19A028 My Former Self by Jim Davies, 7/9/2019    


We're each a work in progress, and last month I took an unusual chance to look at the Jim of the early 90s, nearly three decades ago; at that time a friend and I produced a weekly half-hour show for Connecticut PATV called "The Freedom Alternative" or TFA. Recently (and very belatedly) I hit on the idea of loading them up to YouTube, and the result is listed here. Worth watching a few!

So you can see where I was at, that long ago. I'm very proud of what we did, and recommend anyone to watch any of those programs, and there were many high caliber libertarians taking part. I was able to interview two candidates for US President, a top expert in the US Constitution, an insurance broker about the Social Security Scam, a home-schooling mother about what education is, a property owner who refused to let government grab what he had built, an articulate expert on drugs and guns (and the guitar) two more musicians, a philosopher pilot, a man who had personally interacted with Göbbels and had met Hitler, and recorded a presentation by a former advisor to Gorbachev and Yeltsin. We even had a short written contribution from Prof. Milton Friedman.

My interviewing skills were sharper then than they would be now; age has taken a toll. The programs are good, and can serve a useful purpose yet, for outreach and education. As I re-watched each Episode, I came to see though where I was deficient then, and how I've been able to improve my grasp of the way things are. Here are the main ways in which I then fell short.

1. I thought too well of the Founders. They did do an amazing job, it's true; they began the first country in history with a government theoretically answerable to the members of a society. That was a huge improvement, on what had always gone before. But in TFA I often relied on their Constitution as if it were a final authority, a bedrock or ideal of some kind; and our frequent guest Andrew Melechinsky did make an eloquent case for how delightful it would be to live under a government that strictly obeyed it. I'm much less sure of that now, though it does remain a useful stick with which to beat politicians who exceed its purportedly granted powers and ignore its limits. I supposed that the Founders did really want to limit the government they were setting up; perhaps some of them (Jefferson) did, but others (Hamilton) certainly didn't.

In the very year the first Congress convened it passed the Judicial Act, which was a cunning trap designed to provide an escape from any limits the Constitution might set in its path; and when the Marbury case came along, that trap was sprung as explained in 1789 - The Eden Myth.

The effect of that chicanery I was to witness a dozen years later in the case of US vs. Schiff. Judge Kent Dawson created law out of nothing, when instructing the jury about "liability" - details here - and so secured a conviction, despite Article 1's reservation to Congress of all legislative power.

2. I missed the root of the problem. We did a pretty good job showing how evil government is, how badly it screws up, how it's immoral from the get-go, and so on; but I did not show from fundamental premises (the self ownership axiom) that all government must always be alien to human nature, and so that it's impossible that any government, however small, can ever be "good" but must always be suboptimal at the very best. This I was to grasp only later, with the help of my mentor pen-named Anthony I S Alexander, whom I did not encounter until 1995. He was a co-author of The Market for Liberty.

3. I was vague about how to fix things. We had a pretty good grasp on how bad was the situation, but I supposed the only solution was to do everything that came to hand, including demonstrations, protests, meetings (and TV programs!) and to play politics, with the Libertarian Party. Yes, I thought that it was possible to vote for freedom and get it, if only enough would do so. I did not see how very thoroughly and cleverly the ruling class has "divided and conquered", partitioning society into groups of tax guzzlers, who will be most unlikely to vote against their own perceived interests; the huge "gray lobby" for example can not be expected to vote for "Social Security" to be gutted of its revenue. Nor can those with tax-funded jobs in the Military Industrial Complex, nor government school teachers, and so on; this is part of the "cookie jar" illustration of TFA #108, see the foot of the playlist. Nor, in any case, did (or do!) I understand how "freedom" could be imposed on a large minority if ever the LP won.

I had failed to pause to ask (a) what is the objective? and (b) how can it be achieved? - the very prerequisites named in last week's ZGBlog, The Demolition. These are essential elements of any endeavor or plan, as I knew from my professional experience - yet I didn't apply them to this task until a lot later. When I did, The Fix was the result; the objective is of course to eliminate government altogether, and that can be achieved only by persuading everyone not to work for it. That in turn requires universal re-education, and that is provided by TOLFA and its associated method of one-on-one recruitment and exponential growth. But thirteen years had to follow TFA before that was put in place.

Despite these shortfalls, TFA is a valuable resource, so by all means use it. Peter Verderosa and I had a great deal of fun making the episodes, and encountered some amazing people in the process. They are, all of them, the salt of the Earth.




What the coming free society
will probably be like
How freedom
was lost
How it is being
The go-to site for an
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Freedom's prerequisite:
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Nothing less will do

What every bureaucrat needs to know
Have them check TinyURL.com/QuitGov

How Government Silenced Irwin Schiff

2016 book tells the sad story and shows that government is even more evil than was supposed