The New American Magazine’s William Jasper Reviews Classified Woman: The Sibel Edmonds Story

SEReviewI am truly grateful to Mr. Jasper and the New American Magazine for writing and publishing this very well-written and assessed review of my book. This review is written by a journalist and author who knows and truly understands the saga of government whistleblowers. Several years ago, in the early-mid 2000s, Mr. Jasper was one of very few true journalists who daringly covered, reported, and wrote about the facts and harsh realities involved in cases of national security whistleblowers- including me and several members of our organization (NSWBC).  As you can tell from the review below, he understands and knows what he is talking about, and that my friends, is a real rarity when it comes to the US media and those who sell themselves off as journalists. Here are some excerpts from the review:

Imagine that you have a Top Secret clearance and are privy to some of our country’s most sensitive national security information. In that capacity, you discover that some of the highest elected and appointed political leaders in the land are engaged in espionage and treason, accepting bribes and selling weapons and information (including nuclear weapons secrets) to foreign powers, including our enemies. Moreover, you learn that some of your co-workers are in league with these conspirators, covering up the evidence trail and misdirecting those tasked with preventing such security breaches.

Shocked at the blatant betrayals you have discovered, you do the right thing and report this to your superiors. It’s not only the morally right thing to do; you are duty-bound, oath-bound to do no less. Agency policy and federal law require you to do no less. Having done your duty, you expect that higher-ups in the chain of command will do theirs. But time passes and nothing changes. You press the matter with superiors only to be told not to “rock the boat.” But with so much at stake, you refuse to simply drop the issue and allow treason to continue unchallenged. Some colleagues are sympathetic but warn you that you are pursuing a futile course that will only bring retaliation, harassment, and even danger to you and your family. Undaunted, and with no other option, you jump rank and take the matter to the top of your agency. Action is swift, but not what you had expected. Instead of investigating and prosecuting the spies and traitors, it is you who are subjected to investigation, surveillance, harassment, threats, and intimidation.

The scenario sketched above does not even begin to describe the real-life, upside-down Twilight Zone experience of Sibel Edmonds. In her book Classified Woman: A Memoir, Edmonds recounts the incredible story of her efforts, for more than a decade, to warn her adopted country of imminent perils, only to be slapped down, harassed, smeared, and threatened. To prevent her explosive testimony from seeing the light of day, President George W. Bush and Attorney General John Ashcroft invoked the rarely used (until recently) “state secrets privilege” to gag not only Edmonds, but also committees of Congress that were investigating her case, as well as the Department of Justice’s Office of Inspector General and the FBI’s own Office of Professional Review.

The preposterousness of the government’s position is palpable. This is an effort not to protect legitimate state secrets, but to protect criminality that has prospered in secrecy for far too long. Sibel Edmonds is decidedly non-partisan in her scorn; she shows equal disdain for Republicans and Democrats who sell out their country and betray their oaths of office. She names names. Among the key players in Congress on the Turkish payroll whom she calls out: former Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.), former House Speaker Bob Livingston (R-La.), former House Majority Leader Dick Gephardt (D-Mo.) and Reps. Stephen Solarz (D-N.Y.), Tom Lantos (D-Calif.), and Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.).

She points out that the executive branch treachery she encountered extended from the Clinton administration through the Bush administration — and continues into the Obama White House. Other prominent villains in this story include U.S. District Judge Reggie Walton, Bush Department of Defense Undersecretary Douglas Feith, former U.S. Ambassador to Turkey Marc Grossman, FBI Director Robert Mueller, FBI Deputy Assistant Director Tim Caruso, and FBI Special Agent in Charge Thomas Frields.

Classified Woman is a blood-boiling exposé that reads like a Robert Ludlum spy thriller. But this is not fiction, and the protagonist is not a macho Jason Bourne action hero. She is a petite, five-foot-three-inch woman of incredible courage and, seemingly, indomitable will who has stood toe-to-toe against forces of evil that have caused many other would-be patriots to wilt or cut and run. Her story is one of real-life heroism, and it is still being written. She continues to fight the good fight as founder/director of the National Security Whistleblowers Coalition and as editor of BoilingFrogsPost.com.

In April 2011, Sibel Edmonds submitted her manuscript for Classified Woman to the FBI for review, as required by terms of her employment agreement. Under that agreement, the FBI has 30 days to approve and/or require deletions and revisions. After waiting over 340 days with no response from the bureau, Edmonds took the path that few others have taken; she published anyway. However, with every publisher afraid to touch it, she was forced to publish it on her own. She knows that any day now the Obama administration, which has prosecuted more whistleblowers than all previous administrations combined, may come after her. And they may also scoop up all copies of the book and prohibit any future publication of it. So, get your copy now at www.ClassifiedWoman.com while it is still available. And then contact your representative and senators in Washington and demand that they stop the stonewalling, censorship, and coverup on this important case.

You can read the entire review here.

You would think that after writing my book and talking (in bits and pieces) about my case so many times during so many interviews, I would  be kind of robotic or desensitized towards my case and story. For some reason that hasn’t happened yet. For me it is rare to see a ‘spot-on’ and deep beneath-the-surface description of my case, so when I read or hear one like this review by William Jasper, I become filled with a mix of emotions: a great appreciation that comes with knowing that it wasn’t all just blowing in the wind, a relief that comes with knowing that actually some people get it and understand, a sadness that comes from looking back at my case from outside through others’ objective lenses and re-living the trauma and all that was lost, and a bit of anger that comes from realizing (over and over again) that all that hasn’t made even the tiniest dent in the massive corrupt system … Anyhow, it is hard to describe… but I know you,  my irate minority friends, get it, and I am thankful for that as well.

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You can obtain my memoir Classified Woman: The Sibel Edmonds Story here.

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Comments

  1. avatar AVIONBLANC says:

    Ms. Edmonds–Your courage is unquestionable. Your understanding is exceptional.

    I have listened to all of your podcasts. Never once have I been disappointed with your analysis, your insight, and your calm demeanor.

    The same holds true for your writing, very informative and enlightening.

    Mr. Jaspers does make a snarky comment about those contributors who have gravitated toward you. His statement that “most of Edmonds’ contributing editors at BoilingFrogs are decidedly left of center, and their anti-globalist, anti-war, anti-police-state arguments and analyses tend to range from the “progressive” to the Marxoid.” And, “it was the anti-Bush Left that rallied to her aid. In fact, the faux conservatives at FOX, National Review, and the radio talk show universe alternately ignored and attacked her; they were busy cheerleading George W. Bush’s unconstitutional wars abroad and his unconstitutional police-state measures at home. Sympathetic coverage for Edmonds from alternative media on the Right has been woefully lacking, with a few exceptions.” No argument there. It is a pathetic indictment of those of us who are Constitutionalists and tend toward Liberty.

    The fact that the collectivists, the statists have befriended you and you remain steadfast for consistency, truth, and our natural rights is a model for the rest of us. However, many of the “progressives” and outright collectivists still have much to offer and, depending on the topic, they can educate all of us. And your focus keeps things in perspective.

    Thank you.
    George B. Martin

  2. @AVIONBLANC: First, thank you for your kind and encouraging words.

    Second, I agree with you 100%. In fact, while both party-leaning media groups have been mostly silent, the most vicious-ugly attacks I’ve endured have all come from the left-unfortunately. Interestingly, during the Bush Admin, the partisan Right basically remained silent/left me alone. On the other hand, during Obama admin, the partisan Left launched the most vicious/ugliest attacks. Isn’t that interesting? At least, very telling, no/

    As for this website’s leaning: I wouldn’t call it left-leaning, or, Right-leaning. It is mainly independent-leaning, and as for myself, with a bit libertarian core (not the party with big ‘L,’ but the little ‘l’ libertarian core.). The beauty of our site: a beautiful mixture of ideas/objectives that is party-neutral, independent. And I want to keep it this way … and expand.

  3. The left right false dichotomy of the present system is nonsense. As ms Edmonds shows the ideology that these people worship is greed. It seems they all are cashing out or positioning themselves to be in positions to do so and to avoid any accountability as they slap the state secrets privilege gag on her or likely anyone who exposes the total bankruptcy of the system.

    The published articles on BF appear to reinforce what Sibel has come forth to tell… in all manner of examples of how nothing has changed since she came forward and likely was in full bloom before she discovered it.

    This corrupt system must have some mechanism to maintain the status quo. Is it greed for wealth and power that seduces people to turn a blind eye to corruption… go along to get along? Or perhaps most people haven’t a proper moral and ethical compass… and can’t even see that self advancement and ethical compromise is what politics are? Is this the best that humans can produce when they try to organize society?

    I am fascinated by the concept of gate keepers… especially those on the left who are presumed to be anti establishment. What’s going on there? Is this a real phenomena or simply a hollow and largely false charge leveled at some prominent voices on the left? Is the assumption that the left really wants to maintain the corrupt system but in way that it appears more equitable but continues to maintain the status quo of the power and wealth structure? We certainly aren’t exposed to radical analysis and solutions as much as a litany of complaints about systemic flaws. Maybe the system is beyond redemption? Where are the demands for truly radical changes?

    My sense is that the failure to support Sibel by both the left and the right is that her underlying (not so underlying) message is that our system is so corrupt… left, right and center… that a proper accounting would see more in jail than not! And we would be faced with a complete re-do of our governance… all assumptions about our government need to be re assessed and many discarded and a new paradigm stood up. That’s my take away from the published critiques. This is a very radical message between the lines. You simply cannot suggest such radical change and expect to not be silenced. We are simply not able to or perhaps not prepared for the implication of airing this message.

    OWS is as a close as we’ve seen to the people giving voice to this revolutionary meme. It will be interesting to see if this grows and takes hold or if it crushed. There are numerous radical memes bubbling up… WikiLeaks… anonymous. Once we go over the many cliffs ahead… all bets are off. Howard Zinn got it right… revolution is a bottom up process. The people are the bottom.

  4. I have found it interesting that in my experience the Left seems to have a bigger problem with so-called “conspiracy” stories and sites than the right does. Why this is, I really don’t know. Maybe its because Lefties tend to want to trust government more?

  5. gogetum… Really who cares about *the left* and who IS *the left*? Conspiracy theories…. 9/11 and JFK etc. appear to be about *coups* of sorts… power plays by unseen forces where the state covers up, and moves along almost as if nothing happened… but many policy shifts are manifest. I the two examples I cited… the MIC seemed to see its agenda advanced with little to no resistance from the peace / justice advocates. The take away is that these were right wing coups/conspiracies.

    There is also the notion that these coups were hardly paradigm shifts as the status quo is pretty far to the right in terms of being pro militarism, and rights. This view is informed by the notion (I suppose)… that extra judicial manipulation is not a conspiracy program but simply how the MIC works. If the national security state and the MIC had there was there would be no need for congress, elections and a justice department. THEY don’t need it. They operate without these impediments and only begrudgingly accept the oversight required by the civilian government.

    It’s all a big show ain’t it?

  6. I dislike the reference to left-right positions. These positions justify the existence of the State. The “State” is the problem, the source of evil. Until there is a recognition that the “State” is the enemy, we will continue to be embroiled in controversy. The goal should be to abolish the “State” using the tools of disobedience, nullification, and secession.
    These ideas, although radical, will catch on as there is no reform that is possible with an entity like the “State” which has a monopoly on power, force, and coercion.

  7. I agree that it is the “State” that is the problem and most of the left/right paradigm is designed to keep people divided. Not to say that there aren’t differences but are considered to be minor in the steady advancement of the police state. Maybe it boils down to so many on the Left (as I once was) having a “random occurances” view of history, for a lack of a better term: that most major events (eg. JFK killing, RFK, MLK, OKC, 9/11) have no connection; that no mysterious, nefarious activities are going on behind the scenes. They just can’t go there. Occam’s Razor will be declared on every front.

    I’m with you, SanderO. It IS a big show.

  8. ralph,

    The state is not the problem. The state is merely an institution – an abstraction. It is of no consequence on its own. The problem is that the state is run by people. People are the problem. You can take away the state but you will not take away the problems associated with it as long as people remain. The people who do evil using the powers of the state do not need the state to do evil. Without the state, they will find another way.

    The behavior of a state is an expression of its people. It is possible to have a benign state, one that does not resort to force. But sooner or later such a state will be confronted by a belligerent state seeking plunder. What then? What does a non-violent, self-sustaining community do when their life, liberty or property is threatened? It is this very circumstance that inevitably leads to the formation of hierarchies among human communities. Such hierarchies are the beginnings of the state. In its most basic form, the state is an answer to this threat. The threat existed before the state, and would remain if the state was eliminated. The state is a response to the threat.

    In order to change the world, people will have to change their way of thinking. We need a spiritual/intellectual revolution not a political one. We will have to change our priorities and values. I would argue that private property is a bigger problem than the state. Once institutions and individuals acquire vastly disproportionate wealth (property), those institutions and individuals become the power behind the state. The state becomes one of many tools by which they try to maintain and extend their wealth and power. The larger the size and scope of the state, the greater the wealth and control of the people manipulating the state.

    Should we eliminate private property? I don’t think it can be done. What we need to do is keep the state – government – as small as possible and as local as possible. Local governments should have the greatest power. For example, only local government (e.g. city or county) should have the authority to tax. If there are broader governing jurisdictions they should apply for needed funds from the local governments.

    Would there be corrupting forces on local government? Yes, but it is easier to counter those forces at the local level, and many people would have the option to leave a corrupt government for a “clean” one.

    For now, I think we should encourage our state governments to assert their rights and independence from the federal govt. We need to transfer power back to states and local govts, if possible. I applaud the efforts of states to nullify Obama Care and legalize marijuana. It’s a start. But ultimately, everything comes down to how we treat each other, what we value, and being informed.

    I’m realizing now I should not even have started this post – too much to cover in a forum like this. I don’t expect I will get much agreement on this.

  9. I agree with you, Hal 9000. Very well said – thanks for taking the time to comment!

  10. Thanks, Xicha. I’m not surprised you agree based on the many comments of yours I have read here. I have a bad habit of usually responding only when I disagree with a comment rather than letting others know when I agree. It is rare that I disagree with you Xicha.

    I just ended a phone call into a local radio talk show. For three hours the host and all the callers were lamenting the deaths of the kids and teachers at the school in CT. Of course the same story is completely dominating the news. I was making the point that America is fixated and completely shaken by the death of 30 people in CT, yet America is indifferent to the death and suffering it inflicts on children and their parents outside its borders. He said the killing in CT was not the same as killing in combat. WTF? So I used the example of children killed by drones. He justified that with 9/11. I asked him about our Secretary of State justifying the deaths of 500,000 Iraqi children through economic sanctions. He said “Well other nations didn’t have to go along with the sanctions” – essentially blaming the deaths on other nations. Then he made the point to the next caller that the sanctions are designed to avoid combat. Fine, but we still have a half-million dead Iraqi children. He never addressed the moral dilemma I raised – coward.

    The bottom line is this guy and his listeners place no value on the lives of Arabs or Muslims. They rank no higher than cattle. Yet if those sub-human Arabs kill a couple Israelis, then by God someone will have to pay for it – such an act is unforgivable, and entitles Israelis to carte blanche to start killing Arabs.

    I have taken a lot of abuse in my life and I have never used violence in retaliation. I was abandoned by my father and ignored by my mother. I had to rely on myself for everything I have. I have been hardened by these and other experiences. But this indifference of Americans to the murder of innocent people and the destruction of property outside our borders can bring tears to my eyes. America has become a monster.

  11. Excellent comments here. Clearly we at BF recognize that we are very much on the wrong track and most people are deluded thinking we have a democracy which can respond to the needs of the people.

    How do we create a just sustainable society? How do we get from here (YUCK) to there? The 1%ers ain’t givin’ an inch. And they got most of *it*!

  12. Keep spreading the truth, Sander. Change is coming.

  13. Hal 9000. The State is represented by force, power, and coercion which includes the power to tax. Wealth and prosperity is represented by voluntary exchange, freedom of association and private property rights which include the fruit of your labor as well as physical property.
    Without a State there would be private defense agencies voluntarily financed to protect life, liberty and property. Yielding to a State for these services opens the door for plunder which can only grow. Competitive
    defense agencies and competitive arbitration services would be superior to the formation of a State.

    I agree that our way of thinking must change but with a large or small presence of small communities operating on a stateless platform, State organization would be impeded by competitive pressure. Peaceful association would evolve which would reduce conflict like that which occurred today in CT. The presence of the State has not stopped threats and violence. Trying a non-violent stateless approach might push out the reverence that so many have to the State.

  14. Just wanted to add a couple questions:

    Do each of the organs in your body compete with each other, or do they cooperate?

    Which one of the private “defense” agencies will protect unpopular speech?

    What is the definition of community? When you volunteer to be a member of a community, are there rules that you must follow to maintain membership? Who gets to decide whether or not you have been following the rules? The private “defense” agencies?

    Mind if I use your section of road on Monday? Got to get to work. By the way, a tree branch fell from your tree, as I was passing by yesterday, and killed my mule, on your section of road. I would like you to reimburse me for my mule, since you obviously did not take care of your tree enough to stop it from killing my mule. I expect payment on Monday. If I don’t receive it, the private “arbitration” service I have hired will come and retrieve whatever property from you that I deem equal to my mule. Just an FYI.

  15. Property is robbery.

    Who gets to decide who owns or has rights to property? Private property is a capitalist meme… embraced by libertarians. This will only degenerate to fighting at the local level for survival.

    The model is cooperation… A state is an apparatus of a sort of compromise / trade off for cooperation. If we didn’t have a state apparatus we would have no roads… for example…

    Technology and population have created the need for more complexity in organizing systems in everything from from governance to manufacturing to food production etc. We can’t have a few billion people living in a pre industrial agriculture hunter gatherer manner. Not possible… not sustainable. You can go off the grid… kinda. But most do rely on it for many things… clothing for one.

    What is needed is a paradigm of cooperation and equity absent the class system that inevitably evolves from the ownership of property… the heart of capitalism and libertarianism.

    Many will claim that capitalism can be made to work with adequate regulation… laws, taxation. However this has eluded us… and capitalism is a ponzi scheme and inevitably crashes… Wealth cannot be created. It is a false invalid idea. Libertarians are the epitome of selfishness. It’s in their DNA…

  16. SanderO and Xicha. Thank you for your comments. The answer to most of your comments lies in the principle of non-aggression and spontaneous order. Most especially with roads. Roads would be privately owned and use could be by subscription or user fees. Rules of the road will be established by the owner who would have the profit incentive to maintain the roads and improve traffic flow. The mule example would be handled by liability insurance just as it is now. There is no requirement to be a member of a community. It would be a voluntary relationship. Speech is a natural right. To say that the State protects speech is an oxymoron. Property is robbery?? Just look around. Where private property is used, good things result. With public property, everyone owns it and nobody owns it thereby resulting in waste and deterioration. The price system along with the profit incentive is the ultimate regulator. No man or group of men possess omnipotent knowledge to regulate society. Trial and error and spontaneous order brings positive results. Wealth most certainly can be created. Every time you voluntary exchange your labor for a good or service represents the creation of wealth for both parties.

    Once again I repeat, the State was brought us the status quo, where voluntary exchange brings prosperity when tried. Why continue the failure of the status quo meaning the State when its track record is abysmal.

  17. Who runs the insurance company and decides whether or not to pay for my mule? Do you see no conflict of interest for the insurance company, who will surely be driven by a profit motivation.

    The real world example is health care run through private insurance companies, who do cost-benefit analysis and let people go without care if it is cheaper.

    Another real world example of conflict of interest is the private prison industry. Don’t you think they want more prisons? What effect do you see from their profit motivation?

    As for roads, do you realize just how many different fees I would need to pay to get to work? How completely inefficient it would be to rely on thousands of separate maintenance systems just on my route?

    As for speech, what would have happened during the civil rights marches, if there were no protection? Or do you think that natural rights are always respected and those marches were unnecessary?

    Sibel, you mentioned wanting to research how few whistle blowers were socialist once. I’d like to research just how many libertarian anti-statists are poor or have ever been poor. I’m willing to bet that most of them are property owners and have means of self-protection and/or live in an environment where it’s unnecessary. The haves. I’m talking percentage-wise, there would be a significance.

  18. Did I forget to say white?

  19. ralph,

    First, if we are going to have an in depth discussion on this topic, you need to start defining some of the terms you are using, the first being “the state.” I will wait for that definition before I respond to your first sentence.

  20. ralph,

    First, if we are going to have an in-depth discussion on this topic, you need to start defining some of the terms you are using, the first being “the State.” I will wait for that definition before I respond to your first sentence.

    You say “Wealth and prosperity is represented by voluntary exchange, freedom of association and private property rights which include the fruit of your labor as well as physical property.”

    Really? How much wealth and prosperity has been acquired through manipulation of the State? Which voluntary exchanges and free associations were responsible for the wealth and prosperity acquired through drug trafficking, human trafficking, child pornography, arms sales, extortion, theft, murder, fraud, etc? Is it your opinion that if we get rid of government and replace it with voluntary exchanges, free associations, private armies and dispute resolution organizations, that everyone will henceforth deal honestly and peacefully with each other? If that is the case, then do you attribute all the dishonest and violent dealings between people outside the State to the existence of the State?

    What you are proposing is dividing the powers of the State among various institutions with new names, all of which will be run by people. Many of them will be run by the same people who are now running the State. Is it your opinion that these new institutions with more limited powers and roles would be incorruptible? Corruption was not written into State charters, it was devised and implemented by people both inside and outside of the State. When a community of people who just wants to make a living and raise their children comes to rely upon a private security apparatus for safety, you don’t see the beginnings of an abusive relationship? What is your evidence that any of the institutions you are offering as an alternative to the State will not be corrupted or resort to coercion, because we have centuries of human experience that tell us they will.

    How are you going to have “private property” without rules governing it? Who is going to write the rules and enforce them? How will ownership of land and property be defined, recorded, and protected? The truth is, ralph, you only own (possess) what you can hold onto – by force if necessary. That my friend is the natural order of things. Not everyone is prepared to kill or maim to hold onto property. People don’t want to spend half their day just trying to defend their property from thieves. The State was in part a response to this reality. Your institutions are no less corruptible or coercive than the State because they will all be run by people. Before you change the State, you will need to change people. Yet if you can change people, then the State is no longer the problem it was.

    “Peaceful association would evolve which would reduce conflict like that which occurred today in CT. “

    This is a bold claim, ralph, how will this evolution happen and why? Is it your opinion that the shooting in CT was due to the existence of the State?

    “The presence of the State has not stopped threats and violence.”

    No it hasn’t, but I don’t think it was ever intended to, nor was such ever promised. The State cannot stop the threats and violence, it is a response to the inevitability of threats and violence. Such threats and violence have existed throughout human history, under all manner of voluntary association. Where I live my property is nearly 100% secure for now. But it’s not because of the State, it’s because I am fortunate enough to live in a community of people who respect my claim to property. There is but a single law enforcement agent assigned to an area of more than 100 square miles here. We are on our own. We are secure because of the way we choose to treat each other.

    “Trying a non-violent stateless approach might push out the reverence that so many have to the State.”

    The State is incapable of violence, it is an idea, like your private defense agency. Every violent action you attribute to the State is done by a person who did it voluntarily. You cannot eliminate violence unless you change the people who resort to it. I am not opposed to your alternative institutions, but I reject the claim that they will solve the problems of violence and coercion. If we change people, then the institutions will not matter. Can we change people? It will be very difficult in a world that values private property and material wealth so highly. When extreme material wealth exists simultaneously with extreme poverty and suffering, we have a problem that is much bigger than the State.

  21. The State is a fictional entity by which everyone seeks to live at the
    expense of everybody else. To do this the State must have the power to tax. From this comes all the threats and violence that you describe. Opposite this is voluntary cooperation where individuals prosper by free association. Without the State, people would achieve their goals one at time seeking peaceful solutions. By applying non aggression, I find the world to be a cooperative place to live. The attitudes of people will have to change. You have demonstrated this in your 100 mile example. Repeating this pattern everywhere is not unreasonable. Just look around. Homogenous land use pattern are commonplace.

    You seem to agree that alternative institutions are desirable. Allow your
    and others the freedom to innovate. The State has been an abysmal failure.

    By the way, I am serious about my bold assertion about the tragedy in CT.
    The State corrupts both personal behavior and the environment of association. Is this the case in CT? I cannot prove it but you cannot disprove it either.

  22. I forgot to reply to ralph before making my “farewell” comment.

    ralph,

    This will be last comment, so you can have the last word. I am disappointed that you did not give a definition of “the State” to which I could respond.

    I don’t know the origins of your thinking, the Austrians, Larkin Rose, Stefan Molyneux, or others who argue for a stateless society. All of them seem to assume that corruption, in all it’s forms, will disappear if there is no state and we all engage in voluntary exchange or transactions. What is the evidence for this? There is considerable evidence to the contrary. In my opinion, this is a false promise.

    But that does not mean I would oppose a stateless society. Since my claim is that violence and corruption originate with a voluntary choice by people, the institutions don’t make much difference to me. I would rather focus my time on changing people than institutions. This is much like when my son asked me who I wanted to win the Presidency in 2008. I told him I was voting for the Libertarian candidate but I thought the people needed Obama to win so they would see that nothing was going to change. In the same way, I would like you and those who think like you to have your stateless society so you could see that the same problems will arise as in the state society.

    Aggression is not forced on me by the state. I live in what I consider one of the most regrettable states in human history, yet I do not use aggression or violence toward others. Non-aggression is a personal choice not a state choice. The state cannot make me do anything I choose not to do – nothing. But if I value private property or my life more than that of others, then I will likely use or justify aggression against others. Blaming the state or the “herd” is avoiding responsibility, it was a commonly used excuse in Germany after 1945.

    I think we need to focus on why people make these harmful choices. What are the drivers? Let’s address those. If we succeed, the difference between the state and stateless society should become inconsequential.

    ralph, you never gave me a definition of “the State.” Why? I mentioned my community, and you seem to view it as confirmation of your claim. I should point out that my immediate neighbors and I are all members of a Homeowners’ Association (HOA). Each of us signed a contract which sets forth the terms by which we agree to live as owners of property in this community. One of the terms to which we agreed is the power of the HOA to tax us in the form of annual dues and place liens or pursue other legal options to collect on delinquent accounts. We elect Board members to collect the dues and run the Association. This is a form of govt and the power to tax is included. There is no violence here. We have delinquent accounts and they are handled in the most dignified and respectful way possible.

    My neighbors and I agreed to give powers to an elected group that we do not have as individuals. This was a voluntary exchange. We chose to create a government and it has served us well. But we can meet or speak with our “governors” whenever we desire, and they have to face those on the receiving end of their actions everyday. This forces a certain restraint and compassion that is otherwise lost.

    In basic concept, the only differences between our HOA and the US Govt are size, scope, and I would argue, the ability to opt out. None of us was forced to join our HOA and each of us is free to leave. This is a VERY important difference. For me to opt out of the USA I have to leave the country, and even then, I’m told there are significant barriers to renouncing US citizenship and escaping taxation altogether. In a previous comment, I argued that we need to invert the govt power structure such that the greatest power resides at the most local level and diminishes as the governing jurisdiction gets broader and further removed physically from our homes (e.g. as you move from a city to county to state). To some degree this would give us greater ability to choose between governments. In reality, this very type of arrangement is what is likely to emerge in your stateless world in its early evolution.

    I am all for allowing you and others the freedom to innovate – I welcome and encourage it. But leadership and rules – hierarchies in human groups – emerge for a reason, just as they do in other social mammals. This will not change. By all means make your case to others about the myths of the state and do what you think is needed to make the world better. We are on the same side, and hopefully, different paths to the same end.

    To quote George Harrison:

    Isn’t it a pity, now isn’t it a shame.
    How we break each other’s hearts and cause each other pain.
    How we take each other’s love, without thinking anymore.
    Forgetting to give back, isn’t it a pity.

    Some things take so long, but how do I explain.
    When not too many people, can see we’re all the same.
    And because of all the tears, their eyes can’t hope to see
    The beauty that surrounds them. Isn’t it a pity

    Long may you run, ralph.

    peace

  23. Hal, from the book, “A Great Fiction” by the Austrian, Herman Hans Hoppe.

    It reads: What must an agent be able to do to qualify as a state? This agent must be able to insist that all conflicts among the inhabitants of a given territory be brought to him for ultimate decision-making or be subject to his final review. In particular, this agent must be able to insist that all conflicts involving him be adjudicated by him or his agent. And implied in the power to exclude all others from acting as ultimate judge, as the second defining characteristic of a state, is
    the agent’s power to tax: to unilaterally determine the price that justice seekers must pay for his services.

    This definition sounds very much like your HOA. The big difference
    is the control on the power to tax and the opt out provision. This easily could be a model in a stateless society. Can it stop here and not continue to evolve into city, county and state structures? If so, we are on the same side. We have learned that concentration of power away from the immediate local level is disastrous.

    I have enjoyed this conversation. Should you wish to continue off this site, I would be pleased to exchange contact info if Sibel would approve.

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