LRC Blog

Social Utility — MSR-4

This is a reply to the latest from Walter Block.

Walter says that I do not “show” that I’ve read Rothbard’s article on utility and welfare economics. But what Walter’s accusation shows is that he didn’t read my article. As a matter of fact, the article I wrote in 2007 on the subject refers to Rothbard’s paper, provides a link to it, characterizes it correctly, and explains my effort as an attempt to bypass the dead end which our inability to make interpersonal utility comparisons erects. And, by the way, that also shows that another of Walter’s accusations is wide of the mark, for he keeps claiming that I view interpersonal utility comparisons as not being invalid. Here’s what I wrote 13 years ago about Rothbard and interpersonal utility comparisons:

“Rothbard in his reconstruction paper pointed out that when government officials gain utility from an official act that restricts A and B ‘As economists, we can therefore say nothing about social utility in this case, since some individuals have demonstrably gained and some demonstrably lost in utility from the governmental action.’ The problem here and elsewhere in the economics of social utility is that when there is not unanimity, the economist is stymied. I have shown that we can say something when a society has a law against theft; and most societies do, even as they break it. By recognizing that a society has a law against theft, we bypass the unanimity problem.”

I didn’t assail or disagree with Rothbard’s statement and I still don’t. I did view the limitation it presents as something we might be able to overcome. This would, if true, strengthen the libertarian position, and that is what the article aimed to accomplish. I wanted to find a way of saying definitively that a government act of coercion lowered social utility; and that paper makes an argument as to what condition insures that that happens. And that condition is that the society has a foundational prohibition against theft. This prohibition is assumed to be the demonstrated preference of the society. That’s a critical premise of my analysis. That’s an “if” condition. That premise can’t be questioned. It’s not an empirical premise. It’s a hypothetical, like saying “If I strike a match and it lights”, then several consequences follow like a local rise in temperature, other things equal. If a society has a demonstrated preference against theft, then what follows if it passes a statute that compels a wealth transfer? I argue that it causes society to occupy a less-preferred position. In equivalent language, social utility declines.
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8:46 pm on July 12, 2020

A Cure for Low Blood Pressure

Mr. Anonymous sent me this extract from his church’s latest newsletter, warning, “I am so mad, for many reasons.” Yep, this one’s calculated to raise the ol’ pulse-rate: 

Grace and mercy be with you from the Board of Elders. The board has heard the many petitions to resume in-person services,

Aha! “…many petitions…”! So we’re not the only ones clamoring for Christ’s body to meet, for pity’s sake, and act like the conquerors He’s made us instead of scared little rabbits.

and we too, are desiring to worship as the gathered body of Christ. That being said, we also have to be mindful of our vulnerable brothers and sisters.

Oh, please. Again with this nonsense. The sick can stay home while the rest of us worship, as we’ve done for 2000 years.

The board has had considerable discussion on this issue and… has decided that due to the size of our congregation that beginning in-person services with fewer than 30 people is logistically onerous…

Onerous”???? Buddy, you ever carried a patibulum to Golgotha on your back after Roman whips studded with bone and metal ripped your flesh open? Don’t talk to me about “onerous.”

… We are hopeful that current trends will continue and that the next phase of the governor’s plan will be implemented soon.

Oh, indeed. Far be it from the Lord’s Bride to obey Him rather than atheistic politicians.

… We pray that God would soon bring an end to this crisis…

Parson Goat, how dare you blame God for this “crisis”? The Satanic State you idolize ginned it up; your craven credulity immensely aided and abetted its creation. 

Meanwhile, Mr. Anonymous mourns, “If they ever do purge these idiotic and fear-filled additions to the liturgy,  how can I attend without having a bad attitude and being angry about how they did this?”

That’s the $64 question. Home church, anyone?

6:37 pm on July 12, 2020

Best Intro Books for Libertarianism

From: Advik Trivedi

To: wblock@loyno.edu

Subject: Libertarianism

Hey,

I was getting interested in libertarianism and I was wondering if you had any books you could recommend to me to get started.

-Advik Trivedi

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3:13 pm on July 12, 2020

Mike Rozeff Commits the Fallacy of Interpersonal Comparisons of Utility, Part 3

I can’t comment on each and every voluminous word of my friend Mike’s on this Interpersonal Comparisons of Utility debate we’re having. I’ve got too many other commitments. Let me confine myself, then, to just this little bit. He writes

“The answer to this is that ‘we’ are not making an interpersonal utility comparison. Society has already made that comparison implicitly when it prohibited theft, and we can infer that it has decided that it’s better off with that prohibition than without it.”

As a libertarian, I of course agree with Mike. The prohibition of theft is entirely justified. But we are now not discussing libertarianism. Rather, what is at issue between us is the Austrian claim, which he continually denies, that interpersonal comparisons of utility (ICU) are invalid.

“Society” as such, made no such determination to the effect that laws against theft are justified. Rather, only the overwhelming majority supported it. But, suppose that the minority of thieves, who oppose laws prohibiting theft, lost more utility from this legislation than the rest of us gained? Is this impossible? Not for the neoclassical economist who’s side Mike is now taking.

I suggested to Mike that he read this:

Rothbard. Murray N. 1997 [1956]. “Toward a Reconstruction of Utility and Welfare Economics.” reprinted in “The Logic of Action” Vol. I. Lyme, NH: Edward Elgar. pp. 211-254; http://www.mises.org/rothbard/toward.pdf

He shows no evidence of having done so. I really don’t think we can get to the bottom of this issue until and unless he does, and demonstrates why Murray was wrong on the ICU issue.

Walter E. Block, Ph.D.

3:11 pm on July 12, 2020

An 18 Part Discussion of Covid and Libertarian Theory

Letter 1

From: Bubba Shaffer

To: Tom Woods <tom@tomwoods.com>

Subject: RE: The bastards won’t let us live

Tom,

I am happy to see this email.  I cannot agree with you more.  I have never slowed my business activities nor my personal ones.  I believe the government response is a giant overreach.   I have respected everybody who wants to keep their distance away from me. (freedom of association as we Libertarians call it).

In my HVAC service business its funny how welcoming these folks are that normally would not have me near them all the sudden welcome me into their home or business.

If only I could find a barber.  I haven’t had hair like this since the high school in the late 70s.

Take care, and keep up the good work.

Bubba Shaffer

General Manager

Orlando, FL

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3:10 pm on July 12, 2020

A Hardware Reset

Joey Bolz from the SOT (Satanically Occupied Territory) of Kansas forwarded a letter he wrote to Ace Hardware after he “lost my cool in the place and cussed a bunch of them out.”

Dear Folks–

I do my best to not shop at [your store] as [the city is] gouging extra on sales tax.  I’ve heard the lame excuse from the witless … city manager already. So, you can spare me the repetition.  Tonight I got in a tight [spot] and was forced to shop at your store. Usually I would go to the one in [Kansas City] or better yet somewhere outside this crooked democrat county.

Anyhow, Corporate Ace, Kansas Ace, or whoever Ace has knuckled under to the COVID Nazi’s.  I am not going to argue over the benefits of wearing a mask and am not interested in whatever bland canned answer you can regurgitate.  

The masks are a drill to see how much authoritarian bull [droppings] Big Brother can get folks to cow tow. 

Oh, glorious pun after the reference to bovine excrement! 

You, Ace are cowards!  Un American. And, I hope your stock holders throw you under the bus.  Hell is going to be crowded.

Home Depot, Lowe’s, still have some [courage] but I’m not holding my breath.  This puts you close to the vangaurd of sycophantic shills for fascist America.  And btw, since you are probably victims of US public education Antifa has no clue what the definition of fascism actually is.  So don’t lump me in that lot.

Also, I kinda lost my cool with your barely educated children staffing the store tonight.  I am sorry for that as they are but babes raised with no guidance, proper education, or courage.  They were just doing what they are told like obedient little serfs should.  For that I am sorry but it is my sincere hope there is a hell for your corporate masters.

Joey Bolz

American 

Yeah, re-read it and savor every line! Then use it as a template for the corporate overlords eviscerating the market’s freedom and fun in your locale.

 

12:47 pm on July 12, 2020

COVIDiocy: A Deadlier and More Widespread Contagion Than Flu

Bill reports,

I am writing to let you know that the infection is spreading, and it may be terminal. I am referring, of course, to the stupidity infection sweeping the nation. I returned from a trip to Pisgah National Forest in North Carolina yesterday. I was camping with my family in an area near the small town of Brevard. My family would not wear masks anywhere. Here are my observations:

  1. Going into an Ingles for food resupply, we were among maybe 10 people in the entire store not wearing masks. We received reproving stares from many of the people there, but no comments, which would have allowed me to respond. I closely observed the people wearing masks and I saw this:

– 90% of them were wearing their masks incorrectly, which negates the supposed purpose.

– At least 25% of them were using bandannas, neck gaiters, homemade contraptions, etc, which are useless…unless they were there to rob the place.

– People were touching everything, and many of them were reaching under their masks to touch their face, completely negating the supposed purpose.

– The cashiers would pull their masks down to talk, if someone could not understand them. The customers would pull their masks down to respond.

  1. The rash of lone drivers wearing masks while traveling down the road seems to be increasing.
  2. I went to Sliding Rock, which is a natural rock slide on a mountain stream. There were people wearing masks…while swimming (no kidding). …a woman there … was wearing a mask and a face shield. She had the face shield up and the mask pulled aside, while she smoked.
  3. I went to an ice cream shop, where every employee had the mask down below their nose. However, one of them wanted to remind us to distance ourselves 6 feet apart. I asked where the science was to back up this admonition. He looked stricken, then said he didn’t care, that is what the governor said to do.

Yesterday I packed up, left the campground, and came home. I could no longer enjoy myself there. A man, walking alone, was wearing a mask outside in broad daylight. He moved to the other side of the road when I came along on my bike, and said I needed to maintain better distancing. I stopped, looked at him, and said, “Sir, ultraviolet light dissembles SARS-CoV-2 in less than 5 seconds. The wind is blowing. There is a nearly ZERO chance you will catch something out here. Therefore, unless you are allergic to the outside air, in which case you need to go inside, you are clinically insane.”

I went back to the campsite and told my wife and children we were leaving. We packed up and went home. This was a tragically wasted vacation (or at least a very hard to enjoy one), but a chance to observe Boobus Americanus in his natural environment.

Finishing on a positive note, I went by a used sporting goods store in Brevard. The owner was not wearing a mask, nor was his lone employee. He stated that he has never worn one, and he would not start. He and I talked about my time in DC wasting the taxpayer’s money, and he told me about his sister who works in a hospital. Her take was that this was some sort of evil scam.

Boy, that’s one perspicacious sister!

12:21 pm on July 12, 2020

Social Utility – MSR-3

My initial article set out a goal: “I will prove that any law that compels theft lowers social utility.” (Ceteris paribus is assumed.) The transaction I examined therein was not person A robbing person B in isolation. The article intentionally bypassed comparing the utility of a single thief and that of his victim. That way is a dead end. I proposed to work around such a comparison by using society’s revealed preference. I examined what happens to the social good when society compels a theft after the same society has previously committed to a law against theft.

The situation analyzed begins with society having created a social good via its prohibition of theft. If, for example, a society adopted the non-aggression principle (NAP), this would entail a prohibition of theft. This adoption would be for the common or social good. Thieves would not regard it as good for them, but society would have overruled the thieves. “We” wouldn’t have to make any interpersonal utility calculations; the social rule against theft would already impound such assessments and value judgments. We might explain why such a rule was instituted, and we might express our explanations in terms of the welfare of many individuals; but such explanations would not be necessary or central to the case. They’d only be illustrative of why society adopted such a prohibition.

Are we to deny that there are social goods or the general good? That position is untenable. Consider language, letters, grammar and words. As Thomas Hobbes observed

“Again, though some one man, of how excellent a wit soever, should spend all his time partly in reasoning, and partly in inventing marks for the help of his memory, and advancing himself in learning; who sees not that the benefit he reaps to himself will not be much, and to others not at all? For unless he communicate his notes with others, his science will perish with him. But if the same notes be made common to many, and so one man’s inventions be taught to others, sciences will thereby be increased to the general good of mankind.” [Vol. 1, Collected Works, p. 14.]
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10:37 am on July 12, 2020

Guerrilla Warfare on Masked Morons

Jim Wetzel notified me of the following tactic a blogger proposes:

Force me to wear a mask, I will make it out of cheesecloth to force you to form a committee to decide legal threadcount.

The bloggers says she

posted this on Facebook.

I mean it.

I have plenty of cheesecloth.

I will do it.

I will force stores and government officials to begin nitpicking further to define what is an acceptable mask, maybe perform some actual legit studies on mask efficacy in the proces [sic], but ultimately anger more people in doing so. …

Meanwhile, a gentleman writes from a state forcing serfs to muzzle themselves,

I paste the following from one of your posts today as prologue to my tale of the day.

“Health privacy norms and laws make it difficult, if not impossible, for store managers to question whether, or how, customers might have a medical reason for not wearing a mask…”

This afternoon, I purposefully ventured out for the first time since the local county-wide and cities-wide mask ordinances went into effect, earlier this week. I put a paper “procedure” mask in my shirt pocket, out of sight. I went bare-faced into three businesses in two mask-mandating cities.

  1. At the book store (front window plastered with wear-a-mask posters), I went to the front desk, asked for my book on hold, paid for it and left without undue word or incident.
  2. At the gun store (only sign: Please do not enter if you are sick), I made a simple purchase from one of the five unmasked employees.
  3. At the liquor store (one mask sign, on door), I walked in, chose my poison, paid for it and left.

I am a large person, and have sometimes been told that I can look mean or scary without intending to. I did my best to look benign. I had a simple line prepared for any official (i.e. proprietor’s) challenge: “It’s OK; medical exemption” (delivered low-key and with a smile). I was also prepared for possible escalation. Turned out to be three nothing burgers.

I hope all of us likewise languishing under totalitarianism and the promotion of the occult will take courage from Mr. A’s example. Can I promise you’ll suffer no more adversity for your civil disobedience than he did for his? No: in addition to all its other charms, totalitarianism is arbitrary.  But defying these despots is the only way to win this war, short of an actual shooting one.

Numbers ensure success when flouting authority. Ergo, recall the “flash mobs” from a few years ago (here’s my favorite in this genre!). Those of you on social media might want to try raising one of unmasked folks to descend on a grocery store at the same time—or any other establishment you wish to patronize. And we who eschew Facebook et al probably have friends or family who don’t: ask their assistance in recruiting like-minded shoppers.

Never give in! Your naked face inspires others who long to move about as God made them but lack the courage to do so—until they see you. Most Americans wholeheartedly reject masks: hence, these ludicrous, illegal “orders.” But we’re more effective en masse. A hundred dissidents descending on a single mall is more potent than single individuals scattering to 100 malls.

8:40 am on July 12, 2020

Mike Rozeff Commits the Fallacy of Interpersonal Comparisons of Utility, Part 2

From: Daniel Ward

Subject: Mike Rozeff does not Swallow the Fallacy of Interpersonal Comparisons of Utility

Dear Walter,

Maybe he does, maybe not; but I suspect he is more concerned with the primordial moral stance of Austrian Economics (per Mises) than the primordial insight, namely:  “Do not give in to evil”  Theft, whether individual or by state agents, fails here.  Anything that fails the moral test, in my view, ultimately decreases social utility. This is ultimately why the state fails in its mission of enhancing social utility: it relies on immoral means.

Daniel C. Ward

P.S. Sorry if my greeting seems overly familiar. That’s just me. I’m the guy who gave you a big unexpected hug after a talk you gave in Bellingham WA some decades ago.

Dear Daniel:

Not at all overly familiar!

Theft is evil. Agreed. But, doesn’t the thief gain (assuming he doesn’t get caught)? Is he no longer part of “society”? If he still is, and I don’t see why he isn’t, then we have to take into account his welfare too. Thus, we cannot unambiguously say that theft reduces social welfare. Yes, it reduces the social welfare of the victim, but the thief gains! Isn’t it a basic insight of Austrian economics that we cannot make interpersonal comparisons of utility?

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3:00 am on July 12, 2020

Was Anti-Slavery Egalitarianism Based on Envy and Contempt?

Here is an amazing volume giving authoritative, contemporary primary source documentary proof that persons of the period when the work was published could be anti-slavery on an abstract moral/religious basis but totally hostile or unsympathetic to the humanitarian welfare of the enslaved persons.

This book, Letters on American Slavery Addressed to Mr. Thomas Rankin, Merchant at Middlebrook, Augusta Co,. VA. by John Rankin, Pastor of the Presbyterian Churches of Ripley and Strait-Creek, Brown County, Ohio, was published in 1833 by the famous abolitionist William Lloyd Garrison in Boston.

The shallow system of egalitarianism put forth in these collected letters is based on the same hollow, hackneyed premise as that of the racist Lincoln and the “proposition nation” neocons and progressives of today — “all men are created equal” — from the Declaration of Independence. Yet undergirding this faux egalitarianism is envy and contempt, and masks their arrogant quest for power, dominance, and hegemony.

In particular, view the letter beginning at page 72-73 (page 66 in the book’s text) describing how slavery fosters immorality and other vices and is detrimental to both the master and his family as well as to the enslaved persons.

8:07 pm on July 11, 2020

Our Rulers’ Next Tactic in Their War on Us

Mark in North Carolina stumbled across an article entitled, “Lower cognitive ability linked to non-compliance with social distancing guidelines during the coronavirus outbreak.” Which, in plain English, translates to condemning those of us defying unhealthy and illegal orders as stupid. More chillingly, Mark theorizes that “this is part and parcel of building the ideological basis for declaring those that won’t submit and obey [to be] mentally ill and [in need of protection] for their own good, and should be removed from society.”

4:52 pm on July 11, 2020

The Principality Behind the Plandemic

From the beginning, the plandemic beggared belief. 

For starters, the numbers of fatalities and sick were absurdly small, especially when compared with the draconian reaction: whole American states shut down over 12 or 13 alleged cases! 

Second, proceedings internationally were astoundingly uniform. Regardless of their history, traditions, or culture, countries locked their populations into their homes while ordering masks and anti-social distancing; the only difference lay in how brutally they enforced their diktats. How and why did the government of Italy, for example, behave just as Japan’s did? That’s not how things normally work. 

And churches stunned me even more. Again, almost to a congregation, they behaved identically, regardless of their denomination and theology (or lack thereof); a liberal Roman Catholic church in New York City closed on virtually the same day, and with the same excuses, as a conservative Baptist chapel in the suburbs of Mobile or an Eastern Orthodox one in San Diego.

How can that be? Neither trends nor people respond that way—especially to a goad as radical and unprecedented as indefinitely suspending worship. 

It would have been bad and unbelievable enough had a few churches shut their doors mid-March, with more doing so by the end of the month, and then 50 or 60% by May or June. But virtually all of them? And all by March 20 or so? And every last one of them prattling about “loving our neighbors” and “honoring our governor” while exclusively citing the CDC and WHO? 

Sorry, that’s just not reasonable. It doesn’t accord with human nature or reality.

And it’s eerie. Very eerie.

I have long suspected some other force was at work—and I was right. I discovered Our Rulers were manipulating Parson Goat. But still, their success was too overwhelming to be credible; again, this isn’t how people normally behave. No matter how much pressure you exert or bribes you offer, some folks, particularly those with strong principles and beliefs, will resist.  

Yet I saw men I had respected as stalwart emissaries of Jesus Christ, pastors I had sworn would go to the stake for Him, shut their churches as soon as their respective fuhrers “suggested” it. Aside from a couple—and I mean that quite literally—heroes here and there, no clergy quibbled, let alone objected, let alone sued their state-houses for such unconstitutional infringement of liberty; none polled their members to see whether they should continue to hold services; none preached against it. Rather, Parsons Goat by the thousands raced to see who could slam his doors the fastest and loudest before popping up en masse on Zoom.

Forgive the repetition, but this violates all of history and experience. People’s reactions always vary, and widely. How can they have been so entirely unified this one time?

Which brings us back to that other force at work. Not only was the State suborning Parson Goat and people in general, the demonic realm that animates and controls political government was as well. Yep, I mean Satan. He is real, he is the prince of this world, and I have long assumed he’s behind the outrageous, inexplicable, and nigh total success Our Rulers have enjoyed in this shamdemic.

But how do I prove such a thesis? Well, fortunately I don’t have to: someone else has done that hard work. From Mr. Anonymous comes the link to an article as lengthy—and riveting—as its title: “Occult Ritual Transformation and Coronavirus: How Mask Wearing, Hand Washing, ‘Social Separation’ and Lockdowns Are Age-Old Occult Rituals Being Used to Initiate People Into a New Global Order.” The author has connected a multitude of dots to prove that “we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.”

Last night as I fell asleep, I wondered drowsily whether I’d wear a mask if someone somewhere honestly and conclusively proved they’d protect either me or others. I woke with a start, utterly revolted. NO, my spirit cried, I won’t! Never! There’s something unutterably creepy about these masks and about the universal insistence on them. I’d almost rather die than muzzle myself. (And perhaps it will one day come to that.)

Now, thanks to “Occult Ritual Transformation and Coronavirus,” I understand why this nightmare so horrifies us:

Masking has traditionally played a very important role in occult rituals.

Among other things, the wearing of the mask over one’s mouth is a token of submission…a gesture of your willingness to be subject to others who are not your usual Sovereign. …”

If this piece intrigues you as it does me, please send me your thoughts on it.

4:37 pm on July 11, 2020

Refuting Herr Doktor

Among the many bewildering facets of the covidiocy are the internal contradictions. Whether they’re as blatant as “masks don’t help/you must wear one” or more subtle (“Flatten the curve! Stay home, shut down the world, and shun your friends and family because a person has died in our county!”), you’d think even the most trusting and least intelligent of the sheeple would see through them. 

Mr. Anonymous reminded me that those contradictions show the hoopla over this flu for a lie. He also denounced the cruelty of Herr Doktor’s Plans for His Subjects–Sorry, Patients:

One of the signs of a false world view is internal contradictions.

Herr Doktor wants to “provide a safe atmosphere for our patients and staff,” yet “parents of child patients will be asked [sic] to wait in their vehicle during the appointment.” Will a scared child feel safe without a parent to comfort him? Will parents feel safe when leaving their child with strangers? Will parents feel safe when making medical decisions via phone, rather than in person? Will parents feel like they have failed in their parental duty because they are not present?

The covid con is a psyop, part of which is destruction of human relationships (because isolated people are easier to control. Divide and conquer). Taking children away from their parents during a time of fearful vulnerability is functionally equivalent to no-visitors rules in hospitals and rest homes, mass house arrest, antisocial distancing, and the depersonalisation wrought by mask laws.

2:31 pm on July 11, 2020

Introducing The Story of Liberty: Roots to Revival

12:14 pm on July 11, 2020

Another Reason the Libertarian Party Is a Joke

Jo Jorgensen, the Libertarian Party candidate for president, recently attended a Black Lives Matter candlelight vigil. “It is not enough to be passively not racist, we must be actively anti-racist,” she said. The previous reason was the anti-Ron Paul LP chairman. And the reason before that was that the LP candidates for president and vice-president weren’t even libertarians. And the reason before that…

12:05 pm on July 11, 2020

The Duplicitous Buckleys: Like Father, Like Son

Look beyond this anti-Trump “Fake News” story at Yahoo!News for the crucial backstory. In a crude version of “the enemy of my enemy is my friend” the anti-Trump deep state regime media controllers have prompted their minions at Yahoo! News to appear to ally with the Bush CIA Neoconservative #NeverTrumpers and bring out Conservative, Inc. legacy turd-in-the-punch bowl Christopher Buckley to assail Trump.

From the time before the American government’s formal entrance into World War II, establishment elites have fostered an ongoing series of elaborate intelligence operations based on psychological warfare and propaganda aimed at manipulating public opinion and attitudes in regards to the projection of American state power and interventionism. These operations, both covert and overt, have been one of the central props of the National Security State. It was out of these CIA-funded disinformation campaigns which emerged the key ideological voices of the mainstream media and its adjuncts in academia, whether marching under the unfurled banners of social democracyliberalismconservatism, or neoconservatism. For the past 70 years, “responsible public policy debate” has been confined to the narrow perimeters set by these establishment-sanctioned gatekeepers and mouthpieces.

It was “former” deep cover CIA agent Buckley and intelligence community veterans of the OSS and CIA (James BurnhamWilmoore KendallPriscilla Buckley, and William Casey) who launched National Review, which became the premier publication of this phony “conservative movement.” Buckley called Burnham, who had been a leading Trotskyist communist, WWII consultant for the Office of Strategic Services, and later head of the Political and Psychological Warfare division of the Office of Policy Coordination of the Central Intelligence Agency, “the number one intellectual influence on National Review since the day of its founding.” Buckley and NR shaped and set the stentorian dogmatic tone for such “conservatives” for decades, purging and declaring any alternative voices on the Right anathema. Author John T. McManus, in his critical biography of Buckley, described him as the “Pied Piper for the Establishment.”

Christopher Buckley (Skull and Bones 1975), whose father, William F. Buckley Jr. was a student at Yale University (Skull and Bones 1950) where he served as shill and informant for J. Edgar Hoover’s FBI. One of Buckley’s Yale professors, former Trotskyist communist Willmoore Kendall (formerly of the OSS and later consultant to the CIA) was a recruiter of talent for the newly created Agency. Kendall recruited Buckley in 1951.

Kendall introduced him to former Trotskyist James Burnham (also formerly of the OSS). Burnham was consultant to the CIA’s Office of Policy Coordination, the CIA’s covert action division. He was later to actively work on the CIA coup d’etat against Mossadegh in Iran.

Burnham first introduced Buckley to agent E. Howard Hunt in his Washington, D. C. apartment. Buckley then served with Hunt in Mexico where Hunt was chief of station and Buckley’s control officer. Hunt later figured as a principal in the Watergate Scandal that brought down Richard Nixon.

Hunt, in his memoirs, American Spy, (in which Buckley wrote the introduction) observes that prior to his stint in the CIA, Regnery published Buckley’s God and Man at Yale, an indictment of the supposed pervasive liberalism on that campus. The book launched Buckley’s career as spokesman for the emerging “Conservative movement” of the early 1950s. With what we now know about CIA covert recruiting on college campuses during this period, particularly Yale, Buckley’s initial book bears a new revisionist examination.

What is not widely known is that the whole enterprise was largely that of a “vanity press” arrangement, with the Buckley family operating covertly under the clandestine guise of the Catawba Corporation, commissioning and financing the book’s publication and publicity. The book’s ownership copyright secretly belonged to Catawba, not WFB.

Buckley was later approached by Regnery to serve on the board of directors of the publishing firm, along with that of William J. Casey. Casey was a prominent Wall Street attorney who had served in the OSS and later became CIA Director under Ronald Reagan.

Hunt pointed out that Regnery was subsidized by the CIA during its early years.

At this time James Burnham, who had maintained many of his former leftist connections, was active in the CIA sponsored front, the Congress for Cultural Freedom, which was secretly funding left-wing, anti-Soviet scholars and publications networks. When later, at Burnham’s urging, Buckley created National Review magazine, the premier “Conservative” publication of the past sixty years, joining him in the endeavor as principal editors were Kendall, Burnham, and his sister Priscilla, all of whom had been employed by the CIA.

William J. Casey drew up the incorporation papers for National Review, and served as its long-time legal counsel.

Years later, Buckley was outted as a CIA operative by former CIA agent William Sloane Coffin (Skull and Bones 1949). Coffin was a long-time colleague of George H. W. Bush (Skull and Bones 1948) when they both attended Phillips Andover Academy and later Yale together.

Former CIA Director Bush later presented Buckley the Presidential Medal of Freedom, something Hunt never got for his years of clandestine service. Buckley subsequently created his famous fictional character of CIA agent Blackford Oakes, as Hunt had done earlier in his own series of eight spy novels (under the pseudonym of David St. John) featuring CIA agent ‘Peter Ward.’

But it is not Hunt with whom Buckley should be compared but author Mary Shelley.

Buckley’s entire life as America’s premier “conservative” public intellectual was sheer fiction based on lies and deception. And so has been the Frankenstein movement he created for his intelligence community masters.

9:47 am on July 11, 2020

Interpersonal Utility – MSR-2

Conducting a friendly debate via this blog is likely to prove difficult and confusing, so I propose labeling entries. WB-1 was here. MSR-1 followed. WB-2 is here and this blog is MSR-2. In addition, I proved my case in an article that is here.

Any proof has if-then statements. The “if” statements are the premises or conditions. A comparison of Walter’s proof with my proof reveals immediately that he has adopted conditions that limit his result, and he has ignored the conditions in my proof. That is why his criticism of my proof fails.
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9:45 am on July 11, 2020

Fighting Falsehoods with Facts

Mr. Anonymous sent this link to a “Covid-19: July Update” from Swiss Policy Research. It lists “[f]ully referenced facts about Covid-19, provided by experts in the field, to help our readers make a realistic risk assessment” in a variety of languages. 

It includes such gems as, “According to the latest immunological and serological studies, the overall lethality of Covid-19 (IFR) is about 0.1% and thus in the range of a strong seasonal influenza (flu)” and “Up to 30% of all additional deaths may have been caused not by Covid19, but by the effects of the lockdown, panic and fear. For example, the treatment of heart attacks and strokes decreased by up to 60% because many patients no longer dared to go to hospital.”

The problem with this approach is that COVIDiots don’t operate from a basis in logic and knowledge. They’re running purely on emotion as do their Marxist brothers, so far as I can tell: engaged in a drama of good (them and rulers vanquishing a killer) and evil (us and that killer), they cling ferociously to their myths. And why not? Thrills and adventure abound: their meaningless, atheistic lives suddenly glow with purpose and a Cause beyond acquiring the latest iPhone or new Nikes. They love their masks as symbols of their crusade and wear them as proudly as any Christian does a crucifix.

So I doubt they’ll listen as we launch SPR’s facts at them. But we can try.

7:13 am on July 11, 2020

Doctors: The Modern Pied Pipers

Sal Fariello writes:

camels doctor-smoking-cigarette

Right, smoke Camel cigarettes because your doctor said so. Ooops, you have cancer.

 

Camels, more doctors smoke them

Doctors loved Camel cigarettes. Always trust your doctor. Smoke Camels. Ooops, you have heart disease.

face mask picture

That’s right, chump. Wear your face mask because Dr. Fauci said so. First clowns like Fauci helped millions get cancer to make a fast buck from the tobacco companies. Ever wonder who’s making money off face masks now?

6:44 am on July 11, 2020

AOC Majored in Economics and Won Prestigious Awards

Letter 1

From: Kenneth Harwood

Subject: AOC

You wrote:

“This is somewhat surprising, given that she majored in economics at prestigious Boston University.”

AOC-watching is not my thing, though I’ve read her wiki bio.

As I recall, the bio revealed that she had once been a top finalist in a prestigious, nationwide, high school [Westinghouse, now Intel?] science competition. It also mentioned her economics education.

Sorry, but I think those distinctions are a complete load of bs.

– KH

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2:20 am on July 11, 2020

Should Drunken Driving Be A Crime?

Dear Alan:

I think it is compatible with libertarianism to keep drunk drivers off the road. They  constitute a threat, even if they hit no one. Remember the NAP of libertarianism proscribes not only the initiation of physical violence against innocent people, but also the threat thereof. I’ve written about that here:

Block, Walter E. 2009. The Privatization of Roads and Highways: Human and Economic Factors; Auburn, AL: The Mises Institute; https://store.mises.org/Privatization-of-Roads-and-Highways-Human-and-Economic-Factors-The-P581.aspxhttp://www.amazon.com/Privatization-Roads-And-Highways-Factors/dp/1279887303/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1336605800&sr=1-1; available for free here: http://mises.org/books/roads_web.pdfhttp://mises.org/daily/3416http://www.walterblock.com/wp-content/uploads/publications/radical_privatization.pdf; audio: http://store.mises.org/Privatization-of-Roads-and-Highways-Audiobook-P11005.aspxhttp://www.audible.com/pd/Business/The-Privatization-of-Roads-and-Highways-Audiobook/B0167IT18K?tag=misesinsti-20http://us1.campaign-archive1.com/?u=bf16b152ccc444bdbbcc229e4&id=6cbc90577b&e=54244ea97d;

http://www.sanfranciscoreviewofbooks.com/2017/09/book-review-privatization-of-roads-and.html

Best regards,

Walter

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2:18 am on July 11, 2020

Mike Rozeff Swallows the Fallacy of Interpersonal Comparisons of Utility

My friend Mike Rozeff objects to my analysis of utilitarianism from an Austrian point of view. My claim was that we cannot say, qua praxeologists, that forced transfer of money from rich to poor definitively harms, reduces, social welfare. Mike rejects this. Suppose that Mike is rich and I’m poor. I pull out a gun and aim it at him and demand that he give me $100 (or I get a law passed to the same effect). He will now be poorer, and me richer, ignoring all other aspects of this “transaction.” In my (Rothbardian) perspective, his utility or welfare decreased, mine increased. But the only way to say that social welfare was thereby reduced is to claim that he lost more utility than I gained. As against this is the primordial insight of Austrian economics is the interpersonal comparisons of utility are illicit. I would be greatly interested in how Mike can overturn this basic premise of praxeology.

I hope and trust that the cancel culture students at my Loyola University New Orleans will not now start up another petition to get me fired, this time not because of my alleged racism and sexism, but since they might think I actually threatened Mike with physical violence unless he handed over to me this $100 of his. I assure them this was only a hypothetical example.

For those of you who were thinking of enrolling at Loyola, but are put off by the imbroglio in which I am now involved here, let me assure you at my university is far from the only one with snowflake students (and social justice warrior professors). This is almost endemic at university campuses. However, the president of Loyola University is on record in support of academic freedom and ideological diversity (see below), our economics department is 100% Austro-libertarian, and we have almost a dozen professors in the university who are supportive of free enterprise, private property rights and economic freedom out of a faculty of some 200; very few institutions of higher learning can come anywhere near to matching that.

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2:17 am on July 11, 2020

Enabling Evil, Sedition and National Suicide

As you go down the sickening daily roll call in the media of the hundreds of major Fortune 500 firms which have caved in and given gazillions to these Marxist terrorist thugs of Black Lives Matter  — there is no other way to regard them but as craven, willfully ignorant, corporatist enablers of pure evil, sedition, and national suicide. Reminds me of the American corporations with blood on their hands who built the military-industrial complexes in the 1930s in Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union, making possible World War II and the Holocaust.

11:34 pm on July 10, 2020

Mike Rowe on the Importance of Learning Essential Skills in Demand

and avoiding SJW degrees and indoctrination that aren’t.

4:50 pm on July 10, 2020

Couple Charged With Hate Crime for Cleaning Up BLM Graffiti

In Martinez, California.

4:47 pm on July 10, 2020

Challenging “Consensus Reality”

After swamped by a variety of readers wanting more books on subjects related to my recent LRC blogs, here are an assortment of Amazon book/DVD lists. From shadowy depths comes this select collection, both fiction and non-fiction, of arcane works which challenge ‘consensus reality,’ thus prompting unguarded readers and viewers to reassess their fragile mortality and base Establishment lies: Sinister Forces;  Dystopian Tales From The Dark Side;  Utopian Nightmares and Gnostic Political Religions;  Apocalyptic Conspiracy Theories & Millennial Belief Systems;  Decadence Esotericism: Ideas Have Consequences; Equality – The Evil Lie;  Coup d’etat and Assassination: Business as Usual in America;  Power Brokers, Fixers, and Elite Insiders;  Anarchteacher’s Cult Classic Favorites;  Smash The State And Have A Nice Day! and Timeless Movies of the Imagination.

3:48 pm on July 10, 2020

Occasionally, Even Pastor Shepherd Requires Rest

Scott in Colorado is one of the very few clerics nationwide who has served the Lord rather than Leviathan throughout the shamdemic. But he must absent himself from his pulpit for a bit and has been seeking a substitute for those Sundays. Alas, his hunt has turned up one Parson Goat after another:

Talked with one person who had preached several times here.  He wants to wait until Aug to see how many “cases” there are in CO until he would commit to coming.

Talked with another, a former missionary working for a Christian agency.  When he found out we would stay open if CO mandated church closings in Aug, he declined.

Can you believe this?  

He signed his email,

Sad in Colorado

Thank God, He’ll one day wipe away all tears. Meanwhile, whatever happened to “Be strong and of a good courage” (which command the Almighty repeats six times in the Old Testament alone)? Or “Fear thou not, for I am with thee; be not dismayed, for I am thy God…”

Even Pastor Shepherd’s PS was somber:

I posted on my FB page a very good scientific article positing the ineffectiveness of masks.  Got a snarky reply denigrating Donald Trump.  There was nothing about Trump in the article!  TDS indeed!

Hmmm. You don’t suppose Parson Goat is on FB…

3:10 pm on July 10, 2020

Legislating in the Hands of Amateurs

The Wicked Witch of the Midwest is at it again, according to an article James Nellis sent me:

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer on Friday toughened and expanded Michigan’s mask-wearing requirements, saying that wearing masks is the best way to reverse an increase in coronavirus cases [sic for “best way to destroy any freedom remaining to her subjects”].

The dire assault on liberty and the Constitution is obvious. Let us instead investigate other problems, all of which stem from the executive’s usurping the legislature’s function:

…the first line of enforcement will be business employees directed to refuse entry to those who will not wear a mask.  …”[T]his puts retail employees in potentially dangerous situations when they’re forced to confront unmasked customers,” [Meegan] Holland[, a spokeswoman for the Michigan Retailers Association] said.

Next, 

Those exempt from wearing a mask in Michigan businesses include people younger than five, those who cannot medically tolerate a face covering, and those eating or drinking while seated at a food service establishment.

Holland said “determining the validity of an ambiguous exemption is an impossible task for a retailer.” Despite that, “even retailers acting in good faith could be subject to severe licensing sanctions based on the actions of non-compliant customers.”

Then there’s this boon to dissidents even if not to the newly drafted enforcers in retail:

Complicating the issue is a significant caveat in Whitmer’s executive order. It provides an exception to the mask requirement for those who “cannot medically tolerate a face covering.”

Health privacy norms and laws make it difficult, if not impossible, for store managers to question whether, or how, customers might have a medical reason for not wearing a mask…

Doggone!

Charlie Owens, Michigan director of the National Federation of Independent Business … asked what would happen if a customer claims a medical exemption and is allowed inside and then another customer sees someone not wearing a mask and reports the business to authorities.

“Is the business owner going to have to find the customer after the fact and get a doctor’s note to avoid the penalty?” Owens asked. “Are they going to have to guess who is exempt and who is not?”

Yo, Witch: leave the legislating to the professionals. They’ll botch it just fine on their own.

2:45 pm on July 10, 2020

Well Beyond the Six Degrees of Separation

Jerome Barber reports,

Just so you know the insanity keeps getting worse.  Someone at work has a son who has a co-worker who tested positive for COVID-19. 

Sorta like a fifth cousin twice removed. No matter, it’s enough of a “contact” to rattle the COVIDiots:

The solution?  Close the facility, clean and “disinfect” it, and have us “work” at home.

It gets worse.   If the person in the office tests positive then we all need to be tested before we can return.  They refer to this person in the office as an “exposed person”.

This is just plain nuts.

Criminally so. 

 

2:21 pm on July 10, 2020