revealed that the President of the United States claims the authority to kill an American citizen simply based on the President’s determination that such a person is a terrorist. When Jay Carney, Obama’s press secretary, was asked for proof that assassinated Anwar al-Awlaki was indeed involved in plotting terrorist activity against Americans, Carney pretended that such a killing without due process was justified and that no proof even afterwards is necessary. He and many others pretend that when a foreign leader kills in this manner, it is murder, but not when the President does the very same thing.
As a third example, former Chairman of the Federal Reserve Banking System Alan Greenspan, when asked about the safety of investing in U.S. Treasury bonds, said, “This is not an issue of credit rating, the United States can pay any debt it has because we can always print the money to do so.” If you or I print money to pay our debts, it is called counterfeiting, but if the government does it, it is legitimate! Greenspan and others who defend the Fed pretend that government printing of money and forcing Americans to use is it not a form of fraud. All of these can be summarized under the great pretense that government officials are justified in taking actions that would be judged criminal if done by ordinary people.
Before we can correct this pervasive corruption in our society, a large enough number of us must admit the truth about institutionalized fraud, larceny, and violence and renounce it. If we were to rewrite the first stanza of the Platters’ hit to reflect the unfortunate, but current eschewal of reality, it might go something like this:
So, what do we freedom-lovers do? Direct “head-on” confrontations with apologists for statism rarely do any mind-changing on their side. They just dig in their heels and get angry at us. I’m therefore going to try an approach that focuses on my principles when I am asked about a problem, such as “What do we do about the poor?” A dialogue might ensue like this:
The statist: So, Peter, don’t you think we need to provide more government help to the poor in our country?
Me: No, I am opposed to forcing anyone through the government or by any other means to help someone. I will help others to the extent that I am able and perhaps set an example for others. But I will always uphold any person’s right to decide how much they will help the poor, including their decision to not help at all.
The statist: But without government help, some of these people will starve to death! Surely you’re not in favor of just ending all government assistance to the poor.
Me: It’s not really the government that helps the poor anyway. Any money that is channeled through the government to the needy is first taken by force from those who have it. I can never countenance the use of violence against someone who has done no physical harm to another or his property. That’s my position; you may have a different one.
The Statist: Sounds to me that you are looking for an excuse to not have the government do what it’s supposed to do.
Me: You and I have different opinions about government. You are entitled to your opinion. I will never FORCE you to accept mine, and I hope you won’t force me to accept yours. I seek foremost a society that doesn’t solve or attempt to solve problems by the initiation of violence. That is only creating another problem.
The Statist: Well, you sound like you have lofty ideals, but I am more practical. I want to see help given to those who truly need it. Whatever it takes.
Me: Again, that is your opinion. I guess I want to approach society like a doctor is supposed to approach a patient: first do no harm. Only when I can be sure that I am not initiating violence against someone, then I will consider various approaches to solving a problem. But for me, any means – ANY means – that entails the initiation of force no matter how subtle or hidden that force may be, is prohibited. I respect your opinion (actually I don’t, but I might say so) as long as you are not requiring the use of force to achieve the desired ends.
The Statist: Well, proper government doesn’t entail the use of violence.
Me: Hmmm. Maybe you want to re-examine that notion. If you would like to honestly and openly discuss the nature of government sometime, I would be happy to do so. But until then, we probably don’t have much else to discuss. Have a good day.
At this point, I can only hope that a seed was planted in the statist’s mind to really examine the nature of government. On to the next statist!
“This collection of archives from the Peter Mac Show is absolutely brilliant and life changing. A person who has logic and critical thinking will be delighted to finally hear another person espouse the same views. By listening to this collection a person will find that anarchism is a viable alternative to statism.These shows provide a clear and concise education in taxation, the state, anarchism, freedom, war, and numerous other topics contrasting the statist position, the view of limited government, and finally the anarchist point of view.
“The information contained in these shows is thought provoking and a challenge to dogma. These shows pick apart commonly held fallacies and belief systems that are the norm and provide an alternative way of thinking about the problems that plague society today.
“After listening to these shows a person will learn what the anarchist’s philosophy is all about. What it is and what it is not. A person cannot receive this type of education in the government school systems. It isn’t taught by those who control what a person is allowed to learn. After listening to all these shows I am confident you will never see things in the same light again."
Americans are used to hearing stories about violent men. The nightly news regularly carries reports of murder, armed robbery, kidnapping, assault, child molestation and sexual assault. Once in a great while such reports are about a woman who is involved in such a crime, and even then she is often an accomplice to a man. According to the FBI's Crime in the United States 2004 Uniform Crime Report, women committed 7.1% of the murders that year. On average, women "account for 14% of violent offenders," according to the Department of Justice*. When one thinks about violent crimes, what image comes to mind? Is the person committing the crime using his own hand or body, whether to fire a weapon, stab with a knife, beat someone with a blunt object, or force himself sexually on a defenseless woman? The criminal who has multiple victims, like the infamous serial killers Ted Bundy and Jeffrey Dahmer, or mass murderer Timothy McVeigh are sensationalized through movies and documentaries. But in terms of the number of victims, personally committed crimes pale in comparison to those ordered or promoted by heads of state, like Hitler, Stalin, Mao, or Saddam Hussein.
However, violence sanctioned by the head or ruling party of a government may only involve bloodshed and physical pain if one resists. As long as the people under subjugation comply with the leaders' wishes, violence seldom has to be inflicted. The threat of violence is usually sufficient to encourage almost complete obedience. While the threat is omni-present, most people rarely stop to think about it. If the people of a country become so used to following the orders of the few at the top, only a small number may realize that control manifests itself through threats of actual violence. Once the government passes a law, no matter how arcane or silly, the masses feel obliged to obey. Such obedience, of course, is always backed up by the threat of violence and that threat must be made real against at least some of the violators. That is, violators must have their property seized (by violence if they resist), or their persons jailed (by violence if they resist). In fact, if a violator of the supposed crime resists sufficiently, he or she will be killed. This is true regardless of whether the "crime" involved any harm or threat of harm to anyone. Consider all the so-called crimes in the U.S., such as not paying taxes, prostitution, drug use, or insider trading, to name just a few. These amount to the following: a government, i.e. a bunch of human beings, often given power through a democratic process, decide that if certain rules are violated, a crime is committed even though everyone knows that it involves no physical harm to anyone and threatens no one's property.
Recently, the House of Representatives, under the guidance of Nancy Pelosi, The Speaker of the House, passed a health care bill. One provision of this bill requires that Americans meeting certain conditions must purchase health insurance for themselves. The penalty for failure is jail or a fine, or both. It goes without stating so directly in the bill that anyone found guilty of this so-called crime and who resists, will be killed if necessary. The sequence could unfold like this: Person X meets the conditions requiring him or her to purchase health insurance as stated in the law (if the bill becomes law); person X refuses to buy insurance; person X is charged with a crime; person X is found guilty in a courtroom; person X tries to flee by using his physical might and directs violence at AND ONLY AT his would-be captors. Finally, person X is killed by his would-be captors, ultimately because he (a) refused to buy health insurance and (b) refused to give up his freedom. This is the bill that Pelosi smiled about as it passed 220 to 215. Ms. Pelosi, along with those who voted for the bill, is knowingly threatening the kind of violence that would ensue for any person X described above. She is the most influential female in the United States Congress and made every effort to get this bill passed. In terms of the sheer number of people who will be forced through threat of violence to adhere to this (should it become) law to avoid the fate of any person X above, Ms. Pelosi is the most violent woman in America.
The Peter Mac Show is now being broadcast every Wednesday from 7:00 - 8:00 p.m. on The Micro Effect.
The Peter Mac Show is dedicated to the cause of freedom for everyone. Simply put, freedom exists in a society when all actions among people are voluntary. I will live my life as I want and you live yours, as long as we don't transgress one another's rights. The most systematic and pervasive violations of freedom, however, come from government at all levels and in virtually all countries, not from everyday people. Today, in what was supposed to be the Land of Liberty, one can hardly start a business, enter into voluntary agreements with others, seek medical help, or make financial transactions without government intrusion. Those in power claim the moral authority to tax by stealing half or more of the fruits of our labor and imprisoning those who challenge the government on the basis of its own laws. Young men and women are slaughtered across the globe in the tragically misguided belief that they are defending freedom at home. The antidote to tyranny is knowledge and acting with courage to defend our most basic rights: life, liberty, and property.
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