LRC Blog

US Embassy Hit In Iraq – Does This Mean War?

12:23 pm on January 27, 2020

Socialism Plays On Envy and Social Feelings Like Compassion

Socialism plays upon natural feelings of compassion (thank you, Jeff Carlson, for this observation), while ignoring its coercion. The moral and Christian alternative, which is not coercive, is compassion on a personal basis. Which is compassionate, being forced to pay taxes by political powers or acting freely and compassionately in one’s personal life? And which, practically speaking, does more good and moves us closer to the good?

Living in harmony and living in community do not require socialism. In fact, socialism doesn’t produce either harmony or community. It’s the reverse. Socialism produces disharmony and strife as different groups of people attempt to secure the fruits of raw political power for themselves and attempt to suppress the lives and thoughts of people opposed to them. Socialism is another form of warfare. The Christian alternative is not one of elevating or grabbing political power, even if the history of Christianity displays such failings of the Church. Christ spurned Satan’s offer of the kingdoms of power.

At the same time, a great deal of socialist propaganda plays upon evil feelings like envy and hatred. Christian thought is opposed to such feelings.

Another social feeling that socialist rhetoric attempts to claim for itself is selflessness as opposed to selfishness. A recent example of political rhetoric on this account is Michael Moore’s attack on Trump at a Sanders rally.

Moore views Sanders as willing to sacrifice on climate change. (Moore doesn’t seem to realize that the sacrifice will be ours and fruitless at that.) “He [Sanders] knows he’s not gonna be here in 40 years, so why is he doing it? What’s he get out of it? What’s in it for him?” Sanders is selfless, you see.

But Trump, also aged, is cast as a selfish narcissist by Moore: “We have a president who we’ve seen, even the kids and the grandkids will be thrown under his bus. So I mean that — that is the true narcissist when he doesn’t even give a shit about his own kids or grandkids. Wow, that takes some heavy-duty psychological maddening wackadoodle.”

Moore has no argument. He’s working backwards from a disagreement on man-made global warming to the conclusion that Trump must be a bad guy and Sanders a good guy. Nonetheless, selflessness vs. selfishness is his emotional appeal. Criticizing libertarian and other small-government policies as selfish, individualistic and lacking in compassion is more of the same.

Socialism is opposed to Christianity in fundamental respects, and Christian thinking should be opposed to socialism. The conflicts between these two should by now be well understood because they’ve been explained time and again. Pope Francis has said “The Marxist ideology is wrong.” He has said “I must say that communists have stolen our flag. The flag of the poor is Christian.”

But Marxist ideology is socialist ideology, because the socialist rationale for forcing wealth out of producers is the Marxian labor theory of value. And communists and socialists do not differ in the most important respect, which is that they both aim at eliminating private property, capitalism and the free economic decisions of individuals. They differ perhaps in the degree or method of revolutionary violence they advocate using to overthrow capitalism. But if socialists achieve socialism in America through the ballot box, it will hardly be something to accept as good or moral. It is hardly something to rejoice over. The death of liberty, however achieved and in whatever doses or degrees, is a terrible and evil thing. Socialism steals the Christian flag as much as does communism, and both rest upon Marxist ideology.

9:37 am on January 27, 2020

Is Hans Hoppe A Libertarian?

Letter 1
From: R
Sent: Tuesday, November 26, 2019 12:30 PM
To: Walter Block
Subject:

just wanted to note that neither murray or paul think their abortion position violates the NAP (one or both may be wrong). . but Hoppe deliberately and repeatedly advocates violating the NAP to maintain stability of a libertarian society. that is a FUNDAMENTAL difference. hoppe doesn’t even bother to claim that he is not violating the NAP. that’s as non-libertarian as you can get. Did you review his booklet?

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1:46 am on January 27, 2020

Austro-libertarian Critiques of Milton Friedman

From: T
Sent: Tuesday, November 26, 2019 1:44 AM
To: wblock@loyno.edu
Subject: “Deserver has nothing to do with it.” Clint Eastwood. Milton Friedman on your description of Hayek in your new book

“Deserve has nothing to do with it.” Clint Eastwood in “Unforgiven

“He (Hayek) deserves better than your self-satisfied diatribe.” Milton Friedman on page 56 of your new book “Property Rights, The Argument for Privatization”.

Dear Walter,

I am continuing to enjoy reading your new book. It is very well written and thought provoking. Your correspondence with Milton Friedman is fascinating. Didn’t MF come up with the withholding tax during WWII that remains with us today? I truly dislike the withholding tax and the men who installed that form of slavery over me during my working days.

I also truly loathe the words “deserves”. As Clint shows in his movie “Unforgiven”, the word and idea of “deserves” is socialist bullshit! If there is one thing I’ve learned in living my life it is that “Deserve has nothing to do with it.”

Thanks again for writing the book. Friedman is a dick imo.

T

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1:45 am on January 27, 2020

Socialist Dehumanization

Now that Sanders has taken the lead among Democrats, and he is a socialist, we are bound to be exposed to more socialist propaganda. And it is persuasive. The core of it is that no human being should be “left behind” in a basic sense. That is, no one should be without shelter, clothing, food, medical care, education and a job.

The socialist teaching is familiar because America has already gone down that road ever since the New Deal of the 1930s and even before. The democracy that’s our lot has strong socialist elements in it already, and everything that may be said against socialism may also be said against many laws passed under the rubric of democracy.

The socialist program is sold under the heading of justice or social justice. The socialist enterprise has a charitable ring to it, a do-good ring to it. How can anyone be against helping others, the less fortunate, as Christian morality asks? Socialism sounds Christian and it feeds off of the charitable impulse and Christian teaching, or parts of it.

Yet socialism is godless. It pretends to aim for the dignity of every person, through supplying a minimum standard of living for everyone. But where is the bounty to come from that’s being distributed to all? It must come from those who produce it. Socialism forces producers to give up goods. Socialism is not a voluntary endeavor, and that alone makes it the antithesis of a Christian charity.

It is not enough to judge the morality of a philosophy by its intended goals. Stalin and Mao and Castro all had goals they judged as good, and goals that Bernie Sanders and Rep. Ocasio-Cortez approve of; but if mass killing, mass indoctrination, mass suffering, mass penalties, mass imprisonment and mass theft are used, effectively or ineffectively, to attain these goals, are we entitled to ignore these immoral means? If social justice, as defined by socialists, and which is not necessarily social justice at all, is bought at the price of suppressing the humanity or human endeavors of persons, it’s the antithesis of Christianity. The latter is profoundly a religion of freedom and of individual personality. The Kingdom of God is pursued by changes within a person, not by means of power enforcing human slavery.

Socialism supplies assistance, all right, but that assistance involves goods and goods do not spring up of their own accord. They must be produced. If the producers engage in voluntary charity, which is consistent with Christian teaching, socialism and its use of force are absent. If the charity does not rise to a level or a standard that someone or some group prefers, the use of force does not become either necessary or justifiable. If you as an individual are not entitled to steal a coat from a merchant in order to provide it to a coat-less man, then neither can be a group of people, neither can be a majority of voters, and neither can be a government. Theft occurs against someone’s will; no one volunteers to be robbed. Hence, there is no way for one group of people to authorize theft against another group and make it right. Socialism claims that such theft is right, or, more accurately, altogether ignores that theft is its philosophy and acts as if it’s right to take goods away from some people and give them to others. In contrast, Christian teaching does not approve of theft, and neither does Judaism.

These days there is much more to the socialist goals. One should not have student debt. No one should have to be satisfied with their sex. No one should be referred to by pronouns they do not prefer. No one should utter speech that someone else regards as hateful. Everyone should be equal along any number of dimensions. No one should have to put up with what are termed “micro-aggressions”. Other groups should not be allowed to speak in public if they expound racist ideas or nationalist ideas or fascist ideas or, indeed, any ideas that might be anti-socialist, and this includes Christian ideas. The scope of socialist goals has expanded, and the aim is that everyone be a socialist or endorse socialist thinking. A supporter of Bernie Sanders was caught on video calling for concentration camps to re-educate people. Greta was caught suggesting that people be taken to the wall who do not go along with her climate views.

If everyone is by force made equal, not only in goods but also in the reduction of their freedom of conscience and thought, as socialism aims for, then what appears to be a philosophy that is humane and aims for humane results and justice turns out to be a philosophy that is utterly inhumane and dehumanizes the human being. Socialism consciously dehumanizes in its quest for equality. It’s proud of it and advertises it as a great virtue and plus for socialism. The human being is reduced to a number and a real ID. Everyone is forced to conform to the same systems, like single-payer Medicare for All.

Socialist propaganda hides their anti-humanity behind such slogans as equality and social justice. These are for the gullible.

Sometimes socialism is promoted as a remedy for a fascist government or a system of privileged rule. However, socialists who manage to overturn such bad government systems do not then build free societies and institute governments that promote freedom. They replace the previous governments by their own forms of autocratic rule. They build socialist systems.

In reality, the socialists who build a socialist society necessarily employ force pervasively and force everyone to conform, at least on the surface. They dwell on the material trappings of one’s life, and yet ironically it turns out that their systems cannot even compete with free systems in producing material goods.

The ruling socialists are entirely uninterested in the individual person and the freedom of that person. They are entirely anti-spiritual and godless. They are not at all interested in a person’s real spiritual being and act as if it doesn’t exist. Although promising otherwise, socialism actually aims to dehumanize the human being.

10:43 am on January 26, 2020

Sanders Vaults to the Lead

At this instant, Sanders is at 37 cents and Biden at 34 cents on Predictit. Running third at 13 cents is Bloomberg. Everyone else is effectively out of the race unless the party bigwigs engineer one of them as the candidate because they don’t want Sanders to win.

You can find a long list of the promises of Sanders at his official site.

This week, Hillary Clinton badmouthed Sanders and Obama let it be known that he would throw his weight against Sanders.

The old regime of Democrat leadership is out of step with the rank and file. This is also the case to some extent in the House where Pelosi has had to deal with the Squad. Democrat voters are re-defining the Democratic party as clearly socialist, and their aim to impose their socialist programs on every American is much more totalitarian in spirit and intensity than in the past when they fielded such excuses as depression, overcoming poverty and rectifying racism to justify socialist programs.

Assuming that Trump and Sanders both stay alive and in good enough health to run and hold office, Predictit makes Trump the winner in an election contest. Trump is at even money (49 cents) and Sanders is a 3-1 shot (25 cents).

Now, a footnote. At this time, Sanders does not say how much his plans would cost: “You don’t know. Nobody knows. This is impossible to predict.” Nonetheless, he is willing to say that Single-Payer Medicare for All will cost less than the current system: “Do you know exactly what healthcare costs will be…in the next ten years if we do nothing? It will be a lot more expensive than a Medicare-for-all single-payer system.”

This is Bernie logic. This is a socialist demagogue’s “logic”. He doesn’t know what current system C will cost over the next 10 years but he knows that new system S will cost less than whatever C costs. How can that be?

Bernie has no idea who will demand healthcare, in what ways, in what quantities, in what places and he has no idea who will supply healthcare in the millions upon millions of ways in wihch its components can be supplied. He has no idea what any given procedure or remedy will cost or what it will be worth someone to obtain. He has no idea what inventions and techniques may become available. He has no idea how much fraud will be in any system. And on and on. But he knows that the government should be the single-payer for health demands for everyone. This is Bernie economics. This is a socialist demagogue’s understanding of economics.

Why not simply merge America into Cuba and have done with it?

12:58 pm on January 25, 2020

Adam Schiff’s Cover-Up

Adam Schiff has an exceedingly warped view of Russia and Putin as adversaries and as having engineered a manipulative control over Trump, whom Schiff views as a puppet. His view is simply amazing, it’s so far from anything remotely resembling either reason or common sense.

But in viewing a snippet of his exaggerated notion of a successful “propaganda coup” of the Russians against Trump, there is evidently more to Schiff’s imaginative scripting of a puppet scenario than making up an extraordinary story that doesn’t even hold up against the very video excerpts in which Trump is shown wondering why the FBI behaved as it did regarding the investigation of the missing e-mails and the supposedly hacked server. For we now know that the FBI was engaged in a coup of its own and one that involved an elaborate plot to inject suspicion and phony salacious anti-Trump material into the 2016 election. And we know that Comey and other Obama-ites were in on it. And we know that false FISA applications were made, resulting in spying on Trump people. And we know that Comey let Hillary Clinton off the hook. And we know that Trump did the right thing to fire Comey. And we know more that’s been revealed so far about the coup against Trump by these officials and others whom they directed. But we have not yet been given a blue ribbon stamp of approval of their crimes by Barr and Durham in the form of indictments. We hope that this happens, but we are not sure what will occur next in this process.

The public consciousness of all of the anti-Trump hanky-panky is certainly not as high or thorough or pervasive as it should be, and this is because the anti-Trump forces have had so much fake media support for three years. And it is because there have been unrelenting personal attacks on Trump. And it’s because Trump’s policies differ from Obama’s in important respects and the Democrats sense that if Trump keeps it up for 4 more years, their position may become untenable, barring the advent of highly negative economic or political events that undermine Trump’s program.

To keep large segments of Americans staunchly pro-Democrat and to keep the undecideds and independents from leaning Republican, Schiff has engineered the Impeachment Hoax. The goal is to keep these groups from developing the conscious idea, which is the true idea, that the Democrats have been guilty of extremely serious crimes that involve overthrowing an elected president by devious means and that have involved very serious interference in the 2016 election. The idea is to keep in the dark those whose minds are not made up and who do not think about these things. And the way to do that is to accuse Trump over and over again and to impeach him. What better way than to impeach him after the first 2-3 year round of Russia-collusion efforts failed? And why should not Adam Schiff bring that back up and re-iterate it, even though it’s vacuous? The idea is to influence the consciousness of the undecideds and independents. And if Trump can be placed on the defensive having to address these charges, endlessly repeated, all the better from Schiff’s point of view.

The man is rabid against Trump and comes across as a monomaniac on the subject of Russian manipulation of Trump, but there is method in his madness. He’s exploiting the propaganda techniques to the full. But what else does it amount to beyond affecting the electorate’s thinking? It’s a cover-up. Schiff’s Impeachment Hoax has the effect of covering up the crimes of the Democrats, delaying their recognition, perhaps burying them beyond recognition in a mass of lies and confusion. Sorting out timelines and interactions becomes more and more difficult the more time passes. It becomes harder and harder to tell the story of what occurred in forms that people can easily grasp. To get some semblance of the truth out, it will be necessary for the Trump side to produce video ads that show clearly the lies and hypocrisy of the anti-Trump forces. It will be necessary to open unrelenting lines of attack on Democrats that show their disloyalty, their perfidy, their deceptions, their malicious and rotten behavior, their crimes and their treason.

9:04 pm on January 24, 2020

Tulsi Gabbard: Why I’m Suing Hillary Clinton for $50 Million

If you cross Swillary Clinton, you’ll be viciously smeared as a Russian-loving traitor.

12:29 am on January 24, 2020

Ex-Deep Staters and the Impeachment Hoax

The impeachment of Trump is a deception, a falsehood designed to trick voters into thinking Trump has done something so wrong that he should be removed from office. It’s accurate to call it a hoax.

The Democrats know that they won’t win his removal; but they hope to gain in other ways. One of their base objectives is to stain Trump and Republican senators so as to gain Democrat votes and seats in the elections later this year.

Trump has huge amounts of ammunition to fire at Democrats and they aim to negate his volleys by ruining his reputation. They’ve aimed at his reputation from the very beginning. That sort of attack has been designed to avoid confronting Trump on policies.

Our system of government has birthed and nurtured a “national security” interest group. These are experts and officeholders, whose names and influence are mostly unknown to voters, who thrive on foreign conflicts that involve the U.S. worldwide. This group includes former job-holders in the national security field.

This group of ex-deep staters vehemently opposes Trump’s foreign policy. It wants him out of office. It supports his impeachment. The organization called National Security Action draws members from these ex-deep state personnel. It is “an advocacy group formed in 2018 by two former national security advisers in the Obama administration to oppose Trump’s foreign policy.”

Former holders of national security posts maintain an interest, not only out of the patriotic concern that they advertise, but also because their current livelihoods as experts, speakers and consultants and their future potential jobs in non-Trump administrations depend upon this interest. Ideological differences play an important role too. Trump views the foreign chessboard very differently from these ex-jobholders in the national security state.

On Sept. 27, 2019, CNN reported on a statement released by this group: “More than 300 former national security officials have come out in support of an impeachment inquiry into Donald Trump, arguing the President’s actions in regard to Ukraine are a ‘profound national security concern.'”

The full statement accused Trump of “an unconscionable abuse of power.” The first article of impeachment against Trump is titled “Abuse of Power”, and the accusation is the same as made by National Security Action.

Deep State personnel of Democrat affiliations created and propagated the now-discredited Russia collusion hoax. That can be seen in outline here. This effort failed to dislodge Trump from office.

Deep State personnel, both out of office and in, didn’t give up the quest to remove Trump. Their influence has thoroughly suffused the Impeachment Hoax from start to finish. It is no coincidence that National Security Action published its statement at the time it did and that House Democrats adopted the term “abuse of power”.

The sordid, seditious, treasonous history of the Impeachment Hoax will eventually all come out; and we will again see the Deep State involvement. We will see in detail all the underhanded work done to build up this hoax. It will include outing the “whistleblower”, the changes in procedure that allowed his accusations to go forward, the contacts with Rep. Adam Schiff, the work with his staff and the witnesses called by the Democrats.

There are wide foreign policy differences between Trump and these “national security” opponents, including Adam Schiff. Is impeachment the right tool to use by Trump’s opponents? It clearly is not. Abuse of power in Ukraine is merely an excuse, and a feeble and implausible excuse at that, to disgrace Trump.

Democrats chose not to battle Trump on the basis of taking their foreign policy case to the public, to the voters. Instead they ginned up a false impeachment procedure. Why? Because they figured that they’d lose the battle, the reason being that Americans are tired of endless wars in places like Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria. The position of an outfit like National Security Action is much more hawkish than Trump’s. Rather than place the issue before voters, they went the impeachment route.

4:02 pm on January 23, 2020

“What Are We to Say of a Nation . . .

. . . which lives under the perpetual illusion that it is about to be attacked?”  And which has an “insatiable love of territorial aggrandizement” and believes in “the insolence of our might, and without waiting for the assaults of envious enemies [has] sallied forth in search of conquest or rapine, and carried bloodshed into every quarter of the globe.”

What I would say is that that nation’s foreign policy is obviously controlled by neocons.  These quotes, however, are by the great British liberal (in the classical, libertarian sense) Richard Cobden, criticizing the aggressive militarism of the British empire, the “neocons” of his nineteenth-century day.  (The Political Writings of Richard Cobden, New York: Garland, 1973, vol, I, p. 238).

2:48 pm on January 23, 2020

US Torture Policy: Part Of ‘American Exceptionalism’?

12:34 pm on January 23, 2020

A Darker-Than-Midnight-in-the-Middle-of-the Ocean-During-A-Typhoon Pot Calls The Kettle Black

Yet another passenger with no criminal motive or intent ran afoul of the TSA while exercising his inalienable rights per the Second Amendment:

An Ozaukee County man on Tuesday morning, Jan. 21 was stopped by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) with a firearm at Mitchell International Airport. He had a .38 caliber handgun loaded with six bullets … The man … told officials that he did not know that he was carrying his loaded gun because he thought it was in a different jacket.

As I’ve previously pointed out, the TSA ballyhoos its anti-Constitutional discoveries of weapons for two reasons:

1) it thereby convinces folks the agency isn’t as inept and totally superfluous as they suspect—even though no studies or stats anywhere even suggest, let alone prove, that disarmed passengers are safe passengers;

2) mighty few actual terrorists, the TSA’s alleged raison d’etre, exist. Ergo, it manufactures an average of twelve a day from forgetful passengers to justify its sorry existence. Never mind that it ruins lives and reputations in the process since the newly minted “terrorists” are often arrested and jailed.

At any rate, this latest absent-minded gunman prompted one of the TSA’s spokesliars to lament, “People just aren’t thinking … Not even explainable how people still continue to take guns, or try to take guns through the checkpoint.”

We’re not thinking? This from a set of thieves and sexual assailants that search women’s hair for terrorists, I kid you not.

 

11:33 am on January 23, 2020

That Perennial Question That Plagues Good Libertarians: Should You Take Money From Government?

From: G

Sent: Friday, November 29, 2019 5:45 AM

To: Walter Block

Subject: Accepting grants from the EU?

Dear Dr. Block,

I would firstly start by thanking you for answering all my previous e-mails that have helped me to develop myself as a young Austro-libertarian.

My next question is the following:

I am a Belgian student and at the moment I am on exchange at a famous Parisian business school. Because I participate in this exchange program, the European Union offers me almost €1,000 (+- $1,100) for this exchange. I obviously hate this policy because it basically steals money from working/saving/producing people in order to give it to upper class students to buy beers and go shopping. Based on my principle I want to refuse this subsidy but my mom told me to accept it because she says that you need to take away as much as you can from the state considering all the money that they steal from us.

What should I do, in your opinion?

Kind regards,

G

Libertas Vincit

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3:34 am on January 23, 2020

Criticisms of Hans Hoppe from An Austro-Libertarian Perspective

From: R
Sent: Tuesday, November 26, 2019 12:30 PM
To: Walter Block
Subject:

just wanted to note that neither murray or paul think their abortion position violates the NAP (one or both may be wrong). . but Hoppe deliberately and repeatedly advocates violating the NAP to maintain stability of a libertarian society. that is a FUNDAMENTAL difference. hoppe doesn’t even bother to claim that he is not violating the NAP. that’s as non-libertarian as you can get.

btw – did you ever publish your review of hoppe’s booklet? :

Hoppe can’t possibly be so dumb as to think that calling for “the forcible removal of certain individuals from society based on what they think” is not a violation of the NAP. but of course, he is a german so …

and i’m referring to your 2019 review of his 2018 “getting libertarianism right”

https://www.amazon.com/Getting-Libertarianism-Right-Hans-Hermann-Hoppe/dp/1610166906/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=getting+libertarian+right&qid=1574801148&sr=8-1

and how anyone can write a forward to a book entitled “white, right and libertarian” is totally beyond me.the title shouts out ‘racist’. dispicable

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3:32 am on January 23, 2020

Criticisms of Milton Friedman from An Austro-Libertarian Perspective.

From: T

Sent: Tuesday, November 26, 2019 1:44 AM

To: wblock@loyno.edu

Subject: “Deserver has nothing to do with it.” Clint Eastwood. Milton Friedman on your description of Hayek in your new book

“Deserve has nothing to do with it.” Clint Eastwood in “Unforgiven”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4kjYk2CrQF8

“He (Hayek) deserves better than your self-satisfied diatribe.” Milton Friedman on page 56 of your new book “Property Rights, The Argument for Privatization”.

Dear Walter,

I am continuing to enjoy reading your new book.

Block, Walter E. 2019. Property Rights: The Argument for Privatization. Palgrave Macmillan; https://www.palgrave.com/in/book/9783030283520

It is very well written and thought provoking. Your correspondence with Milton Friedman is fascinating. Didn’t MF come up with the withholding tax during WWII that remains with us today? I truly dislike the withholding tax and the men who installed that form of slavery over me during my working days.

I also truly loathe the words “deserves”. As Clint shows in his movie “Unforgiven”, the word and idea of “deserves” is socialist bullshit! If there is one thing I’ve learned in living my life it is that “Deserve has nothing to do with it.”

Thanks again for writing the book. Friedman is a dick imo.

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3:31 am on January 23, 2020

Anya Parampil on Bernie Sanders’ Latest Battle with the DNC and Establishment (1.22.20)

Essentially, Bernie is a wuss who has learned little in the last 4 years from his dealings with the Clintons, the DNC, the The New York Times, and the rest of the establishment. BTW, given this, and his facile throwing of supporters such as Zephyr Teachout under the bus, how can he be trusted to fight to implement his promises once in office?

12:43 am on January 23, 2020

Truth Comes Out: New Evidence Syria Gas Attack Report Falsified

https://youtu.be/AsMZYHPIs38

12:24 pm on January 22, 2020

Hans Hoppe in Arabic

Admirers of the work of Hans-Hermann Hoppe will be pleased by some news from our friend Youssif Almoayyed, an outstanding supporter of the Mises Institute who lives in Bahrain. Youssif informs us that books by Hans have been translated into Arabic and are selling very well.  His A Short History of Man was brought out by a small Iraqi publisher from Mutanabbi Street, a historic center in Baghdad for paper making, book binding and bookselling, now known as an intellectual center. The book sold very well in Iraq and has already covered its costs, even though the publisher hasn’t engaged very actively in distributing it. Youssif notes that complete freedom of the press now prevails in Iraq, with no government censorship, although publishers of controversial books risk physical attacks from offended private citizens or groups.

Hans’s more famous book Democracy: The God That Failed sold half its print run within two months and a pirated edition is already available. When the book was released in Bahrain at a book exhibition, the first day of which was marked by a solar eclipse, it was a hit, in part owing to the endorsement of a noted Bahraini intellectual and historian. Some who saw the word “God” in the title feared the book was blasphemous, but readers soon discovered that Hans meant by it  only his intention to denounce democracy as idolatrous. The book has no quarrel with Allah, fortunately for its fate in the Arab world.

Arabic readers now have a chance to study the thought of this most provocative and insightful libertarian theorist. It only remains to add, though Youssif is too modest to say so, that he himself has done a great deal to bring the libertarian message of Hans Hoppe, as well as that of Mises and Rothbard, to Bahrain and the wider Arabic world. For that he deserves our profound gratitude.

9:40 pm on January 21, 2020

Bezos, Be Good, Restructure Amazon

Rep. Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) says “If Jeff Bezos wants to be a good person, you turn Amazon into a worker cooperative.” Her statement raises many, many questions.

Bezos is the multi-billionaire who started Amazon of his own free will and invention. He didn’t start it owing to being a “bad” person or using “bad” methods or to making “bad” bargains with the many Amazon customers or employees. Bezos has no doubt done some bad things. All of us have. Does that make him not a “good person”?

Does Bezos’ wealth make him a “bad person” who can only become a “good person” by changing the ownership form of Amazon? Will God reject Bezos’ application to heaven because he became so successful, attracted so many customers and made so much money? Does he have to redeem himself by changing Amazon into a worker cooperative? Will that be a good deed that helps bring greater satisfaction to the customers of Amazon? Is Amazon in business to attract and satisfy customers or to satisfy its workers or Ocasio-Cortez? If Amazon becomes a worker cooperative, will its workers be better off as Ocasio-Cortez assumes or will the business operations suffer?

Does Ocasio-Cortez not know that Amazon has an ESOP (employee stock ownership plan) as do many large companies, and stock ownership among workers is widespread in Amazon and elsewhere? Workers are not managers in such a system, but these plans apparently improve the incentive for decisions that enhance the worker welfare and create value.

Does Ocasio-Cortez realize that businesses fail as well as succeed? Does she realize that many more fail than succeed? Does she realize that many people prefer a wage to taking a chance on one specific business?

Was Bezos privileged? “Bezos was born Jeffrey Preston Jorgensen on January 12, 1964, in Albuquerque, the son of Jacklyn Gise Jorgensen and Ted Jorgensen.[7] At the time of his birth, his mother was a 17-year-old high school student, and his father was a bike shop owner.[8] After Jacklyn divorced Ted, she married Cuban immigrant Miguel ‘Mike’ Bezos in April 1968.[9] Shortly after the wedding, Mike adopted four-year-old Jorgensen, whose surname was then changed to Bezos.”

Is Bezos a bad person because he didn’t organize Amazon as a worker cooperative? Are workers bad because they chose not to organize themselves into a worker cooperative to compete with Amazon? Are workers bad because they made wage bargains with Amazon and didn’t form a cooperative? If worker cooperatives are a viable business organization form for retailing, why haven’t they formed and out-competed Amazon? Is there something wrong with working for pay? Is it “bad”? Instead of working for pay, is everyone supposed to be an owner-worker and assume the risks of ownership? Why is being an owner or not being an owner a distinguishing factor between those who are “good persons” and those who are “bad persons”?

Ocasio-Cortez echoes the Davos agenda that companies should somehow be controlled and managed by a variety of interest groups called stakeholders. Her favored group is workers. Her favored organization structure is the worker cooperative in which workers own the company and manage it. She thinks that successful ownership confers power that belongs to owners that should belong to “the people”. She says “And to be ethical, if you’re a billionaire today, the thing that you need to do is give up control and power. So I don’t want your money as much as we want your power. The people. Not me.”

If people wrest money and power from successful business owners, why is this ethical? What entitles “the people” to take away the power and money of Bezos? The creditors have been paid their due. The workers have been paid their due. The government has taken its cut in taxes. The owners (stockholders) have received their due, be they profits or losses. The customers have received their goods. Where is the ethical black mark against Amazon or Bezos? And if there is such a black mark that his power and money represent, why does it change into a virtuous mark if “the people” take (steal) his power and money?

Are “the people” entitled to punish Bezos and any other person whose wealth and power exceed some level? Will Ocasio-Cortez and her buddies set that level? Is her rule to be the communist rule? “From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs.” Yes, that is exactly what her Bezos policy comes to. Will the communists like Ocasio-Cortez be the ones who decide your needs and abilities? Will they decide who gets what, when they get it, and how much they get? What Ocasio-Cortez proposes for Bezos is only a sample. There are loads more of wealthy people whose wealth can be seized.

For Ocasio-Cortez, the “good” or the “social good” demands that people like Bezos be made to be good, and that is to be done by force. The good society, in her view and that of fellow communists, demands regimentation and control from above by a cadre of controllers. Freedom is sacrificed in this model of society for the sake of achieving the common good or the social good or a society filled with good people.

Freedom is an open-ended concept. It’s dynamic. There’s no telling what comes of it. It opens out to an infinity of possibilities that cannot be predicted. Striving never ceases. Man is a finite being who moves toward the infinity of God unceasingly and freely. Man answers the call of God freely, and that is what the myth of the Garden tells us. The answer can be for good or evil. Freedom can entail movement away from the divine or toward it. Each of us decides freely and that’s the way God wants it, we are told. Otherwise, without such a freedom, we are automatons and our creation lacks meaning and drama.

In contrast, the communist idea is closed-ended. It’s static. It hopes to achieve a perfect society and that’s the end of history. It’s a heaven-on-earth orientation. It aims to make goodness happen unfreely. However, using force to make goodness and good people is not what God asks of us in a biblical orientation. That’s the direction of evil. This is one reason why communism is a godless philosophy.

3:06 pm on January 21, 2020

Maybe THAT’S Why the Supreme Court Has Rubber Stamped All but One or Two Federal Laws . . .

. . . since 1937.

Explanation:  The House of Representatives claims that President Trump has committed a crime called “obstruction of Congress” in its Articles of Impeachment.  But if that’s a crime, then surely a ruling by the Supreme Court that a law passed by Congress is unconstitutional is also an “obstruction of Congress” that calls for the impeachment of at least a majority of the Court.

(By the way, having read some of James Madison’s writings, I’ve long thought that the whole purpose of the Constitution was to obstruct Congress as much as possible, at least in theory).

1:58 pm on January 21, 2020

Rich Liberals Protected By Guns…Why Not The Rest Of Us?

https://youtu.be/WORW-bt6Vkc

12:26 pm on January 21, 2020

Davos Manifesto Targets Wrong Spoilers of Capitalism

Faulty diagnosis plagues the Davos Manifesto. This document is the centerpiece of the World Economic Forum, attended by leaders of over 50 countries and other notables. In general, the public expression mindset of the attendees is social and economic betterment and social justice through improving capitalism. It wants a “better kind of capitalism”. It is globalist, centralist and control-minded. It aims for central and worldwide coordination. It is interventionist. It is universalist in orientation.

The underpinning of the Manifesto is criticism of value-creation by business. The Manifesto claims that business is too short-term oriented, too focused on creating value for owners and suppliers of capital, and not mindful enough of “all its stakeholders – employees, customers, suppliers, local communities and society at large.” It wants to “harmonize the divergent interests of all stakeholders…through a shared commitment to policies and decisions that strengthen the long-term prosperity of a company.”

This thinking has signal defects. The main one is that the Davos diagnosis fails to target the biggest spoilers of a just and ethical capitalism. These are banking systems with central banks and unsound money and credit. These, in turn, are created by overly-powerful governments that are corrupt. It is not faults of capitalism that create big problems; competition rapidly weeds out mistakes, if given a chance to work. It is central banking, tax, regulatory and warfare policies that prevent healthy business competition.

The centralization of immense government powers sets the stage for the capture of government by a broad range of interest groups. One of the many results is a flawed capitalism that goes by many names, such as crony capitalism and state capitalism.

Blaming business is superficial and fails to target the real culprit, which is the idea that government is the go-to tool to solve social and economic problems and to create social betterment. Given the completely wrong diagnosis of the elements that spoil capitalism, it is no surprise that the Davos Manifesto advocates more government, when it should be targeting unsound money and central intervention in debt markets and interest rates.

The Manifesto has two sorts of statements. First comes a list of desirable behaviors of companies. The problem with it is that it’s disconnected from any mention of private property, competition and price systems to attain the goals. There is no other known way, short of freedom, to reconcile the divergent interests of different groups in society; and to replace them by a coordinated division of labor rooted in individual freedom. Nothing but individual freedom results in human betterment on a society-wide broad scale. The sustained application of government power doesn’t do this. Davos completely fails to see this, understand this or build viable recommendations based upon this.

Instead, the Manifesto promises stakeholder socialism:

“A company is more than an economic unit generating wealth. It fulfils human and societal aspirations as part of the broader social system. Performance must be measured not only on the return to shareholders, but also on how it achieves its environmental, social and good governance objectives. Executive remuneration should reflect stakeholder responsibility.

“A company that has a multinational scope of activities not only serves all those stakeholders who are directly engaged, but acts itself as a stakeholder – together with governments and civil society – of our global future. Corporate global citizenship requires a company to harness its core competencies, its entrepreneurship, skills and relevant resources in collaborative efforts with other companies and stakeholders to improve the state of the world.”

Notice the words “must be measured” for “performance”. Notice what “Corporate global citizenship requires” [Emphasis added.] These signal methods of control that are above those provided by competition, sound money, property rights and open entry into business. The Davos vision is vague but still discernible. It is some sort of a worldwide control over businesses that is supposedly able to bring social betterment while making companies act in the best interests of widely-divergent interests (stakeholders). This simply cannot be accomplished. Socialism doesn’t work.

The actionable core to the Davos Manifesto is not its ideas of how companies should behave, but its vision of how to make them behave. On that account, Davos embodies European-style thinking, European Union (EU) thinking, EU-style bureaucracy, EU-style regulations, and EU-style rule. It is antithetical to freedom and free market capitalism. It ends up being a suffocating socialism, the kind of policies that will ruin any country. In America this kind of thought is the proper enemy of any person who truly loves his country and wants to see it and its people prosper and not succumb to the evils of socialism.

9:10 am on January 21, 2020

Can The Free Enterprise System Provide Defense? Yes!

Letter 1

From: D

Sent: Monday, November 25, 2019 1:00 PM

To: wblock@loyno.edu

Subject: Acceptance of “Gubmint” dinero and compatibility with Libertarian views

Many self-professed Libertarians love to rail against the Government, not merely for its size, but for its very EXISTENCE.  In their maniacal fury against that which is funded by the taxpayers (whether directly via taxes or by debasement of their monies via government borrowing and its overworked printing press), many adopt some holier-than-thou stance about “tax feeders” and so on.

Not only is this unproductive, it’s sheer nonsense.  At least as best as I’ve learned it, Libertarianism is for the promotion of personal liberty and FREE enterprise, leaving as many decisions to the respective consenting adults and leaving the bureaucrats out of it.  Sure, so many things commonly thought to be the exclusive domain of government, could, in fact, be done on a fee-for-service or subscription basis.  But there’s a REASON that some things simply are a government function, period…for if nothing else, they don’t lend themselves to market demand!

A much more pertinent question to be asked, before decrying someone for “taking Government money”, is, does that job or function need to be funded by the taxpayers at all?  That, folks, is what the political process is all about, and has been since we sent King George III and his motley Redcoats a-packin.  And yes, I’d rather those jobs or functions be limited to what is mandated via the US or the respective State constitutions, but of necessity there will be SOMETHING.  The next question should be, is the price and/or awarding of said job or contract done in a fair and open manner, to ensure that the taxpayers get their money’s worth, and is an appropriate degree of “Inspector General” effort applied to see that said items or services are properly delivered?  Well, if they are, then the person(s) delivering their products or services ought to feel no onus whatsoever for “taking” Government money, as he’s fairly EARNED it.  I believe that I’ve done so during some 35 years of military and civil employment and likewise have nothing to apologize over to fellow Libertarians.

D

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2:24 am on January 21, 2020

Libertarian Purity

From: R
Sent: Monday, November 25, 2019 12:43 PM
To: Walter Block
Subject: Purity

people who support the use of the state to control what a person puts into his body are NOT libertarians

Dear Richard:

So, perfect adherence to the NAP, etc., is required of all libertarians, eh? Rothbard is pro choice, Ron Paul is pro life. They both can’t be correct. So, at least one of them is not a libertarian? I find this position problematic. I’m a moderate on this issue. You can have a few deviations, and still be a libertarian. That’s why I’m known as Walter Moderate Block

Best regards,

Walter

2:18 am on January 21, 2020

Can You Be A Libertarian If You Want To Ban Marijuana?

From: R

Sent: Monday, November 25, 2019 3:39 AM

To: Walter Block

Subject: Prohibit Pot?

https://www.lewrockwell.com/lrc-blog/730623/

re:  Letter 5”.

marijuana legalization is to me a litmus test of a person being a libertarian because it clearly and unequivocally, expresses the principle of self-ownership. the same principle is expressed by the slogan “my body, my choice”.  ownership of one’s own body is even more fundamental than ownership of one’s thoughts or property (the physical self is the ‘ultimate’ property)

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2:14 am on January 21, 2020

Guaido’s antics only prop up Maduro – Daniel McAdams

https://youtu.be/x7JBwf6gCkA

7:02 pm on January 20, 2020

Stakeholder Socialism and the 2020 Davos Manifesto

The World Economic Forum (WEF) stands foursquare for stakeholder socialism. The U.S. government (via Trump) should criticize its meeting in Davos, Switzerland that begins today.

Did socialism ever at any time or any place improve the standard of living? Never!

In 1941 the average housewife was fully occupied in household chores. Most Americans did not have a washing machine or an electric dryer. The wife’s responsibilities included hand-washing many clothing items using a washboard and a tub. For this purpose, did socialism bring about soap powders like Oxydol, Duz and Tide? Did socialism invent the electric washers and dryers that replaced most washing by hand? Did it bring about the widespread adoption of washing machines and dryers at affordable prices? Did teams of economists and politicians descend on Davos or anyplace else to design, manufacture, advertise and distribute these inventions?

Was it socialism that freed the housewife from a lot of manual labor and allowed her to get a second job for the family? It wasn’t women’s lib that did this or a government law or an ERA. It was and still is capitalism that broadened the options open to married women and families and allowed this to happen.

In the handwashing days, local laundries sprang up that did sheets and pillowcases, among other items. Did socialism design these businesses, choose their locations, hire people, train employees, pay them a wage at which they were willing to work, and arrange pickup and delivery schedules? Not on your life. Did socialism arrange friendships so that one wife with a car would drive her friend to and from a local laundromat? Not a chance.

In 1938, iceboxes were half the market for home storage of food and refrigerators were the other half. Icemen delivered ice to homes, and their vehicles were often horse-drawn. Refrigerators were only 1 percent of the market in 1925. Did socialism see to this rapid growth? Or did socialism actually hinder this growth?

Socialism should be a dead issue, a dead duck, but it is not. The socialists cannot shake loose of their quest for centralized control of economic decisions. The latest Davos Manifesto buries this quest in a mixture of goals, platitudes, faulty assumptions and distortions. What a mess it is! It is wall-to-wall nonsense! There’s little point in addressing it point by point. Its statements about what companies should be and do comprise a total business ethics, but it is an ethics with no definite free market guidelines. It’s an ethics divorced from the real problems of profitably providing goods and services that people want and can pay for.

The 2020 Davos Manifesto is a blueprint for killing off shareholder capitalism and replacing it with stakeholder socialism, which it misnames “stakeholder capitalism“.

The Davos Manifesto avoids all mention of enforcement or bringing about its measures. For stakeholder socialism to have “teeth”, a real impact, its guidelines will have to be solidified into a large range of measures enforced by government power. This Manifesto calls for a huge suppression of business freedoms. But the freedom of individuals to make their own decisions is the essential and necessary environment for rising living standards.

Ignoring all history, Davos and the WEF stand for the futile hope of improving living standards through the centralized decisions of governmenta and the reduction of individual freedom to make business decisions. The wrong-headed premise is that technocrats, bureaucrats and politicians can and will produce improving living standards. Failures of socialism in this respect like the USSR, Cuba, Nazi Germany, Mao’s China, Great Britain, the New Deal, East Germany, North Korea, and Eastern Europe are ignored.

One thing is certain beyond all doubt. If global warming or climate change or any other catastrophe happens or is going to happen or has a chance of happening, Greta and all the rest of those attending the Davos meeting, including 50 or so leaders of governments, are not, in general, going to be the ones that solve or mitigate the problem; certainly not as long as they ignore socialism’s failures and free market capitalism’s successes. They will not be the ones who even recognize what the real problems of mankind are as opposed to frivolous ideas of what we face.

2:17 pm on January 20, 2020

The War In Trump’s Ear

12:30 pm on January 20, 2020

The Atlantean Mythos

There is another strain of Atlantean esoterica not discussed in the fascinating article, “A Description of the Lost Land of Atlantis & The Reason For Its Downfall – According To Plato,” posted today on LRC. That is how the mythos of Atlantis was at the seminal core of how Adolph Hitler and the Nazi regime made use of ancient mysticism and occultism to manufacture a new Germanic mythology, the religion of National Socialism, that combined ancient legends and esoteric cosmologies with cutting-edge theories of genetic science, in their quest to create an Aryan super race.

The study of the construction of pseudo-secular gnostic religions has been one of the principal obsessions of my life since I heard Gerhart Niemeyer of Notre Dame lecture on it in 1975 at the Intercollegiate Studies Institute’s Western Summer School at Thomas Aquinas College.

Niemeyer was a keen student of Eric Voegelin on these matters, as was Murray Rothbard. I believe understanding this 2000 year battle between orthodox Christianity and Gnosticism is the ultimate key to unlocking the history of the previous two millennia.

Christianity and the West have been at war for hundreds of years with a succession of gnostic political religions and mass movements seeking to impose brutal elite rule and mastery of their subject peoples.

These sinister efforts have been responsible for untold death, destruction, and misery.

Over one hundred million persons alone perished in the 20th Century as a result of these murderous totalitarian regimes.

For decades distinguished scholars such as Michael Burleigh, Eric Voegelin, Murray N. Rothbard, James H. Billington, Rudolf Rocker, Hannah Arendt, Norman Cohn, Zbigniew Brzezinski, Raymond Aron, and Gerhart Niemeyer have intensely discussed and debated the concepts of totalitarianism and political religions to describe such destructive phenomena as National Socialism and Communism, as well as their heretical predecessors.

5:32 am on January 20, 2020

MLK and the Vietnam War

I am not a fan of the religion, economics, and politics of the plagiarist and womanizer Martin Luther King, and neither am I a fan of his holiday, but when he said that the Vietnam War was “unjust, evil, and futile,” that “we have no honorable intentions in Vietnam,” and that “we have been wrong from the beginning of our adventure in Vietnam,” he was certainly speaking the truth. See my reviews of two important books about the crime of the Vietnam War here and here.

9:37 am on January 19, 2020