Politics

Drew Hancock: Growing Up Libertarian Ep. 155

Drew Hancock: Growing Up Libertarian Ep. 155

Libertarian content creator Drew Hancock joins me to discuss his YouTube channel and his viral video, “The Problem with Blue-Pilled Libertarians.” We discuss our liberty journeys and how Drew ended up following in his dad’s footsteps and became a libertarian.

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Show Notes:

Drew Hancock: The Problem with Blue-Pilled Libertarians

Corbett Report

Freedom Tunes

Ron Paul: Liberty Defined [Amazon Affiliate Link]

Billions for Bankers and Debts of the People [Amazon Affiliate Link]

Spencer Schiff on Twitter

Drew Hancock: A Libertarian Analysis of Big Tech

Lengthyounarther

Bitbutter

GaS Digital Network

Sgt. Dan McKnight Testifies for “Defend the Guard” Legislation in South Dakota

Sgt. Dan McKnight Testifies for “Defend the Guard” Legislation in South Dakota

On Monday, Chairman Dan McKnight of BringOurTroopsHome.US traveled to Pierre, South Dakota to testify in front of the House Military and Veterans Affairs Committee in favor of the “Defend the Guard” bill introduced by State Rep. Aaron Aylward (R-Harrisburg). This legislation would prohibit the deployment of the South Dakota National Guard without an official declaration of war by the U.S. Congress.

Watch his opening testimony HERE.

Talk of Secession is the ‘New Normal’

Talk of Secession is the ‘New Normal’

Secession is a four-letter word for the millions of Americans who have gone through the conventional educational pipeline that teaches them that the American state is indivisible and sacrosanct.

However, intellectually honest historians whose minds haven’t been warped by educational institutions know better than to dismiss secessionism as some nefarious activity that only treasonous Southerners of the Confederacy are capable of engaging in.

For all intents and purposes, the founding generation was secessionist. When they signed on to the Declaration of Independence, those who fomented the American Revolution were committed to liberating themselves from the grasp of the British Empire. Quite arguably the most important act of secession in human history, the revolutionaries’ successful efforts to secede from British rule had the whole world awestruck.

More importantly, it cemented the idea of political separation in the American political consciousness. Before becoming a state, Vermont went the extra mile after the thirteen colonies declared their independence, breaking free from New York and Great Britain and establishing itself as an independent republic in 1777. It would remain that way until 1791, when it ratified the US Constitution and joined the union.

Even during the ratification of the Constitution, many states feared the idea of a government that would become excessively centralized. So they had secessionist backup plans in case things got out of hand. In the Politically Incorrect Guide to American History, Tom Woods touched on how the New York, Rhode Island, and Virginia “explicitly reserved during the ratification of the Constitution the right to withdraw from the Union should it become oppressive.”

Secession Attempts in the Early Days of the American Republic

Americans’ secessionist streak did not go away so easily after they extricated themselves from the dominion of their British overlords.

Secessionist talks grew stronger during the presidency of Thomas Jefferson. The Federalist Party, based in New England, was dismayed with having Jefferson as president and even more concerned about the ascendant Democratic-Republican Party. They viewed Jeffersonian Democrats as a political force that could potentially displace them thanks to the electoral advantages the Democratic-Republicans enjoyed in the South and the newly incorporated Western states.

Federalist apprehensions became even more palpable during James Madison’s presidency, when the US locked horns with the British Empire in the War of 1812. Many Northerners wanted to maintain peaceful relations with their British cousins and were not keen on bellicosity. As a consequence, New England members of the Federalist Party gathered during the Hartford Convention in 1814 to discuss the New England states’ relationship with the federal government, which sparked nationwide fears of secessionism in New England.

Although it did not materialize into a coherent separatist movement, the Hartford Convention did lead to the downfall of the Federalist Party due to their perception as engaging in treasonous behavior in the eyes of the Americans who were eager to resist the British invasion. Nevertheless, the Hartford Convention sowed the seeds for future secessionist movements.

How Secession Led to the Creation of Republic of Texas

Following its independence from Spain in 1821, Mexico was left with the task of building an independent nation. In contrast to Mexico proper, Mexican Texas was frontier territory and not particularly attractive to Mexicans, who found better opportunities in Mexico’s central regions. Settlements in San Antonio and Nacogdoches served as forward posts for the Spanish Empire, but there was no concerted effort to settle the region, which remained sparsely populated until the 1820s.

To populate the area, Mexican authorities came up with a land grant system to attract settlers (empresarios) to Mexican Texas. Many enterprising frontiersmen in the United States were in search of adventure and the prospect of land grants in Texas was tantalizing. For many of these explorers, settling down in Texas represented a fresh start.

The catch to the land grant program was that American migrants had to become Mexican citizens, follow Mexican laws, nominally accept the Catholic faith, and learn Spanish. American settlers started pouring into Mexican Texas, and by the mid-1830s, they significantly outnumbered the Mexican citizens there. The American settlers forged a distinct identity that did not align with the political desires of Mexican authorities, who had other plans in mind for Texas.

Tensions came to a head after General Antonio López de Santa Anna became president of Mexico and committed himself to centralizing the Mexican state. Mexico fell down the path of dictatorship after Santa Anna suspended the Mexican Constitution and declared himself dictator in 1834. Shortly thereafter, Santa Anna used the Mexican army to clamp down on Texas, which had enjoyed a quasi-autonomous status, to see through his centralist vision for Mexico. The Mexican strongman’s actions generated significant backlash from the Anglos and even some Mexicans (Tejanos) residing in Texas.

Texas had its Lexington moment on October 2, 1835, when Texans took up arms against a Mexican military detachment in the settlement of Gonzales, Texas. The Battle of Gonzales immortalized the Come and Take It flag that was flown before the battle, where Texans dared Mexican forces under the command of Colonel Domingo de Ugartechea to seize a cannon in the settlement’s possession. The Texans compelled the Mexican forces to retreat, marking the beginning of the Texas Revolution.

With the adoption of the Texas Declaration of Independence on March 2, 1836, the Texans explicitly laid out their decision to break free from Mexico. They cited Santa Anna’s actions to transform Mexico’s federal republic into a centralized military dictatorship and the reneging on guarantees to protect a number of their constitutional liberties (the right to bear arms, trial by jury, and freedom of religion) as some of the principal reasons for their decision to revolt. Moreover, separatist Anglo Texans enjoyed support from Americans in Congress who were more than happy to encourage the partition of Mexico into smaller pieces.

The Texas Revolution came to a decisive conclusion at the Battle of San Jacinto on April 21, 1836, after the Texan army captured Santa Anna and compelled him to sue for peace. Although Santa Anna returned to Mexico unharmed, the Mexican Congress did not ratify a treaty to recognize the new Republic of Texas, but several countries such as Britain, France, and the United States recognized the independent republic. Texas would later be annexed by the United States, in 1845.

Does Secession Have a Place in Contemporary American Politics?

After protesters stormed the US Capitol on January 6, 2021, the ruling class was worried about a number of bugaboos such as insurrection, sedition, and treason. The commentariat’s utter disdain for Trump supporters and those who don’t bend the knee to the managerial regime can no longer be concealed. The fact that more than 70 million Americans could be categorized as “domestic terrorists” suggests America is ruled by an occupational class who wants to browbeat its subjects into submission and modify their behavior so it comports with regime standards.

At this juncture, sober minds would stop pretending this country can remain united. Americans would be wise to not dismiss separatism just because their history textbooks said it’s illegal, racist, or treasonous. Instead, they should recognize it as a tool that could save a lot of headaches and even lives. The hyperpolarized state of American politics is not going anywhere, and can only become more heated as America’s social fabric deteriorates and politics become more divisive. Whatever civic glue held Americans together in the twentieth century has been rapidly withering away in recent decades.

Regardless of the prudence of such mob action, the aftermath of the Capitol rush stood out as a masks-off moment of the highest order. Those who may share disagreements on a number of political issues are no longer treated as fellow Americans, but rather as enemies with malicious intentions whose behavior must be corrected through a combination of state and corporate power. For the haughtiest mouthpieces of the current therapeutic regime, Trump supporters are the perfect test subjects for the experiments to deprogram Middle Americans of their recalcitrant behavior, better known as rejecting the corporate media’s narrative.

The battle lines have been clearly drawn, and sober minds would recognize that any return to previous eras of normalcy in America is a fleeting fantasy. Talk of secession from the likes of Texas Republican Party chairman Allen West and longtime conservative shock jock Rush Limbaugh may come off as partisan chest pounding, but more fundamentally it personifies a vestigial desire for self-governance. As I wrote in 2019, even standard conservative commentators are entertaining the idea of a national divorce.

Ignoring this new paradigm of hyperpolarization could prove deadly for Americans who view their political rivals as existential threats and for the numerous bystanders who want nothing to do with this political squabble. How about we don’t take any chances by preserving this flawed political order and choose the road of radical decentralization instead?

This article was originally featured at the Ludwig von Mises Institute and is republished with permission.

Another Bogus Impeachment

Another Bogus Impeachment

The Senate impeachment trial of former president Donald Trump confirms historian Henry Adams’s adage a century ago that politics “has always been the systematic organization of hatreds.” The impeachment process was a farce that should fortify Americans’ disdain for Washington. Considering how Democrats are using the January 6 clash at the Capitol to justify enacting a new domestic terrorism law, Americans need to recognize the frauds that permeated this process from the start.

At last week’s trial, House impeachment manager Jaime Raskin (D-MD) boasted to the Senate, “I think we have done an exceedingly thorough and comprehensive job with all the evidence that was available.” But the House Democrats did not bother accumulating evidence before the trial. Instead, House impeachment managers showed up at the Senate with video clips and tweets and a bunch of overheated rhetoric and thought that should suffice. House impeachment manager Ted Lieu summarized the proceedings: “Trump is receiving any and all process that he is due.”

Shortly before the Senate was expected to cast the final vote on the trial, Raskin announced that the House team wanted to call an actual witness. Democratic senators first voted to call witnesses and then, a couple of hours later, Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-NY) announced that, instead of witnesses, they would simply add one news article based on hearsay to the official record. Unfortunately, the only laughter that erupted on the Senate floor occurred when Trump’s lawyer threatened to summon witnesses for depositions to his law office in “Philly-delphia.” (His house was vandalized after the trial ended.)

The formal article of impeachment condemned Trump for inciting supporters who “unlawfully breached and vandalized the Capitol, injured and killed law enforcement personnel.” House manager Representative David Cicilline (D-RI) condemned “the violent insurrectionists, criminals who killed and injured police officers.” Representative Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY), the House Democratic Caucus chair, declared, “Blood is on the hands of every single House Republican sycophant.”

But the murder allegation is collapsing. Even CNN admitted that prosecutors seeking to build a murder case on Sicknick’s demise were “vexed by a lack of evidence.” Capitol policeman Brian Sicknick died a day after the clash but his demise is shrouded in secrecy. He was apparently fine after engaging with protestors but reportedly suffered a stroke the next day. The Capitol Police have refused to release his autopsy report and his body was quickly cremated. Some accounts have suggested that Sicknick died after being exposed to bear spray or pepper spray. If so, his death is a tragic result of the clashes that day. But police regularly spray peaceful protestors with pepper spray or other nasty substances.

Politicians have sanctified themselves by wildly exaggerating the threat they faced on January 6. Raskin wailed to the Senate: “All around me, people were calling their wives and their husbands, their loved ones to say goodbye.” Representative Cicilline declared, “Senators, remember, as one of you said, during this attack, they could have killed us all—our staff, the officers protecting all of us, everyone.” Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) declared, “We came close to half of the House nearly dying“ from the attackers. But no members of Congress suffered any physical harm.

The only person who was shot at the Capitol that day was Ashli Babbitt, a thirty-five-year-old Air Force veteran; she was killed by a Capitol policeman at point-blank range. The most flagrant “weapon” case involving protestors was that of sixty-year-old Richard Barnett, who achieved notoriety after being photographed with his feet on Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s desk. Barnett faces a felony weapons charge and ten years in prison for carrying with him a ZAP Hike ‘n Strike walking stick/stun gun that Amazon sells for $98. (Barnett would have been outgunned by the two thousand Capitol Police officers carrying Glocks with twenty-two rounds.) Barnett, like many other protestors, is being legally scourged for his bad attitude. Barnett was ordered jailed until trial later this year, in part because federal judge Beryl Howell was enraged that Barnett told a reporter he had “scratched my balls“ in Pelosi’s office.

January 6 also quickly metamorphosed into epic comparisons to fan national outrage. Schumer compared that ruckus to Pearl Harbor—a “day of infamy.” Schumer complained that the “temple to democracy was desecrated … our offices vandalized.” Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) compared an incursion that broke some windows and furniture with the 1814 British invasion that torched the Capitol. But most of the eight hundred protestors and others who entered the Capitol left peacefully after a few hours. As journalist Michael Tracey quipped, “Who knew it was so easy to squash an ‘armed insurrection’—just announce a curfew and most of the ‘insurrectionists’ will voluntarily abide.”

Schumer claimed that Trump’s “incitement” of the January 6 protestors was “the most despicable act that any president has ever committed.” This is “Trump-washing” all of the prior official crimes in American history. From President Andrew Jackson’s Trail of Tears to President Woodrow Wilson imposing Jim Crow on a federal basis and dishonestly dragging the nation into World War I, to President Harry Truman unnecessarily dropping atomic bombs on two Japanese cities, to President Lyndon Johnson dishonestly dragging this nation far deeper into a Vietnam quagmire, to President George W. Bush dishonestly launching the Iraq War, there have been far more damaging presidential abuses of power than sometimes reckless Trump’s blather.

Democrats are also exploiting the January 6 Capitol clash to sanctify the 2020 presidential election. House impeachment manager Madeleine Dean (D-PA) declared, “Trump’s conduct over many months incited his supporters to believe his big lie, that the only way he could lose was if the election were rigged.” Schumer hit the same point, deriding Trump for a telling “a big lie that the election was stolen and that he was the rightful winner.” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi declared that Republican members of Congress who refused to ratify the Electoral College results “gave aid and comfort to [protestors] with the idea that they were embracing a lie—that the election did not have legitimacy.” But if only traitors would not vote to ratify the Electoral College results, why did the Founding Fathers include that safeguard in the Constitution? And was Raskin guilty of treason when he challenged Electoral College votes for Donald Trump in 2017?

Schumer also denounced Trump for having “inspired, directed, and propelled a mob to violently … subvert the will of the people.” This sounds like the ultimate heresy in a democracy. Since November, the “will of the people” has been one of the most popular themes for Democrats. But where was the “will of the people” discovered? At the bottom of an unmanned mystery ballot drop box in Kenosha, Wisconsin?

The 2020 election was determined in part by the novel doctrine that verifying ballots was a crime against democracy. Biden won thanks to fewer than fifty thousand votes in a small number of swing states that abandoned many of the existing safeguards for ballots, including most of the security procedures for absentee or mail-in ballots. The attorney general for Texas complained in a brief to the Supreme Court about the “unconstitutional relaxation of ballot-integrity protections in [Michigan, Georgia, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania] election laws.” The Supreme Court did not take that case but that was no endorsement of last year’s electoral reforms. Though most of the media acts as if all the issues regarding the 2020 election are long since settled, legal disputes continue. On January 27, a Virginia circuit court struck down a late rule change by the Virginia Board of Elections permitting the counting of mail-in ballots that arrived three days after the election without a postmark. Similar arbitrary decrees happened across the country, probably spurring far more dubious votes than in prior elections. None of this proves the election was actually stolen, but there are plenty of legitimate questions about the electoral conduct of numerous state governments.

Democrats are seeking to use last year’s electoral innovations as the model to impose sweeping federal mandates on every state election system in the nation. H.R. 1, the “For the People Act of 2021,” would compel all states to rely on mass mail-in ballots and other “reforms” justified last year in part due to the covid pandemic.

But Democrats’ disdain for verifying votes’ intent has a gaping loophole. Apparently citizens are much more trustworthy when they conferring political power than when they seek to revoke it. Californians are launching a massive effort to recall Democratic governor Gavin Newsom. Richard Grenell, one of the likely Republican gubernatorial challengers, scoffed on Twitter on Friday: “Suddenly, California officials want aggressive signature verifications. The hypocrisy with politicians is a sickness” (link added).

Perhaps the biggest danger from the impeachment saga is that Democrats will exploit the outrage they are fanning to enact a new catch-all “domestic terrorism” law. Biden denounced the January 6 protestors as “domestic terrorists”—a theme echoed and expanded by many of his Democratic colleagues. Congresswoman Jackie Speier (D-CA) suggested that it was “time to call Republicans the terrorist right.” Since there are already plenty of federal laws to prosecute the minority of protestors who assaulted police, why do we need a new law? Former representative Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) warned that proposed new terrorism legislation could target anyone who happens “to be a white person, obviously likely male, libertarians, anyone who loves freedom, liberty, maybe has an American flag outside their house, or people who, you know, attended a Trump rally.”

After the Senate’s failure to convict Trump, hatred and rage will continue to permeate Washington. The latest impeachment saga simply confirms Thomas Paine’s adage: “The trade of governing has always been monopolized by the most ignorant and the most rascally individuals of mankind.” Score: another victory for the Swamp.

This article was originally featured at the Ludwig von Mises Institute and is republished with permission.

Tim Pool & Luke Rudkowski Stoke Anti-China Rhetoric Ep. 154

Tim Pool & Luke Rudkowski Stoke Anti-China Rhetoric Ep. 154

With respect to Tim Pool and Luke Rudkowski, I caution  their uncritical acceptance of Chinese genocide against the Uyghur Muslims and their proliferation of atrocity propaganda. Although Tim Pool and Luke Rudkowski are antiwar, their intense, emotional accusations and rhetoric have historically been used to launch conflict. I am neither praising China nor condoning its regime or even denying the possibility it is committing genocide. I am merely saying that such issues must be approached with incredible sobriety and universal condemnation must not be bandied about wantonly.

Make a tax-deductible donation to the Libertarian Institute for our Annual Fundraiser

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Show Notes:

Corbett Report: The WWI Conspiracy

Tom Cotton Wants a Chinese Invasion of Taiwan to Mean War With US by Dave DeCamp

US State Department accusation of China ‘genocide’ relied on data abuse and baseless claims by far-right ideologue by: Gareth Porter and Max Blumenthal

Timcast IRL: Biden DEFENDS Brutal Chinese Ethnic Cleansing As ‘Part Of Their CULTURE’ In INSANE Town Hall Speech

FALSEHOOD IN WAR-TIME by Arthur Ponsonby MP

History is a Lie. James Perloff and Keith Knight Ep. 112

Vox: “China’s secret internment camps”

Nayirah Kuwaiti girl testimony

The Great Lie of the First Gulf War

 

Nancy Pelosi’s Disastrous Idea To Have a ‘9/11 Commission’ About the Capitol Attack

Nancy Pelosi’s Disastrous Idea To Have a ‘9/11 Commission’ About the Capitol Attack

Many members of Congress remain outraged at the Trump protestors who charged into the Capitol on January 6. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi recently declared, “We must get to the truth of how this happened…Our next step will be to establish an outside, independent 9/11-type Commission to investigate and report on the facts and causes.”

But another pious fraud from the political establishment is the last thing that America needs right now. The 9/11 Commission should be a warning that Washington dignitaries are the last people we should trust to expose the truth.

After the 9/11 attacks, a joint House-Senate Intelligence Committee investigation in late 2002 exposed a vast array of federal intelligence and law enforcement failures preceding the hijacking of four airliners. Because the Bush administration often stonewalled the Senate investigation, 9/11 widows and widowers pressured Congress to create an independent commission to investigate.

Bush and Republican and Democratic congressional leaders stacked the commission with former congressmen, high-ranking government officials, and others entwined in the Washington establishment (“Insiders all,” as a New York Times headline noted). Beverly Eckert, a 9/11 widow, complained, “We wanted journalists, we wanted academics…. We did not want politicians.”

Read the rest of this article at The Daily Caller.

Ron Paul Calls Out Joe Biden’s Threat to Restrict Interstate Travel

Ron Paul Calls Out Joe Biden’s Threat to Restrict Interstate Travel

Candidate Joe Biden promised not to abuse his executive authority or shut down the economy in order to fight the coronavirus. Instead, he said he would “listen to the science.” An order limiting the ability of Americans to travel across state lines would violate all three promises.

Such an order would be one of the most tyrannical acts of a president in American history. The only realistic way this order could be enforced is to militarize state lines. Is President Biden really willing to deploy U.S. troops to keep Texans from vacationing at Disney World?

Restricting interstate trade and travel would further damage an economy still suffering from the overreaction to coronavirus, causing even more small (and maybe some large) businesses to close their doors, thus throwing millions more Americans out of work.

Restrictions on interstate travel would be ineffective in stopping the spread of coronavirus. Even the World Health Organization (WHO) has admitted lockdowns do not stop the spread of coronavirus. However, lockdowns are effective at increasing rates of depression, drug and alcohol abuse, domestic violence, and suicides.

Statistics show states that have enacted mandatory lockdowns have higher rates of coronavirus infection than states whose governors have not forced businesses to close and people to “shelter in place.”  One of the states that has not experienced a massive coronavirus outbreak despite not locking down is Florida, which is the state most likely to be targeted by any federal order restricting interstate travel.

If the Biden administration decides to try to restrict interstate travel, Campaign for Liberty will mobilize pro-liberty Americans to pressure Congress to pass legislation overturning the order.

This article was originally featured at Campaign for Liberty and is republished with permission.

The Military Occupation of Washington DC is a Ticking Time Bomb

The Military Occupation of Washington DC is a Ticking Time Bomb

“Tyranny in form is the first step towards tyranny in substance,” warned Senator John Taylor two hundred years ago in his forgotten classic, Tyranny Unmasked. As the massive National Guard troop deployment in Washington enters its second month, much of the media and many members of Congress are thrilled that it will extend until at least mid-March. But Americans would be wise to recognize the growing perils of the militarization of American political disputes.

The military occupation of Washington was prompted by the January 6 clashes at the Capitol between Trump supporters and law enforcement, in which three people (including one Capitol policeman) died as a result of the violence. Roughly eight hundred protestors and others unlawfully entered the Capitol, though many of them entered nonviolently through open doors and most left without incident hours later.

The federal government responded by deploying twenty-five thousand National Guard troops to prevent problems during President Joe Biden’s swearing-in—the first inauguration since 1865 featuring the capital city packed with armed soldiers. Protests were almost completely banned in Washington for the inauguration.

Instead of ending after the muted inauguration celebration, the troop deployment was extended for the Senate impeachment trial. Senator Chris Murphy (D-CT) declared, “So long as Donald Trump is empowered by Senate Republicans, there is still the chance that he is going to incite another attempt at the Capitol.” But the Senate vote on Senator Rand Paul’s (R-KY) motion labeling the trial as unconstitutional signaled that the trial will be anticlimactic because Trump is unlikely to be convicted. The actual trial may be little more than a series of pratfalls, alternating between histrionic Democratic House members and wild-swinging, table-pounding Trump lawyers. A pointless deluge of political vitriol will make a mockery of Biden’s calls for national unity.

Then the troop deployment was extended into at least mid-March because of unidentified threats made to members of Congress. Acting Army Secretary John Whitley announced last week: “There are several upcoming events—we don’t know what they are—over the next several weeks, and they’re concerned that there could be situations where there are lawful protests, First Amendment–protected protests, that could either be used by malicious actors, or other problems that could emerge.”

“We don’t know what they are” but somebody heard something somewhere, so the military deployment will continue. Threats have occurred in waves toward members of Congress at least since the farm crisis of the 1980s, but prior menacing did not result in the occupation of the capital city.

Perpetuating the troop deployment is also being justified by melodramatic revisionism. In congressional testimony last week, Capitol Police acting chief Yogananda Pittman described the January 6 clash at the Capitol as “a terrorist attack by tens of thousands of insurrectionists.” Apparently, anyone who tromped from the scene of Trump’s ludicrous “I won by a landslide” spiel to the Capitol was a terrorist, or at least an “insurrectionist” (which is simply “terrorist” spelled with more letters). Is “walking on the Mall with bad thoughts” sufficient to get classified as a terrorist in the Biden era?

Placing thousands of troops on the streets of the nation’s capital could be a ticking time bomb. The longer the National Guard is deployed in Washington, the greater the peril of a Kent State–caliber catastrophe. The Ohio National Guard’s volley of fire in 1970 that killed four students and wounded nine others was a defining moment for the Vietnam era.

Forty years later, the Cleveland Plain Dealer published an investigation of the Kent State shooting based on new analyses of audio recordings from the scene. The Plain Dealer concluded that an FBI informant who was photographing student protestors fired four shots from his .38-caliber revolver after students began threatening him. That gunfire started barely a minute before the Ohio National Guard opened fire. Gunshots from the FBI informant apparently spooked guard commanders into believing they were taking sniper fire, spurring the order to shoot students. The informant denied having fired, but witnesses testified differently. (The FBI hustled the informant from the scene and he later became an undercover narcotics cop in Washington, DC.) Though there is no evidence that the FBI sought to provoke carnage at Kent State, FBI agents involved in COINTELPRO (the Counterintelligence Program) in the 1960s and 1970s boasted of “false flag” operations which provoked killings.

If some malicious group wanted to plunge this nation into chaos and fear, National Guard troops at a checkpoint would be an easy target—at least for the first moments after they were fired upon (most of the troops do not have ammo magazines in their rifles). The sweeping reaction to January 6 might be far surpassed if troops are gunned down regardless of whether the culprits were right-wing extremists, Antifa, or foreign infiltrators. An attack on the troops would likely perpetuate the military occupation and potentially spur Biden to declare martial law.

Last spring, when riots erupted after the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, President Trump warned that “the Federal Government will step in and do what has to be done, and that includes using the unlimited power of our Military and many arrests.” Many activists were justifiably appalled at the specter of Trump seizing dictatorial power over areas wracked by violent protests. But the danger remains regardless of who is president.

Martial law is the ultimate revocation of constitutional rights: anyone who disobeys soldiers’ orders can be shot. There are plenty of malevolent actors here and abroad who would relish seeing martial law declared in Washington, the paramount disgrace for the world’s proudest democracy.

Unfortunately, Biden would have plenty of support initially if he proclaimed that violence in Washington required him to declare martial law. As the Washington Post noted in 2018, a public opinion poll showed that 25 percent of Americans believed “a military takeover was justified if there were widespread corruption or crime.” The Journal of Democracy reported that polls showed that only 19 percent of Millennials in the US believed that it would be illegitimate “in a democracy for the military to take over when the government is incompetent or failing to do its job.” But trusting to military rule for Millennial wish fulfillment would be the biggest folly of them all. Support for martial law is the ultimate proof of declining political literacy in this nation.

Regardless of the risks, some politicians are clinging to the presence of the troops in Washington like Linus clutching his “security blanket” in a Peanuts cartoon. Will we now see regular alarms from a long series of politicians and political appointees working to “keep up the fear”?

History is littered with stories of nations scourged by “temporary” martial law that perpetuated itself. Anyone who believes America is immune should recall Senator Taylor’s 1821 warning against presuming “our good theoretical system of government is a sufficient security against actual tyranny.”

This article was originally featured at the Ludwig von Mises Institute and is republished with permission.

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