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Faux Populists Shill for the Permanent War State

American imperial policy has sharply trained its sights on Russia and China. Under President Joe Biden, sanctions have been levied against both countries and, along with its allies, the U.S. military, has maintained a near constant, hostile, military presence in both states’ near abroad. This is occurring most frequently in the Black Sea and the South China Sea.

Washington decidedly blew its coveted post-Cold War shot at so called “unipolarity” by getting itself bogged down in the disastrous War on Terror. The American government, instead of taking its lessons and abandoning the “fool’s errand” of world dominance, like a drunk at a bar, is instigating closing time brawls it cannot possibly win.

Regardless of which party is in power, the U.S. is becoming increasingly belligerent toward Moscow and Beijing.

The Global War on Terror, including the nearly two decades long occupations of both Iraq and Afghanistan, along with the wars and interventions in Pakistan, Syria, Libya, Yemen, Somalia, etc. killed and caused the deaths of multiple millions of people and displaced tens of millions more across North Africa, the Middle East, and South Central Asia.

Studies have determined the ultimate price of the war at well over $6 trillion. The interest alone on the debt accumulated to fund the war is expected to cost $8 trillion. Washington attempts to still justify, at the American people’s continued direct expense, further growth of its bloated and unsustainable, globe-spanning, hyper-interventionist military presence.

To do this, American government foreign policy apparatchiks and the arms industry funded neocon think tanks, along with their cohorts in the military, point to their new favorite red menace: China.

Enter Saagar Enjeti, Krystal Ball’s co-host on the world’s number one hit politics podcast “Breaking Points.” Ball was formerly an MSNBC talking head. Enjeti is a neocon disguised as a populist. Ball’s previous cohost on The Hill’s “Rising,” the show which preceded “Breaking Points,” was Buck Sexton. Sexton incidentally hailed from the Central Intelligence Agency.

Enjeti was the subject of a recent exposé, on Mintpress News, by investigative journalist Alan Macleod. Enjeti is explicitly committed to opposing the emerging multi polar world and prefers to the stick with the now defunct neoconservative Project for a New American Century’s priority of preventing the rise of another great power. Enjeti postures as a pro-worker, pro-union, populist outsider who can work with the left. However, his hawkishness on Beijing is more in line with those of the neoconservative ideological persuasion who ceaselessly promote war, higher military spending, and further confrontation.

Macleod documents Enjeti’s bizarre trajectory of studying “counterterrorism” at a Deep State connected Israeli university to working at neocon think tanks with the likes of Scooter Libby and the Kagan clan.

Like his former boss Tucker Carlson, Enjeti is part of a larger trend of putative outsiders carrying water for the neocon China hawks. Carlson is the Rachel Maddow of Fox News when it comes to China. Like Enjeti, Carlson somehow successfully markets himself as a kind of populist outsider even though, as Macleod writes he is the “stepson of the heir of the Swanson food empire.”

Moreover, Carlson attempted to join the CIA, worked for Bill Kristol at The Weekly Standard, and has had his own shows on CNN, MSNBC, and now Fox News. How many people have that kind of résumé? Additionally, Carlson’s father, Richard “Dick” Carlson, was deeply enmeshed in the National Security State serving not only as a Cold War era director of Voice of America, but also as the public liaison for the U.S. Information Agency, as well as President and CEO of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. From 2003-2011, “Dick” also served as Vice Chairman of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, the notorious anti-Iran neocon think tank.

The implications of faux populists connected to the neoconservatives, spreading anti-China propaganda from their large platforms, ultimately manufacturing consent for Washington’s new Cold War is deeply troubling.

In 2018, the Pentagon announced a shift away from their failing policy of counterterrorism in the Middle East and North Africa toward a new National Defense Strategy of so called “Great Power Competition,” with Russia and China. Instead of turning toward peace, free trade, and diplomacy, this policy change will come at enormous opportunity costs such as further distorting our economy, practically guaranteeing boom-bust cycles of ever intensifying severity, as well as reducing the average American’s standard of living. It would impoverish the very people who desire genuine populism.

Cold War 2.0 will doubtless also entail the sacrifice of our last vestiges of liberty in exchange for a dubious security, and put Americans on the fast track to brinksmanship (or worse) with China and Russia, the next two greatest nuclear superpowers.

Any sort of kinetic military conflict between the United States and China over Taiwan could almost certainly mean Beijing’s three stage intercontinental ballistic missiles hitting Americans here at home. A conflict with Moscow over the Donbass region in Ukraine or what NATO members refers to as Russia’s “temporary occupation” of Crimea, in a worst case scenario could mean hypersonic and/or nuclear powered cruise missiles hitting the continental United States.

The word “détente,” or the concept of mutually assured destruction, is but a ghost in our self-obsessed, drunken jingoist culture. When pundits publicly pontificate about how best to stick it to Russia or China, the likely chance of nuclear war goes unsaid.

The Pentagon calls China, already surrounded by hundreds of U.S. bases, its “pacing threat,” or alternately the “number one pacing challenge.” Biden has emphatically declared we are in “extreme competition” with Beijing to “win the 21st century.”

Biden has taken up the mantle from ultra-hawk Hillary Clinton and more specifically his old pal, former President Barrack Obama who launched the “Asia Pivot.” This “pivot” amounts to a dramatic expansion of Washington’s military footprint in East Asia.

As foreign policy expert and documentary film maker John Pilger has said, “American bases form a giant noose encircling China with missiles, bombers, warships—all the way from Australia through the Pacific to Asia and beyond.”

He adds,

I have reported from Asia for many years. In 2009, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton declared that the South China Sea was a “security interest” of the United States…In 2011, President Obama announced the “pivot to Asia”—which meant that two-thirds of US naval and air forces would concentrate in the Asia-Pacific, the biggest build-up of military forces since World War II. This was aimed, clearly, at China.

Biden’s regime is spending more than the U.S. government ever has on the military and on so called “defense,” as well as its new Space Force. As ever, the hawks intend to ratchet that spending up, into the future, indefinitely. Genuine conservative populists should be on the front lines alongside libertarians and anti-imperialist leftists opposing this absolute lunacy.

After all, for at least a decade, the U.S. Empire has burdened American taxpayers to the tune of over $1 trillion per year. This figure includes the expenditures involved in running the Veterans’ Affairs Department, as well as the Energy Department’s role in managing the nuclear arsenal, and also the other National Security State bureaucracies such as the “monstrous” Department of Homeland Security.

During the George W. Bush administration, Robert Higgs, the libertarian economist and historian, determined a good rule of thumb to estimate the true yearly price of American imperialism is to double the Pentagon’s official budget, which is currently a whopping $715 billion.

After years of Russiagate and pervasive neocon propaganda, our society has absorbed and sadly grown accustomed to the neoconservative/neoliberal foreign policy consensus. This coopting of the alternative media scene ensures those too smart for the TV news propaganda their parents tragically fell for during the Bush II years, can be scared to death by other means.

As the contrived, and sleep inducing, “woke mob” vs. Bari Weiss’ “Intellectual Dark Web” culture war saga drowns out any discussion of these critical issues, we gladly march, knowingly or unknowingly thanks to the corporate press, into simultaneous wars with Russia and China.

The Robert Kagans and Bill Kristols of the world envisioned the Empire, in this long-awaited era, finally establishing permanent control over the world.

As Scott Horton, Director of The Libertarian Institute, has said,

…at the end of the last Cold War the American foreign policy community, led by the neoconservatives, adopted a doctrine of global dominance… to remake the world our way and keep it that way. They call it leadership, hegemony, preeminence, predominance or even Full Spectrum Dominance. No really, it’s all for their own good though. Keeping the peace; protecting the sea lanes; enforcing the global rules-based liberal international order.

Dick Cheney’s Defense Department’s post-Iraq War I, “Defense Planning Guidance” from 1992 defined the doctrine for the new decade and into the new millennium: The U.S. must remain the single dominant power on the planet, and must maintain enough military power to prevent any possible strategic rivals, such as Germany, Japan, Russia or China, from even considering an attempt to challenge U.S. power.

But it does not have to be this way at all. “Renewed Power Competition” and preserving Charles Krauthammer’s “unipolar moment” is the American Empire’s fight, not the American people’s fight.

The American people’s fight, is our struggle for liberty, peace and prosperity. Our only quarrel is with the American Empire, not China or Russia.

Get Your Kids Out of State-Enforced ‘Critical Race Theory’ Curriculum

Parents across the country are fighting to stop government schools from indoctrinating their children with Critical Race Theory. Critical Race Theory is a form of Marxism that focuses on the “oppression” of racial minorities. Central to Critical Race Theory is the belief that free markets are a tool of racial oppression that must be abolished and replaced with socialism.

This is dangerous nonsense. History shows that governments, not free markets, are and always have been the instruments of racial oppression. For example, legislators passed Jim Crow laws because private businesses refused to voluntarily segregate their customers.

Numerous scholars have documented how the welfare state and the war on drugs, as well as minimum wage laws, occupational licensing laws, and other anti-liberty laws, disproportionately harm minorities. Some of these laws were passed with the explicit goal of protecting white workers from competition with minorities.

Public outrage over teaching children that the only way to overcome racism is to sacrifice liberty helped build efforts to pass laws banning the teaching of Critical Race Theory. Some of these efforts are accompanied by advancing mandates that schools promote a “positive” or “patriotic” view of America. This can replace one form of indoctrination with another.

A “patriotic” curriculum could teach children that the change from a constitutional republic to a welfare-warfare state was a victory for liberty. It could also teach that the American government is morally justified in, and capable of, managing the economy at home and spreading democracy abroad. It could teach children lies like capitalism caused the Great Depression.

Instead of arguing over what form of statism government schools should indoctrinate children in, liberty activists should work to replace government control of education with parental control.

The key to this is to restore parental control of education dollars though education tax credits and tax-free education savings accounts. This can enable parents to afford to “ed-exit” from government schools by sending their children to private schools. It can also help parents afford the costs associated with homeschooling. Increased charitable deductions can help fund private education for low-income families. Tax credits can be implementing without increasing the deficit by tying them to legislation closing the Department of Education.

Homeschooling is an increasingly attractive option for many parents. Parents interested in providing their children with a quality education should consider my homeschooling curriculum. The Ron Paul Curriculum provides students with a well-rounded education that includes rigorous programs in history, mathematics, and the physical and natural sciences. The curriculum also provides instruction in personal finance. Students can develop superior communication skills via intensive writing and public speaking courses. Another feature of my curriculum is that it provides students the opportunity to create and run their own businesses.

The government and history sections of the curriculum emphasize Austrian economics, libertarian political theory, and the history of liberty. However, unlike government schools, my curriculum never puts ideological indoctrination ahead of education.

Interactive forums ensure students are engaged in their education and that they have the opportunity to interact with their peers outside of a formal setting.

I encourage all parents looking at alternatives to government schools—alternatives that provide children with a well-rounded education that introduces them to the history and ideas of liberty without sacrificing education for indoctrination—to go to RonPaulCurriculum.com for more information about my homeschooling program.

This article was originally featured at the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity and is republished with permission.

The Philosophy of No One

Philosophy is that ancient gift that speaks to us despite the distance of time. The wisdom and perspective of those long dead carry words of weight and understanding that allows us to find a commonality with a past that is beyond imagination. It can allow us better reflection for now, and to grant us a perspective of scale.

The human condition is universal, unconstrained by place or time. It is a constant of all culture and race. The wise thoughts and timeless ponderings from those who lived and have been long dead are a testament that in time, we too shall be dead. Our lives can be as significant or as wasteful as we are allowed and allow ourselves. Philosophy in its many forms is the individual’s contemplation and explanation of self and the world outside. It is the many seeds for thought. What they may blossom into is unknown and as unique as the soil of the individual’s mind.

In time as faith and philosophy eroded away and institutions became more powerful than the god’s themselves, humanity invented ideology. The Utopian materialism of mechanised coercion, and far worse than theological religion, it is the belief that humanity can be steered, manipulated, and strangled into compliance; a compliance that will yield an imagined outcome dreamed up by the most arrogant, maniacal, and driven minds.

Whereas philosophy of the past came in many forms, it was for the individual to direct themselves and to contemplate their own actions and thoughts. To improve the world one deed at a time and by becoming a glowing example of a way, not just the way. It was the many understandings of self and community. The fertile potential for the solitary being, the many, the ruler, and even the tyrant.

It is in the absence of different voices, not just all but any other philosophy that many are unable to weigh up that which seems right to them, in a given time and place. The understanding that ones own self can go through many transformations. Our thoughts and circumstances will always change. Ones own philosophy may switch and mutate, evolve and at times disappear. And beyond the complexity of our own self lay the millions of others who inhabit this world and their own needs and considerations. Philosophy can be the wise appreciation of this. Ideology is the maniacal need to conform and command all under one, in the service of an imaginary common goal. That it turns out is not so common after all. That is why force is required.

In the disappearance of any philosophy, one tends to lack principles and the dignified ideals of self along with the respect of many others. Instead they are a rudderless vessel flowing upon the currents of other’s will and lost to the winds of contemporary demands. It is then with the avatar and conformity of ideology that one can replace self accountability with the promises of such an ideology. Whether atheist or a theological believer, ideology can infect ones mind in the belief that all and everything is for the common good, the public interest.

It is an apparent selfless fulfilment of a social mandate that transcends the individual. Yet, it profits many individuals regardless of any merit or virtues. Individuals who lack personal accountability and philosophical checks are able to do many misdeeds, so long as it is done for a greater good in service of the collective and edges within the rules that are so easily made up. Not with any moral considerations, but often just because the utopia for that time needs such nudging.

The ideology can gratify those who lack a deeper thought into believing that they are doing a universal good. That they are serving a community or a greater abstract, society, people, nation or empire. That they are an important part of a greater team and body which is improving, changing, and modifying the world. They are bringing light to darkness and as many empires in the past proclaimed, civilizing the savages. Such a fulfilment can invigorate an individual and make them a powerful member of a team, allow them to ignore the wrongs and ills. The consequences are corruptions and omissions. It is a grand sensation to be a part of something great, it profits the ego and soul. But horrors and wrongs are spread across the chasm, not to shouldered by an individual. So many wrongs, but so few accountable beings.

Human beings are not angels it is said, that is why they need to be herded and branded like cattle. But it is not angels that lead them and decide for them. And never in the history of humanity has the most noble and sincere of heart been drawn to power. It is all an ideological belief, a union of mercenaries that profit, the naive that lack conviction, and the cynical who enjoy powers trappings. The concert of chaos that is caused by those who proclaim the ideology of order, the unintended consequences always needing more tinkering and meddling, more of the same.

Those who push through the cracks and dare the defy the utopian monstrosity are deemed dangerous or selfish. Even if they have endangered no one, even if they challenge the harm done to others, even if they are selfless in their actions and through their efforts are denied the wealth that conformity brings, they are the radicals. They are by their very nature dangerous. To ask the question is a defiance that defies the perfectness of the institution. They are Kirk asking, “What does God need with a star ship?” The voice of reason is unreasonable when the majority are so convicted to irrationality.

So misery washes across the world, each great and promising civilization proclaimed a great society to be built on the bones of those who were forced to build it or who happened to stand in the way. The many native peoples who did not have the manifest destiny of conquest in their culture, those individuals who travelled to the frontiers to be free and those who sip from the waters of feral liberty are to be the manure of progress, the crushed corpses of the ideological march of civilization.

The philosophy of the past is lost in pages that are seldom read. Instead they become segmented quotations attached to photos to be shared on social media. Not for contemplation or to be an introduction into the study of thought, but as a means to serve the self-help fetish, where one does less contemplation and consideration but instead praises oneself for no other reason other than existence.

Despite these many words and pseudo-individualist proclamations, they tend only to be a self serving affirmation that one is on the right path. So long as money is made, the career is secured and that things are purchased then all is well in the world. The ideology that is realized in the great institution is that it exists for all of us, by all of us. It is for a greater good. Despite millions of diverse beings, somehow the greater good is a singular and homogenised monstrosity that is ensured by a violent monopoly. It is the ideology of cowardice.

Self-sacrifice and charity are confused by forced welfare and bondage. It is not through the self-direction and individual consideration as to what one can do for others and where one should direct their altruistic nature. Instead it is directed. Again the institution of force steers and manipulates and despite its generations of coercion and direction it takes only credit for the accomplishments of individuals and shrugs any blame for the failure of its own mandates. And within it lurks the millions who profit from it, who cheer at its growth and who now depend on it absolutely. Those outside of it no longer have anywhere to go. Yield or die. Be bred out. That is the ideology of the imperialist.

Inside the hearts of some lurks the instinct for justice. The excited sunburst of liberty flickers from within their being. It may not be that mighty rebel yell or the revolutionary chorus that it could be. Instead it is the passive and concealed defiance of individuals who are not cowards and who know better than to conform to the collective monstrosity that is consuming not merely reason, but the physical as well.

It is an inner light that flickers like a candle on the horizon, the storm of tyrants are unable to snuff it out. The pages of laws have yet to bury it and the mercenaries that obey and serve can not strangle it. Like the flower in the pavement it springs up. It is not ideology but dignified philosophy. The respect of others, the respect for self. The principle that others are not your property, no matter how much ideological utopia claims otherwise. It is the glowing smile of mutual deed and cooperation, it is the anarchy of nature. Order and chaos can dance together. It needs no king to compose its harmony, and no experts to steer us all into inevitable ruination. It is the philosophy of no one, just the free. It is beautiful if only it is allowed to see the sun.

Family Sues After Cop Attempts to Shoot Their Dog, Kills Their Daughter Instead

As readers of the Free Thought Project know, police killing or attempting to kill dogs is an all too common occurrence—happening so often that it is caught on video much of the time. Also, as the following tragic case our of Arlington, TX illustrates, all too often, police will attempt to kill a dog—miss the dog—and shoot and kill an innocent person instead.

Last year, a Texas grand jury indicted a police officer after he was seen on video trying to kill a dog and killing an innocent woman instead.

Arlington police officer Ravi Singh was charged with criminally negligent homicide for killing Maggie Brooks, 30, the daughter of an Arlington fire captain. Likely due to the fact that Singh is only facing a maximum sentence of 2 years in jail, on Thursday, the family began seeking justice through civil means in the form of a lawsuit.

“Officer Singh knew that he was firing his weapon in precisely the direction where Ms. Brooks was peacefully lying in the grass,” the seven-page complaint states. “Officer Singh struck Ms. Brooks in the chest causing pain, agony and death.”

According to court documents, the family is seeking over $1 million in actual and punitive damages for wrongful death and for the violation of Brooks’ 14th Amendment rights. The family also hopes that this will lead to change in the Arlington police department policy to prevent further tragedies from taking place.

“Our hope is not only that this officer is held responsible for Maggie’s death, but that the Arlington Police Department is also held accountable for its lack of training and procedures in responding to welfare checks,” the family said in a statement.

As TFTP reported at the time, Brooks’ death was entirely preventable and was the sole result of irrational officer fear coupled with poor judgement and aim.

“It’s a puppy. This is a grown man afraid of a puppy. Who is the paid professional in this encounter? Every child, every mailman, every runner, jogger, bicyclist has dealt with a dog running at them and no one ends up dead. Why do you go to deadly force immediately?” Brooks’ father, Troy Brooks, said at the time Singh was charged.

Singh’s attorney, Kathy Lowthorp, responded to Singh’s arrest with the following statement, blaming the dog and not the cop who killed an innocent sleeping woman.

“Well, when you deal with a dog that’s ready to attack then the person in any one of those careers would have to do what they have to do to protect themselves. And there was malice against the daughter — she was just in the wrong place. The dog should’ve been on a leash.”

This statement rings hollow however, as Brooks’ father pointed out, pizza delivery drivers, package delivery workers, meter readers, and any other number of folks interact with dogs in the public on a regular basis, and do not kill them.

As TFTP reported, the shooting happened at approximately 5:15 p.m. on August 1, 2019. Police were in the area to conduct a welfare check on a sleeping woman who was reportedly passed out in a grassy area near Canton Drive and North Collins Street. That woman was Brooks. Instead of receiving help, however, Brooks received a fatal bullet.

According to police, as Singh approached the sleeping woman lying in the grass, he saw a stray dog. Singh called out to Brooks when all of the sudden, the dog started running toward him, so he fired his weapon several times. The officer missed the dog, but hit the woman instead.

“As the officer called out to the woman repeatedly concerning her welfare, the dog began to run towards the officer while barking. The officer retreated backwards from the running dog while drawing his duty firearm,” police said at the time. “The officer discharged his firearm multiple times towards the dog. After the shots were fired, the woman yelled out and it was apparent she was injured.”

“Oh my God,” Brooks screamed. “The police shot me.”

Brooks was transported to a local hospital where she was pronounced dead. Her three children — ages 9, 11, and 13 — now live with their grandfather, who says this entire situation could’ve been easily avoided.

“Rule number one,” he said. “Don’t kill the citizens.”

It is no secret that police officers are unafraid to put the lives of innocent people in danger and pull their guns out to shoot at dogs. The Free Thought Project has reported on multiple instances in which cops have attempted to shoot dogs and shot men, women, and children instead.

As we reported last year, even their fellow officers aren’t safe from cops attempting to kill dogs.

Officer Lane Butler was rushed to an Indiana hospital because one of her fellow officers pulled his gun on a dog and shot her instead.

According to police, officers were responding to a complaint of criminal mischief on a Tuesday morning in January when the shooting happened. Police were at a woman’s apartment to see if a person wanted on a warrant was inside. Police noted that the woman was cooperative and let officers search her home.

Before the officers entered the home, the woman warned them that her large dog was inside and in a cage. Butler and two other officers, LaFrene Butler and Aaron Wright, then entered the home and began searching it. As they searched the home, however, the dog reportedly escaped from the cage and the officers then fled the residence.

As the officers fled, Wright pulled out his pistol in a futile attempt to defend himself from the dog. Instead of shooting the dog, however, the officer shot Butler in the back as they walked out the door. Butler was wearing a bulletproof vest, but the round went in just above the protected area in her upper back.

After he negligently shot his fellow cop in the back, the department announced that Wright will face no discipline. 

While Butler survived this shooting, Brooks and others haven’t been so lucky.

Take for example the tragic case of Autumn Steele.

The tragic incident unfolded in January 2015 as Gabriel Steele, Autumn’s husband, was loading up their 4-year-old son, when Autumn began yelling at Gabriel and the police were called.

“He’s got my kid!” yells Autumn.

Officer Jesse Hill was at the Steele residence acting as an escort in their domestic dispute incident. During this commotion, the couple’s dog came running out of the house.

“Hey, hey, quit fighting, stop it,” says Hill.

In the video, we can hear the dog growl, at which point Hill says, Get your dog.” Only moments later, Hill fired off two rounds.

One of the shots struck Autumn Steele in the arm and another in the chest. The dog was also hit, but he recovered. Sadly, Steele would not recover and died at the hospital. Police and the DA then proceeded railroad Steele’s family as they fought for justice. A tragedy from all sides.

This article was originally featured at The Free Thought Project and is republished with permission.

All Vices Created Equal: Brandi Love and TPUSA

For the past decade people have become comfortable in their Culture War trenches, which for the better part of the 2010s have pitted an evangelical, PC-imposing leftwing against a more laissez-faire rightwing. When it comes to the freedom to think and speak verboten ideas that dissent from the cultural monolith, the right has been much more friendly to liberty.

There is, however, a portion of conservatives whose world outlook remains much more Tipper Gore than Dee Snider. And they made themselves loud and clear this past weekend responding to the controversy between Turning Point USA and Brandi Love. 

img 2200Love, born Tracey Lynn Livermore, has been an adult film star since 2004 and is one of the most recognized names in the industry (with over 824,000 Twitter followers). Brandi Love is also an outspoken conservative—she lives in North Carolina (not Hollywood), supports gun rights, opposes abortion and affirmative action, retweets the Babylon Bee and owns a MyPillow, stands for the flag and voted for Donald Trump. She’s even contributed articles to The Federalist and Newsweek discussing the intersection of her politics and her work.

Which explains her presence at an event hosted by Turning Point USA, the conservative advocacy group founded by Charlie Kirk that’s active on college campuses. If you’ve ever encountered a “Socialism Sucks” sticker on the back of a laptop, you’ve met TPUSA. 

From Saturday to Tuesday, the organization is hosting an event in Tampa, Florida branded as a “Student Action Summit,” where young people can hear speeches from Republican politicians and Fox News personalities. Although geared towards high school and college students, TPUSA did sell “VIP” tickets to adults, who were sequestered to a separate part of the auditorium, complete with a bar. Video from the event indicates at least a third to half the audience were VIPs. 

That crowd included Brandi Love, who was not invited as a speaker, or hosting a booth, or representing herself as an ambassador to her industry. She was attending as an individual and professed conservative. 

However, after announcing her presence on social media, it did not take long for TPUSA (alerted by Groyper Twitter accounts) to revoke her $500 ticket and ban her from the event (with a refund). Elijah Schaffer with TheBlaze reported that TPUSA was “very clear that any adult themed content, influencers, or personalities will not be tolerated at events involving minors.”

“The Republican Party is broken,” Brandi Love tweeted, pointing out a contradiction between the event speaker’s opposition to censorship and her removal.  

Her fellow conservatives in media and activist circles did not see it the same way:

https://twitter.com/conservatyler/status/1416948418103160837

In much of the conservative reaction, there’s a distinct (purposeful?) mischaracterization of what occurred. Brandi Love was not “invited” by TPUSA; she purchased a ticket to attend. She was not there in any official capacity; “VIP” is the general term the organization chose to call their adult ticket holders. TPUSA was not promoting her work; she promoted the event on her own social media. 

But the conversation goes beyond this incident. It goes to the continued existence of people on the rightwing who want to use the state as a tool to socially engineer people to suit their personal preferences. If the left wants to ban books, criminalize “hate speech,” and prosecute observant Christians, the right wants to ban pornography, prosecute those who perform and distribute it, and enforce “obsenity laws” on media platforms. 

Most people would broadly define pornography as a vice. Sustained viewing can lead to addiction (an observation Love disagrees with), and negative physical side effects such as erectile dysfunction. People introduced at a young age can permanently disfigure their views of sexuality and adult relationships in grossly unhealthy ways. Socially, it may lead to men being less interested in pursuing real-life women. 

Does that mean it should be criminalized, and the full force of the state apparatus brought to bear against this “immoral” behavior? These social conservatives say yes. But we discover that some vices are more equal than others. 

Conservatives up in arms over pornography are likely to have no qualms with the continuation of the War on Drugs, unsuccessful these past fifty years of decreasing narcotics use but eminently successful at arresting and incarcerating millions, breaking up families, militarzing the police, enabling government theft on a grand scale through civil asset forfeiture, and spending over a trillion dollars to ensure Americans cannot grow specific plants or purchase clean needles.

Perhaps fewer would say there should be complete bans against gambling. Only the most fanatical Christians support a return to the prohibition of alcohol. And even most Mormons wouldn’t acquiesce to a public ban on coffee for Gentiles. Does anyone besides Michael Bloomberg want to ban smoking (and enforce a death penalty against cigarette sellers)?

In 2000, author Bill Kauffman interviewed and profiled Earl Dodge, the perennial presidential nominee of the Prohibition Party—yes, it still exists! Dodge, principled to a fault, easily picked up on conservative insincerity. Alcohol, he said, takes “good people and turns them into beasts. Marijuana, LSD, cocaine: All those drugs put together don’t hurt a fraction of the people that booze does. The only parties that are honest and consistent on the alcohol-drug issue are the Prohibition Party and the Libertarians. They want to legalize it all; we want to ban it all.” 

Dodge is correct, both rationally and medically. The damage to a person’s health from sustained tobacco use is infinitely higher than marijuana. And alcohol abuse often has more corrosive effects on a person’s body and temperament than even harder drugs like cocaine or heroin. 

But to many of these conservatives, nothing fulfills the perception of “cool” more than chomping on a cigar with one hand and drinking a full, foamy beer with the other.

Brandy is a perfectly defensible vice in moderation, but not Brandi Love.

img 2196Their “think of the children” pleas fall just as flat. Teenage girls were not attending “Sex Work as a Career” seminars and boys weren’t being gifted free OnlyFans subscriptions. What these people are arguing is that Brandi Love should not be permitted within a certain distance of minors because of her profession. She’s a porn star, not a predator, and their suspicion is heinous.

Irresponsible parents may leave their liquor cabinet unlocked. Unobservant parents may not monitor their children’s internet use enough. Both may lead to bad, perhaps long-term damaging consequences. Minors should not drink alcohol or watch pornography but only in one instance are these individuals calling for state intervention. 

If these social conservatives wanted a Saudi Arabian-esque vice squad to root out all delinquent behavior, from alcohol to pornography to rock music to sugary soft drinks, that would at a minimum be a coherent doctrine. Say what you want about the tenets of theocratic puritanism, but at least it’s an ethos!

As it stands, however, their real views are far less interesting. They’re more than willing to defend or even encourage their own personal vices, just not those of others. Their particularism reveals them for what they are. 

Hypocrites.

Paying Your “Fair Share” of the Warfare-Welfare State

A recurring theme in national tax debates is the idea that everyone should pay their “fair share” of taxes.

While that aspiration’s validity is widely taken for granted, the stark reality is there’s no such thing as a “fair share” of federal taxes.

To understand why, let’s first scrutinize what’s meant by “fair.” When paired with “share,” the most fitting definition is “reasonable, right and just.”

If the United States government were limited to its only morally sound function—protecting rights, liberties and lives—perhaps one could entertain the theoretical notion of a “reasonable, right and just” share of the cost.

However, that ideal is far from today’s grim reality, as tax revenue is used to assault rights, liberties and lives of Americans and people around the world—to say nothing of the sprawling waste and cronyism associated with a 2021 budget of $6.8 trillion.

So tell me:

  • What exactly is my “fair share” of the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), which enforces economic sanctions that purposefully inflict suffering on innocent civilians in foreign lands?
  • What’s my fair share of the tyrannical practice of civil asset forfeiture, in which cash and other property is seized from citizens without any requirement to file charges?
  • What’s my fair share of the $1.2 trillion allocated in 2021 for the unconstitutional Departments of Housing and Urban Development, Labor, Education and Transportation, and Small Business Administration?
  • What’s my fair share of the cages in which the government confines people for choosing to intoxicate themselves with a plant or a powder rather than a bottle?
  • What’s my fair share of the several trillion dollars spent on the overwhelmingly pointless war in Afghanistan or the even more catastrophic invasion and occupation of Iraq?
  • What’s my fair share of so-called “Covid relief” money used to bail out fiscally irresponsible state and local governments and pay unemployed people more than they were making on the job?
  • What’s my fair share of the jaw-dropping $81 million the CIA paid to two depraved psychologists who crafted the agency’s immoral and ineffective post-9/11 torture program?
  • What’s my fair share of the unjust prosecution of journalist Julian Assange for publishing documents that revealed wrongdoing and embarrassed powerful politicians?
  • What’s my fair share of the $3.8 billion handed over to the Israeli government this year—with every one of those dollars violating a U.S. law?
  • What’s my fair share of the $1.6 trillion cost of the snakebit, contractor-enriching F-35 fighter jet program—which the Pentagon already wants to replace with something else?
  • What’s my fair share of the ongoing salary of the U.S. Central Command’s General Kenneth F. McKenzie, who betrayed his oath to the Constitution by carrying out President Biden’s unlawful orders to bomb Syria?
  • What’s my fair share of $1.5 million spent encouraging eastern Mediterranean youth to stop smoking hookah?

Anticipating objections, please note that the moral standing of federal income taxation isn’t buttressed by whatever few authorized, proper, efficient and beneficial undertakings it finances.

Let’s say your homeowners association does a fine job providing basic services and maintaining common facilities, and you contentedly pay your annual “fair share” of $2,500.

However, the HOA then announces it will:

  • Spend $80,000 to impose unemployment, malnutrition and the degradation of medical services in a neighborhood across town
  • Give a contractor friend of the HOA president $200,000 to do $50,000 worth of sidewalk work
  • Pay two men $90,000 a year to torture suspected car burglars and vandals

Shrugging off your objections that the proposed new undertakings are immoral, corrupt, wasteful and unauthorized by the HOA bylaws, the board informs you that—using the same allocation method as before—your dues have doubled to $5,000.

“You may not like everything we’re doing now,” they say, “but don’t forget—some of the money goes to plow snow and maintain the swimming pool. You benefit from that.”

Given how half the money will be used, do you think one can rationally insist it’s only “fair” that you pay the $5,000?

For the record—and the benefit of our government monitors—I pay every dollar demanded by the federal tax code. I pay not because it’s the right thing to do, but because it’s the coerced thing to do. And if the lawless, immoral HOA threatened to lock you in the clubhouse basement if you didn’t fork over the $5,000, I’m sure you’d pay them too.

But, like me, you’d thoroughly reject the idea that there can be anything “fair”—that is, reasonable, right and just—about your share of the coerced funding of unlawful, wasteful and morally repugnant pursuits.

This article was originally featured at Stark Realities and is republished with permission.

TGIF: Who’s the Aggressor? Who’s the Victim?

When a libertarian says that the most basic individual right is the right not to be aggressed against, a clever interlocutor may accuse the libertarian of begging the question, of stuffing the rabbit into the hat. The trick, the critic will say, is in the word aggress: libertarians allegedly rig the game by restricting the category of aggression to only the actions they disapprove of, thereby institutionalizing many corrupt activities.

For example, If Jones tells Smith to get off land to which Jones has legal title, is it really clear that Smith is in the wrong and Jones is in the right? The critic will offer a counter-narrative: it’s considered Jones’s land because the political system arbitrarily defines property rights in a certain way. It might have defined rights differently so that Smith could walk on the land as wishes. So why not see Jones as the aggressor against Smith?

If the libertarian responded that Jones transformed the hitherto unowned parcel by mixing his labor with it, perhaps by clearing and fencing it, the critic might respond that Jones’s act constituted aggression because, unlike yesterday and the day before, no one now may step on the land without Jones’s permission. Jones, in other words, restricts everyone else’s freedom. Who’s right and who’s wrong would depend on one’s point of view.

This case against libertarian property rights implies that land has never been unowned because it has always been owned by humanity in common. Such a position was taken most famously by Henry George. While George did not oppose individuals’ use of parcels of land, he said that users ought to have to pay land rent to the community, the true owners. This was George’s “single tax.” Murray Rothbard rebutted George’s case in both its moral and economic dimensions. (See also Rothbard’s Power and Market.)

If the point of rights theory is to enable human beings to flourish as they live side by side peacefully and cooperatively in society, then any theory that regards land and other scarce resources as jointly owned by all of humanity is in for problems. The moral is the practical. So imagine the impracticality of determining how a piece of land is to be used if everyone is to have a say in the matter. Yet if human beings are to prosper, decisions about how to use scarce resources are crucial. No one is infallible or has a monopoly of wisdom about the “best” use of resources, but we have the next best thing: the market and its price system. The market provides indispensable signals about ever-changing supplies and consumer preferences. Ludwig von Mises and F. A. Hayek made their marks as great economists by, among other things, showing that market prices are the only things we have to relieve, insofar as possible, our ignorance about how scarce resources can be used best to serve everyone’s welfare. Private property and free markets expand rather than contract the public’s access to resources.

The critic of libertarianism may listen and nod but continue to insist that we have no objective way to tell who is the aggressor: Smith or Jones. But maybe we do.

Life is not an abstraction. Individual people are beings who live day to day through the pursuit of projects, which usually involve the cooperation of others. Since we are physical beings, that pursuit requires control over things, including land, and therefore noninterference by other people. How could we live and plan long term if our activities could be interfered with and the fruits of our efforts could be appropriated by others? I take for granted that each person is a self-owner because denial of this principle collapses in absurdity. Lincoln wrote that “if slavery isn’t wrong, nothing is wrong.” Abolitionists called slave owners “man-stealers.” If self-ownership isn’t right, then nothing is right.

The principle of nonaggression is universal: you may not interfere with me, and I may not interfere with you. Liberty for all means no one is aggressed against. Society should be based on consent and cooperation.

In the story above, if we assume Jones acquired the land justly through homesteading, purchase, or gift, then the land is part of his project, and Smith’s trespass constitutes interference with Jones’s life. (Of course, trespass can be trivial, and methods of prevention or redress would have to be proportional to the offense. Put bluntly, Jones can’t shoot Smith merely for setting foot on his land.)

Yes, in a physical sense, Jones’s ownership “interferes” with Smith’s freedom, although not his ability to live as a human being (except perhaps in an emergency). But human action is never merely physical. Justice is relevant. The same physical act can be just or unjust depending on the circumstances.

I think this demonstrates that the libertarian case does not pack its conclusions into its definition of aggression. Hard cases of course can arise, but generally we can determine who is the rightful owner and who is wrongfully interfering.

Finally, I have not tried to sort out the case of ownership clouded by historical injustice, namely, theft. What to do about this is a complicated matter, in part because of the variety of cases, on which I claim no particular wisdom. Those who wish to delve into the problem can begin by looking at what Rothbard had to say in The Ethics of Liberty.

How Not to Treat Human Beings as Moral Persons

Immanuel Kant, an eighteenth-century German philosopher, famously espoused the following maxim of morality:

Act in such a way that you treat humanity…never merely as a means to an end, but always at the same time as an end.

The terms of this principle, a formulation of what he calls “The Categorical Imperative,” are rather abstract, but Kant also provided a more practical test for determining whether a prospective action is morally permissible or not:

Act only according to that maxim whereby you can at the same time will that it should become a universal law.

According to Kant, violations of this formulation of the Categorical Imperative embroil one in a “practical contradiction.” It is not immediately obvious what he means by this, which is why his oeuvre continues to be a lively subject of debate among professional philosophers. Those sympathetic with Kant’s general outlook have sometimes drawn parallels to more familiar principles of the major religions, including the Golden Rule:

Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

Even without having studied philosophical ethics, many people will nonetheless aver that when we talk colloquially about someone using another person, the implication is that it is immoral. Excellent examples include notorious “black widows” (and widowers), who murder their spouses in order to gain possession of their wealth. In fact, every case of mercenarily motivated murder would seem likewise to violate Kant’s Categorical Imperative—and The Golden Rule. The idea of not using people solely as the means to our selfish ends coheres rather well with commonsense morality and is embedded in the legal systems of modern western democracies.

Much ink has been spilled over the past few centuries by some scholars in rejecting Kant’s deontological theory in favor of more practical, teleological or consequentialist, approaches such as utilitarianism, according to which one should always act so as to maximize the happiness or pleasure (or “utility,” as John Stuart Mill and Jeremy Bentham termed it) of the greatest number of people. According to utilitarianism, no action is excluded from the outset, because one must determine what its consequences will be in order to know whether it is right or wrong. If a black widower donates his miserly wife’s estate to help people in dire need, then a strict utilitarian might in fact deem the murder (intentional, premeditated act of homicide) to be the right course of action. More generally, if by sacrificing one person or a small number of persons one will thereby save millions of morally equivalent others, staunch utilitarians will insist that the sacrifice not only can but should be made.

Quasi-utilitarian reasoning is found frequently among calls for wars of so-called humanitarian intervention, which promoters claim will save many more people than doing nothing, even though there will invariably be some “collateral damage” victims who die as a direct result of the bombing itself. The outcomes of modern bombing campaigns never reflect the sunny forecast of those who set the intervention machine in motion, but even if they did, this rationalization for “humanitarian intervention” assumes that killing and letting die are morally equivalent, a position which is rejected within the bounds of civil society. Except in rare cases, involving persons with special obligations of care, such as physicians and parents, we do not regard permitting people to die as the moral equivalent of killing them.

The ongoing mess in the Middle East shows how wrong the prognosticators were when they claimed that the invasion of Iraq in 2003 would be swift and simple, ushering in an era of peace and democracy for Iraqis, who instead went from suffering under the rule of a despot to living in a chaotic and deadly environment in which their security and quality of life were severely degraded. The state of Libya a decade after the 2011 bombing campaign and the ouster of Muammar Gaddafi is another striking example of how wrong interventionists can be about the consequences of their “well-intended” programs of homicide.

One reason why hawks reach so facilely for utilitarian rationalizations for their wars may be that in this approach to normative morality there is no need to reflect seriously upon the plight of individual soldiers. The end justifies the means and, yes, that will include the sacrifice of some young persons in the prime of their life. In galvanizing support for invading and bombing other countries, the effects on soldiers—the thousands who may be physically maimed or killed, and the many thousands more who may be psychologically wrecked by the experience—are not mentioned at all because they are not recognized as real until after the fact, and then only by some. Indeed, the U.S. military itself has repeatedly and systematically denied responsibility for injuries to soldiers—caused by the spraying of Agent Orange in Vietnam, the bombing of chemical facilities in the First Gulf War, the use of burn pits during the occupations, etc.—even in the face of overwhelming evidence that the soldiers were harmed not by the enemy but as a direct result of their own military leadership’s callous disregard for the well-being of troops.

Utilitarian-esque reasoning is quite versatile and is readily invoked in debates on a variety of other military matters as well. Opposition to military conscription, for example, can be made on the purely utilitarian grounds that coerced soldiers are unlikely to fight as effectively as volunteers. Accordingly, whenever soldiers are forced to fight, rather than invited to do so, the outcomes will likely be worse than they would otherwise have been. In World War I, this problem was “solved” by sending wave after wave of young men to their deaths, effectively expending them as cannon fodder.

The Kantian reason for opposing military conscription, whereby unwilling persons are coerced to fight, kill and possibly die in wars over which they have no say, differs markedly from the utilitarian perspective. Efficacy, far from being morally decisive, is in fact irrelevant in the Kantian moral framework. What is wrong with conscription is not that it will have negative consequences but that such soldiers are treated merely as the means to the ends of political elites. Alongside draftees, many a volunteer soldier has been squandered as cannon fodder, but so long as he freely entered into the Faustian bargain of agreeing to kill and risking his own life in exchange for employment, benefits, etc., then he is not being used in the same sense in which every drafted soldier is.

Now, there are good reasons for thinking that war as a means to conflict resolution is at least irrational, if not intrinsically immoral, because no one should ever agree to kill complete strangers at the behest of war promoters, many of whom stand to profit from war—whether financially or politically, and often both. But as a result in part of the long-entrenched myth of heroic warriors who take up arms everywhere and only in the name of “justice”—so long as they are on our side!—wars do continue to be waged and fought, victims slain, and soldiers sacrificed. Relative to that world, delusional though it may be, forcing persons to take up arms is still worse than allowing them to do so.

As shocking as it may seem, twentieth-century soldiers were experimented on in a variety of contexts, under what appears to have been the assumption that they had already signed their lives over to the military, so why not? During the 1991 Gulf War and in the following years, U.S. soldiers were required to be vaccinated against Anthrax using a yet-to-be-approved (by the FDA) pharmaceutical product which caused significant bodily harm to some of the troops. As a result of the Anthrax vaccine fiasco, soldiers are no longer required to undergo experimental treatments, including the emergency authorized COVID-19 vaccines, which have yet to receive full FDA approval. Needless to say, the pharmaceutical and biotech companies involved are doing everything within their means to obtain an early approval so that the vaccines can be mandated by law in a variety of contexts, including the military.

More generally, the current COVID-19 crisis provides a refractive lens through which to distinguish the two very different ways of conceiving of morality, the deontological (as exemplified by Kantianism) and the teleological (as exemplified by utilitarianism). Human experimentation, such as the mass vaccination programs currently underway, is carried out under the utilitarian assumption that the sacrifice of a few will ultimately save millions of lives. Every medical treatment, even those which have received years of testing and full FDA approval, has negative outlier effects on a small portion of the population, and it is purely a matter of misfortune to be one of the persons who ends up being harmed rather than helped. No one has been singled out for harm, so the situation is similar to a lottery where most people win the prize—in this case immunity or, at the very least, better prospects for survival in the case of infection—but a small percentage do not.

The Vaccine Adverse Effect Reporting System (VAERS) dababase catalogues the reported harms caused by vaccines, and in the case of Covid-19, these have included myocarditis, severe allergic or immune reactions, and Bell’s Palsy, among other possible effects, up to and including death. That these vaccines are being distributed in an ongoing experimental trial is underscored by the fact that the specification sheets for recipients and caregivers were recently updated to reflect the incidence of heart disease as a rare but possible side effect. That risk was not recognized in the early, much smaller, trials, nor in the initial roll-out to elderly persons, but became clear only when younger persons began to be vaccinated, who would ordinarily not have heart troubles, as older persons sometimes do.

So long as patients are properly informed of the potential dangers, if ever so slim, to their health and well-being, then it is their prerogative to incur risks in exchange for the prospective benefits of vaccination, should they deem this to be the proper course of action for themselves. In other words, the case may be viewed as similar to a fully informed person who agrees to enlist in the military, even while knowing the risks involved. There are, however, some curious factors in the present case which together suggest that nothing like morality is driving the quest for universal vaccination. Most obviously, a heavy-handed and ubiquitous propaganda campaign is being used to persuade persons to believe that it is somehow wrongheaded, ignorant and/or selfish not to agree to serve as a subject in an experimental trial of a treatment for which many of them have no need, given their prospects for survival even without the vaccine.

Under normal circumstances, individual persons, so long as they are mentally competent, are deemed the appropriate authorities about which treatments to undertake in efforts to protect themselves and enjoy good health—or not. Free people are also permitted to smoke, eat junk food, avoid exercise, consume alcohol as they please, and engage in risk-taking activities such as rock-climbing at their caprice, even though each of these behaviors may result in premature death. In the current crisis, we have seen endless exhortations to universal vaccination from figureheads such as President Biden and Vice President Harris, both of whom recently emoted on Twitter: “Get vaccinated, or wear a mask until you do!” Such sweeping prescriptions on the part of persons with no information about the individual patients whom they are sternly enjoining to undergo treatment would be a clear violation of medical ethics, if in fact Biden and Harris were physicians, which of course they are not.

Competent medical professionals do not issue blanket prescriptions to be followed uniformly and mindlessly by all possible patients. The particular circumstances of particular patients call for particular treatments to be undertaken—or not. Sound medical advice derives from a licensed professional who is familiar with the condition and circumstances of the patient in question. There is no prescription applicable simultaneously to infants, toddlers, adolescents, young adults, pregnant women, middle-aged persons, and nonagenarians, because their bodily conditions are completely different. Moreover, even within each partitioned category, a wide range of variation exists. Some people (whatever their age) are obese, while others are not. Some people have smoked or continue to smoke, while others do not. Some persons suffer allergies, while others do not. It is nothing short of incompetent to suggest that any treatment should be applied in a one-size-fits-all fashion, as is being done in the propaganda campaigns for the COVID-19 vaccines. Far worse than offering people incompetent (because ill-informed) medical advice, however, would be to force them to comply with mandatory edicts derived from incompetent medical advice.

An overzealous judge (Richard Frye) in Ohio recently sentenced three persons convicted in his court of law to COVID-19 vaccination, which would seem to be a flagrant violation of civil rights. Certainly the punishment cannot possibly be said to fit the crime, because it is completely irrelevant to it—to any crime, as a matter of fact. The judge explained his decision in the following terms, “It occurred to me that some of these folks needed to be encouraged not to procrastinate,” demonstrating only that he has no business residing over any court of law, for he has decided to use the courtroom as his personal pulpit, legislating from the bench in the most obnoxious of ways. One of the criminals, Sylvaun Latham, was offered the choice of COVID-19 vaccination plus a one-year term of probation or else a five-year term of probation. In other words, his liberty to conduct himself as he pleases was tethered by the judge to his willingness to serve now as a subject in an ongoing experimental trial of the COVID-19 vaccine, which is not scheduled to end until 2023.

To require convicts to serve as subjects in experimental trials for drug treatments for which they may or may not have any need (see The Imitation Game for the tragic story of Alan Turing in Britain) is tantamount to making them the property of the state and their lives the prerogative of the state to risk and even sacrifice. This is a very different scenario from voluntary conscription, whereby fully informed persons agree in exchange for remuneration to risk their own lives and well-being. But soldiers who volunteer to fight for their country do not simultaneously agree to serve as pharmaceutical company guinea pigs, which is why forced experimentation on soldiers, too, is wrong. As difficult as it may be to believe, we have now entered an era in which so-called public health experts who support mandatory vaccination are galvanizing judges to conduct themselves in the manner of the officials of the Third Reich. During that deplorable episode of history, judges regularly sentenced persons to sterilization, and many persons were used in human experimentation against their own will.

The most important conclusion of the Nuremberg court regarding human experimentation was this:

The voluntary consent of the human subject is absolutely essential. This means that the person involved should have legal capacity to give consent; should be so situated as to be able to exercise free power of choice, without the intervention of any element of force, fraud, deceit, duress, overreaching, or other ulterior form of constraint or coercion; and should have sufficient knowledge and comprehension of the elements of the subject matter involved as to enable him to make an understanding and enlightened decision.

Extorting convicts to undergo experimental vaccination in exchange for shorter prison or probation sentences clearly violates this Nuremberg court finding. Indeed, every case of “force, fraud, deceit, duress, overreaching, or other ulterior form of constraint or coercion” to undergo medical treatment is also a violation.

Going even farther than the Ohio judge who imposed vaccine sentences upon convicted criminals, the government of France is effectively criminalizing those who refuse to participate in the vaccine trials. On July 12, 2021 (ironically two days before Bastille Day), President Emmanuel Macron announced that proof of vaccination will be required in social venues, on public transport, and in some cases to remain gainfully employed. By denying persons the right to use public transportation, or even to work, the French government is especially targeting poor people, for wealthy people have private cars and do not need to work. But all “non-compliant” French citizens are being punished as though they committed crimes when in fact they have every right in the world to decide which medical treatments to undergo and which to decline. These measures effectively transform French society into an everted prison in which everyone who refuses to offer his body for use in an experimental trial has his liberties curtailed as though he were an incarcerated criminal who has been convicted of a crime. In effect, everyone who declines the experimental vaccine is being put under house arrest.

In the United States, some businesses are requiring vaccination of their employees, and quite a few universities are requiring vaccination of both employees and students, even though the chance of deleterious, life-changing or even deadly, vaccine side effects may for some cohorts (such as young males) be greater than the chance of death should they become infected with COVID-19. It is nothing short of extortion to threaten people with extremely negative consequences should they not volunteer to serve in an experimental trial for a drug/device of which they have no need. You want to finish your college degree? You want to remain gainfully employed? Then roll up your sleeve! And yet a disturbing number of otherwise apparently rational people support these initiatives, at least judging by their comportment on social media. (Note that there are many bot farms operating on this front as well, and whether they are being paid for by governments or the companies who stand to profit is unclear.)

On July 6, 2021, President Biden announced his administration’s intention to send vaccine promoters door-to-door to persuade those who have not already complied to change their mind. The assumption behind this “folksy” approach of “community outreach” is that anyone who declines vaccination is ill-informed, and with the appropriate amount of friendly banter they will recognize the error in their ways. The problem, however, is that, pace Anthony Fauci, “The Science” has not spoken yet. Information censored and dismissed as disinformation by the media and those who parrot its every proclamation includes hypotheses, theories and bald facts which do not support the reigning narrative and suggest that it may well be false. While appealing to a “community outreach” spirit, Biden also likened this initiative to a “war-time” effort and called willingness to be vaccinated “patriotic”, the insinuation being that declining vaccination is unpatriotic.

Preposterously, given the thousands of breakthrough cases of persons fully vaccinated but who contract COVID-19 anyway, the so-called vaccines may not effectively prevent transmission but only mitigate symptoms—which is what they were designed to do. The shots offer a very slim risk reduction (ARR or absolute risk reduction of ~1%) to most people, because most people are not vulnerable to COVID-19, making it far from obvious that there is any reason for them to undergo an experimental treatment. Yet facts appear incapable of slowing the propaganda machine set in motion more than a year ago, and vaccine proselytzers persist in haranguing even the millions of already recovered persons to roll up their sleeves.

The global propaganda campaign has been so relentless and vast that those who decline vaccination, as in France, stand to have their liberties severely curtailed by government bureaucrats the world over who cling tenaciously to disinformation about the supposed superiority of vaccine immunity over natural immunity, despite numerous studies demonstrating the robustness of the latter and mountains of evidence that social mitigation measures have no effect on outcomes from place to place. Strikingly, if the vaccines do not prevent infection but only diminish symptoms, then millions of vaccinated persons should be expected to fall into the supposed class of “asymptomatic carriers” and considered more likely to transmit the virus to other people once they stop wearing masks and practicing social distancing—at least according to the religious tenets of the Branch Covidians.

As in every other case when quasi-utilitarian rationalizations have been trotted out in support of policies which will destroy some persons’ lives, no one has any idea what the longer term effects of the vaccination programs will be. To pretend otherwise is to lie and, in Kant’s view, to deceive and thereby treat the persons in question merely as means, not as ends in themselves. To treat people as moral persons is to grant them the dignity of being able to inform themselves, assess the facts, and come to their own conclusions about how best to conduct their own lives, up to and including which medical procedures to undertake. Anyone who agrees that it is wrong to use people solely as a means should be wary of pseudo-utilitarian propaganda, above all when the self-styled utilitarians have nothing to lose and something to gain. That there exist today people who are rallying for forced vaccination by the government of the very people whom the government supposedly serves reveals, once again, as many historical episodes attest, how frightened people can be persuaded to support objectively abhorrent policies, sacrifice their fellow human beings and even renounce their very own rights.

When Biden’s Pfizer minions show up at your doorstep, let us hope that they do not in their missionary fervor undertake to vaccinate you without your consent. Just as the cases of President Macron and Judge Frye illustrate, for fanatics convinced of their intellectual superiority and moral righteousness, the end always justifies the means. The danger of this political climate for free people cannot be overestimated. Given the length and range of the COVID-19 vaccine propaganda campaigns, which have completely saturated the mainstream media, there is some reason for suspecting that readily available forms of forced vaccination may be nearer than we think, given the willingness of state authorities such as judges and presidents to criminalize the refusal to serve as a subject in a pharmaceutical product trial.

That Biden has claimed to be on a “wartime” footing vis-à-vis COVID-19, and the Pentagon itself recently held a “war game” specifically addressing the COVID-19 crisis certainly does not bode well for the future of free people. The technology already exists to be able to vaccinate the unwilling using aerosol sprays which could be delivered by automated drone swarms. As horrifyingly dystopic as that possibility may sound, we already know from their many military misadventures abroad that government officials are ready and willing to use any and all of the implements in their arsenal in achieving their aims, and they have no problem ignoring altogether the moral personhood of their victims.

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