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pywong
11th December 2011, 08:46 PM
More Governmental Insights: Insiders, Outsiders and the Question of Divinity (http://dailyreckoning.com/more-governmental-insights-insiders-outsiders-and-the-question-of-divinity/)

By Bill Bonner (http://dailyreckoning.com/author/bbonner/)



http://dailyreckoning.com/wp-content/blogs.dir/5/files/2011/12/US-Government3-150x150.jpg (http://dailyreckoning.com/more-governmental-insights-insiders-outsiders-and-the-question-of-divinity/)
12/09/11 Baltimore, Maryland – You’ll recall that two days ago we introduced our new theory of government. Of course, we are not entirely serious. And not entirely unserious either.

But it hardly rises to the level of a theory. It is more like an insight:

Government is the natural phenomenon wherein the “insiders” take wealth, power and status from the “outsiders.” They may provide a useful, even necessary, function — such as keeping the peace. Or they may not. They sometimes redistribute wealth among the outsiders. Sometimes not. They sometimes claim to be acting in the name of the greater good…and often do not. Sometimes they claim their privilege from God; sometimes, they don’t bother. But they always take wealth, power and status from those who are not among the insiders.

We’ve already seen how a small group of Romans were able to reach beyond their home town, for nearly 1,000 years, taking wealth from people on the outside. One tribe fell under their control. Then another. Then, one town. And another. And always the power, prestige and wealth flowed back to Rome.

But not all Romans benefited in the same way. Rome itself was divided. During the Republican period the insiders were the leading families who controlled the Senate. Then came the dictators, the emperors, and the scalawags who were able to get control of the government. Often, they were military men, popular or cunning generals who rose through the ranks, murdered their rivals, and took the reins of power for themselves. Each brought in new insiders…and kicked out some of the old ones. Rome sizzled with intrigue…and sometimes erupted into open warfare, with one group of insiders battling it out with another.

After Rome fell, barbarian tribes swept over Europe. Local strongmen were able to set up their own governments. There was little theory or justification involved. They used brute force to take what they wanted. Then they settled down to govern. One local lord provided protection from other local lords. All demanded payment, tribute, wealth and power. In the largely un-moneyed economies of the Dark Ages, taxes were in the form of a share of output…and/or days of labor. A serf typically worked one day in 10 for his lord and master.

The local warlord and his entourage were the insiders. They took from the outsiders as much as they could get away with. Or as much as they thought it prudent to demand. Some even asserted a droit du seigneur, known in France by the more carnal expression “the right to the thigh.” The local chief demanded the right to deflower the brides of his peasants. Even as recently as the beginning of the last century, Kurdish chieftains claimed the right to bed Armenian brides on their wedding night.

As the Dark Ages progressed, government became less locally peculiar. Across Europe, serfs, lords, and vassals knit themselves together into the feudal system. One governed a small area and was in turn governed by another, who governed a bigger one. At the top was the king, who owed his allegiance to God himself.

Justifying and explaining the phenomenon of government also evolved. How to make sense of it? Why was one man powerful and rich and another weak and poor? Europe was Christianized by then. All men were supposed to be equal in God’s eyes. How come they were so different in the eyes of each other?

Reaching back into antiquity, the doctrine of the “Divine Right of Kings” was developed to explain it. Scholars did not maintain that kings were divine, because that would undermine the foundations of Judeo-Christian monotheism. Instead, they claimed that kings had a special role to play, that they were appointed…and anointed, by God (through his ministers in the church of St. Peter)…to rule. Some people thought the kings were descended directly from the line of Jesus Christ. Others thought that God gave kings a “divine” right to govern in His name.

In the fixed order of the world, each person had a job to do. One was a hewer of wood. Another was a drawer of water. A third was a king. Each man did his duty.

Scholars in the middle ages spent a lot of time on the issue. As a theory of government it seemed coherent and logical. But there were traps and dead ends in it. If the right to rule were given by God, man could not contradict Him. But men did. One divinely-appointed ruler met another divinely-appointed ruler on the field of battle. Only one could win. What kind of game was God playing?

And if God granted a man the right to rule other men, did that mean that every order he gave must be obeyed, just as though it had come from the mouth of God himself? And what if the king seemed not to be doing God’s work at all? Adultery was clearly a no-no. God disapproved of it. But kings often made it a habit and a sport. Did not the king defile his body and betray his Lord? In an effort to explain away the problem, scholars put forth the idea that the king actually had two bodies. One sacred. One profane.

But which was which?

More to come…

Regards,
Bill Bonner (http://dailyreckoning.com/author/bbonner/)
for The Daily Reckoning (http://dailyreckoning.com/)




Read more: More Governmental Insights: Insiders, Outsiders and the Question of Divinity (http://dailyreckoning.com/more-governmental-insights-insiders-outsiders-and-the-question-of-divinity/#ixzz1gEXmkgX6) http://dailyreckoning.com/more-governmental-insights-insiders-outsiders-and-the-question-of-divinity/#ixzz1gEXmkgX6

pywong
22nd December 2011, 06:15 PM
“Power Corrupts…” (http://dailyreckoning.com/power-corrupts/)
By Bill Bonner (http://dailyreckoning.com/author/bbonner/)




http://dailyreckoning.com/wp-content/blogs.dir/5/files/2011/12/AF_Investments7.png (http://dailyreckoning.com/power-corrupts/)
12/20/11 Baltimore, Maryland – This is the last in a series. We began by wondering how come some people get to boss other people around…

We’re not talking about wives and husbands or employees and their employers. In those cases, the bossing is legit. Husbands ask for it. And employees can walk off the job anytime they like.

We’re talking about people who have the right — by law — to tell other people what to do. The TSA agent…the policeman…the building inspector…the customs agent…the IRS clerk…the FDA…the CIA…the FBI…

It is a remarkable thing, don’t you think, dear reader? It says right there in the Declaration of Independence that ‘all men are created equal.’ Equality under the law is supposed to be the law of the land. And yet, some people are clearly above the law…some give orders to complete strangers…and some people even claim the right to make laws any way they want.

There are laws that tell you not to murder…and not to steal. In the 10 Commandments given to Moses, God named 10 laws that he considered important. But the folks walking the floors of Congress, the EPA, the SEC, the IRS and a plethora of other government agencies have added 10,000 more commandments. ‘Thou shalt’ this… ‘thou shalt not’ that. You can barely go to the bathroom or drill an oil well, without asking permission from a dozen different bureaucracies. ‘Ignorance of the law,’ is said to be an ineffective defense. But it’s a very effective explanation. There are so many laws, rules, regulations, edicts, commandments, prohibitions, interdictions, injunctions, requirements and obligations that you are bound to miss one or two of them.

The latest Defense Authorization Bill just passed by Congress shows how far the law-makers and law-enforcers will go. The doctrine of habeas corpus goes back to before the signing of the Magna Carta in 1215. It was an ancient Anglo-Saxon limitation on the power of government. If the feds held a prisoner, a writ of habeas corpus required them to “produce the body.” The government had to either release the person or charge him with a crime. For more than 800 years, this gave people some protection against government.

But now, in the Year of Our Lord 2011, the Congress of the United States of America, with the complicity of POTUS, himself, has seen fit to deny the right of habeas corpus to American citizens. Henceforth, the feds can capture you, put you in prison and waterboard you every day for the rest of your life. They don’t have to charge you with murder or jay-walking or any crime at all. They don’t have to let you talk to a lawyer. Or to your spouse. Or to your Congressman… They don’t have to read you your rights or provide any evidence against you. Like the Argentines in the ’80s, they just ‘disappear’ you. And you’re gone forever.

The Guardian reports:

Human rights groups accused the president of deserting his principles and disregarding the long-established principle that the military is not used in domestic policing. The legislation has also been strongly criticised by libertarians on the right angered at the stripping of individual rights for the duration of “a war that appears to have no end”.

The law, contained in the defence authorisation bill that funds the US military, effectively extends the battlefield in the “war on terror” to the US and applies the established principle that combatants in any war are subject to military detention.

“It’s something so radical that it would have been considered crazy had it been pushed by the Bush administration,” said Tom Malinowski of Human Rights Watch. “It establishes precisely the kind of system that the United States has consistently urged other countries not to adopt. At a time when the United States is urging Egypt, for example, to scrap its emergency law and military courts, this is not consistent.”

Rand Paul, a strong libertarian, has said “detaining citizens without a court trial is not American” and that if the law passes “the terrorists have won”.

“We’re talking about American citizens who can be taken from the United States and sent to a camp at Guantánamo Bay and held indefinitely. It puts every single citizen American at risk,” he said. “Really, what security does this indefinite detention of Americans give us? The first and flawed premise, both here and in the badly named Patriot Act, is that our pre-9/11 police powers were insufficient to stop terrorism. This is simply not borne out by the facts.”

So now the feds, whose salaries we pay, can spy on us with drones we paid for too. They can send a swat team to disappear us…and keep us in prison.

Our question is: ‘what gives them the right?’ What bread to these people eat? What air do they breathe?

We’ve seen the theories. We’ve seen them in practice too. The ‘divine right of kings.’ The ‘social contract.’ ‘From each according to his abilities…’ ‘The greatest good for the greatest number.’

What they all have in common is that they are not theories, but apologia. One claims to know God’s own plan. Another imagines that the powerless masses agreed to be pushed around. Still another pretends that it’s for their own good.

Some of the excuses are implausible or unbelievable. Others are absurd. The ‘theories’ make no sense. But the facts are undeniable. And the fact is that there are always some people who are willing, ready and able to boss others around. Some rulers — the ‘insiders’ — are smarter than others. Some are nicer. Over time, you see all sorts. Their goal is always the same — to take power and wealth away from the outsiders. How much? As much as they can get away with.

You may wonder, for example, how come the governments of the developed countries all seem to be in the same deep hole of debt. If you listened to the politicians, for example, you might conclude that France and America were an ocean apart. Actually, overall tax, spending, and debt levels are similar in all OECD nations. And tax levels, generally, are about 10 times higher than they were in the last century. And their forms of government are about the same too — even though the insiders claim to have very different ideas about how to govern.

What happened?

The genius of modern democracy is that it makes the citizen a party to his own enslavement. Rather than give up 10% of his output to his feudal lord and master, he gives up 30% to 50% to his democratically-elected bosses. They tell him what to do. And he believes he is giving the orders!

And then, he believes he has discovered the best form of government in the world. It is so good he can’t wait to force others to be democrats too.

Regards,
Bill Bonner (http://dailyreckoning.com/author/bbonner/)
for The Daily Reckoning (http://dailyreckoning.com/)




Read more: "Power Corrupts..." (http://dailyreckoning.com/power-corrupts/#ixzz1hGEiuhbJ) http://dailyreckoning.com/power-corrupts/#ixzz1hGEiuhbJ