LRC Blog

“Is Donald Trump a Disaster for Libertarianism?”

I debated my friend Bob Wenzel on this issue here.

5:34 pm on May 26, 2019

Defending the Crony Capitalist in Defending the Undefendable III?

(If anyone else has any suggestions for this book, which I’m now working on, please send them to me)

Letter 1

From: E

Sent: Monday, February 04, 2019 6:58 AM

To: wblock@loyno.edu

Subject: Defending the undefendable

Dear Professor Block,

I have always enjoyed your series defending the undefendable, and have spent some time thinking of a subject I’ve yet to see in the series. I was wondering your opinion on it.

Defending the Crony Capitalist. Blasphemy I know, but I don’t think it’s as bad as many libertarians might think.

The Crony Capitalist is a business man. He is expected to lower costs, increase efficiency and ultimately profits. Sometimes a business man has to let things go, employees, property, machinery. Sometimes their best move to acquire new properties, tooling or machinery to be able to maximize the profit of their business. If a business man shopping for a new competitive advantage happens across a politician who is offering themselves for sale, why should that business man ignore the potential favorable contracts or legislation might have?

The politician who swears an oath, that means as much to them as an unsigned contract would to Spooner, might offer their position in government to help pass favorable legislation or provide no bid contracts and is the person who is acting immoral in a Crony Capitalist business and state transaction.

The business man never pretended to be acting in favor of anyone but their business, they had never sworn any oath to anyone. The politician swore an oath, told others that they were looking out for their best interest, they promised to represent their constituents.

The business man did nothing wrong. The politician is a scumbag.

Now, I am no academic, and writing for the critique of a Professor let alone such an accomplished authors such as yourself is not something I do very often, so please forgive me for incoherent writing style, I should probably rewrite this. What’s really perplexing me is why I care more about your opinion than I ever did my own professors. So I hope this wasn’t to painful to read. I would really appreciate hearing your opinion on the subject.

With my upmost respect, Godspeed Doctor Block.

E

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5:32 pm on May 26, 2019

Ruling Out Abortions After Viability

My last blog titled “On the Right of a Fetus To Be Where It Is” suggested that a fetus, conceived normally and not by rape or incest or criminality, homesteads a space in its mother’s womb, thereby altering the female’s rights over her body. The discussion was limited to the times between conception (t(0)) and viability (t(v)) of the baby outside the womb.

In this theory, the unborn baby prior to t(v), being an innocent human being who has found and occupies a rightful space that the pregnant female didn’t herself sufficiently homestead so as to prevent pregnancy, gives no justifiable cause to the pregnant female for aborting. Doing so would kill the baby, violating the unborn’s newly-won life. The current blog applies this thinking to times between t(v) and the time of birth (t(b)). In any of these times, the baby may be removed from the womb and the rest of its growth process successfully finished outside. That is the definition of viability. Unless noted, we are considering babies conceived normally, and not criminally through rape or incest or impregnating children.

The womb-homesteading libertarian theory views abortion before t(v) as a violation of the non-aggression principle, because it kills the unborn baby who has found a rightful place alive in this world. Such killing is ruled out as unjustifiable or murder. The very same rule applies to times that come after t(v) (again for normal conceptions). Any procedure that results in the baby’s death or injury violates its homesteading of its own body. If this is true prior to t(v), it is no less true after t(v) when the unborn baby is even older and more fully developed.
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4:50 pm on May 26, 2019

Dr. Warren Farrell on the Crisis Among Young Boys and Men in the U.S.

Boys have anywhere from 3-4 times the suicide rate of girls, a higher school dropout rate, and higher opioid abuse rate. Look for a very strange cameo appearance from Jerome Powell of the Fed.

3:08 pm on May 26, 2019

California Governor Blames Tucker Carlson for Wrecking California (!!)

Hilarious. Goofball Gavin Newsom, blow-dried empty suit if ever there was one, shoots the messenger.

3:03 pm on May 26, 2019

Douglas Macgregor: Iran is No Threat to the U.S.

No evidence it recently attacked oil tankers. Trump should talk to Iran and quit taking the Sunni side of the Sunni-Shia war inside Islam.

2:57 pm on May 26, 2019

Reparations Already Occurred and Failed

The arguments against reparations for slavery and discrimination are overwhelming and one-sided. I’m referring to real-world reparations, not imaginary compensation for injustices impossible to identify and trace to people of today. Victims and oppressors can’t be identified. Race won’t do it. No one knows what justice is in this life or in this kind of situation. No one knows the extent of past and present oppression, the values involved or the remedies. No one knows how to relate today’s descendants to their long-dead oppressors. Most of today’s Americans have tenuous relations to such descendants, etc., etc., etc.

I don’t propose to list all the objections or to list all the quandaries reparations raise. I couldn’t do it if I tried. It’s safe to say that there are so many that the whole idea should be buried once and for all, yet the idea lives on in Democratic circles because it benefits Democrats.

Reparations are a boondoggle, a program sold as having value to achieve some goals but in reality having negative value for the American people as a whole. Democrats will attempt to “do” them (legislate them) if that boondoggle is the best one they can come up with that’s politically feasible within their party and to impose on taxpayers. Their goal will be to augment their own interests, not ours and not even of the racial constituencies whose injustices they purport to repair. Total skepticism is warranted about reparations as it should be warranted about the War on Poverty, the Great Society, the New Deal, the Green New Deal, the Fair Deal, and all such programs. They all perpetuate myths of improving American lives, society, social justice and other noble aims. They are all actually programs that are fraudulent, fraud-ridden, tawdry, inefficient, unjust, divisive, economically-retarded, wasteful, counter-productive and destructive. They are all communist, socialist and fascist in nature, combining bad and evil elements from all these totalitarian philosophies.

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8:40 am on May 26, 2019

Free Trade, Brexit

Letter 1

From: A
Sent: Saturday, February 09, 2019 4:11 AM
To: Walter Block <wblock@loyno.edu>
Subject: Effect of Brexit on the UK Financial Services Industry

To Mr Block,

I am doing a research report on how Brexit will affect the UK Financial services industry . What are your thoughts?

From A

Letter 2

On Sat, 9 Feb 2019, 19:52 Walter Block <wblock@loyno.edu wrote:

Dear A:

I’m pro Brexit. I think it will help the UK economy in general, certainly including the Financial services industry.

Best regards,

Walter

Letter 3

From: A
Sent: Saturday, February 09, 2019 2:45 PM
To: Walter Block <wblock@loyno.edu>
Subject: Re: Effect of Brexit on the UK Financial Services Industry

To Walter Block,

May I ask why? A PWC report says the UK would be hurt by a no deal Brexit.

Thanks

From A

Letter 4

From: Walter Block [mailto:wblock@loyno.edu] 
Sent: Saturday, February 09, 2019 12:48 PM
To: A
Subject: RE: Effect of Brexit on the UK Financial Services Industry

Dear A:

I’m a strong supporter of free trade. A no deal brexit would allow the uk to be entirely free trade with every other nation, if they wanted to do this.

Best regards, Walter

PS. What school do you go to?

Here is a bibliography on free trade:

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2:31 am on May 26, 2019

On the Right of a Fetus To Be Where It Is

Walter Block has deployed considerable intellectual ingenuity and creativity in developing, elaborating and defending his libertarian theory of abortion, known as evictionism. My blog titled “Unborn Babies Aren’t Trespassers” aired 5 arguments or objections to the theory, but offered no alternative libertarian theory of abortion. This blog provides such a theory. Other non-libertarian arguments can be cited that bear on abortion. The responsibility argument is important. Perhaps the latter can be recast in libertarian terms, but I do not take that opportunity. The discussion here is limited to well-known libertarian ideas.

I will argue that a fetus has a right to be where it is, in the womb, except for cases like rape and incest where it has no such right. I will not argue that the female has invited the fetus into her womb or that she has made an implicit contract. Block has effectively disposed of these arguments elsewhere. I will not argue that the pregnant woman has a positive obligation.
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3:08 pm on May 25, 2019

Elite Theory: Gaetano Mosca and Vilfredo Pareto


This brief video presentation is a concise introduction to the pioneering ideas of Gaetano Mosca and Vilfredo Pareto in reference to power elite theory. To place their ideas and concepts in historical context, see my Who Rules America: Power Elite Analysis, the Deep State, and American History.

Two highly recommended volumes dealing with this crucial topic are: David M. Hart, Gary Chartier, Ross Miller Kenyon, and Roderick T. Long, ed., Social Class and State Power: Exploring an Alternative Radical Tradition; and James Burnham, The Machiavellians: Defenders of Freedom (.pdf)

9:26 pm on May 24, 2019

Faking It: How the Media Manipulates the World into War

Tulsi Gabbard on Syria False Flags and War With Iran (5.23.19)

OPCW investigator: chemical weapons manually placed in Douma. Bibi and Saudi are pushing the U.S. into war with Iran.

9:59 pm on May 23, 2019

Advice on Economic Careers

Dear D: You ask, “… is it really worth all the trouble for me to play the university’s games and get a degree?”

My friend Tom Woods has asked me to respond to this letter of yours. First, let me say that I share your admiration for Tom. If there were a Tom Woods fan club, I’d join, with alacrity. I, too, have learned, and greatly so, from him.

Now to answer your question.

Is it worth it? It all depends upon your goal, and your taste for risk. If want to be a college professor and have a low taste for risk, then it is ABSOLUTELY IMPERATIVE that  you play the academic game: get your bacheolor’s degree, and then the phd.

You will not be able to get a job teaching at a university without a phd. Yes, you will have a hard row to hoe at your present university. I imagine that none of your econ professors have even heard of Austrian economics; on the rare occasion they have, either they think it has something to do with the economics of that country in Europe, or they hate and revile it, dismissing it as a cult. But, the glass is always half full. There is benefit in learning mainstream economics. If you want to criticize it from an Austrian point of view, you must, first, learn it. (Also, I suggest you stay in the Austrian closet for as long as you can bear it; most neoclassical profs will not be tickled pink hearing devastating critiques of their views from the praxeological perspective.) Happily, though, now, you can get your phd in economic with a strong Austrian flavor at several universities. When you get to that stage, do get back to me for further suggestions.

On the other hand, if you have a high taste for risk, and want to earn a living as an Austrian economist (not as a university professor!), you could quit school right now, and try to do so. I don’t recommend that at all. It will be a long uphill struggle (not that getting a phd is a piece of cake). You might have to support yourself as a waitor, or barrista, as do many would-be actors, while you continue writing from an Autrian point of view and try to pick up some consultancies, or via a blog, like Tom. I really, really recommend against this course of action.

Also, do not turn up your nose at “biotech or astronomy.” My undergrad degree, at Brooklyn College, also had a liberal arts program. I was forced to take physics, chemistry, biology, history, literature, etc., etc. Tom Woods is not a narrow economist. His interest range widely over history (his phd), economics of course, but also, philosophy, politics, law, science, etc. Tom’s and my mentor, Murray Rothbard, was if anything, even more wide ranging. There was scarcely a field about which Murray was ignorant.

If you find this response insufficient, please feel free to get back to me. Also, you may want to peruse this material:

July 24-30, 2011 Auburn, AL, Mises University; Debate with Gary North on higher education; http://mises.org/events/110;http://media.mises.org/mp3/MU2011/10_MisesU_20110726_Block.mp3http://media.mises.org/mp3/MU2011/27_MisesU_20110727_Block.mp3;http://media.mises.org/mp3/MU2011/16_MisesU_20110726_Block-North_Debate.mp3; https://archive.lewrockwell.com/blog/lewrw/archives/93031.html; http://www.garynorth.com/public/9121.cfm

Block, Walter E. 2008. “Attention Students: Should You Get Your Ph.D. and Become a Professor?” June 28; https://archive.lewrockwell.com/block/block104.html (contra Gary North)

Block, Walter E. 2012. “Contra Gary North,” June 1; https://archive.lewrockwell.com/blog/lewrw/archives/113384.html

Block, Walter E. 2012. “Contra Gary North,” June 1; (normative-positive; grad school) https://www.lewrockwell.com/lrc-blog/contra-gary-north/

Careers in Austrian Economics

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3:15 pm on May 23, 2019

Trump Wants 10K More Troops In The Middle East. For What?

12:23 pm on May 23, 2019

Big Name Media Support Coup #2

Coup #2 is the renewed attempt by Democrats to impeach Trump. The goals are political: Impair Republican victories in 2020, prevent the emergence of a revitalized Republican party adhering to Trump’s ideas, impair the Trump agenda, continue the Democratic agenda, reduce the power of this particular president, negate the outcome of the 2016 presidential election, deflect attention from the failure of coup #1, continue to act as if coup #1 found obstruction of justice, and parry Barr’s investigations of Democratic crimes.

The reasons for coup #2 are numerous and they all are strictly political. They all have to do with power, who will wield it and how they’ll use it. Democratic rationales for impeachment and coup #2 that invoke high-sounding reasons are ploys. Democrats are cunning in their attacks.

In coup #2, the big name media are repeating their alignment with Democrats that was so evident in coup #1.

Headlines in Google News and Google News itself, which gives a prominent position to the headlines coming from the big name media, show this. These media include The New York Times, The Washington Post, CNN and MSNBC.

A typically biased headline in The New York Times reads “Trump, Angered by ‘Phony’ Inquiries, Blows Up Meeting with Pelosi and Schumer”. Actually, Pelosi sabotaged the meeting by accusing Trump of a cover-up just prior to the meeting. The headline blames Trump and blames him for acting emotionally.

The Washington Post played impeachment and coup #2 cheerleader with this: “Why Democrats — and pundits — shouldn’t assume impeachment will backfire”.

The NBC spectrum (peacock) symbol followed by the word NEWS has a headline reading “Trump’s House investigation tantrum proves Pelosi and Democrats are gaining momentum”. This headline in one fell swoop treats Trump as a child ruled by emotion while cheerleading impeachment and coup #2.

7:38 am on May 23, 2019

Unborn Babies Aren’t Trespassers

I reject a portion of Walter Block’s eviction theory of abortion. This blog explains where I take issue with his theory.

Let t(0) be the time of conception, and let t(v) be the subsequent time when the fetus is viable outside the womb. Let t(b) be the time of normal birth.

Block posits that human life begins at t(0). I accept that assumption. He defines abortion as the act of intentionally terminating the pregnancy with the death of the unborn life. I’ll use the same definition in this analysis.

I will not discuss that portion of Block’s theory that analyzes abortions at t(v) and later. I discuss only abortions occurring prior to t(v).
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8:22 pm on May 22, 2019

My Debate With Dr. Adrian Moore of Reason On How Radical We Libertarians Should Be

(I usually keep my correspondents anonymous, but I asked him about this and he had no objection to me sharing his identity. I corrected a few spelling mistakes; otherwise, what appears below is the full exchange. I thank Mike Rozeff for impressing upon me the importance of keeping these letters in the correct order, so that people do not have to read “from the bottom up.”) I think this is a good illustration of the difference between people associated with the Mises Institute (I cannot of course speak for this organization) and a typical “Beltway” libertarian organization

He started off this debate-conversation with:

Letter 1:

From: Adrian Moore [mailto:adrian.moore@e.reason.org
Sent: Tuesday, February 05, 2019 10:02 AM
To: wblock@loyno.edu
Subject: Dealing with marijuana impaired driving as marijuana is legalized

Walter,

My wife is a former narcotics officer and Drug Recognition Expert instructor. She has seen a great many drivers much too high to be behind the wheel, but also many drivers with marijuana in their system but who were not impaired at the time they were driving.

As states legalize marijuana for medical or adult recreational use, it is important that we ensure that we don’t see an increase in driving while high, nor punish drivers who are not high but have marijuana in their system.  

In a new report A Common Sense Approach to Marijuana-Impaired Driving I team up with my wife to lay out how states can tackle this challenge. As parents we don’t want to see more driving while high, but don’t think responsible marijuana use should be punished any more than responsible drinking.

In the study we talk about what states are already doing, the challenges of a toxicology based per-se standard like the 0.08 blood alcohol level for drunk driving, and how to make more and better use of effective Drug Recognition Expert officers and field sobriety evaluations. We also discuss how to improve the transparency, accountability and fairness of these tests and impaired driving enforcement to protect everyone involved.

We hope this study will help decision makers in your state. Please share this information with anyone you know who can use it. And if you have any questions don’t hesitate to contact me.

Adrian

Dr. Adrian Moore
Vice President, Reason Foundation

Letter 2:

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2:50 pm on May 22, 2019

Pelosi Charges Coverup

“…and we believe that the President of the United States is engaged in a coverup.” charges Pelosi, the Democratic Speaker of the House.

This is new evidence that the Democrats will impeach Trump.

The Democrats are entirely cynical in issuing their subpoenas. Coup #1 has failed. They are doing coup #2.

Their current strategy is to harass Trump, then to label his resistance as a coverup. They have issued a raft of other smears, so why not this one?

There is not a scintilla of sincerity in anything Pelosi is saying about Trump. She and her co-conspirators are digging their own political graves.

Pelosi is desperate to ward off the coming pro-Trump tide. She looks nervous, sweaty and out of her element. Open conflicts are not her game. She’s a backroom politician, secretive, a creature of the House.

This shot over the bow of the U.S.S. Trump is a declaration of war between Pelosi and Trump. This is why Pelosi is nervous.

Expect Trump to respond, but also expect his response to be unconventional and surprising.

The tragedy is that neither coup #1 nor coup #2 was necessary.

The whole battleground has been manufactured. Instead of debating issues on their merits, the Democrats have made Trump the issue, first by a fake charge of collusion with Putin and now by an equally fake charge of coverup.

As the Democrats escalate their demands for documents, Trump has firmer and firmer grounds for accusing them of undermining the Separation of Powers, undermining the election, playing dirty politics, overstepping their powers, going on fishing expeditions that are unconstitutional, and interfering with the execution of his duties. This means accusing them of treason and failing to live up to their oaths of office. Pelosi has started a very dangerous war.

2:07 pm on May 22, 2019

Delusional Pentagon: ‘We Beat Iran Without Firing A Shot!’

12:38 pm on May 22, 2019

The Collapsing Higher Education Bubble

I just received a memo from a university budget committee at Loyola University Maryland in which it is pointed out that there are many universities that are in the same financial boat:  sharply declining enrollments are forcing universities like Loyola to cut tuition by substantial amounts, as much as 50 percent, while watering down or essentially eliminating admission requirements.  Loyola did away with SAT scores as admission requirements years ago.

1:46 pm on May 21, 2019

Fair Trial? US Steals Assange’s Legal Papers

12:23 pm on May 21, 2019

Douglas Macgregor On Why America’s Wars Never Stop

Among today’s military leadership and advisers, “success consists of moving from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.”

1:39 am on May 21, 2019

Animal Rights? No.

From: N
Sent: Saturday, February 09, 2019 8:23 AM
To: Walter Block <wblock@loyno.edu>
Subject: Just how universal are property rights?

Hello Professor Block,

After listening to your episode of the Tom Woods Show, I was reminded of an interesting question that came up in a debate with one of my lefty friends.  What brought up this memory was the statement that we libertarians are humanists, which I agree with.

My friend is a vegan, one of those “meat is murder” types.  One day while we were debating property rights he asked a question that I found very thought provoking, “if property rights are so universal, then why don’t animals have property rights?”

I had a few responses, but none of them felt air tight to me at the time.  At first I said that animals don’t act in the praxeological sense, their behavior isn’t purposeful it is instinctual.  Animals don’t require ownership over means because they don’t operate in the means/end framework.  Afterwards I thought through some examples where animals seem to act with purpose, when birds gather sticks to build a nest or when dogs obey a command in order to receive a treat.

Another answer I gave is that it is impossible to communicate with animals to establish property ownership.  It seems impossible to exchange a title of ownership with an animal.  But who knows what the future will bring in terms of animal communication.  There is of course the ape who was taught sign language.

I am interested to hear your thoughts on this question, and would very much appreciate any further reading on the subject.

On another note, Space Capitalism sounds like an absolutely fascinating book.  I have added it to my ever expanding list of libertarian books to read, and I look forward to getting a copy!

Thank you, N

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1:22 am on May 21, 2019

Advice from the Police: Don’t Defend Yourself, Call 911

This article is about how a man defended himself and his family from a criminal who had broken into their home by first beating him with a stick and then grabbing a gun and shooting him in the chest.  Well done, brother.

The very last line of the article informs the public that the sheriff’s office advises that you not attempt to defend yourself and your loved ones in a situation like this.  Call 911 instead and wait for the cops to show up, they say.

7:12 pm on May 20, 2019

When Massachusetts was NOT a Sanctuary State

Massachusetts, the heart of the “Yankee” empire, was not always a sanctuary state.   On page 194 of his book, The Slave Catchers (University of North Carolina Press, 1970), historian Stanley W. Campbell wrote that:

“When the Boston Post, on October 30, 1862, reported that five hundred families of contraband Negroes were to be sent to Massachusetts, Governor John Albion Andrew promptly refused to permit them to come.”  This prompted the editor of the National Intelligencer to write:

“It . . . seems that the introduction of members of this oppressed race into a State where they are supposed to have so many sympathizing friends is not regarded with favor by the people of Massachusetts . . . .  The ‘African’ is a ‘brother,’ but South Carolina, not Massachusetts, is left to be the ‘brother’s keeper.'”

These were “families who were faced with disease and starvation and in need of help,” wrote Campbell.  He then says it is “ironic” that Massachusetts refused to help these poor souls because even a decent scholar like himself was apparently bamboozled by the Official (false) History of the war — that equality-loving New England Yankees were willing to die by the tens of thousands purely for the benefit of black strangers in the South.

Reminds one of how Nancy Pelosi and other bigshot Democrats threw an apoplectic fit when Trump proposed sending illegal aliens (“little gifts of love,” as Nancy called them) to sanctuary cities like San Francisco.

6:39 pm on May 20, 2019

Why Would a Christian Family Ever Encourage Their Daughter to Join the Navy?

A Navy report says that sailors aboard a Navy submarine circulated sexually explicit lists that ranked female crew members and the sex acts they wanted to perform with them. “The 74-page investigative report reveals two lists — one with Yelplike star ratings on the women and another containing ‘lewd and sexist comments’ beside each woman’s name, according to Military.com.” The sub is the guided-missile USS Florida, which is the second sub to integrate female members. There were 32 women in the 173-person crew.

Why would a Christian family ever encourage their daughter to join the Navy when ships at sea are full of sex-hungry men just waiting to prey on them? How insane. But of course, how insane to claim to worship the Prince of Peace and then cheer the god of war when the U.S. bombs, invades, and occupies countries.

6:33 pm on May 20, 2019

A Bibliography on Secession

From: S
Sent: Monday, May 20, 2019 10:35 AM
To: Walter Block <wblock@loyno.edu>
Subject: Secession and self determination

Hello Prof. Block,

You and I had talked last year at Mises U regarding the topic of secession and self determination and where I could find more information on it and more reading material on the subject. I apologize for delay in emailing you. I was wondering if you had any suggestions on what I could read or where I could look for more information on this subject? I appreciate your time and I hope this finds you well. Thank you. S, XYZ University

Dear S: Here is a list of readings on secession.

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5:20 pm on May 20, 2019

Climatologist Judith Curry on Bill Nye, the Fake Science Guy

An ersatz celebrity dispenses alarmist propaganda masquerading as science. Predictions of warming for the 21st century beyond 3 or 4 degrees Fahrenheit are difficult to justify.

5:19 pm on May 20, 2019

Larry Elder on Who Benefits from Unskilled, Illiterate Immigration

The political and donor classes who want more power and don’t economically compete with the new arrivals.

5:14 pm on May 20, 2019

Decline of America’s Cities: Epilogue (Part V of V)

Update and summary.

5:09 pm on May 20, 2019