Prepping For Political Risk

This entry is part 1 of 1 in the series Prepping For Political Risk

I’ve said often enough that my close friends are starting to quote me that ‘I refuse to be a refugee.’  That’s easy for me to say as I live far from hurricane and wildfire country, nowhere near a nuclear plant and in a part of the country with a relatively low population density (by coastal standards) but as I read James Wesley Rawles‘ book, The Liberators: A Novel of the Coming Global Collapse a few months ago I began thinking again about prepping for political risk.

In the novel, the fifth book in Rawles’ post-crunch, ‘Patriots‘ world the characters find themselves living in territory that was both formerly part of both the U.S. and Canada but the respective national governments have since fallen.  Each character must make their own decision about how to react to the advance of foreign armies and the creation of a new nation…one with radically different values than many of the residents hold.

While I refuse to be a refugee during tough times, an economic downturn or following a natural disaster…what about political change?  If I find myself living in a secessionist State promoting morally repugnant policies do I flee to parts unknown?  This is the very situation a number of our ancestors found themselves in a century and a half ago as the secessionist movement tore our country apart.  What if the policies and values of the good old U.S.A. become unrecognizable and morally repugnant to you…how does one prepare for that?

I have friends that think our nation is on the road to ruin and have become expatriates and if recent polls are to be believed the majority of our country agrees that we’re on the wrong track so prepping for political risk isn’t just a good idea it’s potentially a matter of life and death?

Ten Ways To Prepare For Political Risk

  1. Relocate to an area less susceptible to political risk:  The preparedness writer FerFal, who writes at Surviving In Argentina, did this when he moved from Argentina to Northern Ireland…think about that for a minute…Northern Ireland is safer than Argentina…I guess centuries of religious strife is safer than what a few years of socialism have done to the once great country of Argentina.  Rawles promotes moving to the inland West of the U.S., what he describes as the American Redoubt, for a number of reasons including the political climate.
  2. Become a dual citizen:  More and more wealthy U.S. citizens are hedging their bets by becoming dual citizens…and not just former U.S. Representative Michelle Bachman who has since given up her Swiss citizenship.  Dual citizenship doesn’t just make it safer to travel in some parts of the world it also gives you another place that you can call home without the threat of deportation.  There are a number of ways to obtain dual citizenship without moving to the other country including reclaiming citizenship for the country of your birth, through marriage, through lineage, and even through investment.
  3. Give up your citizenship:  The number of U.S. citizens surrendering their citizenship is at an all time high…more due to U.S. tax policies than to political risk but it’s becoming more popular and can be quite lucrative like Facebook‘s cofounder of Eduardo Saverin discovered when he resigned his naturalized U.S. citizenship on the eve of cashing out of Facebook’s for their IPO.  Can you imagine anyone giving up their hard won U.S. citizenship for tax savings…it’s happening more and more as the idea of American exceptionalism wanes.
  4. Vote:  Help select officials that support freedom and liberty so as to reduce political risk.  Don’t tolerate the election of those bent on abusing power even at the local level as local successes spur the bastards on to seek larger offices.  Note:  When you do vote, just vote one time (in each and every election) and make sure to doublecheck your voting machine as it’s recently been discovered that some voting machines are actually robotic party operatives.
  5. Donate:  Contribute to politicians that support freedom, liberty and our founding values.  Like it or not… money is the fuel that powers political campaigns and does effect whether the forces of freedom or the forces of tyranny get to make the rules until the next election.
  6. Stand for election:  Stand for election…unless of course you feel that you are better at making decisions for folks than they can make for themselves…then stay home, don’t vote and spend your money buying lots of liquor, Twinkies and Matt Damon movies.
  7. Be a voice of reason:  Call out the statists you encounter day-to-day when they start blabbering Newspeak or saying things like ‘businesses don’t create jobs’.  Learn to do it with confidence and finesse.  I don’t like direct confrontation because it shuts people down instead of opening their minds…try asking questions (the Socratic method) like ‘then who do you think creates jobs…’ and ‘how are jobs created then?’
  8. Write:  One of the ways I support freedom and liberty is by writing about tyranny and freedom issues from time to time.  Write a letter to the editor of your local paper, write a blog, comment on a blog, write a freedom living e-mail and see if you can get it to go viral (hint…kittens and soldier/sailor/airmen/Marine stories are always good viral e-mail topics).
  9. Rules For RadicalsCultivate optimism:  Cultivate optimism in yourself and others.  It’s easy to get discouraged as we see statist and devotees of Saul Alinski elected and running for the nation’s highest office but our founders built a resilient system replete with checks and balances…we just have to refocus our efforts and dismantle as much as the anti-liberty constitutional ‘interpretations’ and dial back as much government over-reach as possible.
  10. Never give up, never surrender:  To steal a catchphrase from the Tim Allen space comedy Galaxy Quest, never give up, never surrender!  The fight is too important to our country, our future and to future generations to roll over and accept tyranny.  For nearly 240 years the United States has served as a beacon of hope to the entire world, a place where a peasant could build a new life for him and maybe end up living like a king.  Freedom is liberating and generates opportunities like no cast system, aristocracy or oligarchy ever could.

The U.S. is still a freedom loving country…even with recent shifts in the political climate but we must maintain our vigilance, promote liberty and bring up future generations to view/fight tyranny as our forefathers and mothers did as part of our own prepping for political risk.

Kangaroo Courts on Campus – Today’s Quote

There seem to be a dangerously large number of people who think that the law exists to give them whatever they want — even when that means denying other people the same rights that they claim for themselves.

Dr. Thomas Sowellvia Kangaroo Courts on Campus?

Free Speech Zone – Today’s Quote

…some colleges have established what they call “free speech zones” — as if they are granting a special favor by not imposing their vague and arbitrary “speech codes” everywhere on campus.

The irony in this is that the Constitution already established a free speech zone. It covers the entire United States.

Dr. Thomas Sowell via Kangaroo Courts on Campus?

Tolerance Check, The Website

I came across a new website this week that’s been released in Beta Test mode.  It’s called Tolerance Check.  Tolerance Check allows you to create ‘memes’ about sensitive subjects and download or post them online to social media.  You can also see memes posted by other people and vote on whether you find the notion offensive or not.

Political CorrectnessIn addition to being good, politically incorrect fun, Tolerance Check serves two very useful purposes.

  1. You can easily check your libertarian (little ‘l,’ not big ‘L’ because we don’t want to waste any votes) credentials by seeing just how far you are willing to ‘live and let live’ those folks that you disagree with…or verify your ‘social conservatism’ (the act of requiring others to act in accordance with your moral convictions) or ‘social liberalism’ (the act of prohibiting people from acting on their own moral convictions).
  2. You can also trick others into actually thinking through their views if you cleverly juxtapose opposing arguments and maybe, just maybe derail some of growing intolerance we seem to have in today’s society.

Check out Tolerance Check and see what you think…here’s one of my favorite memes that’s been created so far…and not just because it has an obscure Twilight Zone
reference.

Democracy and the Constitution – Today’s Quote

In a 2006 interview, Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer said the Constitution is “basically about” one word — “democracy” — that appears in neither that document nor the Declaration of Independence. Democracy is America’s way of allocating political power. The Constitution, however, was adopted to confine that power in order to “secure the blessings of” that which simultaneously justifies and limits democratic government — natural liberty.

The fundamental division in U.S. politics is between those who take their bearings from the individual’s right to a capacious, indeed indefinite, realm of freedom, and those whose fundamental value is the right of the majority to have its way in making rules about which specified liberties shall be respected.

Dr. George Will via George Will: Progressives don’t grasp the Constitution

Victim To The Welfare Mentality – Today’s Quote

I am angry about the mammoth, out-of-control social welfare entitlement programs from Washington, DC, that were supposed to solve our problems. The obvious truth is these impractical, politically motivated programs have irreparably damaged the fabric of our black society and community.

The irony is, we were told these policies would help us most of all, and yet our community has ended up being the most grievously harmed. To those who fell victim to the welfare mentality, I am sorry to say, you were sold a horrific lie. You are shackled to the twenty-first-century economic plantation. We want nothing more than for you to be liberated as well, because you cannot continue to live in bondage.

The Republican Party was established for one reason: the abolition of slavery through passage of the Thirteenth Amendment. Against the Democratic Party, the Republicans engaged in a fundamental philosophical fight for individual freedom from physical bondage. Today the fight for freedom continues with the same protagonists and antagonists, except now it is economic rather than physical bondage that must be defeated.”

Former U.S. Representative and U.S. Army Lieutenant Colonel Allen West from his book Guardian of the Republic: An American Ronin’s Journey to Faith, Family and Freedom

Know Your Rights – Infographic

The VAST majority of law enforcement officers are Sheepdogs who dedicate their life to protecting the Sheep from the Wolves in our society.  However, there are the occasional Wolves in Sheepdog’s clothing, so in addition to keeping your actions legal, make sure to know your rights.  Today’s infographic is a good reminder and will help you know your rights.

Online-Paralegal-Programs.com

A Freedom Destroying Cocktail – Today’s Quote

…a freedom-destroying cocktail.

Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia discussing anonymous tips being upheld as justification for probable cause

Debt is Servitude – Today’s Quote

I place [the] economy among the first and most important virtues, and public debt as the greatest of dangers to be feared…we must not let our rulers load us with perpetual debt. We must make our choice between economy and liberty…or profusion and servitude.

Revolutionary & President Thomas Jefferson

Government Creating Black Markets

The only markets government can create are Black markets and artificial markets auctioning off things that no one really ‘owns’ like the electromagnetic spectrum.  Why does government insist on creating black markets?

Black MarketBlack markets emerge when demand exceeds supply for highly regulated or forbidden commodities or when excessive taxation drives buyers and sellers to enter into illicit transactions.  Essentially, government creates black markets through laws, excessive regulation, taxation or a combination of the three.  Many of these activities arise out of the political elite’s ‘need’ to be perceived as doing something when the population is upset with a circumstance or tragedy.  Many of these laws are designed to do nothing more than to ‘protect’ people from themselves or their own poor decisions.  Other laws are designed to limit people’s choices to those sanctioned by the political elite or their influence block.

For example:  The temperance movement of the last century led to the 18th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution banning the sale of alcohol.  This law didn’t stop drinking but it did outlaw the enormous, taxpaying, domestic alcohol industry and create a black market so lucrative that criminal gangs were willing to go to ‘war’ over distribution territories.  When the 18th Amendment was repealed by the 21st Amendment this alcohol driven gangland violence ceased.  Incidentally, prohibition didn’t just make millionaires out of the likes of Al Capone, it also catapulted the Kennedy family to financial prominence.

Some additional Examples of Black Markets:

Currency Exchanges:  I was traveling in East Germany…back when there was such a place and was approached by a black market currency exchanger…complete with black leather trench coat and a handful of cash.  He was offering an exchange rate about ten times the official exchange rate (I was required to change a certain amount of dollars to East German Marks when we crossed into the ‘Socialist paradise’).

Cigarettes:  With Federal taxes on each cigarette over 20 cents it’s no wonder that there’s a thriving business in black market cigarettes and counterfeit tobacco tax stamps.  Some of these cigarette bootlegging rings have even been tied to the funding of terrorist groups.

Cuban Cigars:  Are Cuban cigars really any better than Dominican cigars or American cigars produced by Cuban exiles?  They certainly sell at a premium since we banned their importation and sale.

Weapons:  As President Obama pointed out in the presidential debates and numerous times since…there’s a lot of gun violence in his hometown of Chicago.  With the strictest gun laws in the nation the outlaw element of Chicago is still able to purchase firearms and frequently uses them knowing that law abiding victims will be pleasantly unarmed.  Since this article was written there has been some loosening of firearms restrictions.

Sex Trade: Human trafficking and any form of slavery is abhorrent…however there have been men and women who willingly sell their favors since we inhabited the caves and no amount of prohibition and enforcement seems to have even decreased the incidence.

Drugs:  Of course the biggest black market of all is the sale of illicit drugs (illegal and prescription sold through illegal transactions).  The horror that our demand creates for the residents of Northern Mexico as well as certain other areas of the world is unprecedented and enough to make even a Chicago-land gangster like All Capone blanch with horror.  The profits created for these criminal organizations mean they are willing to take incredible risks and commit tremendous violence in securing their right to traffic in certain territories.  Even before state legalization, California’s biggest cash crop wasn’t lettuce or any kind of kitchen vegetable… it was marijuana.

Note:  I don’t encourage the use or abuse of any of the above (except for the controlled use of firearms for sport, training and self defense)…I just really don’t care what you do when it doesn’t effect me and the social and financial costs associated with prohibition effect me a lot and cause us to have incarceration rates higher than totalitarian regimes.  Let’s stop insisting letting our government take away our choices and give people their freedom back because it really is government creating black markets.  Let’s look at some black markets that aren’t so unsavory:

Farm Products:  It’s now illegal for farmers to sell many of their products directly if processing is involved (meat) or unless processing is involved (dairy).  Farmers have always made direct sales and often had roadside stands but the USDA is cracking down on these operations because they don’t have a rigorous, costly inspection scheme.  In one notorious act the USDA fined the owners of a 3 acre rabbit farm in Nixa, Mo nearly $100,000 for selling ‘unlicensed rabbits.’  The USDA backed down after they received pressure from the man’s senator but the regulations remained unchanged.

Fuel:  When I was in Iraq the Maliki government legislated the price of gasoline at an artificially low level (seems to me it was around 50 U.S. cents per gallon).  consequently, fuel was in such short supply that it wasn’t available through gas stations.  Much of the Iraqi produced gasoline was actually smuggled out of the country and what remained was sold at huge premiums on the side of the road.

Information:  I’m not talking about state secrets here…well maybe a type of state secrets…I’m talking about provisions like the one in the Affordable Care Act (how misnamed) that makes it illegal for tax professionals to suggest that their clients not take all the deductions to which they are entitled because it affects the eligibility for tax credits and subsidies…that’s right if you make too little you have to pay your tax credit back.  If your Modified Adjusted Gross Income goes below the Federal Poverty Level ($23,550 for a family of four) the Federal government wants the State government to take care of you.  If you create a set of rules…don’t make explaining the rules illegal.

Labor:  If someone taking 100% of the fruits of your labor is slavery…at what point does taxation become fractional slavery.  Don’t get me wrong, I have no issue with reasonable taxation but ‘reasonable’ has a different meaning to a New England ‘liberal’ or Hollywood mogul than it does to the libertarian minded.  There has always been a black market for labor but I’ve noticed a marked increase in recent years as the economy has tanked and taxation has increased.  Black Market labor manifests itself through a number of mechanisms including cash payments, ‘casual labor,’ off the books side jobs, illegal ‘subcontractor’ arrangements and the hiring of illegal immigrants.  The largest increase I’ve seen in black market labor is among those receiving Social Security disability.  The ‘disabled’ find cash jobs, often for short time periods, to supplement their government benefits and there is no reasonable mechanism for them to report such income without endangering their overall benefits status.  That said, I’ve actually tried to hire the Social Security ‘disabled’ to perform jobs that were within their capability but have always been refused either because of their sense of entitlement or the logic of making half to three/fourths the income without work or taxation trumps showing up, having a boss and rolling up your sleeves.

Prohibition has NEVER worked and if you try to regulate human activity through mechanisms such as prohibition, excessive regulation and even some licensure schemes all you end up with is powerful bootleggers, increased corruption (both public and private) and the potential for gang violence to secure distribution territories.  There’s another group that gathers tremendous power out of prohibition and regulation schemes as well and that’s governments,  By identifying a ‘problem’ and solving it with a prohibition our political elites get to create a mechanism to ‘police’ the violators….and you can’t have a ‘war on drugs’ without a tremendous amount of tax dollars diverted into prosecuting that ‘war.’

I propose to you that we can eliminate the majority of the black market activity if we limit regulation, reduce taxation and remove prohibitions on ‘crimes’ that are primarily issues of self harm.  What other black markets do our governments unnecessarily create?

 

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