Rest in Pieces, Old Elephant

Submitted by Bill St. Clair on Mon, 18 Apr 2005 12:00:00 GMT
From tle:
"A man that would expect to train lobsters to fly in a year is called a lunatic; but a man that thinks men can be turned into angels by an election is a reformer and remains at large." -- Finley Peter Dunne

From smith2004:

"Only a government can make a war." -- Rose Wilder Lane

From codrea, click on the image to make your own:

Church Sign Rights

# C. D. Tavares at The Libertarian Enterprise - Cross-Continent for a Cause - Mr. Tavares donated a much-needed "Liberty Haven Serenity Break" to retired cop Howard Wooldridge and his horse, who are travelling cross-country extolling the virtues of ending drug prohibition. [tle]

Howard isn't crossing this continent just "because it's there"--he's making this ride on behalf of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition. LEAP is an association of current and retired police officers who believe that America can best solve its national drug-crime problem by ending drug prohibition, much as it solved its very first national crime problem by ending alcohol prohibition. Howard's usual way of putting it is to say he believes that the most productive way to address drug use is through doctors and clinics, not judges and prisons.

# Lew Rockwell at - The State Expands, and Weakens - good speech given on Saturday (April 16) in Okemos, Michigan. The light of the free market continues to shine through the darkness that is government. I hope the elephant dies before goring too many more of us. [lew]

In 1947, the federal government, which had by then taken ownership of the entire radio spectrum, graciously relented and permitted the first mobile telephone service. It gave up enough of the frequency spectrum to permit some conversations to take place -- twenty-three conversations and no more. This position was not fully reversed until 1988 and it wasn't until 1994 that the government allocated enough spectrum to permit today's cell phones to work as they do. How much earlier we might have enjoyed their use we cannot say for sure. But this much we do know: when the federal government allowed just a little bit of light into the room, entrepreneurs took it from there to create a dazzling display.

So too with the mails. There was only one way to deliver a letter or package when I was a young adult, and very few imagined that it could be done any other way. A few exceptions in the law were made and now look what we enjoy: vast choice in package delivery, with the private sector offering far more choices than the public sector ever dreamed of offering. Here again it was that the federal government had finally permitted an exception to the rule against using any provider but the federal government. Thus a slight ray of light allowed into darkness has brightened the whole world.

Not enough can be said about the way the web has completely reshaped the world. While the Internet was frozen and nearly useless after the government put it in place for purposes of military and bureaucratic communication, the private sector transformed this creaking and poorly constructed structure into the institution that would change the whole world.

So it is in sector after sector. We have in these examples the story of the modern world, shaped by private enterprise, driven forward by the power of entrepreneurship, improving in a hundred million ways by employing private property toward the common good. It is done largely outside the government's purview. Sometimes it seems as if government works little more than an absentee mafia lord, showing up to collect a check and then retreating again to his private estate. You don't want to make him angry but neither do you let the prospect of his sudden appearance deter your activities.


Let me present the following metaphor of how I imagine the relationship of the productive matrix of human voluntarism to exist alongside the leviathan state. Imagine a vigorous game of football with fast and effective players, cooperating with their teams and competing with the other team. These, we might say, constitute the activities of the market economy: consumers, producers, savers, investors, innovators, workers, and all institutions associated with the voluntary sector of society such as houses of worship, educational institutions, charitable endeavors, families, and artistic and literary associations of every sort. They are the players in this game.

However, right on the 50-yard line sits a huge, old bull elephant, enormously strong but also sclerotic, slow, and completely unsuited to being a player in this game. Everyone knows that this monstrous animal is there, and they wish it were not. But the game proceeds apace, with runners, kickers, and throwers zipping around it. This mastodon is powerful and authoritative, more so than ever, but it can hardly move. It can bat its trunk at players that prove especially annoying, even impale them on its tusks, but it cannot finally stop the game from taking place. And the longer these players confront this strange obstacle, the better they become at working around it, and growing stronger and faster despite it.


I'm often asked what an average person can to do to further liberty. I say that the first and most important step is intellectual. We all need to begin to say no to the state on an intellectual level. When you are asked what you would like the government to do for you, we need to be prepared to reply: nothing. We should not ask it to save our children, nor not leave them behind, nor conscript and kill them in the name of security, nor give us anything at all.

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