Rep. DeLauro: I think poor people are stupid, so let’s tax every teaspoon of sugar purchased

Rosa DeLauro AP

It takes some serious gall for a legislator to turn to British taxes from 1764 for inspiration, but that’s what Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.), did when she introduced the Sugar-Sweetened Beverages Tax (SWEET Act). The Democrat’s goal: tax every teaspoon of sugar, high fructose corn syrup or caloric sweetener that you buy. The tax would start at one cent per teaspoon of sugar and increase as future masterminds in Washington, D.C. see fit.

Here’s what she had to say regarding the SWEET Act:

“Added sugar is pervasive and almost inescapable at the supermarket. And of course, many times it is the sugary foods and drinks that are the easiest for the families living on the edge of poverty to afford. When a 2 liter cola is 99 cents and blueberries are over $3.00, something has gone very wrong. As [the movie] “Fed Up” shows, this is not just the free market at work. All too often sugary foods or drinks with high fructose are cheaper as a direct result of government polices. It is long past time that we pass and support policies that work to our better health instead,” (Rosa DeLauro, D-Conn.).

With that in mind, I’m working on legislation right now to tax sugar-sweetened drinks, like sodas, in a way that reflects the serious damage they are doing to our health. I hope to introduce legislation in a matter of weeks.”

How does one woman cram so much idiocy into so few words? First off, comparing the economics of blueberries to the economics of soda is just plain weird. It makes just as much sense as saying “When a box of Dunkin Donuts ‘Munchkins’ is $4.99 and a basket of cherries is $9.99, something is wrong.” Apparently the congresswoman has never taken Econ 101. The only thing “wrong” is that there is not a single area of your life — not one — that a woman like Ms. DeLauro believes is off limits to the federal government. If Ms. DeLauro doesn’t like subsidies and tariffs artificially warping sugar prices, then she should focus on getting rid of them — but she doesn’t. Why? The answer is simple: control.

Ms. DeLauro feels as though she should have some amount of say in every teaspoon of sugar you consume, so she goes about creating laws that will allow her that luxury. Those laws must be overseen by men and women who think like her, so a tax is put in place to fund studies, government agencies and bureaucratic overseers. If by some strange chance that tax should happen to curb sugar consumption and cause a budget shortfall for food-policing efforts, then some other group or tax bracket would be called upon to pick up the tab (e.g., “the rich”).

There is something sick and insidious about the individual who perpetually finds new ways to encroach upon the lives of those who just want to be left alone. Such politicians justify their self-described acts of “kindness” without ever stopping to think about how much evil has been inflicted upon the world under the banner of kindness. In a different time and a different place Americans would run Ms. DeLauro out of town, but these days Americans are so used to having individual liberties stripped away by political parasites that they hardly stir from their Netflix or XBox-inspired stupor. Worst of all may be that by allowing legislation like the Affordable Care Act to pass, citizens can expect a litany of new laws in the same vein as the SWEET Act.

Let us, for a moment, go back to the time U.S. District Judge Roger Vinson asked pro-Obamacare attorneys in Florida the following question: “If [lawmakers and regulators] decided everybody needs to eat broccoli because broccoli makes us healthy, could they mandate that everybody has to eat broccoli each week?” His question was completely dodged, but honest people know exactly what he was getting at: laws are being enacted under the presumption that there is no limit to the power granted to the federal government. If you deny this, simply listen to what politicians like Rosa DeLauro say and examine the rules and regulations they tirelessly try to impose upon you.

The Declaration of Independence states:

Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.

People like to joke that Americans are violent people. That is not true — at least as it pertains to individuals who cherish the nation’s founding. Americans would rather suffer endless violations of their civil liberties, doled out like Chinese water torture by 535 members of Congress and the regulatory agencies of the Executive Branch, than to resort to violence. Americans are patient, but there comes a time for everyone when patience runs out. When one sugar tax too many has been passed, Americans will put an end to the long train of abuses of freedom and individual liberty inflicted upon them over the course of many, many years.

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Patriots push back feds at Bundy Ranch: America wins as agents, snipers ‘protecting’ turtles retreat

Ranchers Bundy

We live in interesting times: the federal government must be dragged tooth and nail to do what is necessary to protect that nation’s sovereignty along the southern border, but it will deploy attack dogs and snipers against Nevada ranchers who have worked the same land for over 100 years.

If you didn’t follow the Cliven Bundy story over the past week, here it is in a nutshell: Mr. Bundy’s family has raised cattle on the same land for over a century. How long? They’ve been there since before the Bureau of Land Management was even created. Somewhere along the line, the federal government came in and told Mr. Bundy’s family they needed to “manage” his land. Mr. Bundy has argued that they federal government has been trying to “manage” him out of business. And so, he’s refused to pay the federal government to ruin his livelihood. The BLM asserts that his family has over $1 million in unpaid management fees to the federal government.

Last week, in an effort to “protect” a species of desert tortoise, agents moved in and confiscated the herd. Ranchers from all over the region got word of what was going on, and joined with him in his stand against the federal government. A pregnant woman was knocked to the ground and a stun gun was used on Mr. Bundy’s son, but the standoff ended with the federal government retreating and all of Mr. Bundy’s cattle returned — for now.

The Las Vegas Journal review reported:

BUNKERVILLE — More than 100 head of Cliven Bundy’s confiscated cattle were released from a corral outside of Mesquite after a 20-minute standoff between angry and armed ranchers and law enforcement officers Saturday.

With rifles pointing toward each side and tensions reaching a critical level, federal land officials backed off and agreed to give up the cattle to Bundy’s family and supporters. …

Locals who make a living on the range and own horses showed up on horseback.

Nearly all of them defended Bundy’s actions and spoke about how tired they were of the federal government micromanaging Americans, including passing too many regulations, not just in Nevada but across the country; not just in cattle ranching, but in all facets of life, from Obamacare to the Environmental Protection Agency.

Brent Mackelprang, 58, a cattle rancher from Arizona, said the government’s decision to seize Bundy’s cattle in the name of protecting “the supposedly endangered” desert tortoise was a mere excuse “to go in and grab land from the people,” including Bundy, who has long claimed that the land belongs to his family and the state of Nevada — “certainly not to the federal government.”

Since Sen. Harry Reid has been M.I.A. during this whole debate, I’ll turn to a quote from Frederick Douglass to explain what went on in Nevada:

“Find out just what the people will submit to and you will have found out the exact amount of injustice and wrong which will be imposed upon them; and these will continue until they are resisted with either words or blows, or both. The limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they oppose.” — Frederick Douglass

The people finally — thank God — stood up to the power-mad federal government, and they got results.

 

Krissy Thornton, right, looks at blood from a taser wound on Ammon Bundy near Bunkerville, Nev. Wednesday, April 9, 2014. Bundy was tasered by Bureau of Land Management law enforcement officers while protesting the roundup of what the BLM calls "trespass cattle" that rancher Cliven Bundy grazes in the Gold Butte area 80 miles northeast of Las Vegas. (AP Photo/Las Vegas Review-Journal, John Locher)
Krissy Thornton, right, looks at blood from a taser wound on Ammon Bundy near Bunkerville, Nev. Wednesday, April 9, 2014. Bundy was tasered by Bureau of Land Management law enforcement officers while protesting the roundup of what the BLM calls “trespass cattle” that rancher Cliven Bundy grazes in the Gold Butte area 80 miles northeast of Las Vegas. (AP Photo/Las Vegas Review-Journal, John Locher)

And why is it that Sen. Reid has been so quiet?

The Washington Times reported:

The Bureau of Land Management is headed by former longtime Reid aide Neil Kornze, who was confirmed by the Senate as BLM director on Tuesday, just as federal authorities descended on the cattle ranch outside Mesquite, Nev.

Mr. Kornze issued a statement Saturday saying that the bureau would return the cattle and withdraw its agents from the ranch as a result of safety concerns after clashes between law enforcement and the Bundy family’s growing legion of supporters.

“It was likely pressure from upstairs, rather than weapons from the field, that changed his mind on the matter,” the liberal group Americans Against the Tea Party said in an online post. “Fact is, Harry Reid probably didn’t want his name attached to the biggest civilian massacre in U.S. history right before election season.”

Behind the scenes, you know that men like Sen. Reid are furious. It wasn’t supposed to play out the way it did. Mr. Bundy was supposed to fold. He was supposed to just accept the slow and steady infringements on our rights to life, liberty and property like so many other Americans — but he didn’t. That act of defiance stirred something inside the stomachs of locals and patriots from other states that they knew to be just and right, and so they came to his aid.

Bundy Ranch

Hopefully, what happened at the Bundy Ranch will inspire more Americans to push back against the injustices imposed upon them by an out-of-control federal government.

Related: If you want to read stories about the federal government’s overreach, check out Cheryl K. Chumley’s ‘Police State U.S.A.’ I’ll be reviewing the book when it comes out in May.

Abraham Lincoln on liberty: Are you the shepherd or the wolf?

Abraham Lincoln was a smart guy. The problem smart guys have is that they say a lot of memorable things, but for whatever reason people latch on to their most famous lines while allowing the rest to fall by the wayside. With Lincoln, there’s The Gettysburg Address, his “House Divided” speech, The Emancipation Proclamation, and then his Inaugural addresses to pull from. While they are all important, I think his Lecture on Liberty at the Sanitary Fair in Baltimore should be added to the list of “do not forget” speeches.

Lincoln understood in 1864 what so many liberty-loving Americans do not: the definition of the word ‘liberty’ for many Americans is incompatible with the country’s founding.

The world has never had a good definition of the word liberty, and the American people, just now, are much in want of one. We all declare for liberty; but in using the same word we do not all mean the same thing. With some the word liberty may mean for each man to do as he pleases with himself, and the product of his labor; while with others the same word may mean for some men to do as they please with other men, and the product of other men’s labor. Here are two, not only different, but incompatible things, called by the same name — liberty. And it follows that each of the things is, by the respective parties, called by two different and incompatible names — liberty and tyranny.

The shepherd drives the wolf from the sheep’s throat, for which the sheep thanks the shepherd as a liberator, while the wolf denounces him for the same act, as the destroyer of liberty, especially as the sheep was a black one. Plainly the sheep and the wolf are not agreed upon a definition of the word liberty; and precisely the same difference prevails today among us human creatures … all professing to love liberty.” — Abraham Lincoln, April 18, 1864. Lecture on Liberty at the Sanitary Fair in Baltimore.

Are you the shepherd or the wolf? There are hundreds of wolves populating the halls of Congress, and all of them are trying to convince you they are a shepherd.

Editor’s note for regular readers: This passage will also play a role in the book I am writing.

Piers Morgan: In another life I changed the king’s chamber pot — and loved it

Piers Morgan First Amendment

John Adams said that the American Revolution “connected, in one indissoluble bond, the principles of civil government with the principles of Christianity.” His cousin Sam said the passage of the Declaration was the day that the colonists “restored the Sovereign to Whom alone men ought to be obedient.”

These men and many of America’s founding fathers understood the important role Christianity played in shaping our nation at its inception. In fact, it’s a good bet that if they were transported in time to 2013 that Piers Morgan would call these men religious “bigots.”

Here is what Piers Morgan said of Duck Dynasty’s Phil Robertson after reading the text of the interview the A&E star gave to GQ magazine:

Just as the 2nd Amendment shouldn’t protect assault rifle devotees, so the 1st Amendment shouldn’t protect vile bigots.

Here is what Mr. Robertson said:

“[Sin isn’t] logical, my man. It’s just not logical. […] Start with homosexual behavior and just morph out from there. Bestiality, sleeping around with this woman and that woman and that woman and those men. […] Don’t be deceived. Neither the adulterers, the idolaters, the male prostitutes, the homosexual offenders, the greedy, the drunkards, the slanderers, the swindlers—they won’t inherit the kingdom of God. Don’t deceive yourself. It’s not right.”

The First Amendment does not exist to protect popular speech. Quite the contrary — it exists to protect unpopular speech. The fact that Piers Morgan doesn’t understand a concept that is so crucial to America’s identity indicates that in another life he probably cleaned the king’s chamber pot — and loved every second of it. He carries himself as if he once was a handmaiden to tyranny and it’s carried over into this lifetime. Sadly, he doesn’t even understand how he’s telegraphing for all the world to see that the seeds of an authoritarian monster are alive and well within him.

Americans once got to listen to Frenchmen like Charles de Montesquieu. Today, they get … Piers Morgan, who has now demonstrated beyond a reasonable doubt that he does not understand or respect the First or Second Amendments to the U.S. Constitution.

Americans once got to read the writings of Thomas Paine, who published ‘Common Sense’ on January 9, 1776. Today, they get to read the Twitter feed of men like Piers Morgan, who compensate for what they lack in common sense with blind faith in their own B.S.

What does it say about us that instead of finding this generation’s John Locke that CNN suits settled for the modern equivalent of King George III’s man-servant pooper scooper?

Those of the Morgan-mold are obsessed with banning things they do not like. Whether we are talking about physical objects like guns or something much more precious — like ideas — the modern man of the left has a never-ending “to do” list that involves using force to get you to comply with his vision for the world.

While conservatives believe that A&E viewers are smart enough to decide on their own whether Phil Robertson still belongs on the airwaves, the Piers Morgans of the world feel as though only they can be trusted to make the right call. They do not like talk of God because they see themselves as gods — elite masterminds who must mandate their great ideas to you when you do not accept them. The beatings will continue until morale improves…

Whether or not you think Phil Robertson is a “bigot” for his faith in the Bible, one thing is certain: Men like Piers Morgan are a greater threat to freedom and individual liberties than the Duck Dynasty family or their fans will ever be.

“We never, ever judge someone on who’s going to heaven, hell. That’s the Almighty’s job,” said Phil. “We just love ’em, give ’em the good news about Jesus—whether they’re homosexuals, drunks, terrorists. We let God sort ’em out later, you see what I’m saying?”

Piers Morgan? Not only is he filled with hate, but he believes he should have the moral authority to impose restrictions on the kinds of thoughts and feelings that disturb his sensibilities.

Related: Operation Mindcrime: Media take out Duck Dynasty’s Phil Robertson

Ben Franklin’s thoughts on the rattlesnake as a symbol of America: ‘Don’t tread on me’

Gadsen Flag

Once upon a time, Americans listened to men like Benjamin Franklin. Today, they get unhealthy doses of Sen. Harry Reid. Given that, I thought I’d share a few excerpts from ‘The Completed Autobiography by Benjamin Franklin,’ which was compiled and edited by Mark Skousen, Ph.D.

I like Archer just as much as the next guy, but Archer is not Ben Franklin. If I had one piece of advice to give to young people it would to turn off the television for a year or two and read the works of the men who helped shape America’s identity at its inception. Learn from the wisdom preserved for us by the best and brightest minds ever turned out by Western Civilization. Once you do that, you will realize who it is within the political class and the entertainment community that wants you to wander through life like a zombie. You will be able to discern who is telling you what you want to hear and who is telling you what you need to hear. You will be able to tell the difference between the man who is snake oil salesman from the man who is like the rattlesnake.

The rattlesnake as a symbol of America: ‘Don’t tread on me’

“I observed on one of the drums belonging to the Marines being raised that there was painted a rattlesnake, with this modest motto under it, “Don’t tread on me.” It occurred to me that the rattlesnake, being found in no other quarter of the world besides America, might therefore be chose to represent her. Having frequently seen the rattlesnake, I ran over in my mind every property by which she was distinguished.

I recollect that her eye excelled in brightness, that of any other animal, and that she has no eye-lids. She may therefore be esteemed an emblem of vigilance. She never begins an attack, not, when once engaged, ever surrenders; she is therefore an emblem of magnanimity and true courage.

As if anxious to prevent all pretensions of quarreling with her, the weapons with which nature has furnished her she conceals in the roof of her mouth, so that, to those who are unacquainted with her, she appears to be a most defenseless animal, and even when those weapons are shown and extended for their defense, they appear weak and contemptible; but their wounds however small, are decisive and fatal. Conscious of this, she never wounds till she has generously given notice, even to her enemy, and cautioned him against the danger of treading on her.

I confess I was wholly at a loss what to make of the rattles until I went back and counted them and found them just thirteen, exactly the number of the colonies united in America; and I recollected too that this was the only part of the snake that increased in numbers; perhaps it might be only fancy, but, I conceited the painter had shown a half formed additional rattle, which, I suppose, might have been intended to represent the province of Canada.

‘Tis curious and amazing to observe how distinct and independent of each other the rattles of this animal are, and yet how firmly they are united together, so as never to be separated but by breaking them to pieces. One of those rattles singly is incapable of producing sound, but the ringing of thirteen together is sufficient to alarm the boldest man living.

The rattlesnake is solitary and associated with her kind only when it is necessary for their preservation. In winter, the warmth of a number together will preserve their lives, while singly they would probably perish.

The power of fascination attributed to her, by a generous construction, may be understood to mean that those who consider the liberty and blessing which America affords, and once come over to her, never afterwards leave her, but spend their lives with her. She strongly resembles America in this, that she is beautiful in youth and her beauty increases with age, “her tongue also is blue and forked as the lightning, and her abode is among impenetrable rocks.”

I communicated my sentiments to a neighbor of mine, who had a surprising readiness at guessing everything which related to public affairs. He instantly declared it as his sentiments that the Congress meant to allude to Lord North’s declaration in the House of Commons that he never would relax his measure until he had brought America to his feet, and to intimate to his Lordship that were she brought to his feet, it would be dangerous treading on her.” — The Completed Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin, compiled and edited by Mark Skousen, Ph.D. Pages 112-114.

Rebellion to Tyrants is obedience to God

“Only July 4 I had been appointed to a committee, along with Thomas Jefferson and John Adams, to design the great seal of the United States. I urged the following to be adopted: Moses standing on the shore, and extending his hand over the sea, thereby causing the same to overwhelm Pharaoh who is sitting in an open chariot, a crown on his head and a sword in his hand. Rays from a pillar of fire in the clouds reach to Moses to express that he acts by command of the Deity. Motto: Rebellion to tyrants is obedience to God.” — The Completed Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin, compiled and edited by Mark Skousen, Ph.D. Page 124.

Take a few moments to really think about America’s founding and what it meant to have men like Franklin at the helm when the fate of the nation hung in the balance. And then, when you’re done…if you really must, go back to the cartoons.

Seattle tries socialism, hopes to duplicate Venezuelan toilet paper shortages

Seattle Socialist

Venezuela’s socialist revolution is working out so incredibly well that Seattle has decided to follow suit. The city recently elected its first Socialist Councilmember, Kshama Sawant, and she’s already out in public supporting the kind of actions that lead to rolling brownouts, toilet paper shortages (which produces more brown in places you don’t want it), and businessmen who literally have to sell their products at arbitrary prices while guns are pointed at their backs.

Kshama Sawant’s first order of business? Letting the world know that private property rights are merely an obstacle to her socialist utopia — she thinks Boeing’s union members should “take over” the factories if they don’t get their way in an ongoing contract dispute.

“The workers should take over the factories, and shut down Boeing’s profit-making machine,” Sawant announced to a cheering crowd of union supporters in Seattle’s Westlake Park Monday night. …

“The only response we can have if Boeing executives do not agree to keep the plant here is for the machinists to say the machines are here, the workers are here, we will do the job, we don’t need the executives. The executives don’t do the work, the machinists do,” Ms. Sawant said.

Sawant calls that “democratic ownership,” topping it all off with: “We can re-tool the machines to produce mass transit like buses, instead of destructive, you know, war machines,” she told KIRO 7.

To the Socialist, Holocaust-denying mullah’s in the Middle East or Chinese state-sponsored hackers should not prompt a nation to provide for the common defense because the “real” bad guys are the businessmen right here at home. The real enemies of America are Americans — particularly those who hold dear to antiquated ideas like “private property” and “individual liberty.” In the Socialist utopia, people should be paid to dig ditches and fill them back up again, and they should be transported to in from work every day packed in buses like glorious sardines. To fight this vision for the world is to fight progress.

To recap: Boeing seeks a contract that would result in work for eight years on the new 777X airliner — provided that new employees go without a guaranteed pension — and if that doesn’t come to pass then the employees should forcibly take over the factories. Got it. It would be smart for Boeing to run — fast — from Seattle, if an absolute disregard for private property is what gets people elected in the city these days.

There are individuals who have zero fidelity to the rights enshrined the in the Declaration of Independence and codified into law by the Constitution, and these days there are enclaves where they have considerable political power. The real enemies of freedom are not the job creators, but those who actively encourage captive audiences to take the law into their own hands, using Orwellian euphemisms like “democratic ownership” to describe theft and criminality.

Gandalf, from ‘The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug,” says it well: “We’ve been blind. And in our blindness, our enemy has returned.”

Gandalf We have been blind
“We’ve been blind. And in our blindness, our enemy has returned.” — Gandalf

Returned? They never went away.

Perhaps Thomas Jefferson says it best: “The price of liberty is eternal vigilance.”

Venezuela’s Maduro tries to stop spinning down the toilet drain by spinning faster

Flush

Venezuela has number of problems on its hands lately, one of which had been toilet paper shortages predictably caused by its awesomely awesome socialist revolution. This is fitting, because its economy has been spinning down the drain. Now, Venezuelan president Nicolas Maduro has a bright idea for preventing the flush from completing — spin faster!

USA Today reports:

“I want a Sony plasma television for the house,” said Amanda Lisboa, 34, who waited seven hours outside a Caracas Daka store, USA Today reported. “It’s going to be so cheap!”

“This is for the good of the nation,” Mr. Maduro said in the report. “Leave nothing on the shelves, nothing in the warehouses. … Let nothing remain in stock!”

“This is more like government-sanctioned looting,” said Caracas-based engineer Carlos Rivero, 42, USA Today reported. “What stops them going into pharmacies, supermarkets and shopping malls?”

Looting, indeed. When you go after private property owners — at gunpoint — call them “bourgeois parasites,” and tell the people it’s all being done in the name of “fairness,” lawlessness ultimately will rule the day.

Think this can’t happen in the United States? Think again:

While the country is immersed in Obamacare headlines and a congressional tussle over delays and mandates, the Obama administration is stealthily moving toward unprecedented control over private property under a massive expansion of the Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Water Act authority.

The proposed rule, obtained by the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee in advance of EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy’s testimony at a Thursday oversight hearing, widely broadens the definition of waterways over which the federal government has jurisdiction to as little as a water ditch in a backyard.

The Clean Water Act redefinition of “waters of the United States” would include all ponds, lakes, wetlands and natural or manmade streams that have any effect on downstream navigable waters — whether on public lands or private property.

The U.S. is going down the same drain, but the difference is that we have people who are trying to slow the process down. It’s just sad that advocates of administrative state are trying to create a bureaucratic vortex of centrifugal force to keep us in the toilet. “Got a ditch in your back yard, kid? Yeah, well, that means it’s the federal government’s yard, now. We’ve been spying on you for quite some time and, quite frankly, we don’t like what you’re up to. So now, you’re up to nothing.”

As I said in August, 2011:

We know how statists feel about the Founding Fathers—and it’s not warm and fuzzy. In order to hide their animosity towards the Founding Fathers and the magnificent document they produced, they refer to the Constitution as “a living document” (i.e., it means whatever it is they want it to mean.) Only by viewing the Constitution in that light can the statists work around what has been an impediment—and a source of frustration—to their central planning for ages. In order for them to succeed, they need power. In a country of 400 million people—each with their own thoughts and dreams and desires—it requires incredible power to get everyone “in line.” The Constitution stops them in their tracks, which is why its defenders must be labeled “unhinged.”

To see how this works, one needs to look no further than the early roll out of Obamacare. Already, politicians are blaming the insurance industry for the economic fallout of their own policies. Individuals who understand basic economics predicted millions of people would lose their plans, that prices would go up, and that the Affordable Care Act would in fact not lower the underlying costs of the health care industry. Now that the writing is on the wall, even Diane “I think you might be a terrorist some day” Feinstein is trying to find a way to avoid the political fallout.

The world was always complex, but as technology advances the world’s perpetual busybodies will become increasingly frustrated. There are too many moving parts. Billions upon billions of voluntary transactions take place ever day between complex spiritual beings with free will. One camp seeks to control the uncontrollable — which has a historical track record of ending in tyranny — and the other believes that the free market (another imperfect system in an imperfect world) is still the best system ever devised for allowing man to obtain his full potential while pulling countless others out of poverty.

Americans should watch what is happening in Venezuela, because in many ways it is giving us a glimpse into the future if we refuse to change course.

Update: I’ll be on NPR’s “Wait…Wait…Don’t Tell Me” on Saturday, Nov. 16 talking about Venezuela.

‘The True Believer’: Eric Hoffer’s classic from 1951 is essential reading for Americans today

Eric Hoffer’s ‘True Believer: Thoughts on the Nature of Mass Movements’ was published in 1951, but its wisdom is more relevant now than ever. Hoffer, the “longshoreman philosopher,” was an intellectual giant; his observations on human nature are essential reading for all Americans. In recent years, the split between the defenders of individual liberty and those who yearn to be lost in the collective has widened. The United States of America is united in name only, and the seeds of sinister things to come have shifted the cultural dirt with germination.

While I will always be grateful for the education I received at the University of Southern California, the bulk of my intellectual growth during my early twenties occurred because I was willing to seek out books my college professors never included on their recommended reading’ lists. I learned a lot by listening to my professors, but I knew that my greatest expansion would happen when I figured out what they didn’t want me to hear.

Eric Hoffer was kept from me by the “intellectuals” who were paid (handsomely) to introduce me to the best and brightest minds of human history. Don’t let his work be kept from you:

People whose lives are barren and insecure seem to show a greater willingness to obey than people who are self sufficient and self-confident. To the frustrated, freedom from responsibility is more attractive than freedom from restraint. They are eager to barter their independence for relief from the burdens of willing, deciding and being responsible for inevitable failure. They willingly abdicate the directing of their lives to those who want to plan, command and shoulder all responsibility. Moreover, submission by all to a supreme leader is an approach to their ideal of equality. …

The frustrated are also likely to be the most steadfast followers. It is remarkable, that, in a co-operative effort, the least self-reliant are the least likely to be discouraged by defeat. For they join others in a common undertaking not so much to ensure the success of a cherished project as to avoid an individual shouldering of blame in case of failure. When the common undertaking fails, they are still spared the one thing they fear most, namely, the showing up of their individual shortcomings. Their faith remains unimpaired and they are eager to follow in a new attempt.

The frustrated follow a leader less because of their faith that he is leading them to a promised land than because of their immediate feeling that he is leading them away from their unwanted selves. Surrender to a leader is not a means to an end but a fulfillment. Whither they are led is of secondary importance. (Eric Hoffer, The True Believer: Thoughts on the Nature of Mass Movements. 118-119.)

Sounds familiar? If not, you haven’t been paying attention to the American political landscape since 2008. The election (and re-election) of the Marshall Applewhite of modern American politics — and the blithe acceptance of policies anathema to the long-term health of a free nation — have been harbingers of things to come.

Don’t believe me? Ask yourself how it’s possible for a modern Paul Revere like Mark Dice was able to get Californians to willingly sign a petition to support an “Orwellian police state” with “Nazi Germany” as its model. Any way you slice it, the “Orwellian Police State” video is a sad commentary on the state of union. A certain percentage of the population will always be clueless, but there are some encounters that should receive near-universal revulsion. A request to sign up for a “police state” is one of them.

The stage is set for America to change drastically overnight. The room is filled with the fumes of tyranny, and all that is required for destruction and pain on an unprecedented scale is a spark. Perhaps an economic crash somewhere around the $25 trillion debt mark? Iran officially going nuclear? A large-scale terror attack on American soil? Take your pick.

Perhaps the final piece of the puzzle will fall into place when Americans, now content to bludgeon each other with violent rhetoric, tire of blaming political rivals and turn their attention to external boogeymen.

The Americans are poor haters in international affairs because of their innate feeling of superiority over all foreigners. An American’s hatred for a fellow American … is far more virulent than any antipathy he can work up against foreigners. … Should Americans begin to hate foreigners whole-heartedly, it will be an indication that they have lost confidence in their own way of life.” (Eric Hoffer, The True Believer: Thoughts on the Nature of Mass Movements. 96)

If you are concerned about the nation, I suggest reading ‘True Believer: Thoughts on the Nature of Mass Movements.’ While most institutions of higher learning these days are not interested in introducing you to men like Eric Hoffer, plenty of bloggers are happy to do so. Search them out, read their work, and together we might be able to pass on a freer society to future generations of Americans.

3D printing drives statists crazy; expect tyrants to double their efforts

Liberator Forbes

3D printing is here. Cody Wilson of Defense Distributed wanted to make the first weapon that was fully printed (except for the firing pin) and he has succeed. The blueprints were released online and the result has been amazing: 100,000 downloads before the feds stepped in to put a stop to it.

Forbes reports:

If gun control advocates hoped to prevent blueprints for the world’s first fully 3D-printable gun from spreading online, that horse has now left the barn about a hundred thousand times.

That’s the number of downloads of the 3D-printable file for the so-called “Liberator” gun that the high-tech gunsmithing group Defense Distributed has seen in just the last two days, a member of the group tells me. The gun’s CAD files have been ten times more popular than any component the group has previously made available, parts that have included the body of an AR-15 and the magazine for an AK-47.

As I said, Uncle Sam is not happy. Since the State Department couldn’t protect Ambassador Stevens from real guns, it is now going after Americans:

On Thursday, Defense Distributed founder Cody Wilson received a letter from the State Department Office of Defense Trade Controls Compliance demanding that he take down the online blueprints for the 3D-printable “Liberator” handgun that his group released Monday, along with nine other 3D-printable firearms components hosted on the group’s website Defcad.org. The government says it wants to review the files for compliance with arms export control laws known as the International Traffic in Arms Regulations, or ITAR. By uploading the weapons files to the Internet and allowing them to be downloaded abroad, the letter implies Wilson’s high-tech gun group may have violated those export controls.

Here’s the deal: technology keeps breaking down barriers faster and faster and faster, and a big bloated federal government simply can not keep up with the speed. The statists are confused because suddenly we’re on the brink of the stuff technological revolutions are made out of and they don’t like it because it will free millions from their regulatory vice grip.

If Williams-Sonoma gets so freaked out by pressure cookers in the wake of the Boston bombing that it pulls them from the shelves, what are the Jr. Sonomas in Congress going to do when faced with a population armed with 3D printers? Time to ban plastic, people!

In all seriousness though, one possible outcome is that faced with a world that is running faster than it can write regulations, the “soft tyranny” Americans have seen in recent decades will be replaced with good old fashioned, boot-on-your-throat tyranny.

Don’t think it could happen? I give you New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg:

“The people who are worried about privacy have a legitimate worry. But we live in a complex world where you’re going to have to have a level of security greater than you did back in the olden days, if you will. And our laws and our interpretation of the Constitution, I think, have to change,” (Michael Bloomberg, April 23, 2013).

He has money. He has power. And he has a mindset that is extremely, extremely dangerous. So much for unalienable rights, eh? That is exactly why I have always said that once you take out rights endowed to us “by the Creator,” you are left with rights “endowed by dangerous megalomaniacs like Michael Bloomberg.”

Still don’t believe me? Take a look at the Boston manhunt.

Nothing like putting an entire city on lock down for one guy, and then dragging women and children from their homes at gunpoint. Question: At what point did local police departments being to need equipment reserved for the national guard?
Nothing like putting an entire city on lock down for one guy, and then dragging women and children from their homes at gunpoint. (Image: Associated Press)

Boston police

Or better yet, I’ll let Bill Maher talk about the whole ordeal. It’s funny how he’s come around on taxes (i.e., “Liberals, you can actually lose me. It’s ridiculous.”), entitlements and now the dangers of a bloated federal government in such a short amount of time.

“This country is becoming a police state and it is very troubling to me,” (Bill Maher).

Get used to it Bill, because it’s only going to get worse before it gets better. It’s just very interesting to have watched you for all these years with your smug delivery suddenly looking a little shaken and unsure of yourself. We tried to tell you that a government that was big enough to give you whatever you wanted was big enough to take it all away, and you called us ‘teabaggers.’ We tried to tell you that power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely, and you called us dumb hicks. And now that your taxes are through the roof and S.W.A.T. guys are only a single terrorist away from landing on your roof you’ve got a quizzical look on your face. Hear that? That’s the sound of your quixotic worldview crashing down around you.

There is hope for Bill yet, and I think the response by power hungry bureaucrats to future advances in technology can make him come around.

How about you?

Obama to make gun control pitch flanked by kids

You either agree with President Obama’s gun control plans, or you stand against innocent children. That’s the message the administration will telegraph on Wednesday, when it plans to hold a press conference flanked by kids. The announcement was made by White House Press Secretary Jay Carney on Tuesday, who also disclosed that the proposals put together by Vice President Joe Biden will include bans on assault weapons and high capacity magazines.

In the past, presidents have welcomed children to bill signings (e.g., President Obama did so with Obamacare), but the dynamic shifts exponentially when kids become props in the pitch for legislation. That’s exactly what will happen tomorrow, when children who wrote the president in the wake of the Newtown shootings will surround him as he makes the case to curb Second Amendment rights.

Both President Obama and Vice President Joe Biden have made the claim that “if it only saves one life,” their proposals will be worth taking. It’s an emotional argument that breaks down in the face of the slightest bit of intellectual scrutiny. Should we ban motorcycles and cars? Cuttlery? Self-defense classes? Regardless, it is not surprising that men who cloak statist power grabs in lofty rhetoric also see nothing wrong with using little ones as propaganda pawns for their scripted press conferences.