LRC Blog

Congratulations to Tom Woods

You can preorder Tom’s important and fun new book, Real Dissent: A Libertarian Sets Fire to the Index Card of Allowable Opinion, right now. And this Kindle is only $3.99.

8:59 am on September 2, 2014

U.S. Government Doesn’t Keep Its Agreement with Iran

Last November, the U.S. signed a Joint Plan of Action with Iran. The preamble opens with “The goal for these negotiations is to reach a mutually-agreed long-term comprehensive solution that would ensure Iran’s nuclear programme will be exclusively peaceful. Iran reaffirms that under no circumstances will Iran ever seek or develop any nuclear weapons.” Iran stipulates numerous steps toward that end. The U.S. agrees on steps involving sanctions, and one of them is “The U.S. Administration, acting consistent with the respective roles of the President and the Congress, will refrain from imposing new nuclear-related sanctions.”

So, what happens? The U.S. imposes new sanctions!

For a measured reaction by a former Iranian diplomat, see here. He blames the Israeli lobby. The Iranian response was relatively mild, for now. It mentions “pressure groups”.

(more…)

8:00 am on September 2, 2014

Seceding From Caesar

I like to think that the spirit of my Scottish ancestors is being channeled to modern Scots who now have the opportunity to vote for secession from Britain, and to thus separate themselves from the English segment of this wickedly despotic regime. The British government is treating Ashya King’s family as if it was a terrorist group for daring to question the treatment their five year-old son has been receiving for a brain tumor. The parents took their son to Spain, where they were arrested, and British officials now seek their extradition back to Britain, as well as for an order prohibiting the parents from even visiting their ailing son.

While this has been transpiring, George Galloway – a member of parliament who is a most vocal critic of the Israeli government’s treatment of Palestinians – was savagely beaten by a thug presumably for having behaved as though it was still permissible to express dissenting opinions from official orthodoxy. Most of the letters-to-the-editor of a London newspaper I saw praised the savage brute for giving Galloway what they believed he deserved.

The spirit of John Stuart Mill was long ago driven from English soil by those who have helped modify Thomas Hobbes’ prognosis of a society that would become “nasty, British, and short.” If these people are able to improve upon their character and disposition toward others, they may someday elevate themselves to the level of conduct of English soccer-crowds!

11:46 pm on September 1, 2014

When Mommy Goes to War

“Please be in prayer for our daughter,” urged a message sent to members of the church I attend with my family here in the Treasure Valley. The young woman “is in the Army deploying to Kuwait this month in support of operations against ISIS. She also warned us she may actually see some action inside Iraq as well. She is also recently divorced with 2 girls, who will be staying with their Dad during her deployment. Would you join us in prayer for reconciliation to God and to each other?”

ISIS, as has been amply documented, is a creation of the same government that is now dispatching that young mother overseas to do battle against that manufactured menace. As Laurence Vance has abundantly demonstrated, the military in which she serves is a far greater immediate threat to her than ISIS could ever be, and her continued affiliation with that entity will not conduce to the marital reconciliation for which I’ve been invited to pray.

“I can’t help but believe that a nation willing to send a mother of two girls into a combat zone is under severe judgment,” I wrote in a reply to the email. Along with the particularized petitions on behalf of this young woman and her family, I concluded, “we should pray for national repentance, and for peace.”

3:01 pm on September 1, 2014

The State Owns Children

As British parents discover, after they refuse State “care” for their sick little boy.

UPDATE on this “authoritarian disgrace.”

3:00 pm on September 1, 2014

‘Why the Silence Over the Assault on George Galloway?’

“Had an MP been attacked by some pro-Palestinian fanatic for his support of Israel, I guess there would have been a national outcry and rightly so. Why then the silence from the mainstream establishment following this latest outrageous assault on a British politician?” asks Peter Oborne in the Telegraph. Read his blog.

2:18 pm on September 1, 2014

Happy Union Goon Day

According to the Web site of the U.S. Dept. of Labor, “Labor Day” became a national holiday in 1894 in order to celebrate “the union movement.”  Not workers, or the work that they have done, or the wealth and prosperity they helped American capitalists to create.  By “the movement” is meant, specifically, union bosses, the political impetus behind the creation of labor day in the first place.  They sought and got a national holiday to celebrate themselves.  So, in the spirit of American unionism, go ahead out and celebrate by setting off a “nail bomb” in the parking lot of a non-union construction site; sabotage the non-union oil refinery in the area; vandalize all the cars of the “scab” workers at the local non-union grocery store; threaten to rape the wives and girlfriends of the hated “scabs”; or maybe just go out with your union brothers and beat the living daylights out of a random non-union “rat” or “scab.”

And don’t worry about the cops.  According to the 1973 US. Supreme Court case, U.S. versus Enmons, violence, property damage, and extortion are allowable if they are done in pursuit of “legitimate union objectives.”  That’s why professors Armond Thieblot and Thomas Haggard were able to publish a 540-page book under the auspices of the University of Pennsylvania entitled Union Violence: The Record and the Response by the Courts, Legislatures, and the NLRB.  The book, write the authors, “is full of examples of murder, assault with intent to kill, destruction of property, arson, sabotage, mayhem, shooting, stabbing, beating, stoning, dynamiting, intimidating, threatening . . .”  All in pursuit of “legitimate union objectives.”

Violence is an inherent feature of American unionism because, as economist Morgan Reynolds explained in is book, Power and Privilege: Labor Unions in America:  “A union’s problem is painfully obvious: organized strikers must shut down the enterprise, close the market to everyone else . . . in order to force wages and working conditions above free-market rates.  If too many individuals defy the strikers . . . then unionists often resort to force . . . .  Unions must actively interfere with freedom of trade in labor markets in order to deliver on their promises.”

And “interfere” they do.  According to the National Institute for Labor Relations Research (NLIRR), since 1975 ,203 deaths, 5,868 incidents of personal injury, 6,435 incidents of vandalism, and tens of millions of dollars in property damage inflicted by unions has been reported by police to the media.  About 90 percent of all such incidents go unreported to the media, however, according to the NLIRR.

 

1:28 pm on September 1, 2014

The State’s House Organ

Thanks to Dan Sanchez for this reminder that the NY Times has gotten less significant intellectually since 1971,  at least as far as its treatment of libertarianism goes.

12:33 pm on September 1, 2014

‘Hate Speech’

Writes Taki’s Mag:

If you ever doubted that the concept of “hate speech” was designed primarily to prevent any criticism of the government, cast your doubts into the ocean.

Read the rest, and thanks to Ralph Raico.

12:13 pm on September 1, 2014

The Glenn Beck Moment

I heard his radio show for a few minutes today, by mistake. He urged his listeners to seek justice and mercy, especially when it is unpopular to do the right thing for a marginalized group. In the latest case, that means helping him fund a trip to Israel to provide supplies for the troops. Yes, Glenn the Merciful is going out on a limb to do something unpopular with the media and the regime. But he needs “an airplane with global reach,” and he’ll pay the gas! What a guy. Anybody got an extra Antonov 225?

UPDATE from Ken Palmer:

The first sentence of your post had me nodding in agreement as I also avoid listening to ‘The Beckster’! The turning point for me was his insulting treatment of Ron Paul (for which he subsequently apologized, but too little, too late).

11:35 am on September 1, 2014

The ‘Daily Beast’ Denounces This Autism-Vaccination YouTube

What more do you need to know?

11:14 am on September 1, 2014

Well Done Hillary, Islamists are Swimming in Our Pool!*

Images from Libya today speak more clearly about the folly of US interventionism, US “regime change” operations, US-led bombing campaigns to “promote democracy,” than anything else.

Arguing passionately in favor of a US attack on Libya in 2011, over the objections of then-Defense Secretary Robert Gates, then-US Ambassador to the UN Susan Rice said:

I swore to myself that if I ever faced such a crisis again, I would come down on the side of dramatic action, going down in flames if that was required.

Well she was partly right. Thanks to her successful demands for a US attack, it was Libya that went down in flames

In October, 2011, the Washington Post, always friendly to the US regime, wrote this about the Libya attack:

[T]he coalition air campaign has emerged as a foreign policy success for the Obama administration and its most famous Cabinet member, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton.

Here today is Hillary’s great success, here are Rice’s flames: weeks after the US embassy was forced to abandon Tripoli in shame as Libya plunged into murderous chaos and gang warfare, radical Islamists are enjoying the US embassy pool, weight room, and other luxurious facilities on the embassy compound. Here is Hillary Clinton, here is Susan Rice, here is interventionism:

*I mean “ours” only in that we were forced to pay for it.

I am on Twitter.

11:17 pm on August 31, 2014

‘Is This the Libertarian Moment?’

Writes Bevin Chu:

Deeply encouraging article.

As the old saw has it,  ”First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.” Mainstream statists are no longer able to ignore us. Some may still laughing be at us. But others who are not as far behind the curve, have already perceived the threat and are fighting us.

That suggests that the “then you win” phase is closer at hand than we might imagine!

無為而治 世界大同
individual sovereignty universal harmony

2:14 pm on August 31, 2014

Will Kerry Ask Novorussiyans to Join Anti-ISIS Coalition?

I’m kidding, of course. But evidently some persons in eastern Ukraine that are of Russian extraction and know Russian war methods know how to wage a war. The Americans put a 2-star air force general in charge (Major General Randy Allen Kee), brought in the CIA, brought in mercenaries, supplied leadership and presumably some intelligence, had a numerical advantage of 2-1, had a weapons advantage, and lost. The American-Ukrainian side seems to have applied the standard American tactic of brute force and firepower on cities, but it proved fruitless. If a coalition led by American strategists intends to defeat ISIS, it may well need or could use some Russian know-how.

9:19 pm on August 30, 2014

Infamous Soldier Found Dead

A Marine Corps combat veteran and scout sniper with multiple deployments to Afghanistan and multiple injuries to show for it was recently found dead at his home. He was 28. He gained fame when he and three other Marines made a video of themselves urinating on Taliban corpses. He was prosecuted for his actions. Too bad the military cares more about what its personnel do with dead bodies than the fact that they kill people. (And no, I am not excusing what the Marine did. And neither am I excusing him for urinating on dead bodies.)

8:29 pm on August 30, 2014

Brainwashed

7:40 pm on August 30, 2014

Back in the USSR

7:33 pm on August 30, 2014

American Statolatry

American Statolatry

7:25 pm on August 30, 2014

Cop Ensnared in His Own Net

A Palatka, Florida, police detective who once ran for sheriff was arrested during a St. Johns County weekend prostitution sting. He responded to an online posting that was part of a sting operation called “Operation Summer Lovin’.” It seems that “undercover officers acted as possible clients and met with suspects through online contacts.” They also posted solicitations offering “services.” This is one reason, among many, of why a Christian should not be a cop.

The cop was released on $500 bail and resigned. I guess he reaped what he sowed.

Prostitution, of course, should be perfectly legal. See my article “Why Are Brothels Illegal?

7:12 pm on August 30, 2014

Fascist Florida

The mayor of Winter Garden, Florida, had a man kicked out of city meeting for sitting during the Pledge of Allegiance. “This is just not fair to our troops and people overseas,” said the mayor, without explaining the connection. Just the mention of “the troops” is enough I suppose.

7:00 pm on August 30, 2014

Why Do People Vote to Keep Certain Taxes in Place?

Voters in Orange County, Florida, recently voted to retain for 10 more years a half cent sales tax for Orange County schools. As if we aren’t taxed enough at every level of government. Why do people vote to keep certain taxes in place when they have a chance to get rid of them? The words “deceived” and “dumb” come to mind.

6:56 pm on August 30, 2014

Who Shot Down MH17? The Ukrainian Military

The Malaysian commercial jet was shot down on July 17. On July 20, reporter Robert Parry reported from his source that Ukrainian government troops were responsible:

“What I’ve been told by one source, who has provided accurate information on similar matters in the past, is that U.S. intelligence agencies do have detailed satellite images of the likely missile battery that launched the fateful missile, but the battery appears to have been under the control of Ukrainian government troops dressed in what look like Ukrainian uniforms.

“The source said CIA analysts were still not ruling out the possibility that the troops were actually eastern Ukrainian rebels in similar uniforms but the initial assessment was that the troops were Ukrainian soldiers. There also was the suggestion that the soldiers involved were undisciplined and possibly drunk, since the imagery showed what looked like beer bottles scattered around the site, the source said.”

(more…)

4:46 pm on August 30, 2014

my view on debates

My goal, in debating, is, along with my opponent, to get that proverbial one millionth of an inch closer to the Truth. I know this sounds a bit mawkish, and in the heat of the event — I’m only human — I sometimes forget myself, but, at least, this is my goal. In order to do this, I find, it is good to be polite. Not try to hog the podium, not interrupt my debating partner, not engage in ad hominems, etc.

There are two arguments in favor of this. If we Austro libertarians approach debates in this manner, we are perhaps more likely to win over our opponents. And if not them, then, perhaps, members of the audience. Second, it is always easier to escalate than de-escalate. It is very difficult to start off in a hostile impolite manner and later change our tune than to begin on the note I advocate and then if it is not reciprocated, escalate the hostilities.

Below is a nice letter complimenting me on attaining this goal, at least sometimes.

(more…)

2:17 pm on August 30, 2014

Best introductions to libertarianism?

Below, see a correspondence I had with a reader whose identity I am keeping anonymous who wants to introduce friends to libertarianism, along with my response. If anyone has other suggestions in this regard, please send them to me.

—–Original Message—–
From: J
Sent: Friday, August 15, 2014 6:42 PM
To: wblock@loyno.edu
Subject: Advice on introducing libertarian ideas to a friend

Dear Professor Block,

I wanted to start by telling you how much I admire you and your indespensible work. Men like yourself, Hans-Hermann Hoppe, Stephan Kinsella, George Reisman, and Robert Higgs are doing a wonderful job carrying the torch of libertarianism from where Murray Rothbard left off. It is because of you and men like you that I began trying to form a consistent worldview based on the NAP. I had always been a “libertarian” in the loose sense of the word; being generally opposed to leftist social programs and wars or civil rights violations on the right. But your work and the work of others forced me to examine my convictions and carry my worldview to its logical conclusion: Austrian anarcho-capitalism. My inquiries into these ideas have been entirely self motivated; I have no formal education beyond high school and my parents have never been too concerned about political theory. So having works like yours readily available to me online made an enormous difference for my personal development, and I just wanted you to know that I greatly appreciate it. Thank you, Professor Block. For your consistency, your prose, your sheer volume of work, and your courage in pursuing truth for the sake of truth.

With all of that said, I wanted to ask your advice on helping a friend discover the great ideas and great thinkers behind the libertarian movement. He has always been generally receptive to my positions on most issues but was never interested in the philosophical, moral, economic, or utilitarian justifications behind them. But he is a black man with family roots in central Missouri, and the current situation in Ferguson has spurred his interest in my beliefs.

(more…)

12:57 pm on August 30, 2014

Mises Weekends: Jeff Deist Talks Scottish Secession and the EU with Andy Duncan

Jeff Deist and Andy Duncan discuss the rise of UKIP in England, and whether it represents a real populist anti-state uprising or just rightist politics. Andy skewers the strutting political class in London, and the charade of voting Labour or Conservative based on minute policy differences. They also discuss the upcoming Scottish independence vote, and whether the land that gave us Robert the Bruce and David Hume has succumbed completely to socialism. Could an independent Scotland become the Singapore of the North, or just another Eurozone basket case?

Andy Duncan is financial derivatives lecturer based in England. He uses the lessons of Austrian Economics to help explain how free markets are trying to work under the current blanket of global government regulation. He teaches mainly in New York, London, Dubai, and Singapore.

YouTube link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uWDTvwI7m1o

 

5:59 pm on August 29, 2014

Must Free-Marketers Reject Global Warming?

GISS_temperature_2000-09_lrgYou can’t make this stuff up. Someone at the UK Guardian named David Grimes has declared that “economic liberalism,” by which he means the ideology of laissez-faire, “clashes” with “scientific evidence.” Which scientific evidence, you might ask? Well, the unassailable scientific dogma of global warming is one:

Climate change illustrates this well, because despite overwhelming evidence of anthropogenic influence, there is a tendency for those with pronounced free-market views to reject the reality of global warming. The reason underpinning this is transparent – if one accepts human-mediated climate change, then supporting mitigating action should follow. But the demon of regulation is a bridge too far for many libertarians.

There is no doubt that some people who purport to be advocates for free markets reject arguments of anthropogenic global warming out of hand without even considering the evidence. I’m agnostic on the matter myself, although I certainly reject the ludicrous assertion that there is such a thing as “settled science” and that the matter is not debatable. And unlike many allegedly great men and women of scientific inquiry, I refuse to agree that global warming “deniers” are heretics who should be burned at the stake (or the modern equivalent of having one’s career ruined). To anyone capable of logical thought, it should be obvious that one’s support for free markets is utterly independent from one’s opinions on the matter of global warming. There’s no reason at all why someone who accepts the reality of anthropogenic global warming would have to support government regulation of all energy usage. To argue such would be like arguing that one’s acceptance of the Bering Strait theory determines one’s opinions about the minimum wage. So why would Grimes think this? We can see it in his quotation above where he says:

The reason underpinning this is transparent – if one accepts human-mediated climate change, then supporting mitigating action should follow.

Ah, so there it is. Acceptance of global warming = acceptance of “mitigation” = acceptance of government regulation. Case closed.

Grimes packs many assumptions into just this one statement. Let’s look more closely:

If one accepts that global warming is a grave danger, is it nonetheless necessary to support “mitigating action” even if it can’t be shown to actually improve anything at all? Even assuming that global warming were proven beyond a reasonable doubt, the burden of proof of success is still on those who want mitigating action. Specifically, they need to be able to prove that such action has  a reasonable chance of achieving the desired ends. They most certainly have not done so. Indeed, many scientists say it’s already too late to stop it. Many argue that even if major global action were taken right now, the expected result over the next century would be too small to make any difference. In other words, it’s futile at this point to enact mitigating actions. (Also here.) Presumably, if it’s too late, then there’s no reason we should still be debating mitigating action. But of course, having realized that the “it’s too late” message is a PR disaster, the message has instead been changed to “it won’t be too late if we act right now!”

(more…)

5:58 pm on August 29, 2014

The Problem Isn’t Christian Fundamentalism, It’s Biblical Ignorance and Deliberate Twisting of Scripture

Intriguing that in its attack on Christian “fundamentalists” – an amorphous term that, whatever else the speaker wants it to mean, usually applies to Christians who believe the Bible’s claims to be the literal Word of GodWashington’s Blog chooses to cite NPR. As Leviathan’s official medium, this network retails little but propaganda; its animus against Christianity is notorious. And why not? The satanic State knows that it competes with the Lord Almighty for our worship. How better to denigrate Christianity, and those who take it seriously, than to pretend that trusting Jesus Christ for salvation is just another religion, one among many, “immature” and “murderous.”

Meanwhile, let’s examine the supposedly violent Old Testament in context rather than deliberately telling only half the story as NPR does. The Almighty did indeed command the complete annihilation of various peoples in the ancient Near East and He graciously tells us why, too: “…the land is defiled: therefore I do visit the iniquity thereof upon it, and the land itself vomiteth out her inhabitants.”

“The land” here is Canaan, the territory God was wresting from the peoples who already lived there to bestow on the Children of Israel. Any decent commentary on this verse will mention the natives’ utter wickedness; I like this summary from the Defender’s Study Bible:

The land of Canaan, which had long before been promised by God to Abraham and his seed, had become so defiled by the time of Joshua that God was completely vindicated in ordering the extermination of its incorrigibly wicked inhabitants, lest the people of Israel and eventually the whole world be corrupted by their influence, as in the world before … [Noah’s] flood. This chapter [Leviticus 18] gives a representative listing of their pervasive sins–promiscuity, incest, homosexuality, bestiality, even burning their children in sacrifice to a pagan god (Leviticus 18:21) and blaspheming the true God. God had been long-suffering for four hundred years, but now their iniquity was full and their time was up (note Genesis 15:13-16). [Emphasis added.]

I will bet a great many of the folks condemning the “violent” Old Testament, including NPR, have no problem at all with the Allied firebombing of Germany during WWII. Talk about herem (“’There is a specific kind of warfare laid down in the Bible…’ It is called herem, and it means total annihilation”)! The Nazis were absolutely despicable, certainly, but not every German was a Nazi. Yet they all suffered for the Nazis’ sins.

(more…)

11:08 am on August 29, 2014

Presidential Vacations

Conservatives have been criticizing Obama for taking too many vacations. I have pointed out that Bush did likewise. I have also pointed out that conservatives were mostly silent about it during the Bush years. Here is a story that says the numbers (for the same point in time of the presidency) are Bush 407 and Obama 125. But really, who cares? I wish that Bush had taken 365 vacation days a year. And I wish that Obama would do the same. The more they are away from DC the less damage they might do. It is funny how conservatives get so worked up about things that are not important or things that Obama does that Bush did as well.

10:30 am on August 29, 2014

Concerning LRC

Writes Drury:

Great website! I discovered it through Mises.org two years ago and it has reeducated me in many ways. I feel like I took the Matrix’s red pill. Now I am a full-up pro-life Rothbardian anarcho-capitalist who is deeply ashamed of my past pro-war sensibilities. It is hard to believe I called myself a Christian all those years. As if that wasn’t enough, you guys have even gotten me eating primal for almost two years now!

9:51 am on August 29, 2014

It Is the ‘Libertarian Moment’

I’ll address this subject tomorrow on LRC, and the fact–shocking, I know–that the infamous NY Times article got it all wrong. But here is more proof that it really is our moment: an  attack in the Guardian by an Oxford academic–doubly living off the State as a cancer researcher and physicist–on libertarianism as “anti-science.” Science, you will not be surprised to learn, consists of spending projects, controls, economic theories, and ideologies that extend State power, and enrich leftist intellectuals. We never had to be dealt with before. Now we do. Statolatry is no longer the defaut position, in the UK or any place else in the world. A system that exalts the use of violence, in foreign and domestic affairs, is yesterday’s barbarism. (And thanks to Mariana Jackson, who sent me the article with the subject line, “Like Wow, Man!”)

UPDATE from Wesley:

I predict (and hope) that one day in the future, perhaps even the distant future, that society, the average man, will refer to the state as a barbaric, antiquated concept tinged with utter contempt and pity in his voice or letter. I’ve also realized that “conservatives,” constitutional Tea Party types are living in the past. The idea of a constitutional republic was revolutionary in the 1700s. But this isn’t the 1700s. We’ve advanced beyond that in the ideas of liberty and of economics. We are the true progressives.

9:27 am on August 29, 2014
  • LRC Blog

  • LRC Podcasts