Recently, an International Man member e-mailed us a video about a man from Illinois who faces life in prison for filming the police without written permission. The member's comment...
This is worth posting as a confirmation of the direction of things...
and why internationalizing your affairs is more important than ever.
Indeed, while the story is now somewhat dated and regardless of how it does eventually turn out, it does demonstrate two disturbing trends in the United States - first, one towards less accountability for those working for the state and two, increased "criminalizing" for anyone that dares to stand up to their authority.
But it's not the police that are at fault. They are only a symptom of the disease...
"Wanna spend 75 years in the state pen?"
That's a question being posed to Michael Allison of Bridgeport, Illinois for recording police actions against him, as well as a session of court in which he was the defendant.
Unfortunately for him, in Illinois, recording the police without written consent is a Class 1 Felony - a "crime" that carries a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison. To put that in perspective, this puts it into a family of offenses that include "Criminal Sexual Assault" (aka rape). In theory, recording without permission is treated as something worse than aggravated assault, arson or battery - all of which are felonies of a lower class.
And all this mess started because of a purported city ordinance infraction.
But because he stood up to police over the city ordinance, he is being charged with 5 counts of "recording without consent". At 15 years a piece, that's potentially 75 years in the prison. Allison is 41 now, so, barring parole, a maximum sentence would effectively mean life in prison.
Does anyone not see a problem here?
Good Cop, Bad Cop
I have a confession to make: I'm not terribly anti-police. Or, better said, I'm not terribly anti-police officer.
While there haven't been any cops in my own family, my parents have always had a number of friends who were. I grew up around these people and, to my mother's horror, even received my first speeding ticket by someone who had known me since I was a preschooler.
And, for the most part, they're pretty good guys. As individuals, they take their job seriously and they sincerely want to do some good in the world.
But there is a huge difference between one police officer and the system they work under.
That system is the real enemy. It's a system known by the ethereal term "government"; that insidious force constantly and methodically spreading its influence in ways that give it ever more power.
In a democratic system, that means buying people's votes by offering a promise to fix all that ails them. A chicken in every pot, a 2nd car in every garage (and a 2nd garage for that matter) and a job that is both highly paid and guaranteed.
Unfortunately, as has been proven time and time again over thousands of years, such policies eventually destroy the economic value of a country - and usually the nation-state structure itself. It's unsustainable - plain and simple. The dollars (or lira, drachma or denarii) need to be borrowed from overseas with interest, taken from the most productive citizens through taxes or simply manufactured out of thin air.
However it's done, eventually, the system breaks down and then, it's game over.
It is our firm belief that the current game is coming to an end for much of the West and a few others as well; what our own contributor Jeff Thomas calls the Great Unraveling.
And I sincerely believe that people are waking up to it. Judging from the Occupy New York, Chicago, Washington DC (et al), they don't seem to have a clear idea of what they are waking up to, but they realize something is very wrong.
They still believe the government is supposed to fix it, but as times get worse, that will change. It will have to, though it certainly won't be a pleasant process.
Enter Europe's last remaining dictatorship...
A few days ago, I had an engaging conversation with a libertarian young man who moved from Belarus to my neck of the woods just over a month ago with his wife.
Now there's a country. Known as Europe's last dictatorship, one wouldn't think Belarus is the ideal place for free thinkers.
And yet, when I congratulated him for recognizing so early in life that "government" is the problem and not the solution, he said that it wasn't because he was anyone special; many people his age think like that because they see the negative effects of an over-aggressive state every day. High interest rates which make it almost impossible to borrow, extreme debauching of the currency and the high inflation that brings, a moribund economy that struggles to provide for its citizens.
When the pain is so great, one has to question the system.
One almost becomes a free thinker by default.
But don't the government officials know?
Of course they do. Contrary to the displays of ignorance and stupidity that can only exist in politics, they are neither ignorant nor stupid. Or, at least, their advisors aren't. I don't buy the argument that those in power are so married to Keynesianism that they can't see what's really going on.
They must. They have 100 years of history that can be reviewed in the time it takes to type "History of the Federal Reserve" into Google. They have almost certainly heard of the concept of Austrian economics, even if they don't necessarily believe in it.
It's just that such a model would not serve them. It would not keep them in power. Rather, it would limit their power and, more importantly, it would make it harder for them to get elected.
So, no, they know what's going to happen.
They know entitlements will eventually have to end.
They know that direct printing of currency only buys time and doesn't fix the underlying problem.
And they damn sure know that if they want to stay in power, the only way to do so is to turn ordinary citizens into criminals and use the powers of the state to shut them up, which brings us full circle to the Michael Allison case.
Indeed, in Ayn Rand's chillingly prescient tome, Atlas Shrugged, one of the "Trio of Evil", Dr Floyd Ferris, memorably says to key protagonist Hank Rearden:
"We're after power and we mean it. You fellows were pikers, but we know the real trick, and you'd better get wise to it. There's no way to rule innocent men. The only power any government has is the power to crack down on criminals. Well, when there aren't enough criminals, one makes them...you create a nation of lawbreakers - and then you cash in on guilt. Now that's the system, Mr. Rearden."
And so it is becoming in America. Power requires control. And control is created by making diligent citizens the criminals.
Enter the entity we call the police. It's the direct day-to-day symbol of that power.
But it's not the police themselves that are the trouble - even if some of the individuals themselves are jerks. Rather, the police are only the symptom. It's the system they belong to that's the disease - a system willing to turn the average citizens who dare challenge them into criminals that can be locked up in cages and forgotten.
But what can we do?
So what's the solution then? Do we stay and fight the 100,000 lb gorilla, or do we tactfully move our resources and our persons out of harm's way?
It will come as no surprise that we recommend the latter. One can't fight a system that makes the laws, controls the guns and, as a result, us - at least so long as we are within their borders.
One can't fight the system from within the system.
Rather, it's best to internationalize and be ready to pick up the pieces when the time comes. And, make no mistake: the good times will eventually come again.
In the meantime, we just prepare for the worst, hope for the best and let what will happen, happen.
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