Nice Letters

In the last little while on this blog, I’ve exhibited several letters that very critical of me and my writings, some of them exceedingly harsh.

For a change of pace, I’d now like to show the other side of this coin. Here are some very complimentary notes, also with my responses to them.

These appear in no particular order and are from:

A. Brian Perz

B. Bryan Riley

C. Wynn Harper

D. Connor Brock

E. Jens

F. Jerry Charles

G. Lois Orlando

H. Matheus Vieira

I. Chris Dillingham

J. Nathan Reed

K. Ondrej D

L. Oliver Serrano

M. Ronnie

N. Sam Smith

O. Matt Sands

P. Stephen Wilder (I hate to single out any one letter. I am very appreciative of all of them. But this one is my favorite)

Q. Steven Keely

R. Michael Fleischer

A. Brian Perz

From: Brian P

Sent: Friday, February 21, 2020 6:54 PM

To: wblock@loyno.edu

Subject: Libertarian Justice

Dr. Block,

I’ve been a big fan of yours for a long time. I am not and have never been a student of yours but I wrote a rough draft of an article for you on the topic of libertarian justice. I dont know if anyone has ever given you these arguments before so i apologize if I’m and unwilling copycat. I would like to be published but I don’t know how to go to about it so any guidance you could give me would be greatly appreciated. I attached the article to give you a sneak peak. Let me know what you think.

Sincerely,

Brian Perz

Dear Brian:

Thanks. This letter made my day.

Best regards,

Walter

B. Bryan Riley

Letter 1

From: Bryan Riley, National Taxpayers Union

Sent: Thursday, April 30, 2020 10:52 AM

To: wblock@loyno.edu

Subject: Economists letter on trade policy

April 30, 2020

I invite you to join more than 100 economists including James E. Anderson, Alan Deardorff, Douglas Holtz-Eakin, Gary Hufbauer, Brad Jensen, Mary Lovely, Vernon Smith, Arvind Panagariya, Barry Eichengreen, Keith Maskus, Jennifer Hunt, Peter Petri, Thomas Prusa, Severin Borenstein, and Anne Krueger on the following letter to policymakers. Add your name here or reply with your name, institutional affiliation, and state of residence. Please forward to colleagues who may be interested. Also, if you would like to be removed from our email list just let me know. Thank you for your time.

For background, here is a link to a recent report on Peter Navarro’s latest efforts: https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2020/04/29/white-house-aides-torn-over-trade-hawks-proposal-president-trump-weighs-action-china/

Mr. President, Speaker Pelosi, and Leader McConnell:

Government mandates, export controls, and other trade restrictions are proliferating around the world as countries confront the COVID-19 pandemic. Generally inadvisable, these actions will undermine a strong recovery.

The United States has already imposed restrictions on the export of health and medical resources. Policymakers are considering the imposition of new Buy America requirements for medical goods and pharmaceutical products, either by executive order or legislation.

Current shortages of critical medical goods in the Covid-19 pandemic have revealed to all the desirability of diversifying sources of supply and increasing inventory of storable medical goods. Diversifying supply sources and increasing inventories will be costly, but a broad Buy America regime will be more costly. The variety, supply, and price of goods available to Americans will suffer under a broad Buy America regime. Taxpayers and patients will pay more for drugs and medical supplies. Smart policies such as federal government stockpiling look more promising.

A Buy America directive can also hamstring the ability of U.S. pharmaceutical and medical equipment manufacturers to meet our future needs if firms are denied access to essential foreign supplies. Moreover, we can expect our trading partners to adopt retaliatory “Don’t Buy American” barriers targeting U.S. exports as this type of retaliation is already occurring between other countries.

The President’s intuition was correct when in 2018 he called for zero tariffs, zero non-tariff barriers, and zero subsidies.

For the United States to make a rapid and strong recovery from the pandemic, we urge leaders to stand strong against those in the United States and abroad who seek to disrupt trade in essential medical products. Instead, the United States and its trading partners should pursue policies that make medical supplies more plentiful and affordable. Costly protectionism should not be foisted on patients at home and abroad.

Copyright © 2020 National Taxpayers Union, All rights reserved.

Our mailing address is:

122 C Street NW

Suite 650

Washington, DC 20001

Bryan Riley

Director

NTU Free Trade Initiative

Letter 2

On Thu, Apr 30, 2020 at 12:08 PM Walter Block <wblock@loyno.edu wrote:

Dear Bryan:

I’d gladly sign this, except for this one line:

Smart policies such as federal government stockpiling look more promising.

I’m sorely tempted to sign it anyway, since the rest of this letter is really excellent.  But, I’d better stick to my policy of signing on to letters with which I agree fully.

Sorry, but please keep me on your list. This is a great initiative of the NTU.

Best regards,

Walter

Letter 3

From: Bryan Riley

Sent: Thursday, April 30, 2020 11:20 AM

To: Walter Block <wblock@loyno.edu

Subject: Re: Economists letter on trade policy

I understand–thanks for taking the time to email. As you may recall I found your classic book “Defending the Undefendable” on the racks of the Kansas St University library back in the 1980s and it has had a lasting impact. For what it’s worth I didn’t write the line you are concerned about but we didn’t think it was a deal breaker in general!

Letter 4

From: Walter Block <wblock@loyno.edu

Sent: Thursday, April 30, 2020 12:07 PM

To: ‘Bryan Riley’

Subject: RE: Economists letter on trade policy

Dear Bryan:

Thanks for your kind words. The one line was a deal breaker for me since it called upon the government to do something. It implied that the free enterprise system would not suffice. Eg., that there was a market failure. I’m not a big fan of the market failure doctrine.

Best regards,

Walter

D. Wynn Harper

Letter 1

—–Original Message—–

From: Wynn Harper

Sent: Thursday, May 14, 2020 4:52 PM

To: wblock@loyno.edu

Subject: Vaccinations

Dr Block,

I have religiously allowed myself to be vaccinated over the years, not

because I was worried about contracting a disease and passing it on to

others, but because it was required by my parents, was a requirement

of employment or I felt it was important to preserve my own health (I

cannot be sure that one or more of those vaccines has not caused at

least one health issue I experience now). The COVID19 pandemic has

brought to light many things about vaccines that have made me question

whether or not vaccines are a good thing.  I am not certain of what

the truth is now.  I am concerned about what motivates the people who

are recommending mandatory vaccination.  I am concerned that the

companies that manufacture them want to be indemnified at our expense

so as to privatize profits and socialize the mistakes.  I am concerned

that science has been politicized to the point that it is driven by

studies that provide outcomes that politicians and corporations desire

and want us to believe brought on by how science is now funded.  It

appears that moral hazard and cronyism have infected an ever expanding

bureaucracy that holds its own welfare and that of its high level

constituents in higher regard than the people it is supposed to serve.

It concerns me that the bureaucracy wants to move quickly to human

trials when less expensive and effective therapies are available to

treat the current outbreak. I will probably get the vaccination but it

will not be because the government tells me I must.  I will get if,

and only if, I am convinced that it is safe and effective and that I

have legal and financial recourse against the deep pockets that are

promoting it, if not the doctor who recommends it. I will not waive my

rights by an informed consent form but would rather have my doctor

accept full liability for adverse affects.  Again, I will receive the

vaccine primarily if I feel it will prevent me from contracting a

disease and not because I will be protecting others from contracting

it.  I consider this to be informed self interest to the extent that any lay person can be informed in these matters.

I consider myself a libertarian but I am by no means a scholar of the

theory.  Why should I follow the NAP in this case if I cannot be sure

that the bureaucracy will not be committing an act of aggression

against me, knowingly or not?

Best regards,

Wynn Harper

Letter 2

On May 14, 2020, at 15:09, Walter Block <wblock@loyno.edu wrote:

Dear Wynn:

Sorry, I’m all talked out on this one.

https://www.lewrockwell.com/lrc-blog/vaccinations-part-ii/

Best regards,

Walter

Letter 3

—–Original Message—–

From: Wynn Harper

Sent: Thursday, May 14, 2020 6:51 PM

To: Walter Block <wblock@loyno.edu

Subject: Re: Vaccinations

Dr Block,

Saw that which prompted my email.  Thought I may have had a different take.

Enjoyed your book on the defending the indefensible which I read a decade ago and seeing you in Seattle at a Mises event.

Stay safe.

Wynn Harper

Sent from my iPhone

Letter 4

Dear Wynn:

Thanks for putting up with my non response on this.

Best regards,

Walter

D. Connor Brock

From: Connor Brock

Sent: Wednesday, May 13, 2020 10:41 AM

To: wblock@loyno.edu

Subject: You changed my mind on vaccinations

Hi Walter,

Thank you for the fascinating discussion about forced vaccinations on LRC. Now that you’ve prompted me to think about it, I can envision a situation in which forcing a vaccination on someone would not violate the NAP.

Following the golden rule of reciprocation, if person A introduces person B to a foreign substance against B’s will, whether by coughing or syringe, then they are essentially communicating to the world that it is okay for someone else to treat them equally in the same way. Person A gives up some of their rights by being an aggressor, so any future forced vaccination against them should not be considered a violation of the NAP.

I hope I’ve correctly understood your position. Your writings on libertarian justice theory have certainly influenced mine. I really admire all your work and especially your moral courage in the face of attacks. I hope that all of us in the liberty movement can choose humility over conviction, even while being very much convicted.

-Connor Brock

Dear Connor:

Thanks for your kind words.

Yes, that is  indeed one example for which a compulsory vaccination might be justified.

Best regards,

Walter

E. Jens

From: Jens S

Sent: Thursday, May 07, 2020 6:42 AM

To: Walter Block <wblock@loyno.edu>

Subject: Space Capitalism is great!

Hello Walter,

just finished reading Space Capitalism.

Fantastic! Really love that there is a Libertarian view on the Great Frontier!

Have bought Water Capitalism and already am excited to read it.

Three Questions:

1. Would Peter Lothian Nelson be available for questions?

I have tons of technical space qestions.

2. Did Murray Rothbard ever happen to mention Howard Homan Buffett (Warren Buffett’s father) to you?

I read that they knew each other.

As a business person I am required to find Warren Buffett interesting or they’ll

throw me out.

3. As a business owner, how much compliance with politicians is allowed before it becomes problematic?

Say, I move to the US and start a cryonics company.

Instead of building individual cooling containers for every customer like Alcor and Cryonics Institute,

I modify underground caverns for storage.

While the initial investment is greater, the principle of refrigeration (decreasing marginal cost

per unit, i.e. the more stuff you pack together to cool the less it costs to cool per unit)

makes it much cheaper per customer.

In order to do that, I need to buy those underground caverns.

Some politicians might try to get on my case on that for various reasons.

As a counter, I can flatter, lie, bribe and even tit for tat.

How much of that is too much before it becomes problematic from a Libertarian perspective?

Best Regards,

Jens

From: Walter Block <wblock@loyno.edu>

Sent: Thursday, May 07, 2020 11:24 AM

To: ‘Jens S’

Cc: ‘Peter’

Subject: RE: Space Capitalism is great!

Dear Jens:

Thanks for your kind words. I know that Peter will also be delighted with your letter, and I’m sure he’d answer more technical questions better than me.

In Space Capitalism we wrestle with the question of when and why a businessperson steps over the line. I think we did this in our discussion about Elon Musk.

My short answer is that defensive bribery is ok.

Best regards,

Walter

F. Jerry Charles

From: Jerry

Sent: Monday, May 11, 2020 12:36 PM

To: wblock@loyno.edu

Subject: Social Security? Feh!

Hello Walter,

Totally agree with you. In my personal case I was offered an early retirement package at age 55 along with about 125 others eligible in our age and seniority group. Only one other person and I refused the offer. The forced retirement law was thrown out one month before I reached age 65. I continued to work 10 more years to age 75. My health is good enough to have continued several more years but gave it up and pursue other activities, some of which are farming.

We already have a Canada Pension Plan. (CPP). You may already be familiar. By my personal calculations one would have to live to the age of 100 or longer, perhaps 125 years to receive all the funds contributed plus a reasonable return on investment adjusted for inflation after contributing an entire working life. To add more pain to this compulsory plan, the government changes the rules as time passes so contributions are increased and withdrawals come at a later age or penalized if withdrawn earlier. I brought this fact up at a CPP meeting before the last changes were made to the plan. I was severely attacked, claiming I didn’t know what I was talking about. This is how I approached my argument using current rates of $2000 personal plus $2000 employer contributions annually. After 40 working years times $4000, that’s $160,000. I receive about $13,000 annually. (Maximum contributions for 40 years, and payouts are taxed of course at up to 50% marginal tax rate depending on income).

12+ years principal is returned. No ROI over 52 years. None. What about those unfortunate enough to even receive any payment other than the $3000 death benefit? People like my sister who passed at age 62. My B-I-L who passed at age 63?

The only people who truly benefited from this criminal plan was someone like my self-employed father who contributed for 13 years and lived to just short of 100. He collected close to $200,000.

Now that’s a ROI. But those people are part of history now. I miss him dearly.

Thanks for your many contributions to LRC.

And to Lew’s fabulous site which I follow several times daily.

Jerry

Dear Jerry:

Thanks for your nice letter. I, too, am an LRC junkie.

Best regards,

Walter

G. Lois Orlando

From: Lois Orlando

Sent: Saturday, April 25, 2020 6:57 AM

To: wblock@loyno.edu

Subject: Hi Dr. Block

I read with great interest this week on Lew Rockwell’s blog, how you taught microeconomics at the university level, after another professor asked you how you taught it, being an Austrian in that environment.

I am no economics professor, in fact am an artist/designer, but having learned via attending classes at FEE back in the late 1980’s, additional reading from Mises, that’s how I homeschooled my 16 year old daughter for the my state’s economics requirement to graduate. ( She was in private school up to then.)

I used I Pencil and most of the Austrian literature. Then relied on the Great Courses to give her mainstream economics. I didn’t know where else to turn and that was good enough for high school level. This was during the financial crisis of 2008.

You should see her now, as a post-graduate writing major, talking to her friends ( mostly Bernie lovers) how the current trillions in bailout money, just means they will pay for it later with inflation ( high prices to them). They are now listening for the first time too, but not when she was in college with them.

So glad all you guys are around. She’s reading Lew Rockwell regularly now since this current pandemic after a few years of post-graduate partying and travel. Though it is giving her anxiety as she was furloughed. But she’s a saver and has enough to last her through it.

Lois Orlando

From: Walter Block <wblock@loyno.edu>

Sent: Saturday, April 25, 2020 10:52 AM

To: ‘Lois Orlando’

Subject: RE: Hi Dr. Block

Dear Lois:

Thanks for this lovely letter.

Best regards,

Walter

H. Matheus Vieira

From: Matheus Vieira

Sent: Friday, March 20, 2020 2:02 PM

To: wblock@loyno.edu

Subject: COVID-19 and libertarianism

Good afternoon, Professor Block!

As your are the master of Libertarian weird/difficult questions, I thought I would ask you another one.

This question has been asked by Raphaël Lima (who has an huge libertarian following here in Brazil) on Twitter and I think it would be interesting to get the English-speaking libertarians involved as well:

> If Bob is infected by COVID-19, is aware of it, goes outside and infects Jim and then Jim dies, can Bob be charged of Homicide?

A similar question would be: If Bob has HIV and has unprotected sex with Ana, tells her he doesn’t have HIV, and then Ana ends up infected and dies because of it. Likewise, can we charge Bob of homicide?

Thanks for your time! Patiently waiting for Defending III…

With best regards from Brazil,

Matheus Vieira.

From: Walter Block <wblock@loyno.edu>

Sent: Friday, March 20, 2020 5:02 PM

To: Matheus Vieira

Subject: RE: COVID-19 and libertarianism

Dear Matheus:

Thanks for your kind words.

In my view, Bob is guilty of murder in both cases. Best regards, Walter Be safe.

This is not exactly on point, but it is at least somewhat relevant to your question:

Block, Walter E. 2020. “Quarantines.” March 10;

https://www.targetliberty.com/2020/03/walter-block-on-quarantines-because-of.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed:+TargetLiberty+(Target+Liberty);

https://www.targetliberty.com/2020/03/walter-block-on-quarantines-because-of.html?fbclid=IwAR2eKAqVI1zJ-2d-aCW6IQwwJQQKRWJf_lcJsDxLHp9RIfNx-1fYuMzUrO8

I. Chris Dillingham

—–Original Message—–

From:

Sent: Monday, May 11, 2020 3:36 PM

To: wblock@loyno.edu

Subject: Have you made a case for landlords who sit on unused property?

Mr. Block, I’ve been a fan of your writings for some time, and I vaguely recall once reading some commentary of yours about the value that landlords provide when they allow their holdings to sit unused. As I recall it serves to hold the property in reserve for others who may value it more at a later time, but I believe there was more to the argument that I no longer recall. I’m curious because an acquaintance of mine has been sitting on a couple of duplexes  in my neighborhood after acquiring them at a bargain price, but he seems willing to let them sit unrented in a relatively hot rental market. Certainly that is his prerogative, but it seems like a wasted opportunity for him. Can you point me to any writings of yours where you defend holding property unused?

Thanks for your time, and for your ongoing work defending libertarian principles!

Chris Dillingham

Dear Chris:

Thanks for your nice letter. I don’t think I ever published anything about that. I might have mentioned it in an interview.

In any case, there are any number of reasonable motivations for leaving real estate empty. The precuationary motive. You don’t know what the future will bring, you want to be more flexible. Or, you could expect rent levels to rise in future, and want to be able to take advantage of these more profitable opportunities.

But this phenomenon is far wider than real estate. Businesses keep inventory on hand, in order to be able to satisfy consumers. What is inventory? Unsold, unused, empty, material, just waiting to be brought to market.

We all have cash in our wallets. This money could be earning interest instead. Why do we do so? For similar reasons: convenience, flexibility, hopes that prices will fall tomorrow and our money will be worth more then.

We all enjoy leisure. (Nowadays, a bit too much of this good thing, but that’s another story). What is leisure? It, too, is akin to something unused. Unused labor in this case.

This phenomenon pervades the entire economy.

Best regards,

Walter

J. Nathan Reed

—–Original Message—–

From: Nathan Reed

Sent: Tuesday, May 05, 2020 5:30 AM

To: wblock@loyno.edu

Subject: The regression theorem & bitcoin

Dr. Block,

I am a retired software developer and have been a lay-student of Austrian economics for over 30 years.

I was not aware of your analysis done with Laura Davidson regarding the regression theorem and bitcoin in the Quarterly Journal of Austrian Economics until this last weekend. I have now read the analysis three times. Thank you so much for this work as I have been trying to resolve several of the issues you addressed.

I note that a lot of people with Austrian or Free Market leanings really struggle when faced with an actual free market. Their opinions just conclude that bitcoin cannot be money due to technical reasons. The regression theorem and/or that bitcoin had no prior value in direct use are frequently cited. I cringe with a fingernails on the blackboard reaction when I hear lack of intrinsic value used to support an anti-bitcoin argument. I actually detect that they are really just uncomfortable with a potential money asset that is not sponsored or dominated by government or under any institutional control. (If I was a young neophyte Austrian economist I would explore this  fascinating phenomenon.)

I am in agreement with your analysis that the marketability of bitcoin is a psychological issue and not a praxeological issue.

With time more detail work is being produced on this topic. I just wanted to say thank you for your 2015 article.

Whenever I see any work or interview with Dr. Block in the title it gets my attention. Your efforts are much appreciated.

Regards,

Nathan Reed

—–Original Message—–

From: Walter Block <wblock@loyno.edu>

Sent: Tuesday, May 05, 2020 10:23 AM

To: ‘Nathan Reed’

Cc: ‘Laura Davidson’

Subject: RE: The regression theorem & bitcoin

Dear Nathan:

Thanks for your very kind letter. I’m sure you won’t mind that I share this with my co author.

Davidson, Laura and Walter E. Block. 2015. “Bitcoin, the Regression Theorem, and the Emergence of a New Medium of Exchange.” Quarterly Journal of Austrian Economics; Vol. 18, No. 3, Fall, pp. 311-338; https://mises.org/library/bitcoin-regression-theorem-and-emergence-new-medium-exchangehttps://mises.org/library/bitcoin-regression-theorem-and-emergence-new-medium-exchange?utm_source=Mises+Institute+Subscriptions&utm_campaign=b9f735e1cc-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_9_21_2018_9_59_COPY_01&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_8b52b2e1c0-b9f735e1cc-227976965https://mises-media.s3.amazonaws.com/Bitcoin%20the%20Regression%20Theorem%20and%20the%20Emergence%20of%20a%20New%20Medium%20of%20Exchange.pdf?file=1&type=document

Davidson, Laura and Walter E. Block. 2017. “Bitcoin, the Regression Theorem, and the Emergence of a New Medium of Exchange.” (translated to: “Bitcoin, o teoremada regressao e a emgergencia de un novo meio de troca”) MISES: Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy, Law and Economics, Vol. 5, No. 1, January-June,  pp. 83-98; https://www.revistamises.org.br/index.php/misesjournal/issue/view/10https://www.revistamises.org.br/index.php/misesjournal/article/view/43;

https://www.revistamises.org.br/index.php/misesjournal/article/view/43/9

Best regards,

Walter

K. Ondrej D

Letter 1

From: ondu

Sent: Monday, March 09, 2020 7:36 PM

To: Walter Block <wblock@loyno.edu>

Subject: thank you letter

hi.

i read your stuff and watch your  presentationtions on youtube.

you are really cool in your explanations and clean criticism of subject matter before you.

Just the fact that u ancap, still being positive eventhough vast majority of “intelectuals” or academic colleagues may have had more succes money or famewise. You AWESOME.

The way u present an argument and solve problem is really approachable.

Even you be long gone your content be relevant and appreciated.

My life and im sure other people life is much richer cuz you.

i HOPE nothing but best for you sir.¨

Ondrej

Letter 2

On Tue, Mar 10, 2020 at 1:55 AM Walter Block <wblock@loyno.edu> wrote:

Thanks for your kind letter. Please tell me a bit about yourself. Age? Schooling? Country

Letter 3

From: ondu

Sent: Tuesday, March 10, 2020 6:03 PM

To: Walter Block <wblock@loyno.edu>

Subject: Re: thank you letter

Hi.

Nationality : czech / born :country czech republic-prague/ 31 y.

finished education :2008

I finished secondary school of mechanical engineering , i believe its high school in usa.

————————————————————————————————————————————————

“in 2010 started reading financial news. Then i found out Peter schiff show, Ron Paul. Then found out about mises institute and the rest is history. Then i got hooked on Turgot, Bastiat, Menger, st.T.Aquinas, spanish scholastics, etc.

————————————————————————————————————————————————-

I got second job too – selling an investment gold for personal use. Its a legit company which gets the gold from verified Mint companies. It is horrible that people do not understand money, vast majority of people blindly trust the state and fiat currency.

—————————————————————————————————————————————————

After careful consideration so far, Ancap is the most consistent political phylosophy. Austrian school seems like extension of it. You have a lion share on my education through your videos and writings

————————————————————————————————————————————————-

I wanna add one thing.

Recently i watched the docu about barklay marathons and there was this slogan:” The true succes is not the absence of failure. It is the refusal to surrender.”

I am in aw when i c rothbard in the 90s talking about the FED on youtube. Ron paul now still going. Mises with his background he could have stayed in latin america enjoying sun till the end.

You sir still going on writing in your age, debating.Somehow the slogan fits here as I look at you guys. In my eyes you guys are the muhamad alis of this century.

One day you be gone but people will still be impacted by your actions. You can be proud of yourself sir 🙂

——————————————————————————————————————————————————

Sorry it was longer than expected.

Best wishes as always to you.

Ondrej D.

Letter 4

Dear Andrej:

Thanks again for your kind words.

Best regards,

Walter

L. Oliver Serrano

—–Original Message—–

From: Innisfree

Sent: Tuesday, April 28, 2020 7:29 AM

To: wblock@loyno.edu

Subject: WATER CAPITALISM SPANISH TRADUCTION

Dear Mr. Block.

I am Oliver Serrano, director of the spanish libertarian publishing company Innisfree. We are interested to translate into spanish your book ‘Water Capitalism’. Could you send us the PDF file?

Thank you in advance.

best regards,

Óliver

Equipo editorial

www.editorialinnisfree.com

From: Walter Block <wblock@loyno.edu>

Sent: Tuesday, April 28, 2020 8:42 AM

To: ‘Innisfree’

Cc:

Subject: RE: WATER CAPITALISM SPANISH TRADUCTION

Dear Oliver:

I’m delighted with your offer. I’m copying on this my co author and my publisher.

Best regards,

Walter

M. Ronnie

Letter 1

From: Ronnie

Sent: Sunday, April 26, 2020 9:11 AM

To: wblock@loyno.edu

Subject: Walter, I’d like to pick your brain

Hi Walter,

We haven’t met previously, but my name is Richard and I’m working on a  fiction novel that explores some fairly outlandish ‘what-if’ scenarios from the past few years, an alternate reality of modern-day America in some respects.

As part of my research, I’m having conversations with a number of political, scientific and economic experts to get their thoughts on some of the scenarios I explore in my book. Your knowledge and thoughts on libertarianism are of particular interest (a topic that I profess I have limited grounding on.)

I was wondering if you might be willing to jump on a call sometime this week or next for me to run through some questions. I don’t anticipate it taking more than 20 minutes.

Please don’t hesitate to let me know if you have any questions.

Cheers,

Ronnie

Letter 2

On Sun, Apr 26, 2020 at 10:08 AM Walter Block <wblock@loyno.edu> wrote:

Dear Ronnie:

Please put the questions in writing, and I’ll take a hack at them. If insufficient, then we can follow up with a talk.

Best regards,

Walter

Letter 3

From: Ronnie

Sent: Sunday, April 26, 2020 11:50 PM

To: Walter Block <wblock@loyno.edu>

Subject: Re: Walter, I’d like to pick your brain

Hi Walter,

Thanks for getting back to me so promptly! The questions I had for you were the following:

-What would it take for a libertarian candidate to be elected to the White House?

<<< a miracle. Aint gonna happen. Here’s why:

Levendis, John, Walter E. Block and Robert B. Eckhardt.  2019. “Evolutionary psychology, economic freedom, trade and benevolence.” Review of Economic Perspectives – Národohospodářský obzor; Vol. 19, No. 2, pp. 73-92; https://content.sciendo.com/view/journals/revecp/19/2/article-p73.xml; 10.2478/revecp-2019-0005; DOI: https://doi.org/10.2478/revecp-2019-0005https://www.lewrockwell.com/lrc-blog/here-is-one-of-my-best-scholarly-papers-ever/https://pennstate.pure.elsevier.com/en/publications/evolutionary-psychology-economic-freedom-trade-and-benevolence

-What % of Americans do you believe are either libertarian or have strong libertarian beliefs but perhaps do not realise it on account of the dominant two-party system? –

<<<The best estimates of low tax liberals, or, those who are economically conservative, and socially liberal, is 10-15%. This is how the mainstream defines libertarianism

What would it take for large portions of this group to realise this in a meaningful way?

<<< well, Gary Johnson got 3% of the vote in 2016.  That’s a small proportion. But, it was mainly due to hatred for both Hillary and Donald. The Libertarian Party usually gets 1% of the vote. What would it take to boost this? Zillions of dollars from Charles Koch? The next Ayn Rand writing the next Atlas Shrugged? Ron Paul running again? Who knows.

-In a scenario where a libertarian party and president came to power, what are some of the wide-reaching policies that most libertarians would expect to be enacted in short-order?

<<<<

1.pull all the troops home. All of them. Disband at least half of them

2.pardons for all prisoners found guilty of victimless crimes: drugs, sex, gambling, etc

3.vastly lower taxes and regulations

4.drain the swamp

5.eliminate the Fed

6.privatization of the roads, waterways

-What, in your opinion is the single biggest policy failure of the US government over the last 20 years;

a) from a missed opportunity perspective?;

<<< failure to do the 4 things mentioned immediately above

b) from a standpoint of ‘damaged caused’ to American society?

<<< ditto

-What, in your opinion, poses the greatest threat to America?

<<< US imperialism

-What would a modern version of a night-watchman state look like in 2020?

<<< all of the above implemented

-What are two predictions you hold about the next decade that, should they prove correct, would surprise most people?

<<< hopefully, colonies on the Moon, Mars

Any thoughts on the above would be greatly appreciated. I apologise in advance if they seem far-fetched or childish, I’m still very much in the research stage and I have much to learn about many topics. If speaking via phone / Skype etc is more convenient I’m very happy to work around your schedule.

<<< hopefully, this is of help to you

Kind regards,

Ronnie

Letter 4

On Sun, Apr 26, 2020 at 11:38 PM Walter Block <wblock@loyno.edu> wrote:

Dear Ronnie:

See below.

Best regards,

Walter

Letter 5

From: Ronnie

Sent: Monday, April 27, 2020 9:24 AM

To: Walter Block <wblock@loyno.edu>

Subject: Re: Walter, I’d like to pick your brain

Hi Walter,

Thank you so much for taking the time to run through those questions, it is supremely helpful.

Please let me know if you have any questions or if you would be willing to have a more in-depth conversation once my ideas are more fully formed.

Cheers,

Ronnie

Letter 6

On Mon, Apr 27, 2020 at 8:47 AM Walter Block <wblock@loyno.edu> wrote:

From: Walter Block <wblock@loyno.edu>

Sent: Monday, April 27, 2020 9:42 AM

To: Ronnie

Subject: RE: Walter, I’d like to pick your brain

Dear Ronnie:

Sure. Please tell me a bit about yourself and your project.

Best regards,

Walter

Letter 7

From: Ronnie

Sent: Tuesday, April 28, 2020 11:17 AM

To: Walter Block <wblock@loyno.edu>

Subject: Re: Walter, I’d like to pick your brain

*fictional account

On Tue, Apr 28, 2020 at 10:16 AM wrote:

Hi Walter,

Apologies for the delay, and I just saw you previous email.

Very happy for you to blog this but if possible, I’d prefer to stay anonymous for now. This writing project is very much in the early stages and I think I’d prefer to stay in ‘stealth mode’ for now. The expectations of my day job are fairly strenuous and I’m not sure how my employer would feel about a side project as expansive as this one!

Regarding myself, I’m an Australian who has been happily living in Colorado for the past three years, working for a construction technology company and enjoying travelling around the US (Louisiana and the South in particular).

As for the project, I need to again stress how early stage it is, but currently it’s a novel that explores the concept of a complete fracturing of the traditional two-party system and then a factional account on how American might look following that, and some stories of people experiencing it. How would the country change? What would fill the void left by the Republican and Democratic parties, etc.

Please let me know if you have additional questions.

Cheers,

Ronnie

N. Sam Smith

From: Sam Smith

Sent: Wednesday, May 06, 2020 3:08 PM

To: wblock@loyno.edu

Subject: Question on a political theory.

Hello MR. Block, I am an agorist and a fan of your works. I was wondering what your opinion is on agorism.

Dear Sam:

Isn’t agorism the Sam Konkin view that we libertarians should only live amongst each other trade amongst each other, etc?

If so, it’s a free country (well, slightly) and people should feel free to live that way if they want to. It’s not for me, though. I too greatly benefit from a very widespread specialization and division of labor.

Best regards,

Walter

O. Matt Sands

From:

Sent: Monday, April 20, 2020 9:33 PM

To: Walter Block <wblock@loyno.edu>

Subject: Question

Dear Walter,

I hope everything is going well and I can’t wait to read the 50 books you wrote while on quarantine. Had a question for you. From a purely libertarian economic perspective, what should happen to the winner of a war where you’ve claimed your independence, but the losers have vast powers which prevent your ability to read. I’m referencing a recent historical textbook I’ve been tasked with reviewing and they mention the issues with Spain and Britain during the time under the Articles of Confederation and Constitution.

Would I be correct to say one could be:

1.  In a libertarian world, their could be groups which form together, perhaps into regions and have loose confederations.

<<< In the anarcho capitalist libertarian world, there could be groups, but no governmental groups. In the limited government libertarian world (minarchism), yes, loose governmental confederations, but even tight ones would be limited.

2.  This tariff is my choice and, while making sure to follow strict NAP guidelines, either we find a way to bypass them or we join them at a cost.

<<<I think tariffs are incompatible with the NAP, unless they are the only tax, and only at a modest rate, that is, for minarchism.

BTW, I enjoyed reading a recent article on Target Liberty about you. How dare that guy not mention you. I can’t believe how we took Ron Paul out of context so many times and claims to be a Randian?  That’s their position?

<<<the Randroids are weird.

Thanks Walter,

Matt

Dear Matt:

Good to hear from you again. Stay safe.

I’ve only written 30 books in the last 30 days ().

My responses are below.

Best regards,

Walter

P. Stephen Wilder

From: Stephen Wilder

Sent: Saturday, April 11, 2020 5:43 AM

To: wblock@loyno.edu

Subject: re: Response To My Essay, My High School Buddy, Bernie

My only repospnse to your article on Bernie Sanders was that it reminded me of how Lew Rockwell and others have described Ludwig von Mises: a gentleman of an older error that avoided personal attacks and stuck with the issues. I was very impressed that wrote that way, but not at all surprised. It was a great article.

Steve Wilder

Katonah, NY

Dear Steve:

Thanks for your kind words. Wow. To be mentioned in the same sentence as Ludwig von Mises. This letter of yours makes my day.

Best regards,

Walter

Q. Steven Keely

From:

Sent: Thursday, April 30, 2020 4:19 PM

To: wblock@loyno.edu

Subject: Already available methods for the coming new libertarian order?

Dr Block:

Thank you for your hugely supportive responses to the interested public.

Is there a library of books/articles/resources on the methods installing a libertarian society?

For instance, how is the current corrupt criminal justice system replaced?

Gratefully,

Steve

From: Walter Block <wblock@loyno.edu>

Sent: Thursday, April 30, 2020 4:42 PM

To:

Subject: RE: Already available methods for the coming new libertarian order?

Dear Steve:

Read the last chapter of this book:

Rothbard, Murray N. 1973. For a New Liberty, Macmillan, New York; http://mises.org/rothbard/newlibertywhole.asp

Here’s a pessimistic view:

Levendis, John, Walter E. Block and Robert B. Eckhardt.  2019. “Evolutionary psychology, economic freedom, trade and benevolence.” Review of Economic Perspectives – Národohospodářský obzor; Vol. 19, No. 2, pp. 73-92; https://content.sciendo.com/view/journals/revecp/19/2/article-p73.xml; 10.2478/revecp-2019-0005; DOI: https://doi.org/10.2478/revecp-2019-0005https://www.lewrockwell.com/lrc-blog/here-is-one-of-my-best-scholarly-papers-ever/https://pennstate.pure.elsevier.com/en/publications/evolutionary-psychology-economic-freedom-trade-and-benevolence

Best regards,

Walter

R. Michael Fleischer

From:

Sent: Sunday, February 23, 2020 11:52 AM

To: wblock@loyno.edu

Subject: Your week on the tom woods show

I really enjoyed your appearances on the tom woods show recently.

I was particularly interested in the comments you made about how do you think that some people are Socio biologically inclined not to be libertarians. Did you write a specific book or books about this? Or any papers about the topic? Which ones? Thank you Michael Fleischer Tenafly nj

From: Walter Block <wblock@loyno.edu>

Sent: Friday, March 06, 2020 10:24 AM

To:

Subject: RE: Your week on the tom woods show

Dear Michael:

Here ’tis.

Levendis, John, Walter E. Block and Robert B. Eckhardt.  2019.

“Evolutionary psychology, economic freedom, trade and benevolence.” Review of Economic Perspectives – Národohospodářský obzor; Vol. 19, No. 2, pp.

73-92;

https://content.sciendo.com/view/journals/revecp/19/2/article-p73.xml;

10.2478/revecp-2019-0005; DOI: https://doi.org/10.2478/revecp-2019-0005;

https://www.lewrockwell.com/lrc-blog/here-is-one-of-my-best-scholarly-pape

rs-ever/;

https://pennstate.pure.elsevier.com/en/publications/evolutionary-psycholog

y-economic-freedom-trade-and-benevolence

I’m taking the liberty of putting you on my mailing list.

Best regards,

Walter

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3:15 am on May 15, 2020