LRC Blog

Marc Victor on the American Police State

9:52 am on August 15, 2014

911: Is The Truth Found Behind the Curtain of Lies?

Once again the intrepid Russ Baker, with his LRC article, Putting A 9/11 Mystery On The Ballot, demonstrates why he is one of America’s leading cutting edge investigative journalists determined to get at the truth of important matters effecting the course of events. As a powerful follow-up watch this C-SPAN interview of architect Richard Gage where he talked about his group, Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth, which claimed that the World Trade Center was brought down by explosive demolition on September 11, 2001. The group was founded in 2006 and said its mission was to “expose the official lies and cover-up surrounding the events of September 11, 2001 in a way that inspires the people to overcome denial and understand the truth.” Mr. Gage spoke via video link from San Francisco, California.

6:19 am on August 15, 2014

“Outside Agitators” in Ferguson

Cop and K9

During a less-than-demanding interview with Fox News coiffure model Sean Hannity, Chief Thomas Jackson of the Ferguson, Missouri Police Department blamed “a lot of outside agitators” for the looting and other violence that has spun off from protests over the killing of Michael Brown. Neither Hannity nor Ferguson mentioned the role of influences outside of Ferguson or the State of Missouri in facilitating the hyper-aggressive violence of the town’s police department.

Ferguson is a town of about 21,000 people — two-thirds of whom are black — has an unremarkable violent crime rate (thefts are regrettably plentiful there) and — as the world has seen — a police department that has received the full panoply of military toys and battlefield-grade weapons.

Although it has been armed to the gills through the Pentagon’s 1033 program, the police department has no functional dashcams or body cameras to record “interactions” with the public; the department has received that hardware, but hasn’t gotten around to using it. It’s all a matter of priorities: Military-grade armaments and equipment can enhance officer safety, while video recorders can imperil the career security of abusive police officers. And as the treatment of journalists, both foreign and domestic, by Ferguson police demonstrates, police in that jurisdiction — as elsewhere — are very concerned about the threats posed by video recording devices in the hands of Mundanes.

Federal officials are not the only “outside” influences contributing to the militarization of the Ferguson PD. Three years ago, then-St. Louis County Police Chief Timothy Fitch was one of dozens of police officials who traveled to Israel on a training junket sponsored by the so-called Anti-Defamation League. While there, the officers were “briefed by senior members of the Israel National Police as well as officials from the Israel Defense Forces and Intelligence/Security organizations.”

Fitch pointed out that his police agency, whose jurisdiction includes Ferguson, “currently houses the St. Louis Terrorism Early Warning (TEW) group, which is the region’s fusion center serving the city of St. Louis and seven counties in Missouri and Illinois.”

A “fusion center” is a Homeland Security soviet that consolidates law enforcement, military, and intelligence operations. It serves as both a collection point and local control node for the Regime’s surveillance and internal security system. Fusion centers also play an important role in indoctrinating “local” police about domestic “threats” as identified by groups such as the ADL and the group calling itself the Southern Poverty Law Center. The notorious 2009 report identifying the “modern militia movement” as the leading “domestic terrorism” threat was the product of the Missouri Information Analysis Center, which operates through a fusion center in that state. More than fifty of those entities pockmark the American landscape like syphilitic sores.

Significantly, many of the Ferguson residents peacefully protesting the killing of Michael Brown have expressed contempt for the soi-disant Reverend Al Sharpton, whose presence is good and sufficient evidence that the powers behind the scenes have set the spin cycle to “race agitate.” Sharpton, as was recently revealed, is not merely an “outside agitator,” but also a federal snitch.

Now that the federalized “local” police in Ferguson have become a liability, the Feds have decided to cut out the middleman: The FBI has now been given operational command, which means that the city is now under tender care of the same agency responsible for the murders at Ruby Ridge and the holocaust at Mt. Carmel.

5:37 pm on August 14, 2014

Audio Debate: Walter Block vs. Robert Wenzel

By Luis Rivera III

Part one of a debate between austro-libertarian author and professor Walter Block and Robert Wenzel from economicpolicyjournal.com. This, part one is a debate on intellectual property (IP).

Wenzel-Block

1:40 pm on August 14, 2014

Can We Talk?

That’s what comedian Joan Rivers used to say when, in her typical “I’m-not-gonna-bullshit-you” way, would say something that everyone knows is true but won’t say it.

Question:  How is justice served for the family and friends of the unarmed black teenager who was recently executed on the street by thuggish and murderous Ferguson, Missouri cops by black “protesters” who smash the windows of department stores to steal wide-screen TVs in preparation for the upcoming NFL season?  After all, it wasn’t the manager of the local Wal-Mart who did the shooting according to news reports.

Just asking.

8:19 am on August 14, 2014

The Most Wanted Man In The World

Read James Bamford’s fascinating detailed profile of NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, “The Most Wanted Man in the World.

6:32 am on August 14, 2014

a nice letter, and my response

—–Original Message—–
From: Johnson, Eric, Mr, DCAA [mailto:Eric.Johnson@dcaa.mil]
Sent: Thu 7/24/2014 9:30 AM
To: wblock@loyno.edu
Subject: you are the man!

Dr. Block,

I hope emails such as this are more than clutter for your inbox. I simply wanted to thank you. I thank you for your ongoing efforts in the name of liberty. I can scarcely find a topic within economics or libertarianism which you have not thoroughly illuminated.

We’ve only met once, briefly. But your tireless works flourish all over the internet, and you’ve impacted my life far more than you could ever know.

I admire you. I thank you. I encourage you to never quit!

Eric

—–Original Message—–
From: Walter Block
Sent: Thu 7/24/2014 12:03 PM
To: Johnson, Eric, Mr, DCAA
Subject: RE: you are the man!

Dear Eric:

Thanks. Your letter made my day. I have no intention of quitting. When and if I reach 90 years of age, I’ll seriously consider retiring from my job at Loyola. But never in life from promoting Austrian economics and libertarianism.

Best regards,

Walter

(more…)

9:39 pm on August 13, 2014

some interesting questions, and my responses

From:
Sent: Saturday, August 02, 2014 11:47 AM
To: wblock@loyno.edu
Subject: A few interesting questions (and maybe some not as interesting)

Hi Professor Block,

I¹m immersing myself in the libertarian and Austrian arguments and I¹ve really enjoyed your YouTube videos. I’ve been very impressed with your arguments, both in the intellectual explanations and your Hamish way of delivery. Rather than spending a bunch of paragraphs praising you, I wanted to address a couple of areas that I questioned so you can hopefully provide some insight. For purposes of disclosure, I consider myself a minarchist that would be delighted to see an anarchist society come about.

1. Since the anarcho position towards criminal law focusses on compensation of the victim as opposed to punishment by the state, you’ve made the point that relatives could generally sue the perpetrator through free market arbitration and, in the case of the noble concentration camp guard, you posited the idea of being subject to the death penalty if a relative of any victim elects that option. Instead of Focusing on the logistical arguments, I am more interested in your reasoning why a relative has automatic property rights on the dead victim. While I agree there is an emotional connection and would agree that minor children can claim a financial loss, would the same hold true for parents, siblings, and more distant relatives? If a person only owns himself, would the rights of a relative only exist if the person willed them or does a non-dependent relative have an inherent right? Can the right to request anything more than financial compensation (eg. the death penalty) be assigned to anyone else but the victim?

<<in my work on reparations I assume that the parents will hand over their property to their children. Can you think of a better assumption? I can’t.

2. I’m sure you hear this often but I don’t understand why libertarians are so hostile to small government conservatives. I’ve heard your arguments that you tend to agree with liberals on 2 of the 3 legs of the stool (foreign policy and social issues) yet you feel more a kinship with conservatives. I also believe that there is much more of an alignment between libertarians and most non-Washington conservatives however I see the “establishment” libertarian (I apologize for putting those two words together) group to be viciously hostile towards conservatives and overly tolerant towards liberals. Since I see libertarians are often vicious with each other over minor disagreements, I dismiss it all as intra family arguments but I find it odd that libertarians spend more time attacking Ted Cruz than we do Nancy Pelosi. As much as admire you, I can’t reconcile the fact that I’ve heard you say you hate Milton Friedman but never heard you say you hate Barrack Obama.

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9:09 pm on August 13, 2014

letter from a worried libertarian, and my response

From:
Sent: Tuesday, July 15, 2014 10:15 PM
To: wblock@loyno.edu
Subject: Requesting Your Opinion

Dear Walter Block,
I am emailing you for a couple of reasons. The first reason is to tell you that I think you’re absolutely wonderful. I do not take any of your classes, but I am a student of yours. I have watched many of your lectures, interviews, and debates. I have also read in whole or in part some of your books and articles. I consider you to be one of the great libertarians, with the likes of Rothbard and Ayn Rand. Apart from libertarian greatness, I must compliment you on the way that you handle yourself when dealing with intellectual foes. You generally do not speak out of turn, act rude, or engage in character attacks even when such tactics have been deployed upon you. If more people followed your example, a genuine exchange of ideas could happen more often and with better results.

The second part of my email has to do with a personal matter. I’m faced with a dilemma and would consider your opinion to be valuable. As a preface I will inform you that I am an anarchist in the truest since and hold that government is evil even at its smallest capacity. My issue is internal, as I have had aspirations of becoming a firefighter, which have existed before finding the truth that is anarchism. My problem with the fire department is not so much that it is governmental as it is with some of the duties that may be required with the job. I am concerned about having to do things that go against the NAP such as enforcing a fire code or getting policemen involved in the lives of others. I have put some work in towards becoming a firefighter and I am currently working in the 911 system as an EMT. The trouble is, is that to make good money in this field (at least in California), one’s options are mostly limited to joining a fire department, where values of anarchist principles might be tested. I’m doubtful and nervous about which steps I should take in the future. I’m open to hearing whatever thoughts you may have about the information I’ve shared with you. Thank you for your time.
Sincerely,

(more…)

9:02 pm on August 13, 2014

Lauren Bacall

a career in clips. (Thanks to Ralph Raico)

12:50 pm on August 13, 2014

Ron Paul: Get Out of Iraq Now!

11:53 am on August 13, 2014

Apparently, McGruff the Crime Dog Hasn’t Sniffed This One Out

I’m sure you’ll be as relieved as I to learn Our Rulers’ plans for protecting us from the latest crime-wave. It seems “criminals are smuggling an estimated $30 billion in U.S. currency into Mexico each year from the United States.” Yes. Those dead bodies you see everywhere, all that blood and gore, the looted homes, the kidnapped children — at least it’s easy to follow the trail of these desperadoes. So we may well question why Leviathan needs “a portable device that identifies specific vapors given off by U.S. paper money” to foil these psychos. Oh, wait: how could we be so stupid? Hundreds of millions more of our taxes in grants to the scientists developing this gizmo as well as to its manufacturer: that’s why the bureaucratic regime “needs” it.

Unfortunately, this invention is still in development. So until it hits the marketplace, you’re on your own when it comes to protecting yourself. You may want to also ask with Mark Luedtke, who sent me this story, “How does one smuggle money?” A corollary to that is, “Why should we have to?”

“But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same object, evinces a design to reduce them under absolute despotism, it is their right it is their duty, to throw off such government…”

9:19 am on August 13, 2014

George H. W. Bush: The S&L Backstory

Dale Steinreich’s informative, The Savings and Loan Debacle: Twenty-Five Years Later,” reveals much concerning the regulatory backstory of the 1980s S&L scandal. For more information on the wider financial intrigue behind the veiled curtain of the S&Ls, BCCI, and Nugan-Hand, watch the above two part interview with award-winning journalist Pete Brewton regarding his superbly researched book, The Mafia, CIA & George Bush, followed up with Russ Baker, Family of Secrets: The Bush Dynasty, The Powerful Forces That Put It In The White House, And What Their Influence Means For America; Russell S. Bowen, The Immaculate Deception: The Bush Crime Family Exposed; Penny Lernoux, In Banks We Trust: Bankers and Their Close Associates: The CIA, The Mafia, Drug Traders, Dictators, Politicians, and the Vatican; Nomi Prins, All the Presidents’ Bankers: The Hidden Alliances that Drive American Power; Jonathan Beaty and S. C. Gwynne, The Outlaw Bank: A Wild Ride into the Secret Heart of BCCI; James Ring Adams and Douglas Frantz, A Full Service Bank: How BCCI Stole Billions Around the World; and Jonathan Kwitny, The Crimes of Patriots: A True Tale of Dope, Dirty Money, and the CIA.

1:17 am on August 13, 2014

The Zapruder Film Mystery

Douglas P. Horne served on the staff of the Assassination Records Review Board and is the author of the five volume Inside the Assassination Records Review Board.

9:42 pm on August 12, 2014

When the Metric Imposition Was Defeated

Under Republican Gerald Ford, the US government tried to impose by force the metric system on all of American life. Scientists had earlier adopted it for themselves, and that was fine, but the French Revolutionary construct was alleged to be better than the ancient and humane foot, yard, pound, etc., even for commerce. (The creepy Jacobins also wanted to get rid of traditional month names and start over again with Year 1, and make the clock decimal.) For me, the high water mark of the US campaign was seeing signs on the highway indicating the distance in kilometers to the next city, and then in tiny numbers underneath, the distance in miles. But folks, it didn’t work. People refused to go along, to the continuing upset of the Progs. BTW, the French government had to return to old month names and year numbering, and never got away with decimal time, but tragically, they did succeed in abolishing the old weights and measures. And, of course, in committing mass murder of domestic dissidents and foreigners under the monster Bonaparte. Constructivism seems all of a piece.

5:04 pm on August 12, 2014

A War Crimes Court Flight of Fancy

Investigating war crimes costs money. So does getting depositions, bringing in witnesses, paying judges, and so on. Let’s imagine that Gates or Buffet or some billionaire placed war crimes (or even stopping wars) high on their agenda. That’s the flight of fancy right there. They could start a court and fund it themselves. They might even attract contributions from those who cared enough to see an independent court get going. They could even sell shares in such a court company. This court would do war crimes cases and pronounce verdicts. Its influence would be mainly moral because it could not inflict sentences, but it might have an effect on those bigwigs who are responsible for war crimes and it might alter public thinking about wars. The court would have no source of revenue, not unless it gained reputation and then opened subsidiaries to do other kinds of cases as a paying proposition.

So why haven’t some billionaires done this? It’s hard to imagine them biting the many state hands that feed them. It’s hard to imagine them doing anything as seriously anti-state as such a court would be, for it would challenge some of the conventionally accepted and assumed basic prerogatives of states. But this project requires the highest of integrity and independence from politics.

3:07 pm on August 12, 2014

States Do Not Routinely Prosecute War Crimes

Who tries war criminals? Various bodies exist or are convened, but these institutions are either temporary or, if permanent, haven’t established themselves as having teeth. The Hague and Geneva Conventions leave the handling of war crimes up to individual states, but they have little or no incentive to discover and prosecute war crimes committed by their own forces as a routine matter of justice. Consequently, war crimes are crimes that frequently fall between the cracks.

Three recent examples of war crimes follow, and these are by no means all that could be listed over the past 1-2 years. The first is by U.S. forces in Afghanistan. This is from an Amnesty International report:

“The U.S. military has systematically covered up or disregarded ‘abundant and compelling evidence’ of war crimes, torture, and unlawful killings in Afghanistan as recently as last year, according to a report by Amnesty International published today in Kabul.”

(more…)

12:09 pm on August 12, 2014

To Provoke and Suppress: The Military Occupation of Ferguson, Missouri

War Zone

“Bring it, you f*****g animals! Bring it!” taunted a tonsured thug in the employ of the Ferguson, Missouri Police Department during protests over the police killing of 18-year-old Michael Brown. According to Dorian Johnson, who witnessed the killing from just a few feet away, the incident began when a still-unidentified officer hurled a similar taunt at the two of them from a patrol car.

“Get the f**k on the sidewalk!” the officer reportedly snarled at the young men from his patrol vehicle. Johnson told the officer that they had nearly arrived at his home, which was their destination. The officer then slammed on his brakes, threw his vehicle into reverse — nearly hitting the pedestrians, and growled, “What’d you say?”

According to Johnson’s account, the cop began to exit his vehicle, but his door slammed into Brown. At roughly the same time, the uniformed assailant grabbed the terrified 18-year-old by his neck. As Brown tried to escape, Johnson testifies, the officer repeatedly sneered, “I’m gonna shoot you.”

The first of several gunshots rang out a few seconds later. Brown and Johnson turned and fled. The officer fired a second shot at the fleeing victims, hitting Brown, who fell to the ground with his hands in the air, pleading: “I don’t have a gun — stop shooting!” The assailant fired several more shots, killing the unarmed teenager outside an apartment complex. His body was left about 35 feet from the vehicle, surrounded by empty casings from the officer’s gun. Brown was unarmed.

Police officials are peddling the claim that Brown supposedly “assaulted” his killer and attempted to grab the officer’s gun. Eyewitnesses, particularly Johnson, dispute that claim. Even if this were true, however, Johnson’s account would indicate that Brown acted in self-defense, seeking to disarm someone who had threatened to shoot him without cause. There is no dispute that Brown was unarmed and attempting to surrender when he was fatally shot.

A crowd that gathered at the scene of the killing grew into a protest that extended through Saturday evening, and a protest march the following day. More than 100 officers from 15 police agencies converged on the neighborhood to confront the protesters. One officer described the scene as a “war zone.” A group of violent people group hived off from the protests and attacked local businesses, including a QuickTrip convenience store. Predictably, the riot police who had assembled to “restore order” by suppressing the protests did nothing to protect private property. That role was carried out by local businessmen bearing arms in their own defense.

Many black residents of Ferguson regard themselves as living under a military occupation, subject to the whims of violent, uniformed strangers who can detain, abduct, or kill them on a whim. The reported behavior of the officer who killed Michael Brown — and the documented behavior of the officer who was caught on film taunting the protesters — would tend to validate that perception.

10:42 am on August 12, 2014

Ukraine Messing with Capital Investments

It’s the exceptional state that treats capital in economically enlightened ways that promote capital accumulation. If they are like the U.S., they pass law after law and regulation after regulation that cause capital accumulation to stall, the result being stagnation or even deterioration in living standards. So, what does the new government in Ukraine do? It messes with existing contracts for the passage of natural gas through Ukraine. It does this under cover of calling the proposed new law “sanctions” against Russia. That’s a fabrication. But I wonder how the lenders at the IMF feel about these steps toward state control over gas transportation or the breaking of contracts with Russian companies. This is another step toward creating a hostile environment for capital investment in Ukraine and trade, the first one that I noted yesterday was a steep increase in taxes on the natural gas industry.

“Ukraine said on Monday that European energy companies would have to agree [to] major contract revisions when purchasing Russian natural gas if parliament approved imposing sanctions on Gazprom.”

This sort of action is definitely the wrong way to improve Ukraine’s economy: by inserting the force of the state into a major industry, by disrupting existing contracts, and by making potential investors in Ukraine doubt how secure their property rights will be. Along the way, Ukraine will be wanting to extract higher taxes on transportation through Ukrainian territory.

9:18 am on August 12, 2014

Did ‘Non-Interventionists’ Drink the ‘Bomb Iraq’ Kool-Aid?

Why are so many of those who call themselves “non-interventionist” suddenly jumping on the “bomb Iraq” bandwagon with the latest dose of US government propaganda about the critical need to “save the Kurds”? Do people really believe the US government is telling the truth this time and, more importantly, that bombs will solve the problem?

How strange that humanitarian catastrophes of a much larger scale are taking place currently in Syria, Ukraine, Gaza, and elsewhere and the US government is totally silent or even hostile to those who seek to help! Not to mention the half-million Christians already cleansed from Iraq under US occupation. Might it have something to do with oil? Israel? Neocons striking back? Yes, yes, and yes!

I am so thrilled to have been invited on the Tom Woods Show today to discuss this and more:

10:14 pm on August 11, 2014

Robin Williams, RIP

It is a sad coincidence that as I was writing a blog for this morning’s LRC, actor Robin Williams had – unbeknownst to me – just committed suicide. Williams had created a number of great films, my favorite being the Dead Poets Society, to which I had referred in my blog. The death of truly creative men and women is always distressing.

I have no way of knowing with what inner turmoil Williams struggled that led him to this tragic end. The culture in which we live encourages our seeking meaning in life by attaching ourselves to such external values as fame, wealth, and power. Rather than finding purpose within ourselves, through qualities we are better able to direct, most of us have been conditioned to seek it by satisfying the expectations of outside forces. Whether he was struggling with such concerns will only be known to his family and close friends. It would be sad to discover that a man whose works had helped so many to explore the inner, spiritual side of our being, was unable to find it for himself.

7:41 pm on August 11, 2014

The War Photo No One Would Publish

The War Photo No One Would Publish.

As with this earlier photo which was indeed published and became the most famous image of an earlier American imperial exercise in genocide, one picture screams a thousand words concerning the insanity of war. I met the subject of this latter searing image many years ago. The State and its craven regime media fear Kim Phuc as a living witness testifying to the horrific reality of war. They hate for her enduring courage and dedication towards stopping what happened to her from ever happening to other children. Therefore they will do everything in their diabolic power to suppress similar images which slice through the execrable banalities and manufactured lies of war. 

UPDATE: An alert LRC reader forwarded me this poignant account of Kim Phuc sharing her message of peace and reconciliation in the face of ever increasing war: “We cannot change history, but with love we can heal the future.”

5:53 pm on August 11, 2014

Let My People Go

Watch and read Chris Hedges’ impassioned words concerning the continued trials and tribulations of the people of Gaza by their Israeli occupiers and oppressors.

 

4:47 pm on August 11, 2014

What Does Ron Paul Think About Anarchism?


(Thanks to Jeff Berwick)

3:47 pm on August 11, 2014

What Kind of State is the U.S. Supporting in Ukraine?

The U.S. supports states for hegemonic reasons of power and dominance, not for the lofty reasons of democracy, freedom and humanitarianism that it spreads in order to soothe the public and editorial writers. In Ukraine, for example, the U.S. is supporting a government that is attacking its own people in force in eastern Ukraine. And this same government catalyzed the breakaway movement itself, both through dislodging the previous government by force, as stimulated by the U.S., and then by promulgating edicts against the Russian language.

The notion that the new government would adopt enlightened free market policies and improve Ukraine’s economy is contradicted by its new tax code. The government of Ukraine has just instituted a new tax code that raises taxes sharply on natural gas producers. This surely discourages the attraction of capital to that industry, long thought to be a critical factor in Ukraine’s economic problems. This tax makes oil and mining energy sources more attractive, benefiting crony oil magnates who lobbied for raising the tax on gas.

All governments are the same in being the vehicles or receptacles of special interests.

1:22 pm on August 11, 2014

Cold Winter for Central Europe?

I am on RT discussing Ukraine’s threat to cut off Russian gas to European markets. The US seems eager to do anything in its anti-Russia frenzy, even demanding that Europeans freeze this winter without Russian gas. Poland, Bulgaria, and the Baltics get nearly 100 percent of their natural gas supplies from Russia. Do they expect a bailout from Brussels?

11:16 am on August 11, 2014

Music to My Inner Ears

Michael: You recent articles on the importance of music brings to mind my long-held recognition of the correlation between the study of law and a background in music. The connection, I believe, lies in the right-brain’s appreciation for the language of music. Sadly, the study of law is now dominated by such left-brain attributes as logic, reason, and linear thinking – all worthwhile qualities, except when standing alone without the emotional, spiritual, and intuitive voices being heard. Various composers and students of music – including the renowned symphonic conductor, Fritz Reiner – had the study of law as part of their intellectual development. One of my professors in law school was fond of bringing to our attention that the Chicago Symphony would be performing a particular work on the upcoming weekend, and asking if any would care to join him in attendance.

In this age of careerism and other tunnel-vision expressions of what learning should be about, students and schools alike are content to keep their minds focused on only those questions that might appear on a bar-exam. Students may graduate with knowledge of legal principles and concepts, but too often without an understanding of them. The model of helping students learn how to think – rather than teaching them what to think – was at the core of the film Dead Poets Society. This approach, which was still very much alive in my student days in law school, was reflected in the 19th century work of Paul Bonnefon, for whom the study of law was “a sort of search for truth, carried on by teacher and student in common, and which they feverishly undertook, opening up an endless field for philosophic speculation.” What meaning can be discovered in a mind that insists on anesthetizing its right-brain?

10:40 am on August 11, 2014

Humanitarian Killers

Just how utterly confused and contradictory U.S. governmental policies are can be seen in the spectacle of American planes dropping bombs on people in Iraq while, at the same time, dropping food, water, and other “humanitarian” aid to persons victimized by the consequences of the post-9/11 insanity loosed, by Washington, upon that country. I am reminded of those World War II photos of American soldiers distributing candy to the children of towns destroyed by the war-system. “Hey, kid, I know that our bombers and artillery have leveled your village, and that the rest of your family may be buried beneath tons of rubble, but here, have a Hershey-bar!”

Efforts by the media to reconcile the contradictions that statism always produces might be greatly improved by bringing into the charade those well-known Marxists, . . . Groucho, Harpo, and Chico. So, too, might the 19th century poet, William Thackeray, be updated to include members of the 21st century media in his criticism of the poets and historians of his age who romanticized war:
And ever since historian writ,
And ever since a bard did sing,
Doth each exalt with all his wit
The noble art of murdering.

9:41 am on August 11, 2014

Shakespeare Said the Same About Music

Thanks to Caryl Johnston for alerting me to a passage from The Merchant of Venice (Act 1, scene 1) in which Shakespeare affirms that a test of a man’s character rests on his feelings toward music:

“Therefore the poet
Did feign that Orpheus drew trees, stones, and floods
Since naught so stockish, hard, and full of rage,
But music for the time doth change his nature.
The man that hath no music in himself,
Nor is not moved with concord of sweet sounds,
Is fit for treasons, stratagems, and spoils.
The motions of his spirit are dull as night,
And his affections dark as Erebus.
Let no such man be trusted. Mark the music.”

(more…)

8:58 am on August 11, 2014

Is Open Source Software Development Sexist?

Individualist feminist libertarian Wendy McElroy has written this touching article on The Daily Bell that includes a letter to her late father. In the article McElroy responds to claims by the “thick” or “humanitarian” libertarians and other do-gooders that the open source software development community is biased in favor of white males. It seems that there are hardly any minorities or women contributing to such geek work. But McElroy states that she is considering leaving the Liberty movement because of these accusations of open source bigotry as the last straw. (Is it that bad? I mean, are those “humanitarian” libertarians really that obnoxious that they could drive out someone as prominent in modern libertarianism as Wendy McElroy? I hope not.)

And frankly, I also resent being called “brutal” merely for believing that libertarianism is about self-ownership and non-aggression, and that the concerns regarding racism and sexism are sociological issues irrelevant to libertarianism. And to me, “brutal” is generally a physical description, as in “police brutality.”

But if there aren’t really that many females participating in the open source software industry, then that is by choice. There are no restrictions or barriers against females in that area that I know of. Sadly, many women just happen to prefer to go shopping at Macy’s and thumb through Glamour Magazine than be concerned with learning code and participating in software development. That’s just the way it is.

But I hope that Wendy McElroy doesn’t abandon the cause of Liberty just because of a few insecure, self-righteous PC stasi. I know I won’t.

8:24 am on August 11, 2014
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