Guest Post: Nearing The End of Serfdom’s Road

Tyler Durden's picture

Submitted by James E. Miller of the Ludwig von Mises Institute of Canada

Nearing The End of Serfdom’s Road

In France, Minister for Energy and Environment Delphine Batho recently proposed a light curfew to pertain to “in and outside shops, offices, and public buildings” between 1 a.m. and 7 a.m. beginning next July. Some merchants are up in arms as the rule adds to existing bans such as the forced closing of stores on Sunday and night shopping in general. If enacted, the illumination ban will quickly disperse Paris’s reputation as the “City of Light.”

France’s Commercial Council is criticizing the decision as being anti-business and economically damaging. However, the fact that these assumed defenders of free enterprise are surprised at such a proposal is the real puzzle. In a country run by a government that is happily bloodletting the productive capacity of the people through a hike on the income tax and a tax on financial transactions, this latest nanny-state resolve should be fully expected. It is not a power grab but a mere reassertion of the authority the central state has over the private affairs of society.

The “lights out” edict is just another piece of evidence of a disturbing truth: the road to serfdom is not ahead of the West; we have already reached its end.

Such a statement may be objected to as private property and a certain degree of freedom still exist in the West.  But this is these just a mirage. The property tax effectively nullifies the notion of private property. In many places, police brutes allow themselves into your home and on your land with little recourse possible. Billions of electronic correspondences are collected daily by the Federal Bureau of Investigation of the United States. In 1961, the United Nations released the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs which has since served as a framework for drug prohibition in all major countries.

As William Grigg points out,

Drug prohibition is a subset of slavery – in both its philosophical premise (the denial of individual self-ownership) and its role in creating a huge and growing population of people in chains.

Ownership of one’s body and those resources to which it appropriates itself is no longer a respected law in Western society. Through years of indoctrination, it is accepted by the greater public that the individual is beholden to the state- not vice versa. Personal identity is now followed by a reference to the government. And blind patriotism is seen as a virtue instead of a demeaning attribute.

Radical individualism isn’t the only thing the nation-state has successfully crushed. The industries which have elevated man above subsistence living have all been co-opted the political machinery.

Today, there is no industry untouched by government. Each and every business must adhere to an innumerable list of erroneous, arbitrary, and contradicting regulations that makes it impossible to run in accordance with personal preference. At any given moment, entrepreneurs run the risk of being shut-down either through the breaking of a rule or at the behest of a politically-savvy competitor. The idea of “pursuing happiness” that was written so eloquently by Thomas Jefferson is no longer present in America or the West. Before happiness is pursued, the criminal class at each level of government must be paid off. If not, then a hefty fine or a jail sentence is applied. Because man’s only means of survival is production, the state holds hostage the very permission to engage. From a power-hungry perspective, the scheme is ingenious. From the perspective of natural law, the predation through which the political class coerces society is worthy of disgust and contempt.

As Albert Jay Nock so rightly put it,

In a spirit of sheer conscious fraud, the State will at any time offer its people “four freedoms,” or six, or any number; but it will never let them have economic freedom. If it did, it would be signing its own death-warrant…

It is now best to think of business as having the ever-present shadow of government lurking behind it. There isn’t a shred of legal free market capitalism to be had anywhere in the Western world. The only freedom that exists has been suppressed to the black market.  For every inspired mind that wishes to build an empire serving customers, there stands an equal number of burglars, thugs, and cheats ready to take from whatever success may be had. These practitioners of theft heartily announce their intentions as being “for fairness” when in reality they are serving their own interests.

When it comes to industries deemed valuable for the functions of a complex industrial economy, the state has all but nationalized them. Banking, health care, roads, bridges, and education are completely under government control; or in the very least, heavily regulated. The degree of competition in each of these fields is humorously low. The inevitable result has been a decrease in quality, the persistent heightening of price, and the creation of an elite class that lobbies for even greater protection.

This can be observed in the instance of radio waves. While media conglomerates broadcast over the medium, the medium itself is entirely state-owned. Austere standards must be adhered to less the privilege of broadcasting over the government-controlled medium be revoked. The so-called “private” radio broadcasting companies are, in actuality, leashed to the state and forced to do its bidding.

The news industry is more of the same. It is a sad but amusing truth that the press makes a mockery out of its own profession. To differentiate themselves from being mouthpieces for the state, it is understood that reporters and commentators should provide, not an unbiased view of government happenings, but a challenge to those in positions of power. Instead, most major news outlets are one within the ruling class and make no effort to hide it. Recently, MSNBC commentators Ed Schultz, Rachel Maddow, Lawrence O’Donnel, and Al Sharpton met with President Obama for what was deemed a “messaging session.” No one questions that the purpose of the meeting was to round up the attack dogs, pamper them accordingly and send them out to television cameras to feed the President’s nonsensical propaganda to the masses. Such a practice was once done in secret. Not anymore now that the press serves the central government instead of the people.

With law, the state has not only claimed absolute command over its authority but has also perverted its meaning to the point of being useless and hollow. Through the outlawing of non-crimes, the locking up of millions of individuals followed. Again, this was easily anticipated. Without a law based on the natural organization of mankind, society devolves into shambles. Today’s rule of law isn’t defined by reason but simply the whims of the political class. There is no longer a concrete method to determine if one of the hundreds of thousands of state-issued edicts becomes broken. This is especially so in America. As former National Security Agency employee William Binney describes it, most Americans,

…think they are not doing anything that’s wrong, they don’t get to define that. The central government does, the central government defines what is right and wrong and whether or not they target you. So, it’s not up to the individuals. Even if they think they aren’t doing something wrong, if their position on something is against what the administration has, then they could easily become a target.”

This is not the rule of law; it is the absence of law. When government reaches a point where it unilaterally decides what is legal and illegal outside the constraints of basic decency, there no longer exists a check on its propensity to expand. In other words, it is the final sign of supreme state rule and the unstoppable degeneration of civilization.

The West has reached the point of full state dominance. Whether this continues to be accepted or is blessedly defied remains to be seen. This writer finds little hope in the latter. Humanity appears to be adept at two things: protecting itself while simultaneously working toward its own demise. Its self-imposed destruction is almost fascinating to watch unfold. As the Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius once observed, “in the ripe olives the very circumstances of their being near to rottenness adds a peculiar beauty to the fruit.”

Many people still believe they are free even though virtually every movement they make is affected in some fashion by the state. Sooner or later, it will be realized that in return for the feedings at the government trough, the West has thrown away what promise it had in constructing a free society. The freedom most think about in modern times is typically in reference to the right to voice an opinion or work for whomever they wish. This is false. Freedom today is represented only by the distance between skin and chain.

In the end, knowing full well the challenges which stand between man and liberty can be comforting. It means that the ills of society are easily diagnosed and it is accompanied by a feeling of predictability. The state will continue to swallow up large swaths of civilization until it can’t anymore. Then perhaps, God-willing, a free society will show its face.

The fact remains that liberty is far behind us. There is hardly a soul left on Earth that experienced life without the gargantuan state. The prospect of changing the impeding course is not impossible but increasingly slim. Fooling yourself into believing otherwise is an exercise in futility. A reminder of the central government’s endless reach will eventually cross your path.

As Garet Garrett wrote in his great polemic “The Revolution Was

There are those who still think they are holding the pass against a revolution that may be coming up the road. But they are gazing in the wrong direction. The revolution is behind them. It went by in the Night of Depression, singing songs to freedom.

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Alcoholic Native American's picture

Auesterity is needed.  Time to pay up.  The fiscal cliff is here.  Socialism has failed to pay the light bill.

CH1's picture

Forget them and their "austerity" - ditch the game altogether.

Walk away from the slave system and start building something better.

Anusocracy's picture

You are correct in what you say.

How many thousands of early settlements (top down hierarchies) were annihilated by marauding hunter-gatherer tribes before settlements became capable of defending themselves? Now, the hunter-gatherer culture is dying out.

How many times must a freedom culture perish at the hands of the settlement culture before it is strong enough to survive? America is likely the last because technology is compressing the time it takes for cultural change.

The settlement age displaced the hunter-gatherer age through technological advances, the freedom age will also end the settlement age through technology.



Michaelwiseguy's picture

We should have Geo-Engineering/Chemtrail Gathering Day in community parks, announced at random on heavy spraying days. People in your community who know about the Geo-Engineering Chemtrail activities can be sent out a messages via Tweet or social networking sites, to gather on a random chosen day once a month. The people could video record the skies and talk about what is being done to them. The event days can start at Noon, and people could show up after work if they're not available to be there earlier.


This is what happens in America when you remove virtually all the factories from our country that make consumer products we could be working at, and since we have all this time on our hands now, we do things liket this;

Free Energy Demonstration - Delayed Lenz Effect


The Supreme Court Reently Ruled;

We The People Are Allowed to Record Police, Public Employees, anyone in any public space.

There is No Presumption of Privacey in any Public Space, as Previously Ruled. See Archives.

DavosSherman's picture

You're a disgrace to alcoholics.

Auisterity?  Well past it.  Do the fucking math (while sober).  We take in 2.3 trillion, 2.03 goes out the door in mandatory spending, social welfare of every name.  .23 trillion goes out the door in interest on the debt.  The other 1.3 trillion goes to 3 wars and everything to run a government.

Austerity? What the fuck are you going to cut, grandma's Social Security?  Bring the military home and send unemployment from 22.8 percent to where?  Medicare so all the wannabee pretend rich folks have to stop eating out and move out of golf club lane.

Dude.  This thing is fucked.  It is re-value the "dawler" time, then austerity + manufacturing and living sustainably.

lakecity55's picture

nuke-you-ler first strike: devalue the dollar.

Or, better yet: "Our nation has suffered a financial crisis unlike anything in 2008. I have been forced to join Mexico, and Canada, to the US. You will exchange your moneies after the bank holliday for Obamos, our new dollar."

viahj's picture

why would Canada and Mexico join the USA and be on the hook for a country who will deficit spend unlimitedly, no matter what fiat you bind all three to?  (see current Euro crisis)  if I was canada, I would sell oil and timber for gold and Mexico can sell oil and tequila for gold. 

CPL's picture

Grandma's pension is in the unfunded liability category on the balance sheets of every country on the planet that has a social security system.  bottom of the page. 


With SS, drug and medicare that's currently 122 Trillion probably today sometime.  The entire thing isn't capitalized or ready for 10000 people retiring a week in the US.

1100-TACTICAL-12's picture

There is still a few trillion sittin around in 401's the fuckers have'nt stole yet..

viahj's picture

not to discard this thesis, but how would they steal the 401(k)s without completely crashing the system?  forced liquidation of equity holdings would crash the markets and those companies, thus everything goes up in smoke and at that point who fucking cares if the FED is monetizing the debt...the government will simply work by decree and complete totality at that point.

Dr. Engali's picture

Austerity isn't going to solve a damn thing as we are past the point of no return. The debt levels have reach such a point where any stumble in growth blows the whole system up. They will continue to print and to spend for as long as the dollar lets them. They will buy themselves as much time as they can so they can continue the lock down on the police state to prepare for the inevitable demise of the dollar. We are fucked and unless there is some revolutionary discover where growth explodes there is no way out of this.

Walter_Sobchak's picture

less than two weeks...prepare to have your mind blown

Dr. Engali's picture

I hope there is some sort of revolutionary discovery and I'm wrong about all my preconcieved thoughts, but somehow I don't think that's the case.

vato poco's picture

If you know something specific, Walt, kindly do tell. 'Cause while I do believe the shit WILL -> the fan, have been reading predictions of of "gonna happen any second now!" here since, oh, 2008. TPTB have already demonstrated an unparalled excellence at can kicking. What makes you think they're suddenly gonna lose that mojo??

Vince Clortho's picture

"What makes you think they're suddenly gonna lose that mojo?"

They may have perfected kicking the can, and I agree they will continue to do so as long as they possibly can.  But the entire construct is extremely delicate at this point, and very vulnerable to any number of "outside events".  Any damage to the control construct has the potential to send shock waves that could raze the whole system. The analogy to the over-ripe fruit is appropriate. Disruptions to the energy supply, to the food production, to the transportation network, or rogue military incidents are just a few possibilities that could trigger the end of the current system.

1100-TACTICAL-12's picture

Max Keiser says it all blows no later than April. Starting in Japan or the UK..FWIW

GubbermintWorker's picture

I  hope you're not referring to that Mayan end of the world bull shit.

GubbermintWorker's picture

I  hope you're not referring to that Mayan end of the world bull shit.

lakecity55's picture

+1, Doc.

Austerity is the bankster paying you a second visit to see if there is anything left they forgot to rip off.

HoaX's picture

This is why I don´t see why a financial transaction tax is such a bad thing. Hurting productivity? Don´t let me laugh, their entire profession hurts productivity more than anything these days. LEt them at least pay something back to society. Right now they preach financial libertarianism (Greenspan was a nice example of this) but it is basically a welfare state for big corporations. Ayn Rand was a nice example of this hypocrisy, she ended her life on the dole. So much for principles when push comes to shove.

I also don´t understand why we need rules and regulations for the common plebs (rape/murder), but when it comes to corporations committing financial rape we have to go with a hands-off approach. Jail the fuckers.

Anarchy (that is basically what this article seems to be promoting) might sound nice on paper, and even work in a small enough community, we live in a globalized world though in which social control is virtually non-existent.


Apocalicious's picture

A tax is fine, but who will pay it? Without removing the monopoly, you have not removed their pricing power. The tax gets passed on to retail mom and pop mutual funds, whose return goes down. Yes, some HFT traders who cannot extend the time of their systems go under. So what? The banks are untouched by it. BREAK UP THE BANKS.

HoaX's picture

I agree with you there (breaking the banks up). I also agree that a financial transaction tax would in most cases be transfered onto customers. When these customers are speculators though I could honestly not give a crap about that fact.

And as you say, it would be the perfect way to curb the sham that is HFT. Why impose a forced latency if you can just make them pay instead. It would make it utterly unprofitable to speculate on .001 cent price fluctuations.

new game's picture

you should understand we are at an important point in time.

the romans thought they were invincible at their peak...

the delta is about 6 billion eaters, simplifing the outcome...

Dr. Sandi's picture

Seems to me that if all the lights are off downtown, it should be a lot easier to put 'illegal' drugs into your body without raising concerns from the constabulary. Therefore, this is a win for individual freedom over the socialized lighting cabal.

nmewn's picture

Unintended consequences bitchez?

Up next, Paris on fire from a knocked over candle by some drunk stumbling around in the dark.

All hail Krugman and his thousand points of lights ;-)

Poor Grogman's picture

Electricity use will soar because everyone will be charging "rechargeable lights" during peak electricity use period, so that they can avoid the ban at night.

Central planning 101

"if an idea seems stupid it should be Implemented in the capital city first, to see what happens".

nmewn's picture

lol...great point.

Everywhere in the capitol except at "the palace" I would only add ;-)

Barking Spaniel's picture

I ran the numbers. I don't think I can win.

kliguy38's picture

I ran the numbers and you don't wanna win......better to lose now and just get it over won't like what's on the other side if you win.

masaccio's picture

This post is poorly written and goofy long; just what you'd expect from the Austrian school of irrelevancy.

CH1's picture

The post was excellent.

Dr. Richard Head's picture

It was brilliant indeed. People can see these issues around the globe. The timing comes to each person through each one of the million points of stupidity of a central state. Once that absurdity crosses your own threshold, you do tend to withdrawal from their system in a systematic fashion.

Freddie's picture

The sheep who watch TV and Hollywood's crap keep these evil ***ers in power and The Matrix in control.

Tango in the Blight's picture

The Matrix is Hollywood's crap.

sun tzu's picture

That's because you have the attention span of a fruitfly

From Germany With Love's picture

Nah, the post at some points seems to degrade to: 'Oh, noes! There r rulez!' Individual freedom is as untrustworthy and as exploitable as concentration of power in government. Let's face it: power tends to concentrate somewhere and wherever it does, youll find corruption - if not legal corruption, then moral corruption.

The best part of the article was the criticism of the MSM puppies. But it failed to point to the cause for their irresponsible behaviour: they work for big news corporations which form a de facto oligopoly that prevents competition. When was the last time a new big national US news organization has been formed? No competition = no fear of going bankrupt =  sloppy work

Market entrance barriers, market entrance barriers everywhere.

DavosSherman's picture

Gimmie the first 100 people out of the NYC white pages as opposed to any fucking assclown from Haahvahd!

Yen Cross's picture

skulls and pussies Bitchez/ Or was that Yale? ;-)

Dr. Engali's picture

This is a very well written and very true post. The sad truth is that people are giving up their freedoms willingly. The state is blatantly looting the system and the sheeple don't care as long as they get a little piece of the action. The elite get trillions and the sheep get just enough to buy a six pack to numb themselves while they gorge on shitty proccessed foods that are slowly draining the life out if their pathetic existence which consists of some lousy customer service ( a derivative of serf) job and cable TV.

Anusocracy's picture

Psychopathy, like intelligence, is a bell curve distribution.

It is a spectrum disorder, and the few that escape it are autists.

StandardDeviant's picture

Quite right -- but -1 for the use of the idiotic, smug, holier-than-thou "sheeple".

Dick Buttkiss's picture

You wouldn't know the Austrian School from the elementary school you obviously flunked out of.

otto skorzeny's picture

I'm all for not allowing big guv BS but I have heard the argument that man gained a too-great sense of his self-importance in the universe when we put lights everywhere and were unable to gaze out at the stars in the night sky and realize how inconsequential man really is. also-all of my McMansion asshole neighbors' houses are lit up from the outside so that it resembles the Berlin Wall at the height of the Cold War

CH1's picture

man gained a too-great sense of his self-importance...

The problem with man is not that he over-values himself, it's that he under-values himself... and sells himself out, either as a timid slave or as a whore to a slave system.

otto skorzeny's picture

so you are saying that earth has the capacity to support the standard of living that assholes like us Americans enjoy for every person on the planet?

Sparkey's picture

It looks like Cancer to me! Wouldn't it have been interesting if we could have been able to document the growth of these organisms, say for the last five hundred years or so, and watched them metastasize, This looks very formidable to us, because in fact it is a symptom of our impending demise, but to Mother nature it isn't even a bad cold!

sun tzu's picture

You mean an asshole like yourself who lives among mcmansions?