“Soft despotism is a term coined by Alexis de Tocqueville describing the state into which a country overrun by "a network of small complicated rules" might degrade. Soft despotism is different from despotism (also called 'hard despotism') in the sense that it is not obvious to the people."

Monday, October 07, 2013

Self Ownership :: The Philosophy of Liberty


  1. "The people cannot delegate to government the power to do anything which would be unlawful for them to do themselves."

  2. Reality falls somewhere between these two philosophies, but probably a little closer to Carlin's perception than to that of the cartoonist.

    1. The cartoon is likely from an introductory philosophy course,
      Mr Locke in eight minutes and very few two syllable words in the scroll.

      George Carlin's riff, closer to the reality of power in the real world of Brown Brothers Harriman, Goldman Sucks and JP Morgan Chase Bank.

      The cartoonist discounts reality.
      We can start with the Selective Service claim upon the lives of residents of the United States

      Almost all male U.S. citizens, and male immigrants living in the U.S., who are 18 through 25, are required to register with Selective Service.
      It's important to know that even though he is registered, a man will not automatically be inducted into the military. In a crisis requiring a draft, men would be called in sequence determined by random lottery number and year of birth. Then, they would be examined for mental, physical and moral fitness by the military before being deferred or exempted from military service or inducted into the Armed Forces.

      If the government can lay claim to your life, they can certainly tax capital gains at what ever they want..
      And wages from labor at another.

      Wages for labor, taxed at about twice the rate as that for capital.

      The income derived from capital, the majority of which is held by a small minority ...
      is taxed at a much lower rate than income derived from labor

      Labor, how the vast majority of the elecorate garner their income.

      The idea that people vote for candidates so as to promote their own economic self-interest is patently false.
      Or the taxes levied upon labor income would not be so disproportionately high,
      when compared to the taxes upon income derived from capital.

  3. Carlin is crazy as hell and a foul mouth.

    The cartoon?


    Lux Lucre is a nice name though. Hope he made some money on it.

    1. Lux 'Filthy' Lucre would be even better.


  5. "The world is governed by very different personages from what is imagined by those who are not behind the scenes."

  6. John D. RockefellerMon Oct 07, 02:57:00 AM EDT

    "I have ways of making money that you know nothing of."

  7. "The best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter."


  8. "It is well enough that people of the nation do not understand our banking and monetary system, for if they did, I believe there would be a revolution before tomorrow morning."


  9. "Mischief springs from the power which the moneyed interest derives from a paper currency which they are able to control, from the multitude of corporations with exclusive privileges... which are employed altogether for their benefit."


  10. "Every friend of freedom must be as revolted as I am by the prospect of turning the United States into an armed camp, by the vision of jails filled with casual drug users and of an army of enforcers empowered to invade the liberty of citizens on slight evidence."

  11. Dwight D. EisenhowerMon Oct 07, 03:33:00 AM EDT

    "Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired, signifies in the final sense a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed."

  12. Things going well in Egypt -

    Police openly beat Muslim Brotherhood sympathizers in Cairo
    Posted by Amina Ismail on October 6, 2013 Updated 16 hours ago

    APTOPIX Mideast Egypt
    A member of Egyptian security forces detains a suspected supporter of ousted President Mohammed Morsi, right, during clashes in Cairo, Egypt, Sunday, Oct. 6, 2013. Police fired in the air and lobbed tear gas to push back several pro-Morsi marches as they neared Tahrir. Soldiers barricaded entrances to the square with barbed wire and armored personnel vehicles. Rival crowds of supporters of Egypt's military and backers of the Islamist president deposed by the army poured into streets around the country Sunday, as a holiday marking the anniversary of the last war with Israel turned into a showdown between the country's two camps.
    Egypt’s ‘revolution’ is over as people accept imposition of military rule
    CAIRO — Egyptian security forces on Sunday openly beat demonstrators sympathetic to the Muslim Brotherhood, without any provocation, in a sign of how the once powerful group has become the target of official suppression.

    The police reaction to the Brotherhood march stood in stark contrast to the scene blocks away, where pro-military crowds, summoned to celebrate Egypt's war with Israel 40 years ago, hoisted soldiers and police on their shoulders and offered cheers.

    The difference was apparent to two McClatchy reporters who left the pro-military demonstration to cover the Brotherhood gathering. As they witnessed police beatings, the two reporters were pounced on by security officers, who stole their cell phones and cameras and threatened to haul one away. The abuse ended only after the reporters proved they'd been at the other rally by pulling out posters of Defense Minister Abdel-Fattah El Sissi, the head of the military who engineered the toppling of President Mohammed Morsi in July.

    At previous demonstrations, Egyptian security forces have said the Brotherhood, the secretive organization through which Morsi ascended to office, instigated the clashes, some of which left hundreds dead.

    But on Sunday, there was no sign of Brotherhood provocation. The beatings took place well away from the huge crowds that were celebrating the military. Residents nearby also played a role, refusing to give Brotherhood sympathizers shelter as they sought to flee the security forces' onslaught.

    McClatchy reporters witnessed police officers throwing rocks at the protesters. Some protesters jumped into the Nile River to take refuge.

    A police officer struck a male McClatchy reporter in the back of his neck and stole his phone from his pocket. He then stole the phone and camera of a second correspondent.

    “Screw your mother,” the officer told the reporters.

    The beatings apparently had the approval of higher ups. Near Tahrir Square, two officers appeared with broken night sticks. Their commander asked what happened.

    “We beat Brotherhood,” the officers responded.

    To stop the officers from arresting the male reporter, the female McClatchy correspondent told them her colleague was her brother and she could not leave him behind. They let him go.

    The scene was very different just blocks away, where thousands gathered to celebrate the military. Security forces had erected electronic checkpoints leading to Tahrir Square, the iconic plaza where pro-democracy demonstrations nearly three years ago drove Hosni Mubarak from the presidency.

    Thousands passed through them to demonstrate their support for the military, whose toppling of Morsi ended the administration of Egypt's first democratically elected president. If the crowd found the location ironic, that didn't dampen their enthusiasm, as the ululating trills of women and the boisterous cheers of men celebrated the return of military rule.

    Read more here:

    1. Except for the Copts perhaps.

  13. The Road To Uncovering ‘The First Computer’ – A Wartime Colossus

    That history had to be pried out of the archives because official efforts to cover up its success worked so well. Thousands of people worked in the huts at Bletchley Park during WWII on code-cracking but only a handful were involved with Colossus and fewer still knew everything about it. All those codebreakers signed the Official Secrets Act which demanded that they kept quiet about their wartime career.

    Almost all the machines were broken up once they ceased to be useful and design documents were burnt or destroyed at the same time.

    “I got to know more about it than they did,” Prof Randell told the BBC. “They were so compartmentalised that those who worked in one hut would not dream of talking to people in another hut.”

    Sensitive operation

    Prof Randell tripped over the story of Colossus in 1970 while preparing an academic paper on a little-known Irish computer pioneer Percy Ludgate who, in 1908, completed the design for a nascent computer.

    Because he had a lot of material left over after writing about Ludgate, Mr Randell decided to use it as the basis of a series of papers dealing with early computers.

    While putting those papers together, he was asked why he had written so little about Alan Turing. Prof Randell started to look into Turing’s war work and got tantalising glimpses of the electronic code-cracking machines that had been in use at Bletchley.

    One paper written by Jack Good, one of the engineers who helped create Colossus, and published in 1970 mentioned a “classified, electronic” machine that used 1,000 valves to calculate “complicated Boolean functions involving up to about 100 symbols” to crack codes.

    The link with Turing, said Prof Randell, was that Colossus drew on Turing’s seminal 1936 paper that laid down the basic specifications for a machine that can could carry out complicated calculations step by step.

    Finding a little out about this machine prompted Prof Randell to seek out and correspond with those named as being involved with Colossus even though he now knew that their work was covered by the Official Secrets Act.

    “A number of the people I wrote to wrote back in very guarded terms,” said Prof Randell. “We were very much more conscious about those things at that time.”

    The result of Prof Randell’s work was a paper in 1972 exploring Turing’s influence on early computers and making mention of the wartime machines.

    1. ---

      Then, in 1975, a change of government brought a change in policy and Prof Randell was invited to the Cabinet Office to discuss the first official release of information about the Allies’ main codebreaking machine.

      The official release was a handful of pictures and a short statement which mentioned Colossus’ key designers: Max Newman and Tommy Flowers. More importantly, Prof Randell was asked by the government to interview the Colossus creators and publish what they said.

      Prof Randell gathered the information into a paper that he presented in 1976 at a conference on the history of computing.

      Attending was John Mauchly who, before Prof Randell took to the stage, thought that the machine he built, Eniac, was one of the first electronic computers.

      Jaws literally dropped as Prof Randell delivered his lecture, he told the BBC. They dropped again in the evening as Prof Randell had arranged for one of Colossus’s creators, Allen “Doc” Coombs, to attend and answer questions about the machine and what it did.

      Prof Randell’s lecture and Coombs’s comments meant the computer history books would have to be rewritten.

      “Eniac was not the first computer, it was the 11th,” he said.
      The door that Prof Randell first pushed at is now wide open, he said.

      “I’m sure that all of the technical details of Colossus are now well known,” said Prof Randell. “With the publication of the official history of the intelligence services we have a very full account of what was discovered by codebreaking and the significance it had.”

      It has also put the spotlight on the people who built Colossus and their achievements.
      “They were so modest and so bloody brilliant,” he said. “It was one of the best experiences of my life.”

      Colossus Computer

      Ultra, The Sacrifice of Coventry, Normandy, and the Tragedy of Alan Mathison Turing

    2. Dick should really get a dietitian and a personal trainer, pronto.

  14. DR Said:

    "The income derived from capital, the majority of which is held by a small minority ...
    is taxed at a much lower rate than income derived from labor"

    True, but the income of high earners is taxed the most. states like California (Rufus's Dream Paradise) amounting to nearly half their income!

    How many more Lamborghini's would Adam Carolla own if that were not the case?

    ...trickling down to benefit all.

    Even us plebes.

    1. Instead it goes to Government Trolls, and a portion goes to enable illiterates to spawn more dependents on Big Government.

      More than half of all new Moms receive WIC payments for Their Parasitic Spawn.

  15. There's always hope against hope.

    ...for some.

  16. So near yet so far for our great ally Saudi Arabia

    Until a few weeks ago, Saudi Arabia was riding high. Its regional policies, based on countering revolutionary fervour and containing Iran, appeared to be bearing fruit. Egypt’s army ousted the Islamist president, to plaudits and generous funding from Riyadh; the Syrian opposition elected a new pro-Saudi leadership; and the US seemed poised to launch military strikes on the regime in Damascus that Saudi Arabia has tried to dislodge.

    But Riyadh’s satisfaction turned to dismay as a US and Russian deal to destroy Syria’s chemical weapons removed the need for military strikes; leading rebel factions turned against the leadership of the Syrian National Coalition; and relations between the US and Iran appear to be warming as the new president, Hassan Rouhani, pledged to negotiate over Tehran’s nuclear programme.

    The sudden change in diplomatic fortunes is felt most acutely over Syria, where the increasingly bitter rivalry between Sunni Saudi Arabia and Shia Iran is playing out. For Tehran, Damascus is a bridge for logistical support of Hizbollah, the Shia militia that is its main proxy force in the Middle East; for Riyadh, the Assad regime is a destabilising Iranian outpost that must be removed to counterbalance the pro-Tehran, Shia-dominated government in Iraq.

    ”For us in Saudi Arabia, the worst scenario is to let Bashar [al-Assad] survive this: he has to go,’’ said Jamal Khashoggi, a Saudi analyst close to decision-making circles. “The world can ignore what is happening in Syria but this is at our doorstep and it is on fire with sectarian flames that will reach all neighbouring countries.’’

    Saudi Arabia, along with Qatar, has been the chief supporter of the Syrian rebels since the armed rebellion began, giving them weapons, training, finance and diplomatic support.

    Riyadh has also consistently lobbied for more US involvement in the conflict and believes that President Barack Obama’s administration missed an important opportunity to turn the tide in favour of the Syrian rebels last winter when it barred the Saudis from supplying them with anti-tank and anti-aircraft missiles because of concerns that they could fall into the hands of Islamist militants.

  17. MILLINOCKET, Maine, October 6, 2013 – Barricades, parking lot closures, even denying access to roadside overlooks hasn’t been working. People can still see many of the monuments around the country. The Park Service has been told to somehow make them unavailable to on-lookers during the government shutdown.

    Well, the Park Service bigwigs got together and came up with a unique solution: sleight of hand. If magicians can make buildings, airplanes and the Statue of Liberty disappear, wouldn’t it work for other monuments?

    So the next time you drive by that well-known monument in your area, it won’t be there. Don’t even try to find it because it won’t reappear until Congress finds its own magic, breaks the stalemate and funds the government.

    1. My Fave is the shutdown of the PRIVATE Mount Vernon Memorial, 'cause Big Gov owns the parking lot.

      Urination Protestation

      At one padlocked restroom on the Mount Vernon bike path that snakes along the Potomac River in suburban Virginia, two bicyclists expressed their disgust at Washington gridlock by letting it fly on the outside wall of the building. "This is a urination protest," one of the bikers said. "Maybe it'll catch on." On the nearby door to the shuttered bathroom was a sign stating, "Because of the federal government shutdown, this National Park Service facility is CLOSED." For extra emphasis, the word "closed" was bolded and underlined.

      [See a collection of political cartoons on the government shutdown.]

      All along the 17-mile Mount Vernon Trail, frustrated taxpayers are moving barriers and cutting yards of "Caution: Police" yellow tape to park their automobiles in lots shut off to the public due to the shutdown. "We just want to push our baby along the waterfront on this sunny afternoon," one parent told me.

      The authorities aren't letting such behavior go unpunished. One of the officers on the scene at Belle Haven Park told me that motorists leaving their cars in closed National Park Service lots were being given $95 tickets for illegal parking and evading a police roadblock. "We don't like doing this, but we have orders," she said. "Those barricades are filled with water, so someone had to unplug them to let the water out to move them out of the way of the entrance to get in here. That's a serious offense.

    2. "Those barricades are filled with water, so someone had to unplug them to let the water out to move them out of the way of the entrance to get in here. That's a serious offense."


      Orwell is spinning at Lightspeed