Chapter 8 – Laws that promote our pursuits of happinesses

Pursuits of happinesses laws? Though Congress is totally unfamiliar with them, there can indeed be such laws. I use the plural form of both words not to make grammarians grimace, but to emphasize that there’s more than just one pursuit to more than one form of happiness. A society of complete liberty allows for everyone’s version of earthly bliss. As long as we respect the rights of others, we’re free to do as we please to promote our own joy as well as the joy of others. Fortunately for us, the laws that can promote these pursuits are very few, very understandable, and very exact in their meaning. Nothing more and nothing less is needed.

The only laws that can promote each person’s pursuit of happiness are those that administer justice on individuals who attempt to restrict or erase people’s freedoms through the initiation of force. That’s the universal principle. Law is a method of outlining consequences for violating the rights of individuals, penalties for infringements on one’s person and property. Rights-violations reflect the plain fact that the victim wasn’t a willing participant. To force someone against his or her will can only be justified if that someone started the aggression. In other words, the only proper laws are those that employ retaliatory force.

It would certainly be nice if every single human being decided to deal with every other human being solely by means of reason. We are, essentially, rational animals. But with today’s prevalent authoritarian institutions of non-reason, which are bent on indoctrinating each new generation, the reality is a bit different. Disagreements also happen in the natural course of trade and social interaction. Some people lack the coping skills necessary to seek peaceful resolution. Others think that committing fraud helps their bottom line. However, the fact that respectful and enjoyable relationships are the overwhelming rule in the marketplace of most societies, not the exception, is a testament to the general goodness and virtue in humanity.

Clearly, once we remove the unquestionably biggest rights-violator that constantly pretends it’s not a rights-violator, or doesn’t care that it is—the State—we can immediately expose and eventually clean up what’s left of criminality.

Law should be readily known and understandable to everyone in society, to all consumers and producers, to average people. Laws must be outlined in common sense, reasonable, fair and equitable terms. And the laity ought to be the moral bulwark of such laws. If it’s not, then we’re in big trouble. A country soon becomes run by statist intellectuals and unjust courts and legislatures who rely on their countless thoughtless enforcers—enforcers who depend on people acquiescing to their widespread tactics of coercion while rationalizing that it’s for maintaining law and order, the common good, general welfare, future of our children, and other such falsehoods. Clearly, if we don’t understand the proper nature of law, then we’ll end up with some variation of what we have today. Laws reflect basic moral premises, after all, and being treated like slaves to the State assuredly demonstrates this.

The moral premise embedded in the hundreds of thousands of laws passed and enforced by local, state, and federal governments in America is simply this: The individual good must be sacrificed to the purported collective good. In other words, the demands of a collection of individuals supposedly trump the rights of any particular individual. When stated this way, the premise can’t stand scrutiny. Because only individuals have rights (only individuals can have thoughts, feelings, and make decisions), no rights of a collection of individuals can override those of a single person. Again, rights can’t be in conflict with each other, by definition.

In order to avoid contradictions, and their ensuing political insanity, laws must be based on the principles of justice. And justice demands that restitution and reparation be granted to victims of initiatory force. Additionally, imprisonment must sometimes be reserved for violent individuals who’ve caused physical injury or repeated damage to property. Imminent threats to rights-respecting individuals mustn’t be allowed to continue in a just society.

What About The Bill Of Rights?

In a market of complete liberty, which is governed simply by property owners and insurance company policies, crime will be reduced to a mere scintilla of what it is today. Property owners will determine the appropriate and reasonable rules on their property. They will also understand the legal and financial consequences of violating the rights of, or simply mistreating, those who were invited to engage in trade there. Even in circumstances of trespass, property owners are always wise to err on the side of assuming good intent on behalf of trespassers; only wanton destruction of personal property or threat to life and limb justifies immediate use of retaliatory force. And the amount of such force should be only that which is necessary to prevent further wrongdoing.

Despite various statist-oriented claims to the contrary, we have nothing to fear from private property owners. Actually, as we know from our myriad personal experiences, and by virtue of the preceding chapters, we have everything to gain from them. They are, in fact, us. As long as the State isn’t in our lives, strong moral and economic incentives tend to ensure people’s rights to their persons and property, and to travel. For property owners to do otherwise, of course, would mean loss of business and widespread ostracism, especially in ever more cooperative, coordinated, and information-connected societies.

Obviously, expression of contrary viewpoints would have to take place on available property. Since everything will be privately owned, including streets and sidewalks, this would amount to simply getting permission from a particular owner—rather than today’s hassle of City Hall permits, assorted regulatory hurdles, and State-designated “free-speech zones” for protesters.

More importantly, notice that people today mostly rally to show their support or dissent for some aspect of what coercive government is doing, or not doing, to or for them. After all, the restrictions supposedly placed on government by the Bill of Rights were considered necessary to ensure that people’s various actions wouldn’t be prohibited by political whim. What a failure this has been.

The freedoms to assemble peaceably, to complain to government, to speak your mind, to publish at will, to worship as you please, to have weapons, to maintain your privacy, to prevent troops from calling your house their home base, to have a fair and speedy trial in accordance with the rules of justice and due process, are continually assaulted where the State reigns supreme. A legalized monopoly on force always leaves people concerned about losing more of their freedoms. In a system of complete liberty, however, these freedoms aren’t in jeopardy anymore; they’re restored and assumed as matters of fact. A land that embraces the principles of self-ownership and non-initiation of force upholds people’s freedoms, rather than threatens them.

Again, the Bill of Rights was crafted in an attempt to prevent government from restricting or erasing your freedoms. Additionally, some of the Amendments in the Bill of Rights have no relevance or necessity in a private context. Obviously, the freedom to do whatever you please can only be fully exercised either on your own property or on a consenting person’s property. While many commercial property owners may make rules restricting various rights outlined by the Bill of Rights, they’re usually reasonable and prudent ones, such as “Leave your guns at the door, gentlemen” or “No disturbing other people’s experience in the theater, please.” There simply aren’t many economic or moral incentives to do something unreasonable and imprudent in relation to people’s rights; businesses don’t want to drive away customers, after all, and hardly anyone desires to be disrespectful in commerce.

Owners have to earn their money by providing things that others want, like, enjoy, and appreciate. Humans are definitely social animals, and trade for mutual benefit tends to break down all disrespectful barriers. Complete liberty thus creates a legal context in which bigoted persons could no longer wield the collective tool of the State at individuals seen as members of various classes and groups, which government typically spends a lot of time categorizing and appealing to.

In those cases in which a commercial property owner’s rules are more stringent than some consumers find acceptable, such rules will be immediately contrasted with more appealing ones by other owners. The competitive nature of the marketplace to provide customer satisfaction and safety rewards the decent and the tolerant. It disfavors the ridiculous. Most commercial development projects are prime examples of this. They satisfy genuine human desires and needs. Amusement and theme parks, museums, concert halls, stadiums, business and science centers, cruise ships, skyscrapers, and shopping malls all tend to cater to what’s satisfying and preferable in the eyes of consumers—be they families and kids, art and music lovers, sports enthusiasts, honeymooners, tourists, businesspersons, or shoppers. Such places earn people’s respect as well as admiration.

Welcome To The Bill Of Law

We’re now going to follow the excellent lead of Michael van Notten, who was a libertarian Dutch scholar versed in international law, in order to illustrate how beneficial and straightforward law will be in the future—and how your Bill of Rights freedoms have been a meager governmental consolation prize, one that’s continually reduced over time.

Van Notten wrote an excellent article titled “Bill of Law,” in which he outlined a legal system without coercive and monopolistic government. And there’s no need to have a Doctor of Jurisprudence degree with a Black’s Law Dictionary in hand to understand it. Since most of law school concerns nonessentials and political context-dropping, to study the following actually saves us the better part of three years and many tens of thousands of dollars. We can forget about maneuvering through those whirling, cognitive death blades in higher academia. Van Notten outlined practically everything laypersons as well as scholars need to know regarding the legal framework of a free society. Whether the property is predominantly owned (and subdivided) or leased (which van Notten favored for more diverse and wholesome communities), the same sensible laws apply in order for liberty to flourish. They represent the legal foundation of a new libertarian world.

Below is his entire article. It will be good to use as a reference in your quest to enlighten others. I’ve made only a couple caveats, which you’ll find enclosed in brackets. Sadly, Michael van Notten is no longer with us to assist in this profound journey of debate and persuasion. He was spearheading a libertarian nation project in Somalia before he died in 2002. (Somalia has yet to achieve what he envisioned, of course. Currently, various political and religious factions are still fighting for control, and the U.S.-backed Ethiopian military has been directly involved in the ongoing struggle to impose a U.N.-sanctioned government. In other words warlords, tribal mentalities, and statist powers continue to impose their non-libertarian views on a war-torn population, and the U.S. government and the U.N. continue their meddling.)

BILL OF LAW

We, the founders of the free nation, in order to guard the freedom of those who visit or settle in the free nation, do hereby affirm the following principles, rights, and rules of procedure. We expect every person in the free nation to abide by these fundamental laws.

The procedural rules given here are intended as a starting point for the development of rules for maintaining and enforcing natural rights. These rights do not change, but the procedures for maintaining and enforcing them can be continually improved.

Any person offering judicial or police services in the free nation shall be free to specify more detailed rights, obligations, and procedures than those included here, provided they are consistent with the natural law described hereinafter.

Natural Law

Natural law describes the natural, voluntary order of human society. This law is timeless, unchangeable, and universal. It takes priority over any other law, including constitutions and contracts. It acknowledges the right of every person to live a life that is governed by his own goals and opinions. Natural law serves to prevent and resolve conflicts between people pursuing contradictory goals. It stipulates that every person shall be free to dispose of his rightfully acquired property and shall refrain from disposing of the property of others without their permission. It permits all activities that do not violate someone else’s person or property.

As a matter of principle, a society based on natural law should be maintained by means consistent with that law. These means will then generate—under the disciplines of profit and loss, supply and demand, and peaceful competition in the free market—the information required for discovering the optimal way of protecting natural rights.

Legal Principles

I (natural rights)

Every person shall be free to:

1. form his own opinions;

2. control the actions and labour of his own body;

3. use any object not belonging to others and make it his property;

4. make voluntary agreements with others; and

5. defend these freedoms.

 

II (natural obligations)

Every person shall respect the rights of others, and therefore refrain from:

1. using force or threats thereof against peaceful persons or their rightfully obtained possessions; and

2. disposing otherwise of other people’s property without their permission.

 

III (remedies)

Every person who violates someone’s natural rights shall:

1. immediately cease violating them;

2. return the goods thereby alienated;

3. compensate the victim for damage inflicted and profits foregone;

4. pay fines to the victim for willful infringement of his rights.

 

IV (fines)

If the parties concerned fail to agree on the nature or extent of the fine, it shall be determined by an independent and impartial court of law on the basis of the seriousness of the crime and the circumstances under which it was committed.

 

V (sanction)

Every person who refuses to remedy the rights he violated loses, to the benefit of his victim and to the extent required for remedy, his right to dispose of his freedom and property, as long as he persists in his refusal.

 

VI (force)

Every person shall be free to defend his natural rights by using force against his attacker and to call upon police to restore them. In the absence of an impartial judiciary and police, every person shall be free, subject to his liability for his own violations, to use force himself to restore his violated rights.

 

VII (the police)

The police, including the military, shall not use force save when an independent and impartial court of law has verified that it is used:

1. at the request of a person whose rights have been violated;

2. against the person who violated them;

3. for the sole purpose of remedying such violation;

4. with the least violent means available; and

5. after the violator has refused to comply voluntarily.

 

VIII (the judiciary)

Every person shall be free to exercise the profession of judge. Judges shall judge only on the basis of facts as presented, not on a person’s opinions, achievements, or bodily characteristics. Judges shall only authorise the imposition of obligations that are derived from natural rights.

 

Rights

 

From these legal principles, the following rights are derived. First, a set of rights that apply to adults. Then the rights pertaining to children and one special right pertaining to women. Rights not listed shall be upheld only if they are consistent with the principles set forth above.

 

Every person shall be free:

1. to live according to his own, peaceful beliefs;

2. to express, in his own language and manner, his thoughts and opinions;

3. to reside in any country, and to move in and out of it along with his possessions, provided he poses no physical danger;

4. to enjoy the privacy of his home, business, papers, and effects, including his mail and telecommunications;

5. to found a family and to raise and educate his children according to his own insights, if he finds a willing mate;

6. to assemble with any others and to join and resign from any voluntary association;

7. to offer his services to people of his choice;

8. to break any employment contract as long as he honours its performance bond;

9. to undertake any economic activity, including the adjudication or enforcement of natural rights, and to keep its profits;

10. to sell, buy, lease, rent, lend, borrow, retain, or give away property by mutual agreement;

11. to exploit his land and waters, and any material in them;

12. to repossess the land, buildings, and other property taken from him in violation of natural rights;

13. to prevent others from spoiling his property by polluting it;

14. to criticise or petition any government institution and avail himself of any services it offers; [Of course “government,” as we currently know it, won’t exist.]

15. to keep and bear arms, excluding weapons of mass destruction; [Actually, persons and companies (composed of persons) retain the right to use whatever devices they deem necessary to defend themselves from attackers, or to deter them, such as aggressive Statist militaries.]

16. to use force himself when his rights are in clear and present danger;

17. to dissolve any government institution which systematically violates natural rights.

 

Children shall enjoy the same freedom as adults except for restrictions imposed by their parents in the interest of their safety, health, and development. Children become adults when they behave as adults. Children are entitled to receive from their parents: food, clothing, shelter, health care, and education. Parents shall not be liable for the activities of their children unless they could have prevented them. Contracts concluded by a child may be dissolved by a court of justice at the request of the child or any of its parents. When parents are unable or unwilling to care for their child, the child or others acting on its behalf may appeal to a court to appoint a legal guardian who will assume the parental rights and responsibilities.

 

Women shall be free to abort their pregnancies, at their own discretion and expense.

 

Rules of Procedure in criminal matters

 

The following rules shall guide the actions of those who provide judicial or police services.

 

1. Every person accused of having violated a natural right shall be presumed innocent until proven guilty by an impartial court of justice. Until then, he shall be entitled:

1.1 to agree with the plaintiff on initiating, interrupting, and terminating any litigation before a judge of their choice;

1.2 to refuse to submit to a judge who is forced upon him as long as the judge’s impartiality is not assured and his request, if any, for a jury has not been granted; [A jury of supposedly one’s peers in America currently consists of people summoned by the State for “jury duty,” which means (typically registered voters) being plucked out of the community, then subjected to a screening process by lawyers of the defense and prosecution, then informed (and uninformed and misinformed) by judges about specific codes of conduct, and finally to leave their jobs for as long as the non-speedy trial takes—that is, if they can’t find a way out of this coercive, costly, and cumbersome process. Any jury in a free system, however, would consist of paid professionals (or perhaps volunteers serving on a rotation basis). They would be versed in the objective procedures and laws of liberty and allowed to pursue rational methods of fact-finding and due process, unlike today. Yet in all likelihood, juries wouldn’t be necessary because their main purpose is to protect citizens from statist tyranny.]

1.3 to be informed, in writing and in a language which he understands, of the nature and cause of the charges against him;

1.4 to try to refute those charges (but no plea of ignorance of natural law shall be accepted);

1.5 to be assisted and represented by counsel of his choice and to keep his communications with that counsel confidential;

1.6 to be allowed adequate time for the presentation of his defence;

1.7 to resist interrogation, to decline to supply evidence against himself or his organisation, and to refuse confession;

1.8 to inspect the evidence brought against him and to cross-examine his accusers and their witnesses;

1.9 to bring in his own witnesses to testify under the same conditions as the witnesses against him;

1.10 to be given a prompt trial, without undue delays, and to receive a copy of its proceedings;

1.11 to reject procedural and evidentiary rules which infringe upon the principle of presumed innocence;

1.12 to decide whether to permit friends, family, the press, and others to attend his trial.

1.13 to present his defense in writing and to elucidate his defense orally at his trial.

 

2. Every person arrested shall:

2.1 be informed immediately of the reasons for his arrest, his right to remain silent, and the consequences of making statements;

2.2 be given proper food, clothing, shelter, and accommodation as well as instant communication with legal advisors and those who could assist with posting bail;

2.3 be spared torture, assault, mutilation, sterilisation, and other cruel or inhumane treatment; [Of course, if such methods are actually being entertained, let alone perpetrated, we likely have many other problems to deal with—as we do today with unaccountable governments scoffing at fair treatment and due process.]

2.4 be brought without undue delay before a grand jury or impartial court of justice, failing which he shall be entitled to instant release;

2.5 be instructed, in writing and in a language which he understands, of the reason and nature of the charges against him;

2.6 be released from detention when the court finds the charges lacking in credibility or when sufficient guaranty has been given to insure that he will appear at the trial and obey the judgement, and his release would not frustrate the investigation;

2.7 be permitted to receive mail and visitors.

 

3. Every person convicted of having violated a natural right shall be entitled:

3.1 to be informed, in writing, and in a language which he understands, of the reasons for his conviction;

3.2 to appeal once against his verdict and to have its interpretation of rights reviewed by a separate court;

3.3 to avoid forcible execution of his verdict by complying voluntarily.

 

4. No person finally convicted or acquitted shall be put in jeopardy again, by the same or by another court, for the same activity.

 

5. Every person falsely arrested, unduly detained, or mistakenly convicted shall be compensated by the responsible parties.

 

6. Every person in clear and present danger shall be entitled to use force himself in order to:

6.1 defend his rights against immediate attack;

6.2 stop an attack in progress;

6.3 arrest his attacker caught red-handed;

6.4 seize his attacker’s assets for remedying the rights he infringed whenever these assets risk disappearing before a police or judicial agency can secure them;

6.5 conserve proof or evidence; provided that an impartial court of justice certifies, either before or immediately afterwards that: (1) the proof or evidence is or was at risk of being lost and (2) the least violent means available will be, or were, used.

 

7. Every person whose natural rights have been violated shall be entitled:

7.1 to initiate proceedings against the violator;

7.2 to halt such proceedings and to suspend or stop the execution of any verdict in his favour;

7.3 to ignore any verdict of acquittal which does not state the reasons for the defendant’s acquittal;

7.4 to appeal from the verdict in appeal when it overturns the original verdict;

7.5 to have a court’s interpretation of rights reviewed by a separate court;

7.6 to have these rights exercised by his heirs if he died or by his agent if he is unable otherwise to exercise them himself.

 

8. Every parent whose child’s natural rights have been violated shall be entitled to seek justice on the child’s behalf. If the violator is one of its parents or legal guardians, the child’s nearest relatives are entitled to bring suit. [Theoretically, not only the child’s nearest relatives, but also any rational adult has the right to seek justice on the child’s behalf in a court of law.]

 

9. Unless other arrangements are agreed to beforehand by the parties involved, the costs incurred by the courts for dispensing justice, as well as any legal costs of the litigants, shall be borne by the defendant if he is convicted, and by the plaintiff if the defendant is acquitted.

 

All these rules outlined by Michael van Notten essentially reflect a principled, common sense form of law—that is, customary law. There’s no convoluted legalese formulated by workers of the State to contend with. Thus, adjudication functions efficiently. Insurance companies or any other types of justice agencies that deviate from these principles can’t last long. People will find justice elsewhere.

Criminality, as it exists in our present society, is mainly the result of a legalized monopoly in the realm of supposed rights-protection. The Bill of Law will make sure that criminals, namely, those who violate rights—including governmental officials—bear full responsibility for their actions; clearly, our current system flagrantly mocks this idea. When law enforcement is left to the free market, people tempted by criminality will have many disincentives to do wrong and many incentives to be responsible, productive individuals.

It’s vital to remember that State-run schools will no longer exist. These schools do more than unapologetically squelch learners’ intrinsic motivation and try to replace it with extrinsic motivators, such as teachers’ orders, praise, and punishments. They also foster socially acceptable criminality, because so-called public education funds its operations (and mandates attendance) via the coercive methods of statism. This system may arguably be the biggest creator of criminal mindsets in human history, be they in schoolyard bully garb or later in pressed uniforms donning shiny badges. All disrespectful types seem welcome, as long as they employ socially acceptable disrespect, that is, the unquestioned policies of politics. We also shouldn’t forget that the “business” of the corrections system depends on governmental diktats to churn out an ample supply of law-breakers (drug laws being one blatant example). Essentially, the State and criminality were made for each other, sewn from the same rights-smothering cloth.

In a free market, the people themselves are the first line of defense regarding their rights. The citizens construct a system in which the ideas, rules, and procedures of the Bill of Law are common knowledge. Hardly any legal precept is as easy to understand as “Respect the rights and property of others and trade with them voluntarily.” The rest just fills in the details, if any problems occur.

Making Sense Of Foreign Policy Nonsense

Regarding a military, only a couple more things need to be clarified. An offensive force is not necessary in a free society. People who engage in trade have no time or inclination to destroy their economic and social relationships with people abroad. Those in other countries (though not necessarily their governments) by and large appreciate this and don’t desire to inflict injuries on a peaceful and friendly populace elsewhere. These free market factors, by the way, are the only antidote to terrorism. A police State, or any less extreme domestic or foreign policy, is assuredly not. Even the tiny, tightly controlled nation of Israel, which is supported heavily by the United States’ money and weaponry, can’t secure its borders and ensure safety from terrorist attacks. A police State is more effective at wreaking havoc on its own citizenry than perhaps any other form of government. A quick study of Gestapo tactics in Hitler’s Germany will provide a horrific view of what happens in such an environment.

Perhaps the biggest falsehood promoted after the 9/11 attacks has been the notion that “They hate us (that is, want to kill us) because of our freedoms.” Even granting the unjustified notion of “our freedoms,” all the evidence, including repeated statements by jihadist Osama bin Ladin himself, point to the contrary. The evidence shows that suicide bombers arise mainly on account of foreign occupation of their perceived territory and oppression of certain domestic populations. Virtually every case of terrorism, regardless of the religion of the perpetrators (or their type of fundamentalism), yields such a pattern of political grievance and subsequent horrific tactics. Since terrorists can’t utilize statist military power, they resort to killing civilians in an attempt to induce political change.

Terrorists want to alter political policies of their own country or of the occupying forces, or both. Though their actions are abominable, terrorists do have a definite rationale. Unfortunately, one of the last things that the leaders of occupying forces want to do when confronted by fanatical resistance is leave. That, among other things, would mean losing face and conceding to the enemy. Instead, they continue to slap the hornets’ nest of dissent and blame all the despicable results on the hornets, caring little about the loss of innocent lives. Collective punishment of entire populations by military forces soon becomes the order of the day. American military destruction of Iraq, its people and infrastructure, and Israeli military destruction of Lebanon, its people and infrastructure (as well as continued oppression of people in the occupied territories of Palestine) are prime examples of this process. More hegemonic foreign policy measures will only encourage still more terrorism blowback, especially in statist areas immersed in such theocratic and revengeful tribal ideologies as the Middle East.

History has shown that terrorists can only be effectively neutralized by those who live among them. Without the support or tacit approval of sizable segments of the local population, the angry hornets have no places to nest. Therefore—and this is psychology 101—the primary way to end terrorism is to end military interventions and statist foreign policies that promote ill will in countries of people who are keen on noticing political double standards, lies and hypocrisy, alliances with despotic puppet regimes, and State-sanctioned mass murder. Ending the United States’ egregious rights-violations, stopping its foreign occupations, and ceasing support for any and all governments in the Middle East, will go a long way to foster goodwill in the vast majority of people there. This naturally coincides with peaceful relations and free trade. Those who embrace a nonviolent form of Islam (or any other faith, for that matter) seek a more prosperous future for themselves and their children, just like the rest of the world.

A voluntarily funded military, to the extent that it’s needed, will be used only for defensive purposes. Any large companies or people that might need protection from aggression in far-away places (or close to home) must pay for it out of their own pockets. The various people they do business with also have a vested interest in preventing any attacks on their trading routes.

But what about other governments that might attempt to take over and control a free society? Well, they would realize that they have everything to lose and nothing to gain from unprovoked aggression. Even in recent history, few power-hungry warfare States have desired to target countries that haven’t provoked them (or their declared allies), either through military actions or economic sanctions. (Switzerland, by the way, remains a case study in defensive neutrality.) State rulers get very anxious about anything that threatens their power structure, control, and authority. So, their first concern is to maintain stability and security for themselves, to preserve theirown hides within their own countries. Police State regimes of fear serve this purpose well, as does massive statist indoctrination. Just as we Americans were brought up to pay homage to Old Glory, say the Pledge, obey the law, and pay our taxes, children in other countries are taught similarly, but sometimes with more intensity and frequency. Statist control of the media further emphasizes that the State and its rulers must be esteemed above all else.

If aggressive rulers have nothing to fuel their propaganda machines, they can’t convince their people that going to war makes any sense. With no hint of truth or context to their prewar slogans, rulers would appear plainly as madmen to soldiers and civilians alike. Hence, certain slogans are necessary to win the first battle—the one for the hearts and minds of the citizenry: “Look at how they’ve treated us!” “They want to kill us all!” “They pose a grave danger to our society!” “They want to see us all suffer and starve!” “Look at how they’ve dealt with others!” “Fight them for what they’ve done to your brothers and sisters, mothers and fathers, aunts and uncles!” “They believe that they’re better than you; just look at their tactics!” “See how evil they are!” “We must strike them before they strike us!” Clearly, such statements can come from the mouths of leaders of democratic and totalitarian regimes alike.

If, for some odd reason, another country’s government did target a free society without the support or sympathies of its populace, it would face quick and overwhelming retaliation from numerous decentralized and distributed forces. Retaliation would be directed specifically at the leaders giving the orders—that is, assassination of the despots would be the primary method of attack, along with destruction of immediate offensive threats. This would assuredly cause aggressive leaders to think twice before making a false move. Most would definitely question the perceived wisdom in attacking a highly innovative and advanced free market system, in which individuals are willing to defend their highly valued freedoms. Since swift victory is primarily about strategic information and technological superiority, the market of complete liberty will beat any State-controlled market, hands down.

Because a free market provides a brilliant example to others throughout the world of life’s great possibilities, the political grip of various statist regimes will be steadily pried loose. After all, a free country offers no symbols of the collective, such as government or State “leaders,” for other rulers to blame and target. A free country therefore invites no governmental or military aggression; it provokes no retaliatory measures either. Consequently, statist regimes will be left without an enemy, except the one within their own borders—the people. They will face internal collapse, like the U.S.S.R. did, and like China’s regime eventually will, barring any foolish gamesmanship on the part of the U.S. government.

America has really come to a fork in the road, and only one direction leads to our safety and security. Liberty can spread quickly. It works as a universal solvent for bad ideas and policies. Of course, some statist rulers are more aware than others of the threat this poses to their power and control structures. Some may try desperately to protect their positions by withdrawing from the world marketplace and hence further oppressing their own people. Statist interference with international trade is of course morally and economically damaging. It creates a downward spiral of great losses for everyone involved. In extreme cases, it can kill millions.

For example, perhaps the only reason that North Korea (DPRK, fittingly the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea) hasn’t hit rock bottom and disintegrated is because of foreign aid and foreign coercive measures. The governments of the U.S., China, and others have, among other sordid things in coordination with U.N. organizations, been feeding the DPRK military for years. Dictatorial rulers tend to distribute foreign assistance to those who are most valuable to their regime, on down the influential pecking order. Leaders of States everywhere know this; it’s the same situation in African countries.

Many U.S. and Chinese officials believe that if the North Korean regime were to collapse, a refugee crisis of epic proportions would ensue, causing unpredictable political problems. So, they actually believe it’s better to forcibly keep an utterly impoverished and tortured people within their own State’s borders than to really do something to help their plight. The Chinese State doesn’t even allow North Korean refugees safe passage to Mongolia, which is willing to accept them. Much like the psychotic plot of a horror film, people are treated as creatures to control and slay: better to send refugees back to their national slaughterhouse, than to allow them freedom to travel to places of less oppression. Totalitarian regimes such as the People’s Republic of China keep short leashes on people, especially ones who dare to break the State’s laws.

The former Union of Soviet Socialist Republics would have probably hit rock bottom decades beforehand too had it not been for the financial and moral help of the various Western powers. American statesmen and their financial cronies were most helpful to Stalin after WWII. Obviously, when political leaders share the same statist premises, we can expect the terrible aftermath.

So, back to our pursuits of happinesses. The above talk about war and statism is just a bad dream in a voluntary society. Given the incalculable benefits of such a society—and the incalculable drawbacks of present political systems—you might wonder why the status quo remains so. Why is it so difficult for so many people to accept the idea of complete liberty, let alone work diligently to implement it?