From where I presently sit in Buckinghamshire, England, the state of the world looks bleaker than at any time I can remember in the last fifty years. The main reason for this is, as usual, bullying. From the United Nations to the school playground, it should be easy to see that bullying is a major contributor to human misery. Fear, exacerbated if not inspired by bullying, is endemic throughout the human race. Frightened people can do terrible things to each other.
A bully is someone who oppresses others he thinks weaker than himself. To bully is to intimidate or force through fear. Terrorism is a policy of using or threatening acts which inspire terror as a method of conducting politics. The bully and the terrorist are morally indistinguishable from each other. The only difference between them is that the bully is generally perceived to be powerful whilst the terrorist is relatively weak. Terrorism is a natural human reaction against being bullied.
As of today (14 February, 2003) the chief bully in the world is clearly President Bush of the United States of America. He is the current leader of what is universally acknowledged to be the most powerful nation in the world. The power seems to have gone to his head. He is intent on invading Iraq, a relatively weak country which currently poses no significant military threat to the United States or to any other Western nation. Whatever President Bush's motives may be, his proposed course of action is certain to give a big boost to terrorism.
I very much regret that Bush's staunchest supporter in his irrational antagonism to Iraq is Prime Minister Blair of the United Kingdom. Apparently regretting the fact that the UK has not been a major World Power since before he was born, Blair seems determined to seize any and every opportunity to strut on the world stage. To this end, he will not hesitate to strain every sinew of his country's weak economy to buy preferential access to the Presidential ear. Why else should he commit the nation to building two large aircraft carriers? It is difficult to see what contribution they could possibly make to defending the United Kingdom against terrorists or Gibraltar against Spain. Does he foresee another conflict with Argentina over the Falkland Islands? Or is he buying the only chips that are likely to count in helping the United States to "police" (i.e. bully) the rest of the world? To Mr Blair I say: "Your little country cannot afford you".
The case (if such it can be called) against Iraq is that it is itself ruled by an unpleasant bully, has persistently flouted United Nations Resolutions, possesses "weapons of mass destruction" whatever that may mean and may in some unspecified way be giving aid and comfort to terrorists.
The people of Iraq could overthrow their own bully if they made a concerted and determined effort to do so. Interference by a bigger foreign bully has a poor record in history.
If President Bush really is dedicated to enforcing United Nations Resolutions, he could find a more appropriate alternative target, not very far from Iraq, which also persistently and blatantly flouts UN resolutions, whose guns seldom stop smoking, and which has long been a principal inspiration for terrorists.
Iraq's chemical and biological weapons (if any) do not threaten "mass destruction" without a means of delivery which, should their use be seriously contemplated, could hardly be concealed from aerial, electronic and UN Inspector surveillance.
As for giving aid and comfort to terrorists, there is hardly a country in the world that can avoid doing so, even if only inadvertently. "Nine-Eleven" should have taught President Bush that lesson.
So there is no genuine case to be made for a war on Iraq. Yet Bush and Blur are willing to bully (or, if that doesn't work, defy) the Security Council of the United Nations, the only body which can confer legitimacy on any military action. We can only guess at their true motives. If they dare not tell us what they are, they can hardly be honourable.
Certain politicians of "Old Europe" find the prospect of war with Iraq so distasteful that they, quite rightly, oppose the involvement of NATO in helping to defend Turkey should Iraq try to defend itself against attack from Turkish soil. NATO was never intended to be an instrument of political bullying. It was set up as a purely defensive measure against a military threat posed to Western Europe from the East. This threat no longer exists. NATO has outlived its usefulness and should be disbanded. If the present crisis accelerates its demise, it will bear out the truth of the old adage that "out of evil, good may come" even if unexpectedly.
Although it deliberately lacks up-front personalities and hides behind an unelected, unaccountable, and therefore irresponsible Commission, the EU is a prime example of the most insidious form of bullying. Supposedly acting in the name of free trade, this faceless totalitarian organisation has extended its poisonous tentacles into every nook and cranny of the lives of the citizens of its member states, and now itself constitutes an incentive to terrorism on the part of the weak seeking to defend themselves against the machinations of an insensitive, often ridiculous, but always ruthless bureaucracy.
So perhaps we may hope that Bully Bush may inadvertently do us a favour by so splitting Bully Blur away from his European Would-be Confederates that the UK will not only refuse to opt into the Euro but decide to opt out of the EU altogether.
What should be the most obvious form of bullying for most people is that practised by nearly all governments, national and local, by the imposition of various kinds of compulsory taxation. As the world inevitably slides further into economic recession and financial hardships intensify, governments will seek to sustain their bullying power by increasing taxes upon people whose means of paying them will be diminishing. A case in point is my own local Council Tax which, at a time when national inflation is running at less than three per cent, is being hiked by fifteen per cent. I cannot see that I or my neighbours will get any benefit for the extra money that is being extorted from us. I can, however, see that I shall have significantly less to spend on things I really believe in. My neighbours and I shall be unable to buy some of goods and services we need and which local traders would be only too glad to supply if their prospective customers had not been forcibly deprived of the money with which to pay them.
When you think about it, is it not obvious than none of the foregoing categories of bully would exist without compulsory taxation? Hence the most effective way to combat political bullying must be through resisting compulsory taxation by progressive utilisation of all available means though ideally stopping short of terrorism if at all possible.
Politicians get away with extortion by subtly perpetuating the fallacy that without compulsory taxation, civilisation would fall apart. Is it not clear that civilisation is already falling apart in spite, if not because, of ever-increasing taxation? The main effect of compulsory taxation is to weaken the economic power of the individual person and to concentrate the resulting aggregated power into the hands of a small number of bullies on whom the vast majority then become dependent. This diminishes scope for the independent exercise of personal responsibility in the performance of good works. It transfers control over the provision of essential personal services from efficient and effective private enterprises, dependent on their customers, to inefficient and ineffective state monopolies dependent only on the controlling bullies. I refer, particularly, to the most personal of all services, education and the care of the sick.
Standing back and looking as objectively as possible at the political charade that currently passes for democracy, is it not obvious that compulsory taxation is just a sophisticated variation of old-fashioned slavery?
This Web site is a modest example of an educational facility which is provided free of charge. Jesus and the Therapeutae of ancient Greece healed the sick free of charge. If we collectively looked after our own health and helped to educate our own friends, relations, and neighbours as best suited their talents and inclinations, there would be no need for elaborate concentrations of material facilities and vast organisations of mercenary professionals that just get in the way of people seeking to behave naturally towards one another.
It has long been known that the most effective antidote to fear, and therefore the most effective antidote to all forms of bullying and terrorism, is love. Inspired by love, local people would voluntarily pay all the taxes they perceived necessary to sustain their local civilisation.
"Perfect love casteth out fear". What is the worst that could happen to you if you were as a last resort to refuse to pay any bullying taxes at all? Killing you would end all hope of your making a contribution. If you were sent to jail, your tax-paying capacity would be greatly diminished, the costs of keeping you there would defeat the object, and the jails would be full anyway. Refusing to pay any fine would not make your situation any worse. If the bullying authorities should resort to some form of corporal punishment, it would merely stiffen your resistance and rally more people to your cause. When you really think about it, you will see very clearly that the Bully behind Compulsory Taxation is powerless against determined resistance by sufficiently large numbers of the bullied. What you need to start with is the courage to point that out to him (or her) and to those who share your plight.
But mere resistance is not enough. You must also demonstrate your love positively in any way you can. And if your example catches on, the people around you will eventually seek to outdo each other in finding ever more effective ways of helping to feed, clothe, house, educate, tend, heal and help their neighbours as and when the need arises. If members of bullying governments and their attendant bureaucracies forsook their ivory towers and joined in real life, there would be fewer political bullies of any significance and fewer excuses for terrorism.