Glenn Greenwald’s emotionally charged article, which broke the news that his partner, David Miranda, had been detained by UK officials for 9 hours, did not mince words. Greenwald’s tone throughout was undeniable defiant. It appears that he and Miranda have not and will not be intimidated. Greenwald has stated these tactics will serve to “embolden us even further.”
Most of the media attention surrounding Greenwald’s reaction to Miranda’s arrest has focused on his promise to go after England and to publish documents exposing England’s spy system. Very little attention has been paid to a paragraph near the end of Greenwald’s article first reporting Miranda’s detention. In the article Greenwald states:
This is obviously a rather profound escalation of their attacks on the news-gathering process and journalism. It’s bad enough to prosecute and imprison sources. It’s worse still to imprison journalists who report the truth. But to start detaining the family members and loved ones of journalists is simply despotic. Even the Mafia had ethical rules against targeting the family members of people they felt threatened by. But the UK puppets and their owners in the US national security state obviously are unconstrained by even those minimal scruples.
It is not surprising that the mainstream media is ignoring this aspect of Greenwald’s criticism of government behavior. After all, one of government’s main justifications for existence is based upon protecting society from criminal syndicates. If the masses were to notice that government is employing tactics banned by the Mafia, they may start to question this behavior. They may even be inspired to compare tactics used by both government and the Mafia. This is not an exercise big government sympathizers are eager to see.
After comparing how the two organizations function an individual could begin to understand that the government operates in the same way as the Mafia, only with a more influential public relations team in the mainstream media.
In Harry Browne’s classic book, How I Found Freedom In An Unfree World he compares the problems a society could face if the Mafia were unrestrained, to those roles played by the government.
If governments didn’t coercively monopolize the market for protection, there’d undoubtedly be more forms of protection offered on a voluntary basis to those who feel threatened by organized crime.
But let’s assume for the moment that individuals would be helpless against organized crime if the government didn’t protect them. We could paint a pretty grim picture of the Mafia’s effect upon our lives.
What is it we fear would happen if the Mafia were unrestrained by the government? Here are some of the problems that it’s assumed we’d face:
- So-called “protection rackets” would flourish. Businessmen would have to pay tribute to the Mafia or be violently put out of business.
- Extortion would run rampant. You might have to pay off the Mafia in order to prevent being pushed around, or for the privilege of getting a job.
- If worst came to worst, you might even have to pay off the syndicate just to be allowed to remain on your own property. If so, you’d never own anything outright; you’d always have to pay someone for the privilege to keeping what you thought was yours.
- The syndicate might even tell you where you could work, or where you’d have to work, or how to run your business, or what kind of services they’d let you offer, or perhaps they’d even prevent you from competing with their businesses. Who could stop them?
- And they might take the profits from their rackets and use them to compete with your business-using your own money to cut into your market.
Wow! What a terrible way to live. Luckily we have the government to protect us from those hooligans in the Mafia! Wait a minute, those problems associated with a society run by the Mafia sound awful familiar.
Browne continues by describing what the government does.
To prevent the nightmare from becoming a reality, we have a government. And what does the government do?
- It imposes corporation taxes, license fees, and sales taxes upon businessmen-coercively shutting down any business that doesn’t pay.
- It seizes income taxes as payment for the privilege of working.
- It gives you the one-sided choice of paying property taxes or losing your property. So, as economist F.A. Harper has pointed out, you don’t actually own anything; you rent from the government. He who doesn’t pay the annual rental is forcibly evicted from his property.
- The government decrees what products you can offer to your customers (through the Federal Trade Commission and other agencies) and how much you can charge for your services (setting both minimum and maximum limits for wages and prices), requires massive bookkeeping, and imposes many other rules upon your business or your employment. And if it gets into trouble with other governments, it can even enslave you in its army to fight, and possibly die, on its behalf.The government delegates some of its coercive powers to labor unions, which, in turn prevent many people from working at jobs where they’d otherwise be employed on a mutually profitable basis.
The government will prevent you from going into the business of delivering first-class mail – even through prior to that law private postal companies delivered the mail for a lower price, gave faster service, and made profits for themselves.And if that weren’t enough, try starting your own phone company.
- On top of all this, the government uses the money it takes from you to operate businesses that may be in competition with your own. It has mortgage companies, ladies underwear factories, charities, print shops, laundries, and hundreds more. Since it can always come back to your to cover its losses, it usually charges less for its products than you have to charge to stay in business.
So to protect you from the syndicates, the government makes you pay tribute for the privileges of working, going into business, or staying on you own property. It dictates the terms of your relationships with customers and friends. It finances your competitors with your money. And it can even enslave you in its army.
What could the Mafia do that would be worse?
Well said Harry Browne. Keep in mind that Mr. Browne wrote this book in the seventies. Think of all new areas government has stretched their tentacles into since that time.
This year it has been confirmed that not only does the government suck up and save every communication, but they will even kidnap a journalist’s family members in order to halt the reporting of leaks that expose this behavior. Not even the Mafia would stoop to that level!
It gets worse. The government can now legally feed the american people propaganda. The US government has been legally propagandizing foreign nations for decades. As of July 2nd this year, the US government has been given the green light to spread propaganda among the US population. This development is the result of an amendment to the 2013 NDAA.
It’s not all doom and gloom folks. With the advent of the internet and the opening of new portals to communicate and share information, the influence of the government’s public relations team is becoming less effective by the day.