A Broker in Pillage

Government is a broker in pillage, and every election is a sort of advance auction in stolen goods.  -  H.L. Mencken

As an organism which is at best symbiotic with (and in the overwhelming majority of cases parasitic on) society, government is a non-producer; its only means of support is to drain money from those who are producers.  When a government is small and efficient, the funds thus consumed go to providing useful functions such as public works, territorial defense and a means of adjudicating disputes; in the typical case, they also support a hopelessly inefficient bureaucracy, pay thugs to enforce leaders’ arbitrary whims on the people, and line the pockets of functionaries at every level of government (not to mention their cronies ostensibly outside of the government).  But in the case of pathologically bloated modern regimes, the primary usage of stolen resources is the funding of yet more growth and increased means of stealing still more money; in other words, the theft itself becomes the primary function of government rather than a means of enabling some useful (or at least mostly-harmless) function.  Expressed more succinctly, proper governments eat to live, but tyrannical governments live to eat.

The process by which lean, minimal government feeds is best described as leeching; it’s slow, gradual and so minimally intrusive a healthy host may not even notice the drain.  The feeding of a typical government is more like that of a lamprey; it debilitates its host and causes serious, permanent damage.  But an overgrown monster-government is like a rapacious predator which tears its prey to pieces and scatters fragments everywhere, ruining that which it does not consume.  Minimal governments can survive on reasonable taxes, fees, monopolies or the like; most governments require all of those plus fines, tolls, tariffs, unfunded mandates and political contributions.  But the Oriental despotism under which we now exist requires still more, and therefore has given itself the right to openly steal the assets of citizens.  Usually, this is accomplished by accusing the victim of violating some arbitrary rule against a consensual behavior which it has defined as a “crime” and demonized to the point where the sheeple accept that definition.

In the UK, this is usually accomplished by targeting “brothels”.  When the businesspeople so pillaged own actual brothels (especially more than one), the media can be counted upon to disseminate pro-robbery propaganda, as in this January 31st article in which the Evening Chronicle describes the victim as the owner of a “sleazy brothel empire”, laments that the government was “only” able to steal £42,212 of her “ill-gotten gains”, and describes her business as a “debauched operation” which the police robbed by perpetrating a scam…though the paper bizarrely applies that label to her business (which provided a valuable service to willing customers) rather than to police trickery which benefits only the police.  Furthermore, the media chooses to ignore the fact that this same law is used to victimize escorts who share premises, stealing their property and life savings while ignoring violent (but poor) criminals.

When using prostitution as an excuse for banditry, US jurisdictions prefer to pander to neofeminist “end demand” rhetoric and “human trafficking” hysteria by robbing the clients of streetwalkers instead:

Police in eight states participated in prostitution stings over the past 10 days, coordinated by Cook County [Illinois] Sheriff Tom Dart…there were 565 arrests – including 314 men allegedly soliciting sex.  A total of 227 people were arrested on prostitution charges and other misdemeanor counts, and two more were arrested on human trafficking charges.  The roundup was all part of what Dart calls the “National Day of Johns Arrests.”  Twenty law enforcement agencies in eight states ran sting operations…If the johns are all convicted, fines will be in the neighborhood of nearly $475,000.  While prostitution is often characterized as a victimless crime, the sheriff’s office says that is not true.  Dart’s office says customers of prostitutes “perpetuate a violent, exploitative industry,” and if there were no johns, there would be no abusive pimps and traffickers either.  “Large sporting events, such as the Super Bowl, bring out competitiveness in all of us, including, unfortunately, pimps and sex traffickers…In the days leading up to and including Super Bowl Sunday, my office coordinated with 19 other[s]…to send a strong message that our communities refuse to tolerate the sale of human beings for sex.”

Obviously, Sheriff Dart is perfectly OK with the sale of human beings for government profit.  But whether the melodramatic rhetoric is quasi-Victorian or neofeminist, it serves the same purpose:  rationalizing armed robbery by denying women’s agency and casting the perpetrators as “protecting” women from “exploitation” (except government exploitation, of course).  Nor do these authorized crime syndicates limit themselves to stealing cash and automobiles from clients; the hysteria over “human trafficking” has allowed them to grab even juicier prizes from innocent bystanders:

A southern California flight school owner faces the loss of his two-year-old business, along with the Cessna 172 he rented to a well-known customer.  The Jan. 20 seizure of N5283E…[was] the fourth…of a light aircraft involved in the smuggling of people, rather than drugs, since 2010…Denney Marsh, owner of Hemet-Ryan Flight School…said [local business owner Lino] Rodriguez-Chavez, arrested Jan. 20 after allegedly picking up three men from a Motel 6 and driving them to Imperial County Airport, had taken flight lessons at the school…“He’s not somebody who just showed up at the door like the newspaper said,” Marsh said.  “I have no idea how to prevent this…Oddly enough, the building that I’m in stores seized airplanes,” Marsh said.  “I frequently send my pilots down with 83E to bring back other airplanes for storage that they’ve seized”…Marsh…is not optimistic he will ever see it again.  Federal officials have offered few options:  Marsh can file a motion with the federal court that, if he loses, is not subject to appeal.  Or, he has been told, he can post a $5,000 bond and apply for a hearing, with no guarantee the aircraft will be returned…

Of course, it’s accusations of drug trafficking which net the largest profits; a quarter-million dollar aircraft is small potatoes compared to a million-dollar motel:

Imagine you own a million-dollar piece of property free and clear, but then the federal government and local law enforcement agents announce that they are going to take it from you, not compensate you one dime, and then use the money they get from selling your land to pad their budgets—all this even though you have never so much as been accused of a crime, let alone convicted of one.  That is the nightmare [faced by] Russ Caswell and his family…in Tewksbury, Mass., where they stand to lose the family-operated motel they have owned for two generations.  Seeking to circumvent state law and cash in on the profits, the Tewksbury Police Department is working with the U.S. Department of Justice to take and sell the Caswells’ property because a tiny fraction of people who have stayed at the Motel Caswell during the past 20 years have been arrested for crimes.  Keep in mind, the Caswells themselves have worked closely with law enforcement officials to prevent and report crime on their property.  And the arrests the government complains of represent less than .05 percent of the 125,000 rooms the Caswells have rented over that period of time.  Despite all this, the Caswells stand to lose literally everything they have worked for because of this effort by federal and local law enforcement officials not to pursue justice, but rather to police for profit.

The list of “crimes” which excuse police robbery will inevitably grow; they’re already stealing cars for selected misdemeanors, and more are coming soon.  Imagine losing your stereo over a noise complaint, your car for speeding or your house for fighting with your spouse, and then realize that even if you don’t break any laws at all the SCOTUS ruled seven years ago that it’s perfectly OK for politicians to steal your home for the “crime” of being in an area their developer buddies want to build something on.  The precedents for these abuses are already well-established, and they aren’t going to stop until the peasantry wakes up and takes a stand against its bandit overlords.

(Cross-posted from The Honest Courtesan)

About Maggie McNeill:
"Maggie McNeill" is a former librarian, stripper, escort, and madam who writes an increasingly-popular blog called The Honest Courtesan in which she discusses various and sundry topics related to harlotry.
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