LRC Blog

Walter Block Interview on Non-Aggression Podcast

By Luis Rivera III

Here, Walter Block speaks about the history of private roads, how privatizing the roads will drop the annual death count, the ultimate and proximate causes of entities and their relevance to roads. The history of private roads. Dr. Block believe that privatizing the roads will lessen the death count. The economic term of peak load pricing is talked about as is the government’s perverse version of it. This and much more, below!

Walter Block On Non-Aggression Podcast

5:47 pm on September 7, 2014

Queen Worried by Celtic Freedom?

Elizabeth II is said to be upset at the idea of an independent Scotland. How would she fit in? Here’s how: let Elizabeth be Queen of England, and let Scotland restore the Stuarts. Oh, and Charles, get ready to give up your usurped title, too. An independent Wales needs its own prince.

Of course, independence should not stop here. I like Butler Shaffer’s suggestion of 250,000 free entities in the former United States.

CORRECTION: Butler actually said 250,000,000.

4:04 pm on September 7, 2014

ISIS Has Truck Bomb Factories

ISIS (or IS) has options in response to U.S. bombing and attacks by local ground forces aided by U.S. spotters and advisers. Its personnel can disperse. They can lay low for a while. Some can melt into population centers. They can go back into Syria. And one thing they can do is to ramp up their truck bombings.

ISIS has a truck bomb technology that was reported back in June. It has truck bomb “factories” surrounding Baghdad. The number of vehicle-borne improvised explosive devices or truck bombs went up in 2013, and ISIS can devise a new strategy around increasing their use again. Bombing ISIS makes such a strategy more likely. Another option is for ISIS to teach enough of its followers how to build these truck bombs and get a few of them into other countries where they can build them in situ and explode them.

ISIS cannot hide the heavy equipment it captured (like howitzers, trucks and tanks) if it uses them in battle, and it can’t hide them or protect them from attack unless perhaps it brings them into populated areas. ISIS is also spread thin and vulnerable to an opposition force that relies on maneuverability and operational initiative. These weaknesses suggest that ISIS will pull in its horns for a while and go back to hit and run truck bomb tactics. This means that a conventional victory against ISIS won’t be possible.

Obama’s hope to degrade and ultimately defeat ISIS will run into another major obstacle, even exclusive of the battlefield challenges and the difficulties noted above of ISIS melting away and reverting to truck bombs. ISIS will use the bombing campaign against it and any successful truck bombings to ramp up its recruiting.

ISIS cannot be defeated militarily as Obama’s rhetoric suggests, not without spying on and locking down entire population centers in order to stop people who are intent on killing other people by such means as truck bombs or other improvised explosive devices. And these measures produce new recruits and adaptations to any and all attempts to extirpate them. If truck bombs are stamped out, then a new generation of jihadists will find some other means to kill, like biological means or drones or hacking computers. The U.S. cannot solve the problem of killers out to kill by heightening its interventions into Arab lands. This only makes the problems worse.

12:26 pm on September 7, 2014

Challenging the New Cold War Orthodoxy

The esteemed Russian foreign policy specialist Stephen F. Cohen has some extremely valuable things to say concerning the new Cold War tensions between Russia and the US hegemon and its NATO adjuncts. We at LRC are most fortunate in having several noted voices of dissent from the stifling orthodoxy of establishment consensus in Ron Paul, Paul Craig Roberts, Eric Margolis, Pat Buchanan, Michael S. Rozeff, Jack Douglas, Justin Raimondo, and Daniel McAdams. But how much influence our courageous remnant of truth resounds in penetrating the fog of impending war reaching the critical mass of the attentive public worldwide is difficult to calculate. But as latter day evangelists of peace and justice we must continue to spread the gospel of non-interventionism and the futility of war and mass murder as a means to resolve State-generated conflicts. All States are born in aggression, sustained in aggression, and continue to reign through violence and aggression. We must rip the masks of spurious legitimacy from these criminal bands of invidious predators and perpetrators and show them naked to the world as they are.

11:26 am on September 7, 2014

Intelligence Pros Can’t Understand U.S. Policy on Ukraine

Philip Giraldi finds U.S. policy on Ukraine close to “incomprehensible”. Not only that he writes

“I know of no former or current intelligence official who believes that the expansion of NATO into Eastern Europe was a good idea, that toppling Bashar al-Assad would bring anything but chaos, or that bombing ISIS will actually accomplish anything. Given the current national security environment, I think I can state with some certainty that a solid majority of lower and mid-level employees would regard the administration responses to the ongoing series of crises, including both Ukraine and ISIS, as poorly conceived and executed. In the case of Ukraine the judgment would be somewhat stronger than that, bordering on perceptions that what we are experiencing is an abuse of the intelligence process to serve a political agenda, that the Cold War-style tension is both unnecessary and contrived. Many regard the dubious intelligence that has been produced to implicate Moscow in Crimean developments as both cherry picked and unreliable.”

These criticisms and others like them apply to Bush’s anti-terror and interventionist policies. I’m pleased to see a group of intelligence pros who know enough to criticize the Bush-Obama policies, and I hope they come around to criticizing similar policies that go back to 1948.

But what I really wish is in another field altogether. I wish that there was a group of standard economists who would stand up and say that the federal government’s economic policies were likewise incomprehensible, poorly conceived and designed to further a political agenda. It would be even better if all these experts would say that the government achieves results that are the very opposite of those it claims to seek.

11:09 am on September 7, 2014

Ode to Joy


(Thanks to Ralph Raico)

7:43 am on September 7, 2014

Round Three: Walter Block vs. Robert Wenzel

By Luis Rivera III

Round three of the intellectual property debate between Wenzel and Block. Block is against IP and Wenzel defend IP. Is it a performative contradiction to own an idea? What’s the motivation behind owning words? Robert Wenzel’s artifact argument and more just below!

Walter Block vs. Robert Wenzel: Round Three

5:16 pm on September 5, 2014

Mises Weekends: Dr. Philipp Bagus Explains The Tragedy of the Euro

MisesWeekends_v2_Deist_1400-300x300Jeff Deist and Philip Bagus discuss not only the history and possible future of the Euro, but also the ECB under Draghi; the nationalist sentiments sweeping some European nations that want their own currency back; how the ECB has effectively monetized the sovereign debt of the PIIGS; and how Germans may well be nostalgic for the Bundesbank.

Philipp Bagus is an associate professor at Universidad Rey Juan Carlos. He is an associate scholar of the Ludwig von Mises Institute and was awarded the 2011 O.P. Alford III Prize in Libertarian Scholarship. He is the author of The Tragedy of the Euro and coauthor of Deep Freeze: Iceland’s Economic CollapseThe Tragedy of the Euro has so far been translated and published in GermanFrenchSlovakPolishItalianRomanian,  FinnishSpanishPortugueseBritish EnglishDutchBrazilian PortugueseBulgarian, and Chinese. See his website.

Also at Stitcher: http://www.stitcher.com/podcast/mises-institute/mises-weekends/episode/35299631?autoplay=true

3:00 pm on September 5, 2014

Peace and State Coercion in Augustine’s Thought

download (6)In his Economic Thought Before Adam Smith, Rothbard identified Augustine of Hippo  as “the first Church Father to have a positive view of the merchant” noting that it was wrong to condemn a whole class of men for the sins of a few. Augustine also understood that valuation of goods stem from “their own needs rather than by any more objective criterion or by their rank in the order of nature.”

Moreover, Augustine broke with the classical Greek view of the polis that exalted the polis and downplayed or rejected the efforts of individualists and entrepreneurs who sought to innovate or overturn the status quo. In Augustine’s view, on the other hand, Rothbard notes,  ”profound emphasis on the individual” set the stage for future philosophical developments that recognized “the essential place of the individual in the natural order.” 

Rothbard quotes the famous passage of Augustine’s from City of God , Book IV:

Justice being taken away, then, what are kingdoms but great robberies? For what are robberies themselves, but little kingdoms? The band itself is made up of men; it is ruled by the authority of a prince, it is knit together by the pact of the confederacy; the booty is divided by the law agreed on. If, by the admittance of abandoned men, this evil increases to such a degree that it holds places, fixes abodes, takes possession of cities, and subdues peoples, it assumes the more plainly the name of a kingdom, because the reality is now manifestly conferred on it, not by the removal of covetousness, but by the addition of impunity. Indeed, that was an apt and true reply which was given to Alexander the Great by a pirate who had been seized. For when that king had asked the man what he meant by keeping hostile possession of the sea, he answered with bold pride, “What thou meanest by seizing the whole earth; but because I do it with a petty ship, I am called a robber, whilst thou who dost it with a great fleet art styled emperor.

In spite of this passage’s insightfulness, it would be nonetheless disingenuous to claim (as Rothbard does not) that Augustine draws the correct conclusions from this correct observation. Augustine does indeed correctly pinpoint the true nature of the state. Unfortunately, Augustine nonetheless concludes that monopolistic civil governments are necessary for peace. In this we see an odd contradiction in Augustine’s thought. As an observer of the state and its evils, Augustine is second to none for his time, offering very keen insights into the hypocrisies and contradictions behind the justifications offered for state rule. And yet, in spite of his detailed take-down of states, including, of course, the Roman Empire, but also a myriad of other states as well, Augustine then turns around and concludes that nothing better can be hoped for.

In this position, we are reminded that the key to understanding Augustine’s overall view of the state is his assertion that the best that can be hoped for is that the most terrible elements of society or neighboring kingdoms be restrained by force by some ruler (not necessarily a monarch). Without an absence of open warfare or terror campaigns by princes, Augustine maintains, few things of value can be accomplished. This is no doubt correct, but he carries this position too far in concluding that ultimately, even when princes and dictators abuse their power, resistance is rarely justified except in the most extreme cases. This is odd given the frequently negative language Augustine uses to describe the state. His repeated references to political rulers as thieves and brigands and robbers would seem to make is clear that Augustine views the state as something poisonous to human society. But then he turns around and more or less argues that it’s best to die by drinking some of that particular poison than by dying of something else.

Before we can delve more completely into this, we need to be aware of how Augustine uses the word “state.” In defining the state he writes:  “Now what is  a State but a multitude of men bound together by some bond of concord?” (Letter CXXXVIII, 9-15)

Here Augustine is writing about 1,400 years before Max Weber, so we’ll give him a break. But obviously, Augustine’s definition of state is closer to what we might call a “commonwealth” or “community.” Augustine does not necessarily mean a purely voluntary community, but we can also guess from his overall writings that he does not envisage what we would recognize that as a state today. Namely, an organization that enjoys a monopoly over the means of coercion within a territory. Nonetheless, Augustine’s usage of the term makes no distinction at all between the rulers and the ruled. This in itself is a fatal error, as explained by Weber, Franz Oppenheimer, Frank Chodorov, Martin Van Creveld, and others. Fortunately, however, it does not prevent Augustine from making some astute observations.

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2:59 pm on September 5, 2014

Politico: All Government, All the Time

Writes Jay Stephenson:

The envious Politico claims that Glenn Greenwald and Ed Snowden have jumped the shark. With (propaganda for) the rising terrorist threat, the NSA is no longer a concern.  And who does Politico get this info from and actually quote in this piece? The NSA.

11:02 am on September 5, 2014

Multimillionaire Cops

Taze, terrify, ticket, beat-up, cage, and kill the tax victims, then live like a king off of them. (Thanks to David Krall)

10:39 am on September 5, 2014

Land of Free Speech

Writes Doug Sarnecky

I absolutely love your website; it’s part of my morning ritual before work.  I happen to be a heavy metal music fan as well, and I found an article on a music-related website I frequent about a fan getting arrested for posting the lyrics to a song from the band Exodus on Facebook.  I can’t say I’m shocked by this, but I thought I should pass this on. Thanks for all you do.

9:07 am on September 5, 2014

Drug War Foolishness Costs NYC

Two NYC cops who claimed to have been tipped off by an undercover cop arrested three men for selling “crystalline rocks of solid material.” Turns out their rocks were not crystal meth but Jolly Ranchers candy. The city is now paying the men in a settlement. Lawsuits involving police misconduct have cost the city more than $100 million so far this year.

I can’t decide whether I should say end the drug war or end the police. Okay, how about both.

7:47 am on September 5, 2014

The Newest Form of Discrimination

The newest form of discrimination that you can get in trouble for is “citizen discrimination.” Pretty soon not dating someone of a different race and religion will be grounds for a fine from the government. Don’t laugh. Nothing is too ludicrous for the U.S. government.

5:50 pm on September 4, 2014

What Happens When Synthetic Reality Meets Actual Reality?

When a government and society are living in the synthetic or fantasy reality of the government’s creation and/or of the society’s following, what happens when fantasy meets actual reality? This happened to the Third Reich and to the USSR. Actual reality wins. Pain and human suffering are the results. Actual reality follows certain laws that when disobeyed produce results that are both unexpected and painful to both the disobedient and to anyone else who happens to be unlucky enough to be in their vicinity or subject to their fantasies.

Keynesian economics is a fantasy based upon a vast over-simplification and distorted model of a real economy. It makes GDP into a social goal, while real economic activity is not based on such a goal. It supposes that a dollar spent on consumption has the same impact on GDP that a dollar spent on investment has, and this is untrue. It supposes that a dollar spent by government has the same consequence as a dollar spent on private consumption or private investment, and this is false. It supposes that capital is a homogeneous thing, and it isn’t. Because Keynesian economics constructs a fantasy reality, it is bound to conflict with the economic laws and behavior that occur in the real economy. This conflict is bound to produce human pain and suffering. Actions that contradict realities have reactions and consequences that cost people and hurt.

Reporter Michael Jansen has an article in The Jordan Times titled “The ‘fantasy’ regarding Syria”. He begins with the U.S. fantasy that Taiwan was China and Mainland China was not China that the U.S. worked by between 1949 and 1979. Now the U.S. won’t recognize Syria’s government and favors some oddball council. Furthermore, it fantasizes that increasing aid to “moderate” rebels will result in a new government to Washington’s liking. The article goes on to puncture other illusions of Washington regarding Syria. If we repeat this exercise for Ukraine, we will again find a slew of Washington fantasies. When reality intrudes, Washington papers it over with further fantasies. The results of operating on these synthetic realities is pain and suffering spread far and wide and not excluding Americans who pay and die.

5:49 pm on September 4, 2014

Fracking Industry Resorts to Crude Caricatures and Economic Nationalism

download

The hydraulic fracturing (fracking)  industry is fighting regulations or outright bans against fracking in a variety of states and localities. There are many reasons to oppose government restrictions on fracking, of course. If a fracking operation can arrange to frack on private land and pay market rates (not subsidized rates) for water, then there is no reason why a private company should not be free to do so. If fracking results in polluting a neighbor’s land or water, the fracking organization in question should be liable in the fashion outlined by Rothbard for dealing with polluters.

One reason to not support fracking, though, is because it is good for “energy independence” or economic nationalism. Both concepts have long been dreams of militarists and economic interventionists who believe that investors, consumers, and private citizens should be dictated to by government as to what they can buy, where they should invest, and whom they should be able to work for. Every now and then, one sees a new article coming from nationalists such as Pat Buchanan who claim that it is a matter of “national security” that the United State attempt autarky in food production, energy production, and, of course, production of the machinery of war.  Since capital and labor move constantly to better accommodate consumers and do not respect national borders, such autarky can only be achieved through government regulation, prohibition, and force.

Thus, you can understand my disappointment when I noticed this video from a pro-fracking industry group called Friends for Safe Energy that argues for freedom in fracking, not because freedom or respect for private property are good things, but because fracking is (allegedly) bad for the Russians. In other words, faced with the option of appealing to basic human rights (such as private property) or appealing to rank and crude nationalism, the fracking group decided to go with the latter:

Why bother with a pro-freedom argument when you can employ nationalistic fear-mongering and ethnic stereotypes instead?

As an argument, this is barely a step up from the “If you Ride Alone You Ride With Hitler” propaganda campaign which lectured Americans about not contributing enough to “energy independence.” They didn’t use that term back then, but that’s what they meant. Yes, it’s true that the stated goal (at least on the surface) of “Friends of Safe Energy” is more freedom for frackers and their clients, but is it necessary to make their case by employing inherently statist canards? It’s also true that there’s nothing wrong with encouraging people to carpool, but we all know that to encourage economic nationalism, whether it’s anti-Hitler or anti-Russian, is to posture against free trade, free association, and consumer freedom.

Not that we should be surprised. Numerous major industries, including the oil industry have long had a very bad record on free trade and free markets. From the sugar industry, to steel, all the way back to Jefferson’s trade embargo, many domestic industries have been more than happy to encourage xenophobia and nationalism to help the bottom line.

Friends for Safe Energy is apparently carrying on this tradition, and if they’re the best we can hope for in making the case for free markets, we are in deep trouble indeed.

5:01 pm on September 4, 2014

Does the Exercise of Power Reinforce Psychopathologies?

The tendency of power to obscure reality has been noted in the past. Neal Gabler in 2004 wrote “All politicians operate within an Orwellian nimbus where words don’t mean what they normally mean, but Rovism posits that there is no objective, verifiable reality at all. Reality is what you say it is, …” What does this imply?

Given that exercising political leadership from a position of centralized power fashions realities, does this tend to reinforce the psychopathologies of leaders? In other words, don’t leaders become drunk with power? Don’t they become corrupted by the power? Don’t arrogance and hubris take over their behavior? Don’t they receive positive reinforcement from seeing their power to move masses and events? Doesn’t this reinforcement amplify their ambitions? These are all implications, and these are also ideas that have been aired before. They are becoming better and better known as descriptively accurate because we are seeing more and more examples daily. We see this effect of centralized power not only at the national level but also in the behavior of police locally. We see it in the strange ambitions of the NSA to mop up every conversation ever made in any medium.

The persons wielding power become separated from objective reality, and that itself is virtually a definition of a psychopathology or a disorder of the mind. Subjectivity conquers objectivity. To guard against this tendency, a political leader should be exposed to many viewpoints backed up by cogent analysis. He (or she) should not be surrounded by yes-men (or yes-women) who merely mirror his own views and reflect them back to him. Stalin was known for purging anyone around him who disagreed with him. Hitler refused to hear opinions that differed from his own. They structured their office so as to enhance their own psychopathologies.

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11:38 am on September 4, 2014

From the World’s Most Populous Muslim Nation

Comes the world’s tallest statue of Jesus Christ.

11:34 am on September 4, 2014

A Principled Parent Deflects a Military Flesh-Peddler

If you have high school-age children, the Pentagon’s child predators are already grooming them — as LRC reader Paul Farah can testify.

“When my adopted son, Manuel, was 17 years old, he received a call from a local US Army recruiter,” he recounted to me in an e-mail. “I answered the phone. The sergeant on the line asked to speak to Manuel, and I wondered what was up, because everyone called him Junior; no one ever called him by his given name.”

Unwarranted first-name familiarity with your child on the part of an adult stranger is always cause for suspicion.

Paul continues:

“I asked, `Who is this?’ `Sergeant [whatever his name was] from the United States Army! I hear he is graduating soon, and I’d like to discuss some career opportunities in the US Army with him!’ I held the phone away from my face, and yelled across the room, clearly, so the sergeant could hear: `Hey, Junior, there is some guy on the phone. Wants you to go to Iraq and kill brown people until you run over a mine in your jeep and blow your balls off!’
Junior laughed.”

“I said to the recruiter, `Sorry, he’s busy playing Nintendo’ — then hung up.”

Concerned parents should be aware of efforts by the Pentagon’s Cannon Fodder Acquisition Directorate to infiltrate the gaming world in order to lure potential victims. Rather than prosecuting that variety of online child enticement, the Regime eagerly subsidizes it.

Protecting one’s children from the Warfare State is among the most urgent duties of a morally alert parent. James Stewart’s performance as Charlie Anderson expresses the proper parental attitude in dealing with those who want to turn young men and women into instruments of the state’s murderous will:

11:03 am on September 4, 2014

Speaking Ill of the Police is a “Hate Crime”

The NYPD has now added its name to the roster of Officially Protected Victims by filing “hate crimes” charges against 36-year-old Rosella Best, who had tagged police vehicles and a public school with anti-NYPD graffiti. Among the entirely defensible sentiments inscribed by Best are “NYPD pick on the harmless,” “NYPD pick on the innocent,” and — in a display of familiar but increasingly justified hyperbole — “NAZIS=NYPD.” (Assuming that Ms. Best used only “public” property as her canvas, it’s difficult to identify an actual victim in this case.)

Like other agencies of its kind, the NYPD is well-stocked with the kind of privileged bullies who have mastered the art of simultaneously swaggering and simpering. Thus anonymous sources described the graffiti to the New York Post as “a disturbing hate crime.” After Best was identified through video surveillance, the department arrested her and charged her with “criminal mischief as a hate crime.”

Under Article 485 of New York Penal Law, a “hate crime” must involve “violence, intimidation [or] destruction of property” inspired by animus toward people on the basis of “race, color, national origin, ancestry. gender, religion, religious practice, age, disability, or sexual orientation.” Absent from that inventory is any mention of occupation as a “protected category,” which means that the NYPD must consider itself to be either a tribe, a cult, or perhaps even a sexual orientation, most likely one that fetishizes sadistic mistreatment of the helpless.

The statute also specifies that the offending act must be intended to “inflict on victims incalculable physical and emotional damage” and be intended to “intimidate and disrupt entire communities….” By filing a hate crimes charge against Ms. Best, the NYPD is certifying that its rank and file consists of people who are wounded and intimidated by public criticism. If the bold and valiant badasses of the NYPD must be protected from words, they’re obviously ill-suited to protect the public, as if that noble calling were part of their actual job description.

An addendum:

“I think you made a mistake,” comments LRC reader Jose Roberto Blum. “NYPD officers are no tribe or cult, but they do have a disability. Or isn’t `lacking a basic moral sense’ or, more simply, psychopathy, a disability?”

The answer to that question is situational: In seeking “specially protected” status, psychopathy would be a disability; for purposes of recruitment, it would be a prerequisite. By way of contrast, a higher-than-average IQ, or a functioning conscience, would be regarded as a liability.

10:36 am on September 4, 2014

Re: Hoover Institution

Tom, I note that the full name of the Hoover Institution is the “Hoover Institution on War, Revolution and Peace.” They might as well drop the “peace” part.

I see a few good names listed as fellows of the Hoover Institution, but Condoleezza Rice, Henry Kissinger, and Victor Davis Hanson are bad cats.

9:32 am on September 4, 2014

Defending the NSA, Praising Obama, Calling for More War . . .

. . . attacking Rand Paul for opposing a World War III, praising the bombing of more civilians in the Middle East, believing government can somehow magically be “limited,” sneering at the Jefferson/Washington foreign policy of being wary of ”entangling alliances,” warning of an imminent invasion of the United States by the latest Hitler fabrication (“ISIS”).     That’s the latest from establishment “libertarian” Richard Epstein writing for the neocon Hoover Institution.  (Once you’re there at the Hoover Web site you may enjoy the dozens of articles by George Schultz and former Clinton Defense Secretary William Perry arguing for sending American troops to the Balkans, siding with Ukraine and possibly starting a war with Russia, and doubling, tripling, and quadrupling the U.S. nuclear arsenal.  Typical Hoover Institution stuff).

7:41 am on September 4, 2014

George Orwell’s Insight

“Everywhere the world movement seems to be in the direction of centralised economies which can be made to ‘work’ in an economic sense but which are not democratically organised and which tend to establish a caste system. With this go the horrors of emotional nationalism and a tendency to disbelieve in the existence of objective truth because all the facts have to fit in with the words and prophecies of some infallible fuhrer. Already history has in a sense ceased to exist, ie. there is no such thing as a history of our own times which could be universally accepted, and the exact sciences are endangered as soon as military necessity ceases to keep people up to the mark. Hitler can say that the Jews started the war, and if he survives that will become official history. He can’t say that two and two are five, because for the purposes of, say, ballistics they have to make four. But if the sort of world that I am afraid of arrives, a world of two or three great superstates which are unable to conquer one another, two and two could become five if the fuhrer wished it. That, so far as I can see, is the direction in which we are actually moving, though, of course, the process is reversible.”

Orwell is pointing out a problem with government power and centralization that is still relatively unrecognized: political leaders have the power to create realities by their words, statements, pronouncements, orders, laws and speeches. When Obama keeps repeating that Russia has invaded Ukraine and this is a moment of testing for Europe and the U.S., he creates a reality. Objective truth is obscured and can be made to disappear by powerful leaders of states who lead. There are several reasons for this. Political leaders dominate the airwaves; they get free time whenever they want it in order to make news. It is very costly for others to rebut them and show that what they are saying is false, because the leaders control information. Serious rebuttal by an enterprise of major media causes the government to marginalize that enterprise and undermine it. These leaders have influence over the masses who respond to appeals that the leaders make. In short, the mere fact that political leaders lead is a big negative of any government that is centralized, as most are. Since the leaders create reality, they can overcome the limitations placed on them by methods of limited government. They overcome and exploit the holes in any legal document such as a constitution, and all documents have such holes.

The demand for political leadership and government arises with the expectation that it can be controlled and that it will deliver some social goods. This is a vain hope, as no method of control has ever been found to control monopoly power in the hands of leaders and government. As soon as leaders lead, they create new realities that augment their powers and achieve their own aims. The people may want 2 + 2 to equal 4, but sooner or later they will be told that 2 + 2 = 5, and they will believe it because they accept the authority of the government and competing voices are drowned out, destroyed by government or marginalized.

7:35 am on September 4, 2014

Compromising on Taxes

Some still just don’t get it on taxes. For libertarians to say that the goal is no taxes and that they won’t compromise on that principle doesn’t mean that we oppose any tax cut that does not reduce taxes to zero. Any tax cut of any amount is good. The problem is that most conservatives don’t have the goal of no taxes. They think the state is entitled to some portion of our money.

6:48 am on September 4, 2014

Why Do Libertarians Pay Taxes?

It has nothing to do with the 16th Amendment, the tax code, any congressional legislation, or any federal law. Whenever I write about taxes (like I did today), I always get e-mails from those who say that most Americans do not really have to pay income taxes, the 16th Amendment is invalid, they haven’t paid any income taxes for 20 years, etc., etc., etc. Whether these things are true or not true is irrelevant. Libertarians pay taxes for the same reason that anyone turns over his money to a robber who points a gun at his head.

7:17 pm on September 3, 2014

Six Officers, Eighty Shots, and a Celebration

Jose Walter Garza, the 30-year-old homeless man who was killed by police outside a Laredo truck stop, was “armed” with a pellet gun, reports the New York Daily News. Five minutes after the police arrived, six officers opened fire, perforating Garza’s body. Investigator Joe Baeza refused to specify how many shots were fired. The victim’s family said that the killers fired at least eighty rounds.

Garza, who had been diagnosed with schizophrenia, was shot so many times “he had no face,” reported his cousin, Andrea Martinez.

The emotionally troubled man, who was receiving treatment (which, some would insist, is not particularly helpful, at best), had been arrested on dozens of previous occasions on a variety of charges.

“It’s unclear if any of the officers involved in the shooting had come in contact with Garza in the past,” observed the Daily News. If the officers had considered him to be a nuisance, this would explain both the overkill-level fusillade, and the celebratory fist-bump that punctuated the killing.

According to Baeza, the officers who carried out the execution have been “temporarily reassigned.”

2:55 pm on September 3, 2014

Fathers: Warn Your Daughters About the Warfare State

LRC contributor Gary D. Barnett shares his family’s experience, which underscores the moral responsibility of fathers to warn their children — even, or perhaps especially, their daughters — about the wiles of the Warfare State and the cynical flesh-peddlers called “recruiters.” His daughter’s story turned out far better than many others:

I thought I would tell you about my daughter, who against my advice, joined the Air Force Reserves after 9/11. She was told that she would only have to do one weekend a month, and her two weeks once a year. She was also told (promised) that she would not be deployed at any time to an active duty assignment and would never be sent overseas. She was at that time the mother of two young children and no husband.

I told her that the military and the government were completely untrustworthy and liars. I told her they would take her away from her children without thought. She did not believe me, even though I had been drafted during Vietnam and refused to go overseas to kill innocents. Not long after she enlisted, she was sent to 4 consecutive overseas assignments. The first was to England to guard the airbase where U.S. And British bombers were flying out of in order to destroy Iraq. That of course was in 2003. She was next deployed to Turkey, and then directly to Masirah Island just south of Oman and not far off the coast of Yemen. She was literally put in a foxhole on the perimeter and not allowed to have any ammunition for her weapon. Her last assignment was Baghdad, a major warzone at the time. That was of course very dangerous, but she survived.

Not only was she sent overseas away from her young children, but she was put into an active war zone as well. The life of her children or her was never considered of course. Only monsters could send young women with children to die for their political desires.

I was able finally to persuade her to leave the military, and now she has become a business owner. She was fortunate not to have been harmed given the circumstances, but hopefully she learned a valuable lesson, and can pass that on to others.

Parents cannot force children to make sound decisions, but we are morally obliged to tell them the truth. For nearly a decade the Pentagon has identified parental resistance as one of its chief obstacles to recruitment, which is why the Pentagon has dramatically expanded its efforts to insinuate recruitment propaganda into mass entertainment (particularly professional sports) and to depict enlistment as an educational and economic opportunity.

Where enticement and peer pressure are unavailing, recruiters are quite capable of resorting to threats and extortion:

Fathers, tell your daughters to avoid military recruiters just as they would any other predatory males. They’re only interested in using their bodies for a short time, then discarding them.

1:22 pm on September 3, 2014

Walter Block Explains Ron Paul’s Three Planks

By Luis Rivera III

This is an interesting flashback to Ron Paul’s 2012′s run for the presidency. Here, Dr. Walter Block goes over Ron Paul’s platform, his nature and his economic views. He also compares Ron Paul with those who ran against him within the GOP (Republican Party). He speaks about how the political climate in 2012 was friendlier to Paul’s view than the climate when he ran in 2008. This and much more in this video:

Walter Block On Ron Paul

9:44 am on September 3, 2014

Government Caused iCloud Security Breach

Writes John Seiler:

It was government “back doors” that were exploited by hackers in the iCloud security breach, according to Wired:

“The fact that Apple isn’t complicit in law enforcement’s use of Elcomsoft’s for surveillance doesn’t make the tool any less dangerous, argues Matt Blaze, a computer science professor at the University of Pennsylvania and frequent critic of government spying methods. ‘What this demonstrates is that even without explicit backdoors, law enforcement has powerful tools that might not always stay inside law enforcement,’ he says. ‘You have to ask if you trust law enforcement. But even if you do trust law enforcement, you have to ask whether other people will get access to these tools, and how they’ll use them.’”

8:18 am on September 3, 2014

An Open Letter to the FBI

Dear FBI:

It’s been all over the news the past few days that the cell phones of the Hollywood actress Jennifer Lawrence and quite a few other Hollywood luminaries have been hacked, and the naked selfies they had taken of themselves put up on the internet.  It has also been reported in the news that the FBI is investigating and is determined to track down the culprit.

I believe it is my civic duty to inform you that I think I know who the culprit is.  Perhaps you no longer get the Washington Post or New York Times due to all those “budget cuts” I keep reading about, but it was reported there a couple of years ago that the National Security Agency (NSA) has hacked into EVERYONE’s cell phone — even people in other countries.  So if you want to know who has secretly and illegally stolen naked pictures of movie actresses — or anyone else — I recommend that you contact the NSA.  After that, if I were you, I would then investigate the TSA.  It’s hard to believe, but I’ve heard rumors that they have been taking naked “x-ray” pictures of people at airports.

 

A Concerned Citizen

7:39 am on September 3, 2014