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Posted: 01 August 2008 02:41 AM   [ Ignore ]
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What do you think was the motivation for writing this piece?

(Click the post title to read the submission.)

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Posted: 23 October 2008 11:03 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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I got this email:

Sorry for the late response.  I guess I understand the basic principals, I really liked how well you laid out your arguments too Dave.

What I was getting at is more like these Youtube videos: . . . Search for “Money as Debt” and watch 1 - 5.  Here is #1
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vVkFb26u9g8

Yes I know, cartoons presented at the 8th grade level . . but the get to the meat of what I was asking.

Since we (The USA) got away from the gold standard, and especially since we (the Fed and Banks) started using a flawed loaning algorithm our system is based on faith in the Government.

Hope you guys aren’t too insulted by my asking you to watch the videos.  They are lame but are a good starting point for a discussion.

What I’d like to talk about is what we can do in this situation, and how we can help make it better for everyone.

-Jess

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Posted: 23 October 2008 11:04 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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The series is good up to the point where he proposes solutions.  His solutions presuppose the existence of a powerful government.  Such a government provides the means to the idiots to be parasites on the rest of us.  This potential problem is one which generally does happen.  His objection to interest mentions but then ignores the fact that people need to be paid for taking risks.  His objection to the use of a commodity (gold or silver) is based on the same potential for problems that a strong government provides.  The difference is that with the gold or silver, the problems require criminals to operate, whereas the problems with strong government require only that self-interested rulers pass laws that make their behavior non-criminal.

We can assume that people are generally criminals, and use that as a reason not to have commodity-based money, but that assumption leads to other more devastating conclusions that suggest isolationism is the best policy.  I have operated successfully throughout my life on the assumption that people are generally honest and good, though only because the rest of us are paying attention.

We can assume that people who get into ruling positions in government will be generally good and therefore strike down any legislation that de-criminalizes the kind of behavior that makes the parasites to the rest of us.  I believe that is what got us into this mess.  The solution is not a system to be implemented among many, but rather a solution to be implemented by each person.  That solution is to expect only what you’re willing to earn, and work only for what you want.  That translates to no entitlements, and no taxes to pay for the entitlements of others.  With regard to money, the solution is to defy legal tender laws, if you can find people willing to trade with you without relying on dollars.

Anyway, that’s what I think.

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Posted: 23 October 2008 11:54 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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Since I was born into debt and my children were born into more debt, I think we must admit to what the system is first before we can fix it. It is a system of slavery. Call it what you like but I’ll go with slavery. I am born to work to pay debt incurred by another, a system akin to indentured servitude. Look up the definition of slavery at Merriam-Webster. I did. “1: drudgery, toil 2: submission to a dominating influence 3 a: the state of a person who is a chattel of another.” All these descriptions apply to a system that force me to spend a significant portion of my time toiling away to earn money for said time, only to give over what I get for my time to a dominating influence, the government, for I wouldn’t “give” them this money voluntarily but for stuff I agreed with, and I don’t get that choice. Lastly comes chattel. Are we chattel? Do you own your home? If it’s paid off and you don’t pay your taxes, what do they do to the home you’ve bought and paid for? If you evade taxes, what do they do to you? Okay, so slavery it is.

As for being born into debt. Some might misunderstand that they are born into debt but they are. Until recently I paid a tax on my phone that was a repayment of a civil war debt. My social security won’t be there when I get there, it’s being used to pay for my parents’ generation. I pay it for my own retirement, but since Social Security will likely be bankrupt, wiped out by the baby boomers, my retirement won’t happen. This $850 billion dollar bail out will pay for the golden parachutes the bankers got for frivolously creating a massive housing and credit bubble which I have not profited from but will still help pay for. I could do this for awhile. We’re born into a debt we did not incur, and we incur more debt we do not want as we go along. This requires us to work to accrue wealth which we must give a portion of, a large portion of (avg 22%), to the government to redistribute at its whim. This means every 4th week we work goes to the government, the overseer, the slaveholder, so it can create more debt and raise more taxation, thereby consuming a larger share of the slaves’ lives. It is slavery by degrees, but slavery it is. Before we move forward, I don’t think I have to point out the mis-management, abuse and waste of funds perpetrated by the government over the years, the affairs paid for by our time, the 350k tax free dollars paid to congress reps and senators and so forth. The slave master is not bound by the same rules as the slave.

Back to the slavery issue. One quarter of my time is involuntarily donated to these people to spend at their whim. Thankfully they vote themselves a raise at every opportunity they get, no matter how bad the economy is suffering. Oh, and they don’t take ALL of my time and make ALL of my decisions for me, like back in the day. Pre-civil war the master owned the slave outright. The master got all the spoils of toil but completely fed and clothed and took care of the education or lack of and all the medical care or lack of. But wait, part of my time is taken and part of my decisions are made for me. So I am only part slave, though more of me will be donated to the overseer soon enough when Emperor Obama is coronated. I am already forced to toil and labor for free at least part of the time if I wish to work at all so I can feed my family. With the next president, more of our time will be donated. More of our medical care (or lack of) and more of our education (or lack of) will be chosen and provided for us. Or at least promised. Ask the Canadians how that socialized medical care is going. Ask a Cancer patient who has been told to go home and die. This is a slowly progressive pattern. Taxes grow and consume more of our time with toil and drudgery, they don’t recede, they consume us like a boa constrictor slowly consumes a mouse. They slowly consume our lives.


What to do about it? Once I wanted to crawl into the belly of the boa and chew my way out, but they are impregnable. They are the elite and I am a slave. That dream died. Likely in my lifetime I won’t see a reversal of this loss of freedom. The quality of my life is doomed thanks to the socialists that beat me down with a shield they mockingly label democracy. They cut me down at the knees with words like change when all we’re doing is perpetuating a slave system that has existed since the dawn of time. They just dress it up and make it look prettier… wait, what was that sound byte: You can put lipstick on a pig!


I still hope there is a way and believe there might be a way for future disaffected generations to overcome the master, for with each loss of freedom, each stifling of incentive, the disaffection and lack of respect for the establishment grows.


Ultimately there is only one thing to be done about oppression and tyranny, the same thing that was done at the inception of America, an America that no longer exists, and the same thing that was done to overcome outright slavery about 84 years later. You must overthrow the the system that supports the master and not the slave or the subject. The system must either be destroyed, or, as in the case of the original Declaration, a new system must be created for those of us that want to be free of this garbage we inherited. No more choices of the lesser of two evils. Evil is evil. Personally, I’d like to see a system created where no third party usurps your business dealings. Where fair trade is agreed upon by those involved and industry is rewarded, not punished. We are in a credit crisis that is choking me personally and this country to death. The root meaning of credit in Latin is trust. Trust has been destroyed by a system that allows for legalized theft and supports waste and fruitlessness. We need to reset the clock and restore trust by rebuilding or starting a new system of trade and unfettered capitalism. We need to take America back from the socialists.

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Posted: 25 October 2008 01:40 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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Dave Scotese - 01 August 2008 05:41 AM

What do you think was the motivation for writing this piece?

(Click the post title to read the submission.)

I was mostly motivated by fear of a rocky future.  I want to know what I can to do survive this oncoming recession/depression without impacting my life.

Pros and Cons for going back to the gold standard:
Pros ~ more stable
Cons ~ less money to lend which means less innovation and advances in technology and quality of life stuff.

Bottom line - absolute power corrupts absolutely.  Who is guarding the guards etc.

I strongly believe in the idea of the US and what the US is supposed to stand for.  I’ve read “Confessions of an Economic Hitman” and am some what aware that people or agents acting on behalf of the US do shady stuff to put it lightly.

I’m largely ignorant in the financial field. 

I also have a somewhat different view than you do Dave about basic human nature.  In general that is.  There are always exceptions and every body knows the problems with making general statements.

I understand and agree with Don’s post.  Thanks Don!

What do we do?  Grey market, bartering? I believe we must pay some taxes to keep this ship floating but I think we pay too much and the system needs to be rebooted.

What do any of you readers think?  FYI: I’m not politically correct.  I’m not pushing an agenda.  I’m just staying what I think based on my life experiences.  I’m going to speak frankly and do my best to not “judge” people.  I’d appreciate the same in return. 

I REALLY DON’T WANT THIS TO TURN POLITICAL OR INTO A FLAME FEST.

Lets get to talking!! =)

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Posted: 25 October 2008 01:43 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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That solution is to expect only what you’re willing to earn, and work only for what you want.

How does this address people who are unable or unwilling to work?  Some people are brilliant and great workers but they get in car accidents or get super depressed and can’t contribute at the level needed to survive in this system.  Yet other people are lazy and clever and game the system.

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Posted: 25 October 2008 03:17 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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Welcome to the discussion.  I’m glad you’re here.

First, you wrote “I believe we must pay some taxes to keep this ship floating” - Taxation is merely the shifting of a decision about how money should be spent from the person who earned the money to someone who has enough political power to take it from them.  If MY life, or YOUR life, is not enjoyable enough without shifting that decision, that’s just too bad for you or me.  Who ought to fix that?  You and I ought to.  Not everyone else.  Not anyone else.  Unless they want to, and even then, we’d owe them a debt of gratitude (and likely get it, at least in my experience).  I agree that there are costs, and I will pay my share, if I am allowed to choose to pay it, and I will expect my little piece of the ship to have problems if I choose not to pay to maintain it.  The choice, in my mind, is sacred, and it has been destroyed.

You also wrote “How does this address people who are unable or unwilling to work?  Some people are brilliant and great workers but they get in car accidents or get super depressed and can’t contribute at the level needed to survive in this system.”

This is an excellent point.  What we have been taught is that such people will wither and die unjustly in the cruel cold of isolated poverty unless we pay taxes to prevent it.  But that is BS; pure, simple bullshit.  People who have been valuable have friends, relatives, and other skills (age brings wisdom) to help them.  When these most excellent features of a life are crowded out by the presence of a coercively-maintained support system (ie taxation), they (the excellent features of the lives of “brilliant and great workers”) wither and die.  This is why I say taxation cuts both ways.  We feel less compelled to help old people, veterans, the poor and the sick, specifically because there’s the sense that “it’s the government’s responsibility.”

Another way to see it from my perspective is that when those who deserve the benefits that taxation supports actually receive the benefits, the benefit is halved.  For isn’t it just as wonderful to choose to help someone in need as it is to receive help when you need it?  Something in us atrophies when the source of that help is the system, rather than people who *really* care.  The bonds that make society into a community are destroyed by the institutionalization of compassion.

I do tend to have more faith in individual people than most.  My previous supervisor calls it “meshing well.”  While I regard the masses as quite stupid, if I can get any one of them alone and have a discussion, the individual intelligence and goodness is quite striking.  Seek goodness in others and you will find that they are full of it.  I believe taxes started out as voluntary.  The Revolutionary War was certainly voluntary on the part of the colonists.

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Posted: 25 October 2008 12:34 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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I like to look at concrete when I want to build a foundation, so rather than theory, which I love, I look for cold hard examples. I see two I can look at. The most prodigious society in history was on the East Coast of America BEFORE America declared independence and formalized itself. In 70 some years 16 million people grew from a few hundred thousand. Cities were formed. Colonies were built that exist 400 years later as states. Industry thrived and grew. Farms were abundant. Why? How was this possible with no taxation or regulation? It was possible and probable and happened because there was no taxation or regulation. People were not fettered by an overseer that punished the strong and pruned its ability to grow, while feeding the weak that stubbornly tend to grow in size but not strength, like weeds in nature. Why work if you don’t have to? Why try if you don’t have to? On the flip side, if you’re strong, why struggle so much if you don’t gain from it? Why beat yourself up day after day after day and stress and worry if you’re no better off than the person who doesn’t care?

A current example that I live amidst is the Mennonite community. They deal with money and taxation as little as possible and keep it out of their internal community, begrudgingly acknowledging the evil of our massive soul sucking socialistic system. They profit, they barter, they build wealth and luxury, and they don’t let their old or weak suffer, they just don’t expect the government to take care of the old and weak for them. Also, the old and weak don’t expect to be taken care of. They don’t get to a certain age and say, okay, I’m done, where’s my check. They live longer because they still do what they can and they still feel needed.

This existing system, while still the best of what I see on this planet, which doesn’t say much for this planet, only wants us around for our productive years. It is designed to maximize our use and discard us. Hence our current “problem.” The medical industry was allowed to operate as a capitalist market and therefore it operated in a progressive manner. It was rewarded for progress with wealth, and so great minds flocked to the medical industry and diseases were cured, medicines were found or created to lengthen life and make quality of living better. Now people outlive their “usefulness” as deemed by Uncle Sam, and Social Security is just about bankrupt.

So what is the solution? Do we find a capitalistic answer to the SS problem? Allow it to go free market so great minds flock to it and generate wealth? No, we take away the incentive from the medical field. We’re going to nationalize medicine so that the incentive is destroyed. Less ingenuity, less progress will be made in the field of medicine and the quality and length of life will DECREASE, taking us back to a populace that lives to die when it is no longer deemed useful. That is the solution a socialist will draw up every time. I hate to see it in my life time but it is what it is. We are socialist fodder and the notion of a “free” world is long since dead. If we don’t make some hard changes soon, this recession/depression is nothing compared to what will happen after 70 or 80 years of global socialization. Look at Russia, one nation after 70 or 80 years, or Cuba. Try that multiplied by the globe.

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Posted: 27 October 2008 12:24 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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You wrote “Taxation is merely the shifting of a decision about how money should be spent from the person who earned the money to someone who has enough political power to take it from them.”  I agree in spirit that taxes (tithes and dues) are coerced and are often misspent by governments, unions, and to a lesser degree social organizations and religious institutions. People are not perfect.

Can you cite a great public works project not created from taxes; Roman roads, holy cities and places of worship, the internet, mass transportation, universities, etc. ?  I’m thinking about it and I can’t come up with any off the top of my head. Would language both spoken and written count?  I mean they weren’t created by taxes but they are taught with money from taxes. 

With out this “shift of the decision making” would we have these things?  Surely terrible decisions have been made on our behalf, the worst of which, without our even knowing.  Are we better off where we are now, or where we would be on different path.

I try to look for the best in people and hope they do the right thing when they think that nobody else is watching.  I can’t say I’ve had as much luck as you have, but that may be more related to my expectations and the people I associate with.  I’m not going to give up.

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Posted: 27 October 2008 01:14 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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Cell towers is a great public works project not created from taxes.  Likewise McDonalds.  I’m not sure these count, since “public works” generally means “paid for with taxes”.  But really, why do you care that they be public works?  Money is a good one.  The wheel?  farming?

There are a lot of things that look good and would probably not exist without the support of taxation.  So the real question is, how can we distinguish between the things we should have and those we shouldn’t, when they are created from taxes?  There is no way to do it.  That is the problem.  We can certainly ask people to vote on how we spend the money we take from them, but unless they decide to actually put their money where their vote is, we’re measuring advertising dollars a lot more than honest sentiment.  Additionally, we can ask them to vote on how much to take from each of them (or how much to spend - the math makes them work out to the same question) to spend on each tax-supported thing.  But that would throw the advantage to rich people.

I’ve actually started wondering how much better (no longer whether it would be better, because of course it would) things would be if no taxes were ever spent creating roads.  We’d all be a lot more isolated, and therefore a lot more appreciative of travel and travelers, and we’d have communities with far more variety.  Evolution has shown that environmental separation creates diversity, and diversity creates health through wider experimentation on the part of mother nature.

But really, these are practical considerations for something which is much deeper than practicality.  Choice makes our lives sacred.  The point of morals is that we choose right or wrong, and that is intimately connected to the spiritual life.  When regulation scares that choice out of us, it likewise scares out the spark of spirit that makes life divine.  People earn because they are able to and it benefits them.  To whatever degree we prevent them from doing that, we destroy them as individuals.

I think the system you seek is one that excludes those foolish enough to refuse participation in the funding of great projects.  That is a great system to seek, but building it by scaring such “fools” out of their refusal is… well, it’s just thuggery, isn’t it?  Fear is a tool for thugs.  Choice is a tool for real leaders.

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Posted: 27 October 2008 01:15 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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You wrote: “The most prodigious society in history was on the East Coast of America BEFORE America declared independence and formalized itself. In 70 some years 16 million people grew from a few hundred thousand. Cities were formed. Colonies were built that exist 400 years later as states. Industry thrived and grew. Farms were abundant. Why? How was this possible with no taxation or regulation? It was possible and probable and happened because there was no taxation or regulation.”

I think this was largely possible because the native population, imported slaves, and indentured servants don’t seem to be represented in your argument. While colonist populations went from thousands to millions, Native Americans went from Millions to hundreds of thousands and now less.  I would reconsider that argument and try to factor in the people who were considered “not people”.

You cited the Mennonites as another example. I have no idea how Mennonites live. It sounds like their system works well for them. How large of a population are they? Do they rely on the US Government to settle land, water, and other disputes with non-Mennonites? How about crimes? Do any of them volunteer to serve in the Military? Do they manufacture anything other than cottage industry level goods? 

I also agree that our society/government doesn’t seem to have much use for old people (or handicapped people.)  I’d like to discuss the Social Security issue, and we can toss in capitalism vs socialism, etc. in a different thread. Let’s guide this discussion back towards the original topic:  What is money in our system, or better yet, how can we navigate this recession/depression the best?

So far we have the barter system. Are there any other ideas? How can we implement a barter system in such a way that we don’t negatively impact the good parts of our current system? 

What if we were able to decide how our taxes by line items?  For example, each person could assign a percent to a specific line item.  If you are anti-widget you could chose to not pay in to the widget tax account, if you are pro-widget you could.  If you like big government you could opt to pay more taxes. But everyone would have to pay their fair share. Would that work?

(So far this is one of the better on-line discussions I’ve had in a few years.  Thanks!!)

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Posted: 27 October 2008 01:41 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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Rizwan - 27 October 2008 04:15 AM

...or better yet, how can we navigate this recession/depression the best?

Put your faith in other people - friends, family, neighbors - and not in government or its trappings (like the dollar).  It’s probably a bit early to refuse to deal with others using dollars.  But bartering will prepare us for the time when that will make life a lot easier.

Rizwan - 27 October 2008 04:15 AM

So far we have the barter system. Are there any other ideas? How can we implement a barter system in such a way that we don’t negatively impact the good parts of our current system?

How would a barter system negatively impact good parts of the current system?  [Edited to add…] I guess there will be some more work in certain areas and you could view that as a negative.  I don’t though.  It would be like a fat person asking how to avoid the “negatives” of being out of breath and getting sore muscles when they finally start exercising to lose weight.  It’s more work and more pain and more suffering… until you’re used to it and all that pain and work and suffering turn out to be signs of health and strength and ability - and the negative aspects of them vanish.  I still get sore abs from situps, but it is a comforting “I’m healthy and fit!” kind of pain that is enjoyable.

Rizwan - 27 October 2008 04:15 AM

What if we were able to decide how our taxes by line items?  For example, each person could assign a percent to a specific line item.  If you are anti-widget you could chose to not pay in to the widget tax account, if you are pro-widget you could.  If you like big government you could opt to pay more taxes. But everyone would have to pay their fair share. Would that work?

Whoever decides what a fair share is will have more power over others than they ought to.  If anyone feels that the decision-maker has too much power, they must be allowed to stop participating - that is, stop getting the benefits and stop paying their share.  Any decent system must be set up to allow people to opt out.  Otherwise, this is a great idea!

Rizwan - 27 October 2008 04:15 AM

(So far this is one of the better on-line discussions I’ve had in a few years.  Thanks!!)

Perhaps people you know would be interested in participating here?  I’ve been inviting some people.  Maybe they’ll show up some time.

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Posted: 27 October 2008 03:54 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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To the first part that you dismissed, the area that was prodigiously successful and grew at a hellaciously industrious pace was the North East of America, where there were no slaves, and the Indians were trading partners. In fact, at the same time on the Great Lakes the French set up a socialist tax and share system, even had a little Versailles set up and Indians lived there and got fat and they sat around and had banquets and while the Industrious East boomed the Indians and French actually shrunk in size and ran out of food and became very war like, which makes my argument for me, doesn’t dismiss it. Check out This Bread is Mine by Robert Lefevre: http://product.half.ebay.com/_W0QQtgZinfoQQprZ64083910

it has an excellent summary of that period and is an excellent thesis on the many problems with taxation, though his ultimate conclusion as to what to do about it I disagree with.

As for the Mennonites, they are a sect of Amish that utilizes machinery for work purposes. They look to the government for nothing and do not go into the military. They are peace loving and there is no crime.

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Posted: 27 October 2008 04:09 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
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Many public works, known as private business without government interference, exist and are often improved because they must survive a capitalist market. Microsoft, computers, the NFL, airlines until they were socialized. Automobiles until they were socialized and they’ve been down hill ever since, airlines too, telecommunications companies, plenty of stuff.

Let’s check some true tax funded public works though, besides roads and such:

1. Indian Reservations… yummy
2. War and war zones created globally through destruction created by:
3. The military industrial complex
4. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac
5. $400 ashtrays
6. The Bush Libraries, Nixon, whichever one you don’t like, pick them
7. The Hubble Telescope
8. Pork Barrel spending
9. The Iron Triangle
10. The trillion dollar deficit (and rising!!!)

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Posted: 27 October 2008 09:33 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]
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deminizer - 27 October 2008 06:54 PM

To the first part that you dismissed, the area that was prodigiously successful and grew at a hellaciously industrious pace was the North East of America, where there were no slaves, and the Indians were trading partners. In fact, at the same time on the Great Lakes the French set up a socialist tax and share system, even had a little Versailles set up and Indians lived there and got fat and they sat around and had banquets and while the Industrious East boomed the Indians and French actually shrunk in size and ran out of food and became very war like, which makes my argument for me, doesn’t dismiss it. Check out This Bread is Mine by Robert Lefevre: http://product.half.ebay.com/_W0QQtgZinfoQQprZ64083910

it has an excellent summary of that period and is an excellent thesis on the many problems with taxation, though his ultimate conclusion as to what to do about it I disagree with.

As for the Mennonites, they are a sect of Amish that utilizes machinery for work purposes. They look to the government for nothing and do not go into the military. They are peace loving and there is no crime.

Thanks, I’ll read that book. I don’t know much about that period in history.  It will be nice to learn something new. We’ll come back to this once I’ve read it.  As for the Mennonites, and Amish, aren’t they separatists? Would that really play out well on a large scale in our times?  Did you ever read Constant Battles by Le Blanc?

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Posted: 27 October 2008 10:00 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]
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I have not read it but I will. we’ll have a grand discussion.

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