Theft by Any Other Name
Government is about stealing. And about lording it over other people. Money and power, in other words.
At the local level, it's really quite basic; almost obviously extortion. You can "own" your automobile, or your home, as long as you pay tribute to the local elected mobsters who allow you to maintain the fiction of "ownership" as long as you pay them what they want, when they want it, to do with as they want (including operating enterprises to which you are opposed, and to which you would never voluntarily contribute). Should you dare say "enough!" to this yearly predation, the ownership of your property will quickly and smoothly pass to its actual owner, government. And owning an automobile, for instance, certainly does not mean you can operate it. To do that, you must apply for permission (i.e., a license) from your rulers, who will, if you satisfy their demands, permit you to operate what they permit you to "own." And, of course, it's not only you who must be licensed, but the vehicle as well. Every year.
At the same time, you may be treated like some sort of creature discovered under a rock, especially on the local level. A friend of mine operates an engineering consulting firm from an office in our neighborhood. It had been serving some other function prior to his buying it and moving his business into it, so "permits" from the local government were needed. One of them concerned the number of electrical outlets: one every ten feet of wall space. Actually, that was not correct, being applicable only to residences, but my friend decided it was simpler to comply than fight. He had the outlets installed. But wait! They had not been installed by one of the licensed contractors on the government's list. Tear them out and have them re-installed by the proper cronies. Why? asked the victim. Is there anything wrong with them? It had to be admitted that they were perfectly safe and proper. Ah, but my friend had failed to obtain a building permit prior to the installation! Gotcha! Well, so what? Weren't they perfectly safe nonetheless? Yes, it had to be admitted: they were. Well, said the city-hall gang, apply for the permit retro-actively. Send us a check for 500, and the permit is yours. More elegant, of course, than simply holding him up at gunpoint, but the morality is the same. This wasn't, sadly, unique. It is the very modus operandi of the gang—er, government---, bosses.
It's very much different as you go higher. At the federal level, it's a whole new ballgame, because the feds don't need the money. As Beardsley Ruml pointed out in a speech over fifty years ago, any government which can "monetize" its debts, doesn't need to collect taxes, or fees. But there's still theft involved, and still the domination of one group of people by another. The predatory group is the one producing "money," the victims are those which produce the goods and services which keep the country going. A purpose of modern money is to transfer wealth from its producers to the predators, at no cost to the latter. Additionally, the money-producers use their wholly owned subsidiary, the United States, to further their plans for the people they rule. Of course, this is done gradually, and with constant references to the rights of the people, the government's concern about their health and happiness, and, especially, the darling children! The iron fist is still there, of course, but the velvet glove is much more ornate, and softer. Thus, when you find yourself, and your wife—and the kids, during summer vacation---working harder than ever for a standard of living which seems, possibly, to be declining, in a culture increasingly barbaric, the real villain may not be obvious. A government controlled and regulated media may suggest that it is fundamentalist Christians responsible for your problems, or Arabs, or "terrorists." Not to worry! Uncle will protect you. Just do as you're told, and write out the checks when ordered. (Yes, I know I said they don't need the money, but they don't want you to have it!)
Well, you can go to the voting booth and get rid of the rascals, right? No, you can't, because it is still true that he who pays the piper calls the tune. At one time, the people "paid the piper" via taxation, when money was a substance produced and owned by the people. There may be no more important function of government than to protect the right of the people to own money, because once that right is stripped from them, and they are saddled with fiat, they can no longer control their public servants, who come to interpret that phrase to mean that the public serves them. And it does. Rule after regulation after statute flow from the masters. In an early day, many of these would have been laughed into nullity; we have lost our sense of humor along with our freedom and our money. Of course, when the pundits of the tube, and the stooges in black robes on the bench solemnly pronounce their idiotic judgments, the unaware (let's hear it for the public schools!) assume that it isn't really as gosh-awful stupid as it sounds; it must be something to be taken seriously.
You will hear a great many things argued in the upcoming presidential debates; none of them will be substantive. None of them will deal with the legitimacy of government involvement in education, retirement financing, health care, etc. And, absolutely, there will be no one even daring to suggest a return to money; i.e., a tangible good (Constitutionally, that means gold and silver coin) which the people can produce for themselves as a bartering agent. The very existence of modern government would be threatened by such a proposal; anyone making it must be ridiculed and destroyed. Government today enriches itself and its supporters by using fiat created at no cost to obtain the goods and services produced by the sweat of your brow.
Economics is a daunting subject, but a few basic truths remain obvious, even if ignored: if you use fiat created by a privileged class, you are the slave of that class. When you exchange your production for their imaginary "money," you finance your own enslavement. Money, being the life blood of society, must be sound if the body politic is to be sound. When it is corrupt, society sickens. We see corruption in art, literature, education, journalism, medicine, and especially, the law. Our roads and bridges are deteriorating, our national security is diminished, our economy is poised on the brink of disaster, and we seem headed for a one-world tyranny. Just an unfortunate series of events? Hardly, but such a series of catastrophes could not come about unless the conspirators possessed one essential advantage: the control of the printing press to churn out what the people accept as "money." Given that, there is nothing, and no one, that they cannot buy or control. Economics, insofar as it ignores the nature of "money" and its consequences, is an irrelevant diversion and distraction.
Freedom and fiat are incompatible!