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L. Neil Smith's
Number 632, August 14, 2011

"Planned and controlled genocide"—
She wants you dead!

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Ghosts of the State
by Jim Davidson

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Special to L. Neil Smith's The Libertarian Enterprise

"The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary."
—H.L. Mencken

How is state busting akin to ghost busting? In both cases, you are dealing with matters more feared than fearful. I should like to address the ghostly aspects of the state in this note.

Ghosts are perceived by some to be real, as in spiritual essences. In this essay, I am not presenting any information regarding wraiths, wights, ghouls, sprites, nor goblins. Instead, I am referring to the ghosts of the state in reference to the film Ghostbusters, fantasies, chimera, vapours, visions, or hobgoblins, as the term was once used by HL Mencken.

State as Fiction
In much of my writing since 2003, I have analysed the state in terms of its fictitious nature. Arguably my very most widely read, re-posted, re-visited, reloaded, and re-issued essay is "The Morpheus Proposal" which is archived here in The Libertarian Enterprise and elsewhere. (For example:

It's the costume theory of karma. If you wear a pretty costume, or even an ugly one, you don't have to face the consequences of your actions, ever. You can lie, cheat, steal, rape, murder, and get away with it. There comes a time when you see the costume is only a costume.

I submit that there is no government. "The government" is an illusion, sometimes consensual. In fact, there are only individuals. Individuals in "the government" get away with murder, theft, lies, deceit, fraud, violence, viciousness, and betrayal. Were those individuals without governmental sanction, they would be merely bullies, killers, and thieves. They would deserve no greater respect and no swifter punishment. As "the government" however, they are understood to be immune from prosecution, immune from lawsuits, immune from criticism. Even their own treason against the constitution is considered acceptable, whereas it is considered treasonous to accuse them of treason.

About 155 years ago, Henry David Thoreau composed a speech called "On Civil Disobedience." In that speech, which is available here: he said that the government had not done anything. It had not settled the West. It had not educated the people. It had not opened new avenues of trade and commerce. All that had ever been done was done by individuals.

He pointed out that if trade and commerce were not made of a substance akin to India rubber, it would not be able to bounce over all the obstacles constantly put in its path by government. Indeed, if legislators, he said, were tried and punished for the results they produced, rather than understood for their intentions, they would be equated with the miscreants who put obstructions on railroad tracks.

Moreover, the government was simply a tradition, passing itself down from generation to generation. It was nothing more than tradition—the special treatment of those in the government nothing but a habit. He also wrote, though I believe mistakenly, that the government could be bent to the will of one man, and (correctly, in my view) was therefore of less consequence than one man.

However, if there is no government, then what is bent? Not the government, but the individual. If you attempt to bend the government to your will, then you will find that it is you who bends.

In this particular fashion, I believe, all the efforts of Libertarian Party members, Republicans, Democrats, and others are made pointless. You cannot reform the government. There is no government for you to reform. You cannot make the government better. There is no government to improve. You cannot make the government obey the constitution. There is no government to be made obedient.

Your efforts to bend the government only result in you being bent. You may believe that you can stick to your guns, remain true to your principles, and bend the government. However, you will find that you are bent in the process, whether corrupted or made weary and stooped over. If you remain, as some noteworthy individuals such as Dr. Ron Paul, unbend-able, you will still not find the government bent to your will. Why not? Because there is no government.

Banish the ghost of the state. It isn't real.

Omnipotent State
One of the really impressive ghosts, or fantasies, about the state is its omnipotence. You "shouldn't say that." You say, "the walls have ears." You know, "the NSA is listening to every phone call and radio transmission." You feel powerless.

The reality, however, is very different. The state supremacists are not merely evil, but entirely mistaken. The state is not all powerful. The state, after all, is non-existent. The state is simply a group of men and women who have evil in their hearts, who hurt other people with imagined "sovereign immunity" (a misuse of the term 'sovereign' in my opinion, because sovereignty implies responsibility, not the shirking thereof), and expect to get away with murder.

The state isn't all powerful. It is as fallible as people in any other context. People err, it is a fundamental aspect of our nature. And people in government are not immune from error.

Indeed, there is considerable evidence that the people who work for government are not selected for their abilities to work at extremely demanding jobs in the private sector. Government is often the place for nepotism, for the sleaze factor, for someone getting something because of who they know instead of what they know. Certainly all government contracting at every level of government is corrupt.

Yes, there is data mining. Yes, there is information aggregation. Yes, Facebook is criminal in its "privacy" policies giving carte blanche to the most evil dictatorial regimes to search the databases of Facebook and use that information to rape, torture, and murder. But, there is no all-powerful aspect to this situation.

You see, the real problem is analysis. Analysts have shown a nearly endless ability to fail. Often the information is in a foreign language, and there is no translation available. Or, there is translation software, which runs roughshod over idioms. There are plenty of data points, but not enough people to look at the data, understand it, gather meaning from the noise. Even simple techniques like the use of puns make it nearly impossible for computer analysis of information to yield up the "treasures" while ignoring the dross. And so someone, eventually, has to actually look at, and look for, the information in the database. Given that 310 million Americans generate data and 13.5 million Americans work for government at any level, including schoolteachers, there is a scarcity of analysis. There always will be such scarcity.

So, banish the ghost of the omnipotence of the state. It has no god-like powers.

Omnipresent State
Don't speed, they say, or you'll be caught. Actually, with radar detectors, police band radios, citizen band radios, and other devices, people have routinely driven at very high speed—90 miles an hour in Connecticut seemed to be the high modal value last time I was there— without being caught. In fact, with very simple radio direction finding equipment, and not fewer than three sites with, say, high towers for picking up radio traffic, you would be able to generate a complete map of the location of every police dispatch station and police vehicle that transmits.

With computers in many police vehicles, they transmit nearly continuously. There is often "chatter" or by-play amongst officers, dispatchers, and others. So, with suitable equipment, a skilled group could generate a web site with maps of a given zone. On the maps would be the locations of every transmitting pig mobile, every stationary transmitter on police frequencies, even those funky Lo-Jack detector aerials. Want to speed with impunity? Get with your local geeks and go wild. Once you have timely updates about where the police are not, you know where to drive fast, and where to drive slow.

Obviously this technology could be, and probably would be, used for other criminal enterprises. Which simply points up the uselessness of depending on the state for protection.

What's that old saying? Never a cop around when you need one, always one around when you don't? In fact, a pistol is easier to carry and eats fewer doughnuts than a cop.

Banish the ghost of the omnipresent state. They can be found, they are not everywhere.

Charitable State
To me, one of the very most insidious of the ghosts of the state is the illusory charity of the government. "Oh, my, without a social safety net, how would the poor survive?" Yeah? Have you been poor? Try it. You won't like it one bit. Try being on food stamps, WIC, and other social services, for a few weeks. Get the lists of which foods you can buy with which types of food payment vouchers. Then go to your local soup kitchen and food pantry, run by a local charity, and ask them why they exist. You'll find out plenty. The government isn't interested in you starving to death. If you don't wish to starve, get busy growing food, or make inquiries into food relief. You won't be happy with the answers you get.

Learn about the charity hospital in your community. I had a neighbour in 1998 in a poor section of Houston. It had originally been developed with very large lots, which is what I found attractive about the living arrangement. But the "wealthy" part of town was in another direction by the time I lived there. So my neighbour lived in a very clean, well-kept ranch home. He catered to customers he had met bar tending at "The Confederate House," a notorious restaurant and watering hole for the many Confederate sympathisers among Houston's elite—Bushes, etc.

He had an infection on one of his toes, so he went to the charity hospital. The internist there took a look, diagnose a foot fungus, and gave him an anti-fungal. Now, it would help those of you with any medical training to know that my neighbour was 66 years old, black, and stout. A few months later, the wound was worse, he went back. A different young doctor saw him, briefly, gave him another foot cream, sent him home. A few months later, he was limping very badly at a catered event he was working. One of his wealthy customers arranged a private doctor visit at the customer's expense. Very kind, indeed.

Of course, the private doctor immediately had a blood sugar test taken, diagnosed diabetes, and moved John to surgery to have his foot removed. It had reached a condition of high gangrene. Later, his leg was removed below the knee, and a number of other complications set in. He died only two years later, as I recall, quite needlessly. Such is the "charity" of the county hospital in Houston.

There's something else about government-run hospitals you may need to know. If you are ever injured by the police, they'll lie about what they find. I had ten broken ribs which a county doctor could not "see" on her x-rays, though a subsequent MRI three days later revealed not only broken ribs, but several inch separations in at least two cases.

The state isn't interested in your welfare. The state provides welfare to keep you and others like you from becoming enraged at injustice, and only enough to leave that rage simmering rather than raging.

Banish the ghost of the charitable state.

Inevitable State
"Do you hear that Mr. Anderson?" asks Agent Smith. "It is the sound of inevitability. It is the sound of your death."

The sound folio is of a screeching subway train. Why is a train so interesting as the metaphor for inevitability? Those of you readers who have ever been arrested may know why. It is often used by the agents of government or "law enforcement" to intimidate suspects, perpetrators, witnesses, and others.

The government agent would say that there is a train coming. You can either get on it, or get run over by it. The train is too powerful to stop. You can't stop it. So, are you going to get on it? This type of false reasoning is used to coerce plea bargains, guilty pleas, false testimony, and a host of other ills. Don't be taken in.

In his confrontation with Agent Smith, Neo proves the train is not the sound of his death. His death comes, but is hardly inevitable. Miraculously, Neo recovers from death with the metaphorical love of a good woman. He recovers from death because that isn't real, either.

Centuries ago, Ben Franklin wrote that three things are inevitable: the weather, death, and taxes. I disagree on all three counts. I'm for weather control, life extension, and free markets.

Banish the ghost of the inevitable state.

When you see that it is only ghosts, people dressed in costumes, and hobgoblin images being shaken at you to frighten you into foolishness, you are safer, wiser, and happier. The light of truth is very powerful. Shine it. Disinfect your mind.

Jim Davidson is an author, entrepreneur, and anti-war activist. His 1990 venture to offer a sweepstakes trip into space was destroyed by government action as was his free port and prospective space port in Somalia in 2001. His 2002-2007 venture in free market money and private stock exchange was destroyed by government action in 2007. He's going to Mars if he has to walk. His second book, Being Sovereign is now availble from Lulu and Amazon. He is currently working on a book about travel to Mars with John Wayne Smith, a book with international fugitive Chad Z. Hower on his story, a book on sovereign self-defence, and a book compiling his letters and essays in The Libertarian Enterprise from 1995 to 2010. Contact him at or Come visit IndSovU teams at gatherings in September 2011 in Montana, December 2011 in Florida, and March 2012 in Austin, Texas. Or join State Busters.

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