LRC Blog

John Brown, Racism, Slavery, Malcolm X, Martin Luther King

Malcolm X, during his most (anti-white) racist days, was asked, “Would any white man qualify to be a member of your group.” He said “Yes, John Brown.” (paraphrase).

I’m a big fan of Malcolm X’s. I once heard him lecture at Brooklyn College. He was absolutely riveting. I never heard a more compelling public speaker than him. He was instrumental in the “black is beautiful” movement at its very beginnnig. Famously, he urged his followers to “throw away those hair staighteners,” and stop trying to look white. He supported free enterprise. He started up all sorts of commercial Shabazz businesses: restaurants, laundries, bakeries, etc. He preached individual initiative. I only wish he had lived long enough to realize that he had strong libertarian tendencies, and explicitly embrace our philosophy.

In my view, he stands in sharp and positive contrast to that even more famous black socialist plagiarist: Martin Luther King, Jr. I refuse to place “Dr.” in front of his name, since it is clear that his Ph.D. dissertation was plagiarized. He preached welfarism, unionism, socialism.

4:24 pm on December 3, 2017

The Postcard Lie

I just read yet another article by a conservative regarding the GOP tax-reform measures. In it he repeats the lie that Americans will be able to file their taxes on a postcard once a tax-reform bill is passed. This is fantasy. The GOP tax bills will do no such thing.

9:58 am on December 3, 2017

How Long?

How long before the song “White Christmas” is banned for being too insensitive to minorities? How long before merely asking a girl on a date is deemed to be sexual harassment?

9:08 am on December 3, 2017

Converting the Heathen to the One True Faith: Libertarianism; Women Are Welcome!

From: T
Sent: Thursday, November 30, 2017 11:03 AM
To: Walter Block
Subject: Defense and the minarchists

Walter: I have had incredible success helping high school students understand anarcho capitalism and it’s consistent application leads to a private law society. The same cannot be held for working with adults and trying to bring them to the consistent mindset of a private law society. The pushback I get is always on police or defense and especially the need that these adults see as in needing a state controlled military. I can get almost most adults to see that private police would be better, private courts would be better, and arbitration is the way to go. The welfare state is so easy to show its errors, student and adults alike seem to get to privatization quickly. The state created poverty as we know it. For my high school students, they have known War their entire lives and yet the vast majority have no idea the military is engaged anywhere in the world, they are so oblivious to what is happening, but after a short time they are often advocating an end to the warfare state. The warfare state has become so engrained in adults that they believe in the need to go “kill the terrrorists, and keep the (fill in the blank country) from invading the US by having a large military and thus need statism to support it. I have used the argument of the NAP and it’s not acceptable to kill innocent people. I have used legal arguments of a trial by jury of peers against those who violate private property rights and that does not seem to correct in their mind the need for a military, and the state to run it. I have tried Ron Paul’s argument that we have military bases in over 139 countries and blow back with no success. Of course I have argued against taxation to support the military leviathan. I have tried and tried but the minarchists who believes in the need for a strong military is basically a socialist and they don’t like that argumentation technique either. What do you suggest to help me be a better advocate for a private law society and promote peace? T
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1:41 pm on December 2, 2017

George Will Gets It Right (for once)

Concerning a case before the Supreme Court regarding sports gambling, Will says that the Supreme Court should let states set their own sports gambling laws. This is a no-brainer since the Constitution nowhere authorizes the federal government to have anything to do with the regulation or prohibition of gambling on sports or anything else. I hope that Will and others who agree with him on this point will also say that states should make their own drug laws, but I suspect that that is not the case. And of course, as a libertarian, I must point out that even if these things were left up to the states, that would not mean that I would be happy. No state should make any laws concerning gambling or drugs.

11:46 am on December 2, 2017

Four Things about the Senate’s Tax Bill

1. It is, as David Stockman says, the smallest, not the biggest (as Trump says), individual tax cut in history.

2. It was approved in the early morning hours after lawmakers received a 500-page rewritten version that contained significant changes from the bill that was approved by two Senate committees. Sounds like the Republican version of the passage of Obamacare.

3. It has significant differences from the House tax bill that will have to be reconciled in a conference committee.

4. It is ultimately revenue neutral. Even though it supposedly cuts taxes enough to increase the deficit by $1.5 trillion over the next ten years, the bill is ultimately revenue neutral because of the increased taxes it will generate from economic growth. Said Senator Mitch McConnell: “I’m totally confident this is a revenue-neutral bill. I think it’s going to be a revenue producer.” See my article “The Implications of Revenue Neutral Tax Reform” for the problem with this.

The only Republican senator to vote against the bill was Bob Corker of Tennessee.

9:20 am on December 2, 2017

An Important Note from a U.S. Army Intelligence Officer

From a U.S. Army Intelligence Officer:

I just want you to know that your writings at LewRockwell.com and your book Christianity and War have convinced me to resign my commission and get out of the US Army. I am filing for Conscientious Objector status this Monday in fact, December 4th 2017. I would be honored if you added my name (Captain Matthew Glenn Auchtung, US Army Intelligence Officer) to the list of those willing to stand for the Prince of Peace and who no longer support the death and destruction that invariably follows the military profession.

He also added later:

Having grown up in the Deep South, and in the Republican/Baptist tradition taught to me by my parents and friends, I’ve lauded the military and the Messiah for almost 2 decades. Sometimes in the same breath, during prayers and during church memorial services. You’ve been one of the biggest two influences that has shown me how abominable this all is in the eyes of God. Only Leo Tolstoy’s works have come close as being as impactful. I will gladly, and in any way possible, support your efforts in ending Christian participation in the military.

The list he is referring to is at the end of this letter I wrote to a Christian young man regarding joining the military.

I could never have reached this man, and many others like him, without LRC. Please consider making an end-of-the-year donation.

4:02 pm on December 1, 2017

Crime, Private Courts, AnCap, a Libertarian Perspective

From: J
Sent: Friday, November 24, 2017 11:08 PM
To: wblock@loyno.edu
Subject: Question about law enforcement and courts from an AnCap perspective

I hope you enjoyed your Thanksgiving. Of that vein, I was talking to my uncle over the weekend and the topic turned to current events, social affairs and politics. He’s slowly releasing neoconservatism, and while I offered an overview of law enforcement and the courts in an AnCap society (which was not discounted), I’d like to get his anathesiologist mind wrapped around something other than Bill O’Reilly’s latest homicidal title. Will you please list as many web sources regarding the issue of crime, specifically market solutions for law enforcement and dispute resolution/courts? Thanks, J

Dear J: Good luck with your uncle. Here’s some material on crime, courts, from a libertarian point of view:

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2:57 pm on December 1, 2017

Tragedy of the Commons is Indeed a Tragedy, Elinor Ostrom to the Contrary Notwithstanding

Here (reason.com/reasontv/2017/11/21/stossel-happy-thanksgiving), John Stossel relies on the tragedy of the commons in his splendid analysis of why the Pilgrims were initially starving.

Nobel Prize Winner Elinor Ostrom attacks that concept. She singles out R.J. Smith, a follower of Murray Rothbard’s, in her attack on this concept. Many mainstream economists, who should know better, have been taken in by her. She is very much mistaken, as the following indicate:

Block, Walter E. 2011. Review essay of Ostrom, Elinor. 1990. Governing the commons: The evolution of institutions for collective action. Cambridge, UK and New York, NY: Cambridge University Press; in Libertarian Papers, Vol. 3, Art. 21; http://libertarianpapers.org/2011/21-block-review-of-ostroms-governing-the-commons/

Jankovic, Ivan and Walter E. Block. 2016. “Tragedy of the Partnership: A Critique of Elinor Ostrom.” American Journal of Economics and Sociology. Volume 75, Issue 2, pages 289–318; http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/ajes.12141/abstract; http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/ajes.12141/full; http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/ajes.12141/references; http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/ajes.2016.75.issue-2/issuetoc

11:07 pm on November 30, 2017

Massacre In Somalia: US Troops To Blame?

1:49 pm on November 30, 2017

Oppression of Journalist Randy Credico Via Congressional Subpoena

Journalist Randy Credico is being oppressed by Congress via a subpoena issued by the House Intelligence Committee. He wrote a 14-part series on Julian Assange and visited him. These are innocent activities.

We are all of us oppressed by this issuance and power of Congress as it means we live with a Congressional option to discomfort us, possibly harm our reputations, charge us with contempt or lying, or find some other crime to charge us with.

If we go back to the origins of the Fourth Amendment, one root of it is a case in 1765 that “involved pamphleteers charged with seditious libel for criticizing the king’s ministers and, through them, the king himself. In both cases, agents of the king issued a warrant authorizing the ransacking of the pamphleteers’ homes and the seizure of all their books and papers.”

The Congress is attempting to ransack and seize Credico’s papers via subpoena.

The Congress has been allowed extensive subpoena powers like this by the Supreme Court through a 1961 case: Wilkinson v. United States. That ruling desecrated and destroyed the Fourth Amendment. A subpoena need only meet very loose requirements.

Here’s what’s been demanded of Credico:

“A letter dated Nov. 9 from Rep. Adam Schiff, the ranking Democrat on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, in effect, demanded Credico’s ‘voluntary’ cooperation with the panel’s ‘bipartisan investigation into Russian active measures directed at the 2016 US election.’

Credico declined the invitation. A subpoena then was issued demanding his appearance on Dec. 15 and also his papers:

“Schiff also requested ‘the preservation and production of all documents, records, electronically-stored information, recordings, data and tangible things, including but not limited to graphs, charts, photographs, images and other documents, regardless of form other than those widely available (e.g. newspaper articles) related to the committee’s investigation, your interview and any ancillary matters.'”

Who pays for his expenses? Who pays for the legal services he must now seek? What if he misses some records?

This subpoena is of the same ilk as the 1765 case in which the king issued a warrant against the pamphleteers.

If a writer does an intensive series on a controversial figure, how will this power affect the results? How many writers will be discouraged from even starting the project? Why should writers be grilled like this? How far does this go in abridging free speech, that is, an unimpeded right to publish? Isn’t this a severe tax on such speech, demanding Credico’s appearance and all of his work papers? Has he no privacy? No right of untaxed speech?

What good was the American Revolution if it comes to this?

1:26 pm on November 30, 2017

Beyond Libertarian Theory of Privacy

The libertarian theory of privacy limits itself to physical aggression against property. This approach tends to absorb the concept of privacy into property rights. This diminishes the visibility and importance of privacy, which has a long historical tradition and meaning.

By contrast, common law and some constitutional law articulate a larger and highly relevant understanding of privacy. Some of this is based on a social understanding of the person and relation of individual freedom, expression and realization of a person to behavior of people around the person in society. This affords us grounds in addition to the libertarian emphasis on property rights for criticizing privacy invasions, not only by governments but also by others in our society.

My articles on privacy tend in the latter directions by going beyond the strictly libertarian approach. They do not alter or amend libertarian law as articulated by Rothbard and Block. They go beyond it, modestly. Generally speaking, broad benefits are conferred on most of us in a society by codes (moral, social, legal, political) that preserve privacy along many dimensions that may go beyond the notion of property rights. If that’s the case, then we can expect that a free people or a people living in a more nearly libertarian world will not abandon such codes as have evolved as part of our existing societies.

In order of appearance, my articles on privacy are as follows:

1. June 7, 2012 (PADD) People Against Domestic Drones (here)
2. Dec. 13, 2012 Extremely Serious Privacy Problem in America (here)
3. Dec. 14, 2012 Privacy vs. Right to Privacy (here)
4. Dec. 15, 2012 Privacy and the Government’s Dossier on You (here)
5. Dec. 15, 2012 Privacy: Inversion of Citizen-Government Relation (here)
6. Dec. 15, 2012 Privacy: The Tort of Invasion of Privacy (here)
7. Dec. 15, 2012 Privacy Invasions of the TSA (here)
8. Dec. 16, 2012 Privacy and the ‘I Have Nothing to Hide Argument’ (here)
9. Dec. 17, 2012 An American Stasi (here)
10. Dec. 17, 2012 Harm to the Person (here)
11. Dec. 31, 2012 What’s Wrong with the Surveillance State? (here)
12. June 16, 2013 One Big Issue: Surveillance and Expansionism Are Linked (here)
13. August 7, 2013 Obama Denies Domestic Spying But He’s Wrong (here)
14. August 7, 2013 Is the NSA Seizing E-Mails When It Copies Them? (here)
15. August 7, 2013 Obama’s Privacy (here)
16. Feb. 11, 2014 The NSA Spying on Americans Violates the Fourth Amendment (here)
17. Dec. 17, 2014 Enabling Totalitarianism via Eradicating the Fourth Amendment (here)
18. May 2, 2017 Privacy Rights of Girl in Shower (here)
19. Nov. 29, 2017 Your Right to Privacy: Its Meaning (here)

9:49 am on November 30, 2017

New Polls: Moore Pulls Ahead of Jones in Alabama Senate Race

From 538: three new polls out this week — from Change Research, Emerson College and JMC Analytics — have Moore leading Democrat Doug Jones by 5 to 6 percentage points.

While 538 attributes the change to Jones’ support weakening over time and Trump’s recent endorsement, another unintended asset to the Moore campaign undoubtedly are the Alabama print and TV media, especially AL.com and WSFA Montomery, who have openly and unabashedly become an arm of the Jones campaign.  Dumb on their part but, like the Trump-deranged national media, they can’t help it.  As Glenn Greenwald pointed out, they know nothing else, therefore can do nothing else.

Speaking of corrupt media, NBC fired Matt Lauer today.  How does it justify keeping Kasie Hunt, who reveled at Rand Paul being violently attacked by his neighbor?

8:33 pm on November 29, 2017

Your Right to Privacy: Its Meaning

The idea of a right to privacy needlessly divides libertarians. Walter Block, libertarian friend and professional colleague, has cleared up this matter definitively when he wrote

“…there is no such thing as a right to privacy except the right to protect one’s property from invasion.”

In other words, the right to privacy to have meaning has to mean a right a person has that his property not be invaded because he and he alone owns it; and that ownership right entails a right to protect that property from invasion.

In other words, in the exception cited by Walter rests the kernel of an appropriate concept of right to privacy. It only needs some elaboration, which is to specify the property that is being referred to when we speak of an invasion of privacy.

I believe Walter deviates from his precision of 2013 when he writes point blank “…there is no right to privacy…” and omits the all-important exception that he earlier articulated.

In 2013, he also deviated from his own appropriate solution when he defined a right to privacy as a right to prevent the spread of information: “But is there really such a right to privacy? How can there be? How can there be a right to prevent Smith by force from disseminating knowledge which he possesses? Surely there can be no such right.”

However, this is a straw man argument. An invasion of privacy that is an invasion of property is not a matter of Smith having knowledge that he may disseminate. It is a matter of Smith having gotten such knowledge by an invasion of property that wasn’t his.

So, with that put to rest, let’s return to the question of much greater substance and importance. What invasions of property are to be termed invasions of privacy?

I’ve written about that also in 2013:

“The ‘right to be let alone’ is the ‘right to privacy’. What does it mean to invoke this right ‘as against the Government’? It means at a minimum what the Fourth Amendment says: ‘The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures…'”

There is no abstract or free-standing right to privacy mentioned in the Fourth Amendment. The Framers did not succumb to the fallacy that Walter has correctly alerted us to, following in the pathbreaking footsteps of Murray Rothbard. The right spelled out here refers specifically to kinds of property. To accommodate new technology and means of communication, we need to apply this statement of the right to privacy in new contexts. This can be done. That blog of mine quoted from a 1928 ruling handed down by Justice Brandeis in his dissent. He too equated the right of privacy to invasion of property such as listed in the Fourth Amendment, which he was defending.

Invasion of privacy through invasion of the property associated with privacy is an extremely serious matter. Suppose that employment is conditioned on such information which is passed on to government. Suppose that banks report on personal transactions. Suppose that a police state takes hold in which invasion of privacy permeates the entire society.

That is what we are talking about here and what we’re concerned about in contemporary America when we examine the FBI, the CIA and NSA domestic spying.

Government invasions of our papers, persons, houses and effects, today in the 21st century means invasions of our communications, e-mails, telephone calls and business dealings, our electronic communications. We have a reasonable expectation under our Constitution or simply under the basic idea that we have property rights, that the government be disallowed from such invasions except under strict conditions that we allow, that include proper warrants for probable cause. Without that expectation, we are in a situation of opening the door to a police state. It is surely meaningful to speak of a right to privacy in the sense I am explaining, and it’s the same sense that I wrote of 4 years ago and that Walter wrote of 4 years ago when he suggested that the right to privacy existed only as a property right. This is such an important property right that, like freedom of speech, we should not excise it from our lexicon. It is a handy way of telling people that they have a right against government invasions of their property, and it has an historical basis.

8:24 pm on November 29, 2017

Privacy Rights, Free Speech, Libertarianism, the Carpenter Case, Search Warrants, the Fourth Amendment

From: K
To: wblock@loyno.edu
Sent: Tuesday, November 28, 2017 9:13 AM
Subject: Supreme court cellphone case puts free speech – not just privacy – at risk | Opinion | The Guardian

I would love to know your thoughts on this issue of cell phone data accessibility. My initial thoughts are that we abdicate our right to privacy when we pick up our phone and make calls because we know our location and other information is not private. Should the technology providers add privacy agreement with the customers in order to gain a market advantage (Apple has made strides in that market area)? I would pay extra to know that my information is more secure. I have learned of a company in Switzerland that charges for email service but everything is well encrypted. Or maybe there is an understood contract that these technology companies are not going to sell out our information to the government???

In the article I’m copying at the bottom it says that free-speech is directly connected to this privacy issue. I kind of think that’s a stretch. We don’t live in the 1920s anymore when it was very difficult to track but journalists’ activities perhaps. In comparison to the olden days it seems to be common knowledge that investigation of the story is conducted with many more challenges to maintain secrecy until the story is revealed. Kind of a given. The article argues that free-speech of journalists is at risk by third-party technology companies. But it is also much easier for the journalist to track the activities of their story makers. I’m guess I’m writing this note to you because I have struggled with the privacy issue and have revisited your thoughts on the matter several times. As with IP, I’m afraid I am leaning more towards your views on privacy then where mine were in the past. thanks, K
https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/nov/27/supreme-court-cellphone-data-carpenter-first-amendment

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6:18 pm on November 29, 2017

‘Turning The Corner’ in Afghanistan…Again

12:27 pm on November 29, 2017

Normative Versus Positive Economics

From: R
Sent: Tuesday, November 28, 2017 3:56 AM
To: wblock@loyno.edu
Subject: RE: Must a Libertarian Support Austrian Economics?

Dear professor Block, I found your exchange with Loyola’s law student B very promising (https://www.lewrockwell.com/lrc-blog/must-libertarian-support-austrian-economics-no-good-idea/), the most intriguing part being your answer. The question encourages further discussion. So why leave it at begging the question?

Student B.: Must a Libertarian Support Austrian Economics?

Professor B.: There are plenty of economists who reject Austrianism, and yet are good libertarians.

Why is it self-evident that economists who reject the Austrian school can be good libertarians?
There is of course the issue of what constitutes a good libertarian and whether being a good libertarian is good enough. But leaving that one aside, I’d be very interested to hear of some examples in support of your assertion. Every other school of economics seems to be teaching some form of government intervention in the marketplace, which i.m.o. inevitably violates the non-aggression principle. My assumption here is that among today’s schools of economic thought, the Austrian School of Economics is unique in consistently defending the free market perspective. Stated otherwise: Isn’t it near impossible for an economist to escape violating the NAP outside the Austrian School of Economics? Kind regards from an interested reader (of Lew Rockwell’s site) from the Netherlands, Richard
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11:31 am on November 28, 2017

Must a Libertarian Support Austrian Economics? No. But It Would Be a Good Idea

From: B
Sent: Monday, November 27, 2017 3:51 PM
To: wblock@loyno.edu
Subject: Law Student interested in learning more basics of economics

Greetings Professor, I am a 3rd year Law Student at Loyola, a libertarian/classically liberal-minded individual, with an undergraduate focus in philosophy and the arts. I am trying to understand more about the policies and ideals that shape our current political climate, and know that I could benefit from more training in economics and math. I would consider myself a descent autodidact, but I am also aware of my short-comings. One such shortcoming is the failure to weed out bad sources when studying a topic that I know little to nothing about. I would like to know more about economics in general, and am open to being persuaded towards a school of thought (such as Austrian model), rather than deciding that “because I am libertarian, I MUST be an Austrian.” I am completely open to reading the material and deciding, “hey, I do not agree with this theory,” but only based on good information. I was wondering if there are books or material that you could point me to that give a less biased view of all of the theories, the basic underpinnings, and perhaps additional readings that can help me know what exactly are the limits and edges to economic theory, as I traverse the 21st century political and legal landscape.

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7:31 pm on November 27, 2017

Who Is The Greatest Thief?

The U.S. government, of course. “U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers working at the El Paso port of entry seized 88.6 pounds of marijuana last Thursday — in just one car.” The seizure was just one of 21 seizures in that single week in the El Paso area in which the feds seized 1,638 pounds of marijuana in 16 drug busts and 37.5 pounds of cocaine in another five drug busts.

The fact that the feds just seized drugs is of no consequence. Property is property. A willing seller was taking property to willing buyers. No drugs should be illegal. And if all drugs were legal in the United States, people from Mexico wouldn’t be trying to smuggle drugs across the border. Truly, the war on drugs is a war on freedom.

4:22 pm on November 27, 2017

Hypocrisy: US Meddling In Hungarian Elections

1:26 pm on November 27, 2017

The Real McCoy

In this powerful interview in The Nation, “The Future of the American Empire,” historian Alfred McCoy discusses his new book, In the Shadows of the American Century: The Rise and Decline of US Global Power, focusing upon the deep state (which he describes as the “covert netherworld“), and Donald Trump’s threats to the US’s position as a global power. This exceptional book is the Real McCoy, the culminating magnum opus of an outstanding academic career by one of the world’s preeminent scholars who has always spoken truth to power. It has my highest recommendation.

10:47 pm on November 26, 2017

5 Unbelievably Stupid Ideas Governments Actually Tried

10:00 pm on November 26, 2017

A Conjecture about North Korea

There have been no North Korean missile tests in the past couple of months, despite the angry rhetoric of Kim Jong Un.  I wonder whether the United States has already disabled the Korean missile system. I have no evidence on which to base this conjecture, but it would if true explain the North Korean volte-face after the earlier series of tests. At any rate, the suggestion can readily be falsified by  a new test.

5:36 pm on November 26, 2017

Cancelled for Lack of Interest

An atheist convention. The third Global Atheist Convention scheduled for Melbourne, Australia, in February of 2018 has been cancelled for lack of interest.

9:08 am on November 26, 2017

Transgender Day of Remembrance

Perhaps you missed it. On November 20, Trump’s state department commemorated Transgender Day of Remembrance, honoring transgenders who died through “acts of violence.” Said Secretary of State Rex Tillerson: “On Transgender Day of Remembrance, the United States honors the memory of the many transgender individuals who have lost their lives to acts of violence.” Question: Is there a day of remembrance for the 100 million victims of communism? If anyone needed a day of remembrance it would be them.

9:03 am on November 26, 2017

A Libertarian Internet?

From: R
To: wblock@loyno.edu
Subject: Libertarian internet
Dear Dr Block, Is it possible to have a libertarian internet? The internet in its current form exists as wires laid down by companies with government consent and airwaves governed and regulated by the government. Since the government is many huge ways regulates and controls the internet how could it ever possibly be a libertarian vehicle for information? I think this is why there is so much debate regarding net neutrality. If the internet is not the answer what might be?
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12:29 am on November 26, 2017

No, It Is Not Okay to Join the Coast Guard

Not if you value individual liberty and private property. And even if members of the Coast Guard actually guard U.S. coasts some of the time. Why? The Coast Guard is the nautical arm of the DEA.

Thanks to R.N.

2:21 pm on November 25, 2017

Lyndon Baines Johnson


Because of his repellent earthy crudeness, murderous narcissism, lecherous hubris and larcenous duplicity I used to firmly believe Lyndon Johnson was, hands down, the prime candidate for worst president of the US. Now he remains enshrined in the top six, along with Lincoln, Wilson, FDR, Truman, and George W. Bush, each with their own distinct amoral foibles and sociopathic characteristics.

The Great Society: A Libertarian Critique,” is one of Murray Rothbard’s best essays, very comprehensive and incisive in tracing LBJ’s legacy from FDR. This is where Rothbard introduced the term “the welfare-warfare state.”

Lyndon Johnson’s Terrible Legacy,” describes a tour of the Lyndon Johnson Presidential Library and how his sycophants and toadies hope to see him remembered by the willfully ignorant masses.

Chasing Demons: LBJ Versus The Kennedys, is the History Channels’ 2003 apocryphal production of LBJ’s secret war with the Kennedys. This production was aired during the 40th anniversary week that the HC dedicated to the legacy of John F. Kennedy, it then promptly disappeared after the barrage of backlash from LBJ’s most powerful widow, “lady bird” Johnson and others over the channels portrayal of Lyndon Johnson during the week of the 40th anniversary of JFK’s assassination. Years ago I was showing my Political Parties students this film. The documentary is a psychological examination of the behind-the-scene confrontation between Robert Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson and its impact on America in the period following John Kennedy’s assassination. The film utilizes actual recorded phone calls between the principals, with insightful commentary by key historical persons/witnesses involved in these matters. We now know from recently published books and taped interviews that the “elephant in the room” which is never discussed or mentioned in the program was the firm belief by both Robert Kennedy and Jackie Kennedy that Lyndon Johnson was involved in JFK’s murder in a coup d’état. The film dramatically portrays Lyndon Johnson’s increasing paranoia and dark manic suspicions concerning Robert Kennedy and his ulterior motives against him, fueled by covert intelligence reports given to him by his long-time close associate (and next door neighbor) FBI director J. Edgar Hoover, enemy of both John and Robert Kennedy. One of my students remarked that the documentary resembled the plot intrigue in Shakespeare’s Macbeth. I pointed out that this was an outstanding and very perceptive observation, for there had actually been a very controversial play, Mac Bird, written on this theme. All the other students then began to see parallels between the two stories from what they had remembered from studying Macbeth in their English Language Arts class. From the deepest cloistered recesses of LBJ’s psyche pours forth the unmistakable guilt for this savage deed, manifested in his manic behavior and mental instability as he approaches the 1964 Democratic Party presidential nomination in place of the man he had slain. This production was basically hidden away as it was pulled from circulation when powerful persons close to the legacy of Lyndon Johnson objected to how he was portrayed during that week over several shows, as much as certain persons might complain that his legacy was tarnished, keep in mind that this program uses archival audio recordings, and that most of the people interviewed for this 2003 program were his peers. It is quite odd that the HC would air this show that had so many persons who lived during the Kennedy and Johnson years in the white house talk of intimate details and then to have the show discarded from their lineup of related programs. Obviously this Chasing Demons special was removed along with the 2003 The Men Who Killed Kennedy series episodes, partially at the powerful insistence of LBJ’s widow, Claudia “lady bird” Taylor Johnson. No one dare spurn Lady MacBeth.

Hey, Hey L. B. J.  is an Amazon book/DVD list I compiled.

1:59 pm on November 25, 2017

Steve Martin’s ‘King Tut’ Sketch is Racist, Liberal Arts Students Say


According to this Newsweek account: “Steve Martin’s seminal “King Tut” sketch is being blasted as cultural appropriation by a group of students at a prestigious liberal arts college in Oregon after the classic “Saturday Night Live” parody was played in a humanities course.

“The sketch, created by Martin in 1978 to parody the hysteria and commercialization surrounding a traveling Tutankhamen exhibit, has outraged students who say the sketch is the cultural equivalent of blackface because one of the side actors emerged from a sarcophagus with his face painted gold.

“That’s like somebody … making a song just littered with the n-word everywhere,” a member of the group, Reedies Against Racism, told The Atlantic. “The gold face of the saxophone dancer leaving its tomb is an exhibition of blackface.”

“Students first took issue with the video when it was played during a humanities course, which is designed for students to “to engage in original, open-ended, critical inquiry.” Students said they should not be forced to take the course until different coursework is given because the sketch is racist.”

The tradition of the West is embodied in the Great Conversation that began in the dawn of history and that continues to the present day. Whatever the merits of other civilizations in other respects, no civilization is like that of the West in this respect. No other civilization can claim that its defining characteristic is a dialogue of this sort. No dialogue in any other civilization can compare with that of the West in the number of great works of the mind that have contributed to this Dialogue. The Spirit of Western Civilization is the spirit of inquiry. Its dominant element is the Logos. Nothing is to remain undiscussed. Everyone is to speak his mind. No proposition is to be left unexamined.

Robert Maynard Hutchins, The Great Conversation: The Substance of a Liberal Education.

Logos is an ancient Greek term. It means reason as expressed in human speech. The Greeks believed reason to be the controlling principle in an orderly, harmonious universe (cosmos).

The faculties of reason (conceptual thought) and language (propositional speech) are what once distinguished human beings from other creatures.

But no longer. With the malodorous stench of fascism prevalent on college campuses coast-to-coast, destroying free inquiry and open intellectual discussion, what Robert Maynard Hutchins’ defined above as the signature characteristic of Western Civilization, why would any sane student (or students’ parents) pay exorbitant inflationary tuition to attend one of these abhorrent institutions of barbarism and cultural degeneracy?

9:36 pm on November 24, 2017