The Militant Libertarian

I'm pissed off and I'm a libertarian. What else you wanna know?

Friday, July 23, 2004

Flunking Fascism 101

Flunking Fascism 101
© 2004

There are few words the American Left loves to fling around with such abandon as the word "fascist." According to them, social conservatives, libertarians and the Religious Right are all various brands of fascism, that political ideology which came into such disrepute following the demise of il Duce, Benito Mussolini.

And yet, is the accusation legitimate? Who better to judge than Mussolini himself, not only the founder of the Fascist movement, but also the author of its manifesto. The Manifesto of the Fascist Struggle is not so well-known as the Communist Manifesto – and deservedly so, being markedly lacking in memorable phrases such as "a spectre haunting Europe" – and is not even as well-known as the Munich Manifesto of Germany's National Socialists.

In fact, one can seldom find a direct translation of the Fascist manifesto, as it is usually summarized quickly before being swept aside in favor of contorted explanations of how its socialist theoreticians, including Panunzio, Gentile and Mussolini himself, are actually right-wing extremists influenced by the Catholic Church. It is fortuitous, then, that I happen to speak Italian, and so I present herein an original translation of The Manifesto of the Fascist Struggle, published in The People of Italy on June 6, 1919.

Italians! Here is the program of a genuinely Italian movement. It is revolutionary because it is anti-dogmatic, strongly innovative and against prejudice.

For the political problem: We demand:

a) Universal suffrage polled on a regional basis, with proportional representation and voting and electoral office eligibility for women.

b) A minimum age for the voting electorate of 18 years; that for the office holders at 25 years.

c) The abolition of the Senate.

d) The convocation of a National Assembly for a three-years duration, for which its primary responsibility will be to form a constitution of the State.

e) The formation of a National Council of experts for labor, for industy, for transportation, for the public health, for communications, etc. Selections to be made from the collective professionals or of tradesmen with legislative powers, and elected directly to a General Commission with ministerial powers.

For the social problems: We demand:

a) The quick enactment of a law of the State that sanctions an eight-hour workday for all workers.

b) A minimum wage.

c) The participation of workers' representatives in the functions of industry commissions.

d) To show the same confidence in the labor unions (that prove to be technically and morally worthy) as is given to industry executives or public servants.

e) The rapid and complete systemization of the railways and of all the transport industries.

f) A necessary modification of the insurance laws to invalidate the minimum retirement age; we propose to lower it from 65 to 55 years of age.

For the military problem: We demand:

a) The institution of a national militia with a short period of service for training and exclusively defensive responsibilities.

b) The nationalization of all the arms and explosives factories.

c) A national policy intended to peacefully further the Italian national culture in the world.

For the financial problem: We demand:

a) A strong progressive tax on capital that will truly expropriate a portion of all wealth.

b) The seizure of all the possessions of the religious congregations and the abolition of all the bishoprics, which constitute an enormous liability on the Nation and on the privileges of the poor.

c) The revision of all military contracts and the seizure of 85 percent of the profits therein.

As with National Socialism and Communism, it is easy to see that far from being a right-wing ideology, fascism is simply another variant of leftist worship of the State. I found the first plank in the above platform to be particularly amusing, as last week on my blog, Vox Popoli, a five-day debate sparked by a post on the historical consequences of women's suffrage caused some hysterical leftists to label me a fascist. And yet, the only serious question is if it is more ironic to tar a libertarian or a member of the Religious Right with the fascist brush, as one seldom hears James Dobson calling for the government seizure of all church-owned property.

In 1925, Mussolini encapsulated the heart of fascist philosophy in a memorable phrase:

Tutto nello Stato, niente al di fuori dello Stato, nulla contro lo Stato. This means "Everything in the State, nothing outside the State, nothing against the State." Now, I ask you, in the Year of Our Lord 2004, does that sound more like a Libertarian, a Republican or a Democrat?

Vox Day is a novelist and Christian libertarian. He is a member of the SFWA, Mensa and the Southern Baptist Convention, and has been down with Madden since 1992. His weekly column is syndicated nationally by Universal Press Syndicate. Visit his web log, Vox Popoli, for daily commentary and responses to reader email.

© 2004, Inc.

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Thursday, July 22, 2004

Raid on Stanley Raises Questions

For the record, I like Rick Stanley. I think he's a brave bastard. I don't agree with all of his politics and whatnot, but I do believe he's doing the right thing.

Raid on Stanley Raises Questions
by Ari Armstrong, June 16, 2004
The Colorado Freedom Report

I dislike Rick Stanley. Severely. He's a loopy conspiracy-theory nut, he's irresponsible with his claims and his actions, he's mean and deceitful, and he promotes a bizarre right-wing pseudo-Christian and vaguely apocalyptical religion. He's a weird guy, he's done more harm than good for liberty, and I think he's a complete idiot. Yet the strange ones are most at risk from overzealous state action, and they're the least sympathetic to the media and the public. Thus, the rights of the oddballs are precisely those with which we must be most concerned. Liberty always is eroded at the margins. If we do not stand up against over-aggressive state power when directed against those we dislike, we will be unable to stop that power when directed against our friends or ourselves.

On Wednesday, June 9, the Joint Terrorism Task Force, consisting of the FBI, IRS, and other law enforcement agencies, raided Stanley's home and business, Stanley Fastener & Shop Supply, in an industrial section of Denver near Monaco and 39th.

Karen Abbott reviewed the story the next day in the Rocky Mountain News. She noted the Task Force seized "materials said to be related to taxes and possible anti-government activity." Automatically we should be suspicious. What is "anti-government activity?" I don't know whether that phrase came from Abbott or a government official. But it's nonsense. If law officials have evidence of violence or intent to commit violence, then that's the allegation they should make, not some vague reference to "anti-government activity," a phrase more appropriate to Stalinism or a novel by Kafka or Orwell.

Let's cut to the chase. Rick Stanley is not a terrorist. He is, instead, a tax resister. This is no secret -- he announced to the world via his web page that he no longer pays the income tax. He sent letters to the IRS to that effect. It's no surprise that the IRS has taken an interest in him. But why is he being raided by the Joint Terrorism Task Force? Aren't those agents busy enough with real terrorist threats? Apparently not. Apparently, they would rather scratch a pain in the government's ass than actually spend their resources keeping Americans safe from terrorist attacks.

Abbott correctly reviews, "A Denver jury convicted [Stanley] in 2002 of a misdemeanor of carrying a loaded Beretta .380-caliber semiautomatic handgun in his holster at a downtown Denver park during a December 2001 rally celebrating the Bill of Rights." Then, "Stanley was arrested again in Thornton in September 2002 for carrying a loaded revolver on his hip at the city's Harvestfest celebration in a municipal park." He was again convicted. However, Abbot failed to point out that the ordinances under which Stanley was convicted have since been "preempted" by state law. (Abbot also failed to point out that Stanley quit the Libertarian Party following his 2002 campaign for U.S. Senate on the LP ticket, though she did point out the board censured him for unrelated matters.)

Abbott describes the most serious charge against Stanley: "Stanley allegedly threatened the judge with a treason charge and a 'warrant' from the Mutual Defense Pact Militia, a Stanley-organized group that pledges to help fellow members defend their persons and property."

This is not some hidden secret: Stanley's letter to the judge is posted at his web page. It states:

---Rick Stanley demands that Judge Donald W. Marshall, Jr., overturn this conviction of Stanley on constitutional grounds. Failure to do so will result in a treason charge against Donald W. Marshall, Jr. for failure to uphold the oath of office to defend the Constitutions, which this court has on record, and Donald W. Marshall, Jr., swore to, as a "condition" of his office. This treason charge, will result in a Mutual Defense Pact Militia warrant for Donald W. Marshall, Jr.'s arrest if the following conditions are not met:

1. Overturn the unconstitutional conviction of Rick Stanley for violation of TRMC 38-237 because TRMC 38-237 violates the constitutional rights of Rick Stanley, under the guise of "color of law."

2. Return the $1,500.00 bond to Rick Stanley.

3. Return Rick Stanley's property which consists of 1 each Smith and Wesson 6 shot .357 pistol and 6 each .357 bullets. ---

Since the new charges, Stanley has qualified his statement to the judge. His web page states, "After serving notice to two Adams County judges that his rights were being violated by the jail time, Stanley was arrested for 'Influencing a Public Official', because he had filed a pleading to the Courts citing the unconstitutional actions of the judges, advising them that they could be arrested for this illegal action." The web page also claims, however, "there was no threat made." Specifically, "An arrest warrant by the militia was a ceremonial gesture because the militia has no enforcement of warrants at this time." The web page also references "Stanley's First Amendment right to petition the government for redress of grievance," and it claims "symbolic speech is once again persecuted by the government powers..."

Colorado statute 18-8-306 states, "Any person who attempts to influence any public servant by means of deceit or by threat of violence or economic reprisal against any person or property, with the intent thereby to alter or affect the public servant's decision, vote, opinion, or action concerning any matter which is to be considered or performed by him or the agency or body of which he is a member, commits a class 4 felony." And statute 18-1.3-401 defines the penalties for a class 4 felony as 2-6 years in prison and a $2,000 to $500,000 fine. Because Stanley sent letters to two judges, he was charged with two counts. Stanley's web page states, "Stanley is charged with a potential 12 to 32 year prison sentence, for the two felony charges of 'Influencing a Public Official'..." Michael Cacioppo of Speakout! Vail claims Stanley "faces 16 years in prison on each charge, which will be heard in a trial in Thornton beginning June 21st." I'm not sure where Stanley or Cacioppo got his numbers, but by my reading of the statutes, if Stanley is convicted he faces up to 12 years in prison, plus status as a felon for the rest of his life.

We can argue about the meaning, appropriateness, and legality of Stanley's letters to the judges, along with the proposed sanctions. Personally, I think it's obvious that Stanley is a crackpot, and equally obvious that he poses no threat to the public or any particular individual.

To be sure, Stanley has made other troublesome comments. For example, in a July 10, 2003, "Special Edition Militia Alert," Stanley wrote: "[I]t seems that Denver wants me out of their hair in the worst way, and what they quite possibly believe this to be the easiest way. Send in the swat team, take Stanley out very quietly with a bullet, and if that doesn't work, burn him out... If this particular Militia Action takes place they will already have fired upon me and the Defense will have already started... I will be well armed. Lots of weapons (all legal, all defensive, lots of ammo). I will have some surprises for the good thugs who are besieging me. I will use everything at my command, and I will have high ground with tremendous firepower. Helicopters will be destroyed if used against me, as will tanks. I plan on throwing paper airplanes at them and they will go home. Just havin a little fun. I have alternative plans. I hope all of you will come prepared with force of arms, bottles, cloth, gasoline, etc all the fun things you will need to defend. Once attacked I will be shooting everything in sight that is attacking me. You should use the same tactic." Thankfully, the police have taken care to avoid a violent confrontation.

Despite Stanley's looney commentary, though, I have seen nothing to justify the intervention of the Joint Terrorism Task Force. Instead, I get the uneasy feeling that Boys with Toys are having a bit too much fun.

As Trent Seibert reviews in the June 14 Denver Post, "In a recent move considered either proactive or intrusive depending on one's viewpoint, [Mike] Zinna's office was raided by officers of the FBI's joint terrorism task force. He was being investigated because of a mushroom-cloud cartoon he put up on his political website," How was it anything other than completely obvious that Zinna was making a political statement, not planning to nuc Jefferson County's facilities? Where did the common sense go? Why are tax dollars being wasted for this? (Interestingly, Zinna comments about the Stanley raid and even provides pictures of it.) Sure, if a person commits or specifically plans acts of violence, go after that person. But don't target free speech, and don't pretend alleged common criminal behavior is "terrorism."

The most plausible explanation is these agents enjoy going on raids, even when the raids are unnecessary and abusive.

Early in the morning on June 12, I witnessed the Arvada police arrest a man who, I was told, was wanted on a warrant. I overheard one officer say the man had violated parole originating in property crimes. Apparently, the police found the man after he injected drugs in front of the wheel of his car in a private parking lot. As far as I could tell, the police did things right. They never became abusive, they made sure the guy was checked out by medical staff, and they were cool to a pregnant woman who apparently was a friend of the man arrested. The officers were generally polite to me, and a supervisor even stopped to ask if I had any questions. Still, it was peculiar to witness a couple beefed-up officers strutting around in their black T-shirts near their giant military-style SUV worth probably half of what my condo cost. Again, I got the feeling that they were enjoying the militaristic trappings of their job a bit too much. (I don't know whether officers outside the Arvada PD participated.)

The details of the raid on Stanley's place are worth noting. In a letter to Cacioppo's publication, Stanley wrote, "My wife and I, my daughter and granddaughter, my home, my business, were raided yesterday by about 50 or so individuals from the IRS-CID, FBI, Joint Terrorism Task Force, Jeffco and Denver Swat teams, US Marshals, Thornton Police, etc. They stole my wife's.38 pistol that was in her office desk drawer and it was not on the listing of items seized. They took 21 pages of things, roughly 10 items per page for 210 items. Cleaned out checks from customers, all files, all computers cleaned out from hard drives, bills that I owe, customer unpaid files, all letters to the IRS from the past 4 years, the list is long. They are trying to break me, prevent me from having the ability to have the cash to defend myself in court, etc." In a follow-up article on June 12, Abbott describes, "[Stanley] said he was lured away to a Perkins restaurant Wednesday morning by someone pretending to be a potential customer. But when Stanley drove into the Perkins parking lot, he was surrounded by law enforcement officers... There [back at his business], he said, officers with guns had herded his wife, a secretary, a driver, the Stanley's daughter and their 3-year-old granddaughter into his office. He said agents took customers' payment checks to the business, his wife's pistol," and paperwork.

The primary responsibility for abusive and overzealous law enforcement rests with legislators. The drug war, disarmament laws, the income tax, and now questionable expansions of police power to supposedly target "terrorists" have started us down the path to a police state. It's perfectly predictable that giving men badges, big guns, and open-ended legislative mandates will lead to abuses of power. The greater the power of the state, the greater the power of the police, and the more the police must use force to keep the citizenry in line. The solution is to demand that government return to its proper sphere of protecting individual rights. At least we must insist that the Joint Terrorism Task Force spend its resources to go after people who are, in fact, terrorists, and not those who annoy government officials.

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Tuesday, July 20, 2004

Amending the Constitution...

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Monday, July 19, 2004

Socialism's march across America

by Henry Lamb

Americans were appalled when Castro nationalized private property in Cuba, and led the nation into socialism. Many but not all Americans were appalled when the governments of Zimbabwe and Namibia confiscated private property for redistribution. But a new generation of Americans has emerged who never learned what socialism is, or why their fathers and grandfathers fought so hard to prevent it in America.

For the benefit of those who didn't learn it in school, Socialism is:

: any of various economic and political theories advocating collective or governmental ownership and administration of the means of production and distribution of goods;

: a system of society or group living in which there is no private property; b: a system or condition of society in which the means of production are owned and controlled by the state;

: a stage of society in Marxist theory transitional between capitalism and communism.

Socialism is overwhelming capitalism in America because socialist policies are called "smart growth" or "environmental protection." The proponents of these policies either fail to recognize or don't care that they are systematically transferring private property to government ownership and control, and are empowering government to effectively "administer" the means of production.

To read more, follow this link.

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Sunday, July 18, 2004

Hitler, Hitler Everywhere

by Joseph Sobran

Old newspapers sometimes poignantly remind us of how much excitement was created by yesterday's events, personalities, controversies, and fears that have already come to seem unimportant. As we now say, "What was that all about?" Did "that" ever really matter in the first place?

This is most tragically the case with war. Wars mark peaks of excitement when they occur. In its own day, World War I - "the Great War" - seemed of epic significance. Today it's hard to remember why it happened or what good anyone thought would come of it. Germany's Kaiser Wilhelm II was painted as a monster by British propaganda, most of it false, but today he seems a relatively civilized ruler, especially compared with what came later. The cost of the war that stopped him, roughly 17 million lives, seems absurdly disproportionate to any harm he might have done if left unhindered.

This is not to defend Wilhelm II. It's only to say that if he had been allowed to dominate Europe, his empire, however deplorable, certainly would never have matched the Great War itself in destructiveness.

The Great War was not followed by a Great Peace. Woodrow Wilson led the United States into it, foolishly promising just that: "a war to end all wars." Instead, the bitter peace settlement of Versailles soon led to another war so much worse that it now sounds quaint to speak of "the Great War." World War II was followed by even more wars and brought the world into the age of nuclear terror.

All this might have been averted if Wilson had heeded the counsel of Washington and Jefferson against American intervention in Europe's wars. He should have treated Wilhelm II as Europe's regional problem.

But since Wilson, American presidents have almost forgotten the very concept of a regional problem. One local war after another has been turned into a strategic challenge, requiring American military intervention.

Instead of seeing World War II for the colossal blunder it was, we have made it the model for further intervention. The story must be constantly retold, its propaganda constantly reheated as "the lessons of history." Few really ask what that war was "all about." Glib analogies with it seem to lend meaning and purpose to other wars.

But Franklin Roosevelt's desire to stop Hitler at all costs destroyed any balance of power in Europe, requiring his successors to dominate Europe, at enormous cost and risk, to prevent the complete Soviet domination he had fatuously encouraged. This in turn led the United States to intervene in other local wars, mistaking every local Communist insurgency for a global threat. Intervention, in many forms, became a reflex.

Even after the Cold War finally ended and the Soviet Union ceased to be, every local bully was seen as a new Hitler, and therefore a global menace. Nowhere was this habit taken to such an extreme as in Panama, which the United States invaded under the first President Bush in 1989 in order to overthrow Manuel Noriega, who was easily ousted and somehow convicted in an American court, so that he still resides in an American prison. Are we safer now?

Soon after the terrible Noriega was vanquished, the same President Bush found another new Hitler in Iraq, which had grabbed Kuwait. This latest new Hitler, Saddam Hussein, was said to threaten "American vital interests," variously identified as Arabian oil, the integrity of existing borders, and "jobs, jobs, jobs." But this time Bush stopped short of conquering the country and capturing its mini-Hitler, disappointing the more extreme hawks and leaving a global menace his son would ultimately have to confront.

Between the Bushes, who might be unkindly described as "Dumb and Dumber," Bill Clinton spotted yet another Hitler in Slobodan Milosevic of Yugoslavia, a country that survived as an odd relic of World War I. Of all the wars of the twentieth century, Clinton's rivals the Great War itself in provoking the question, What was that all about? But it was quickly forgotten, and Clinton is already remembered, contemptuously, as a too-reluctant warrior.

The second Bush saw the 9/11 attacks as his chance to deal with his father's unfinished Hitler, Saddam Hussein. As ever, World War II provided the template. But this time such novelties as preemptive war and regime change were introduced as American policies.

Today, with Saddam in custody and his regime destroyed, the war continues for reasons that are not entirely ... well, what is this all about?

© 2004 by the Griffin Internet Syndicate,

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