As I was going over
the Cork and Kerry mountains
I saw Captain Ferrell,
and his money -- he was countin';
I first produced my pistol,
then produced my rapier,
and said, "Stand and deliver -
or the Devil, he may take ya."
Whiskey in the Jar
(trad. Irish folk tune, most memorably performed by the incomparable Thin Lizzy).
Those who steal on behalf of the execrable state that rules us -- the most powerful and vicious enemy of mankind -- don't have the boldness and character of the relatively honest thief who narrates that ancient Irish folk song.
That nameless Highwayman didn't disguise his greed and violence in sanctimonious platitudes about the public interest. He simply jacked some wealthy and powerful guy, at some personal risk, in order to buy whiskey and impress his perfidious wife, who was named either Molly or Jenny, depending on the version of the song you prefer.
No, those who steal on behalf of Washington and its affiliates don't pick on the powerful. Whether they're stealing a country and its energy resources or ripping off domestic subjects via "civil forfeiture," they prey almost exclusively on those who cannot effectively fight back.
The clothes make the "man": If this tax-devouring thug isn't an armed robber, why does he dress like one? And why do his partners in crime ... er, public service routinely steal the property of honest businessmen (see below)?
State-authorized robbers infest every community across the troubled face of our lovely but tyrannized land.
They are planted thickly at critical points along major highways, lurking in the cut to ambush motorists and rob them at gunpoint on the pretext of fighting the narcotics industry.
The Official Robbers exploit municipal ordinances that permit the seizure of automobiles for trivial or unrelated offenses. They are sent out in swarms to confiscate properties in the name of "eminent domain." They even dispatch squadrons of military personnel to steal children. And of course, they labor on behalf of the IRS and other State-run criminal syndicates whose existence wouldn't be tolerated for a picosecond were the United States of America a free society in any sense.
In his fascinating book Adventures in Legal Land, Marc Stevens -- who advocates building a society on voluntaryist principles (he insists that no "service" supplied by government should be provided -- make that inflicted -- at the point of a gun) -- takes note of a fascinating fact: The only thing that separates public sector robbers from their private sector competition is the incantatory phrase, "without legal authority."
What, exactly, is "legal authority"? Simply put, it is the permission one group of thieves gives itself to steal from people, or commit other acts of criminal violence, with impunity.
The nature of the act remains the same, of course. It is always a violation of the Law -- call it Nature's Law, if you will, or God's Law -- to take an individual's property through force. But when (to paraphrase Augustine) a dominant band of robbers institutionalizes itself as a "government," it anoints itself with "legal authority" and re-baptizes its crimes as acts of public policy.
Thus, as Mr. Stevens points out, Arizona's state criminal code (section 13-1802) states:
"A person commits theft if, without lawful authority, such person knowingly ... Controls property of another with the intent to deprive him of such property...." (Emphasis added.)
Thus it stands to reason that under this statute -- and those just like it that exist in all fifty of Leviathan's sub-divisions -- one can control the property of others, through force and fraud, with the intent to deprive them of it, if said person is endowed with this numinous quality called "lawful authority."
(Interestingly, when Mr. Stevens published his book in 2002, he was able to find identical language in Arizona's statutes regarding murder and child molestation, both of were forbidden only to those who acted "without lawful authority," but obviously permitted to those thus consecrated. Since that time, perhaps because of Mr. Stevens' research, the statutes have been changed.)
"Lawful authority" is therefore a license to do exactly the same things lawless people do to the same innocent victims. This is why the vocabulary of "law enforcement" often has the same flavor of implicit or threatened violence one hears from common criminals, and the behavior of those who supposedly "protect and serve" us is increasingly indistinguishable from that of those from whom we're supposedly being protected.
This is splendidly -- and infuriatingly -- illustrated in two recent case studies, one of them the roadside robbery of an individual, the other the government theft of a huge amount of money from honest people across the nation.
The first case is that of Chris Hunt, a 28-year-old entrepreneur from Atlanta. Hunt, who owns an auto detailing business, was headed south on I-75 to visit his mother in their hometown of Dublin when he was waylaid by a team of robbers in the form of two Lamar County Sheriff's deputies.
Hunt had been speeding, for which he was mulcted via traffic ticket. He had a licensed handgun, something without which no sane person would travel (the gun, not the spurious license). The deputies said that Hunt looked "nervous," which is understandable: He had just fallen into the hands of armed strangers who have official permission to do lethal violence.
One of the deputies noticed curious bulges in Hunt's clothing. He demanded to know if it was money. When Hunt answered that it was, the deputy -- as can be seen in the video of the incident -- used a combination of conscious lies and threats to steal it from the young man.
"OK, man, here's the deal," drawled the barely literate thug with an air of practiced insincerity. "I'm gonna count it out and hand it back to you, OK?"
That was a lie. From the moment the deputy identified the money, he planned to steal (or, as people of his ilk prefer, "forfeit") it.
"Let's see how much you got, OK? Like, eight, nine thousand, maybe?" the deputy prodded an increasingly rattled Hunt, who replied that it wasn't that much. Unnerved by what was obviously shaping up to be a shakedown, Hunt muttered that he didn't want to take the money out of his pockets.
"Do it anyway," demanded the uniformed thug. "I'm tellin' ya to pull it out."
When Hunt hesitates just a second longer, the deputy dismisses the pretense that this is anything other than an armed robbery.
"Put your hands behind your back," he demands. "OK. This is what we're going to do. You can either cooperate, and not get the handcuffs...."
The instrument has yet to be invented that can identify a material difference between that threat, and those made by robbers in the private sector.
That "difference," of course, is the intangible quantity called "lawful authority," which in our system is reportedly contingent on the consent of the governed. Mr. Hunt seems to have remembered that principle, for all the good it did him.
Victim of Highway Robbery: Atlanta business owner Chris Hunt.
The deputy/robber told Hunt, "Look man, here's the deal: we're gon' take this money into our possession, OK?"
"Oh, no," Hunt replied, his anger in the face of armed intimidation doing him credit, "I'm not giving you authority for you to take that money into your possession."
"I'm taking the money," the deputy announced, consummating the crime.
Mr. Hunt was never charged with a crime. The practice of "civil forfeiture" doesn't require criminal charges: All that is necessary is for the thieves to allege some narcotics nexus with the money or other assets they steal. In this case, the thieves alleged that they smelled "burned marijuana" during the traffic stop, and observed "an untestable" amount of something that "appeared" to be marijuana in the car's interior.
Which means that the deputies, who had every reason to lie -- and at least one of them was captured lying on video ("I'm gonna count it and hand it back to you") offered no corroborating evidence beyond entirely subjective impressions. Sure, once the stolen money was taken back to the station a drug dog "alerted" to it, suggesting that it -- like nearly all Federal Reserve Notes in circulation -- has drug residue.
On this pretext, the thieves in blue handed the loot off to the robbers in pinstripes. The office of Maxwell Wood, US Attorney for the Middle District of Georgia, filed the proper paperwork to "forfeit" the stolen money by prosecuting it -- the money -- in civil court. The case is captioned "United States of America v. $5,581.00 in United States Funds."
Like countless others before him, and as with many, many more who will succeed him, Mr. Hunt has hired a lawyer to challenge the theft of his money, something no drug dealer would do for such a trifling amount. If he is blessed, Hunt will get some of his money back. More likely, he will find it too expensive to fight taxpayer-funded thieves in a court they control.
The crime committed against Mr. Hunt, though outrageous, is a fairly common one. The second case study of the Robber State in action is exceptional, both in terms of the vulgar display of corrupt power it entails and the compound dishonesty it embodies.
About eight months ago, the appendage of the Regime that calls itself the Justice Department stole more than two tons of authentic money -- in the form of platinum, gold, silver, and copper coins -- from the Evansville, Indiana headquarters of the Liberty Dollar organization, and from its affiliates nation-wide. Also taken was a substantial amount denominated in the spurious currency the Regime insists on calling "dollars."
The seizure warrant (.pdf) seeking official permission to carry out that crime depicts the Liberty Dollar as the key to a subversive scheme supposedly being carried out by the National Organization For the Repeal of the Federal Reserve and Internal Revenue Codes (NORFED) "with the intent to undermine the United States government's financial systems by the issuance of a non-governmental competing currency for the purpose of repealing the Federal Reserve and the Internal Revenue Code."
What the warrant doesn't explain is how this is a crime. Is it a crime to conduct transactions by barter, or is this impermissible only to those who understand, and seek to abolish, the criminal syndicate called the Federal Reserve System? Is it a crime to pursue that policy change by other means, or merely by finding some non-Federal Reserve Note (FRN) means of buying goods and services?
Who is the "victim" in the supposed Liberty Dollar scheme, wherein willing buyers and willing sellers exchange FRNs for real money at an agreed price? Who is the victim where providers of goods and services agree to barter with people who wish to offer Liberty Dollars as their part of the transaction?
And how could anyone not in the employ of the Regime be plausibly accused of "undermining" a fiat "money"-based financial system that is in full and terminal collapse beneath the weight of its own incurable absurdities?
But none of these questions matter at all, since the robbers have the heavy artillery to carry out their crimes, and the "lawful authority" to "justify" them, at least to their own satisfaction. And now the architects of this massive crime -- the theft of real money, in the form of precious metals, from people nation-wide -- are preparing to "forfeit" $3 million in plundered Liberty Dollars and related assets. This is something of a pre-emptive strike, since the victims of this crime have already announced their intention to sue the criminals responsible.
As attorney James Ostrowski reports, the civil case will "proceed on the fiction that the money is the defendant," and, of course, no particular effort was made to inform the owners that their property is now "on trial." As is always the case, the thieves want to finish the job before the victims have a chance to defend their property.
The Perks of Serving the Robber State: Lt. Angelo Adriani, commander of the Hoboken, N.J. SWAT team, uses his team's military gear to pick up chicks at an Alabama Hooter's following a "relief" mission to Katrina-ravaged New Orleans. After photos of the SWAT team's romp were published, the team was disbanded, and Adriani was retired, with his full pension.
Once North America was home to a flawed but promising republic. It is now occupied by a corrupt, authoritarian kleptocracy -- a government of the robbers, by the robbers, and for the robbers -- that maintains an overseas empire, at least until its displacement by the next globally ascendant robber band.
And perhaps there is one potential blessing to be extracted from the unfolding imperial collapse: Freed from the distraction of foreign entanglements, there would be a chance -- slender as an insecure supermodel, delicate as the wings of a frozen butterfly -- that Americans might finally be able to start uprooting the deeply entrenched Robber State here at home.
Dum spiro, pugno!