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Friday, September 29, 2006

Smokey Briggs

Sage Views

By Smokey Briggs

A soul-bearing story
about me - my journey
through politics

Somewhere there is an unwritten rule that all columnist must occasionally write some soul-bearing, embarrassing and personal column about himself.

This is my attempt.

I started out listing all of my embarrassing, life changing experiences.

When I was done, the only advice the collection of stories imparted was to stay out of bars in places like Mexicali and Tijuana - you can get killed or damn near in places like that - even if all the stuff that led up to you getting damn near killed was a lot of fun.Ē

So, I started again. Just what have I done that is worthy of bearing my soul and hopefully saving others from a similar fate?

And then it came to me.

So, here it is: My journey through American political life.

It all started when I was a young man. I was reared correctly-that is Southern, rural and conservative.

I grew up knowing that America was the greatest country ever and that those who opposed her needed killing. I volunteered to help kill them at the first opportunity.

The first election I voted in was the 1984 presidential election. I voted for Ronald Reagan by absentee ballot from the third floor barracks of Platoon 1007, First Battalion, Recruit Training Regiment, Marine Corps Recruit Depot, San Diego.

While there were parts of the Republican platform I was not keen on, I knew I was not a liberal/Democrat.

I did not wear sandals or smoke dope. I did not have an uncontrollable desire to build fences around national forests to keep humans out, and I certainly did not think we could create Utopia here on earth just by passing a bunch of laws and giving government more and more control over our lives.

This uneasy marriage between me and the Republicans continued for twenty years.

They said some of the right stuff. They promised fewer intrusions on the Constitution and less government.

After 20 years I came to a realization - the Republican Party is a pathological liar - just like their Democrat counterparts.

What has become obvious is that there is no real difference between either party. In the end, all the squabble about is how to spend the money they stole from the working class, and even these differences are trivial.

Both parties agree completely that the government is the solution to all problems, foreign and domestic, and that putting a gun to our heads and demanding loot is a good way to do business.

You arenít going to tell me you pay your taxes voluntarily, are you?

I did not think so.

I paddled aimlessly in the dark waters of confusion for awhile - searching for a plank to cling to.

Eventually I found my plank in the writings of a guy named Murray Rothbard.

Rothbard is really an economist - a subject I used to consider just slightly more exciting than watching paint dry.

Rothbard changed that - and through simple economic principals described a viable system of political values.

Well, maybe political is the wrong word. Iíll let you judge.

But, in the end, that is what we are talking about. Democrat, Republican, Communist, Green - all are expressions of what we belive.

And none squared with me in all instances. All of the above parties are willing to exchange your freedom for something - and in that exchange, the regular guy and gal gets the short end of the stick - every time.

If you do not believe me, you need to read more history, and I do not mean that tripe they shovel at the public education institutions.

In every case, a ruling class is developed, and the rest of the story is a tale of the ruling class sticking it to the rest of us through slavery in one form or another, taxation, conscription (more slavery), and the death of freedom by a million cuts that our current system imposes on us.

What I was looking for was a system that did not depend on a ruling class to tell me how to conduct my life - not a ruling class that descended from kings, nor one that was elected.

Rothbard defines a system of thought that eliminates the need for the ruling class and a government to enforce the ruling classí desires.

It is a simple system based on the concept that we all own our own bodies.

There are only a couple of alternatives; either we own our own bodies, or someone else does (slavery) or everybody does (communism). I am keen on the idea of owning my body outright.

The natural conclusion is that, if we own our bodies, we also own that which our bodies create - better known as property.

There are three ways to get property: you can go out into the wilderness and work and sweat and make it yours - you can have it given to you by a rich uncle - or you can make a deal with the guy that already owns it.

There isnít much wilderness left and most of us do not have rich uncles, so most us get our property by bargaining for it.

We bargain our labor for stuff. We trade stuff for different stuff.

And when we trade for something, it becomes ours, right?

Well, there is a fourth way to get stuff and that is to take it by force. It is the way of thieves and governments. You arenít going to tell me you would pay your taxes if the government did not promise to punish you if you donít, are you?

When you boil it all down, all of our rights are property rights. My voice, my thoughts, my labor - are all my property - to do with as I please, when I please, on my own property.

If I am on my own property I can do as I please. If I am not on my property, I must barter with the owner to do what I want to do. And he can say yes, or no.

Every other system of ďpoliticsĒ involves the creation of a group of people who are privileged to take property from those who are not privileged.

And theft, no matter under what disguise, is always wrong.

Canít be done? Humans have to have some type of government to keep them from acting like third graders with access to unlimited Koolaid and no adult supervision, right?

Why? What evidence do you have?

Every system of government imaginable has been tried. Kings and queens failed. Communism failed. Fascism failed. Republicanism failed. Democratic socialism (what we have today) failed.

Every possible system of government has been tried, and all devoured freedom and human life like hungry pigs at a trough.

What else is left to try other than existence without government?

How much worse could it be than the bloody history of our many failed attempts to exist within the concept of a government?

And, that is where my journey through American politics ends.

Politics, and the government it creates, is evil. The only solution is to replace them.

With nothing.

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