LRC Blog

Don’t Thank This Veteran for His Service

In response to someone who thanked him for his service, a veteran (and LRC reader) wrote the following to him and forwarded it to me:

I am a veteran and thank you for the sincere acknowledgement. Frankly I find much of veteran worshiping in the media today to be over the top. In the case of the NFL games today I found their presentations and “special” veterans tributes to be both patronizing and disingenuous. I am proud of my time served and just having the opportunity to wear the uniform was enough satisfaction for me. I had a job to do and I faithfully and dutifully executed my duties. I’m no hero and just because you wear a uniform does not automatically grant you hero status. Nor do I expect any special favors or discounts for simply doing my duty. I respect and admire all Americans, veterans and non veterans, that have worked hard in their occupations to protect and provide for their families, communities and country.

Posted with permission.

9:21 pm on November 12, 2018

After 18 Years the U.S. Army Calls It Quits

The U.S. Army has finally ended its sponsorship of the dragster of Tony Schumacher and the associate sponsorship of his teammates Antron Brown and Leah Pritchett. Too bad the U.S. Army is not ending its sponsorship of the war in Afghanistan.

8:49 pm on November 12, 2018

World War I

Transcript   World War I book list

6:21 pm on November 12, 2018

Is the Income Tax Slavery? No.

From: C
Sent: Wednesday, June 20, 2018 8:31 PM
Subject: Indentured servitude

Dr. Block,

Is income taxation involuntary servitude?

I ask because the first section of the 13th Amendment reads “Section 1. Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.” The 16th Amendment reads, simply “The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes on incomes, from whatever source derived, without apportionment among the several States, and without regard to any census or enumeration.” Are not these two concepts diametric opposites? Isn’t taxation of my labor a form of involuntary servitude? Does the latter Amendment supersede the former? Respectfully, C


3:05 pm on November 12, 2018

Democrat Ruin

America voted Bush out and Obama in, a vote against the Iraq War and a vote to retrench the empire. Obama badly disappointed America’s hopes, so she refused to vote in his heir and proxy, Hillary Clinton.

Will Democrats win the presidency in 2020 by 4 years of opposition to Trump? Is resistance a program that captures the hopes of voters? Or is resistance a ruinous strategy because it is a nothing-burger?

Democrats promise wall-to-wall investigations of Trump. Can endless charges, each more laughable and superficial, each more fake and false, than its predecessor, inspire voters to vote in a Democrat, be she a tired representative of the Clinton cabal or an empty-headed progressive socialist?

The 2020 election is Trump’s to lose as Democrats ruin themselves with silly investigations that put on display their own empty heads. Trump can win by positive moves, such as well-defined actions toward peace across a global map dotted with U.S. meddling and belligerence. He can’t win by taking Democratic bait. He should not descend to the level of the House Democrats. He shouldn’t become preoccupied with their charges. They are so senseless, vicious and phony that even Trump can look statesmanlike and turn them to his advantage. Humor will help.

Trump is off to a bad start in saying of House investigations of him: “If that happens then we’re going to do the same thing and government comes to a halt and I would blame them”. Retaliation is petty and lacks voter appeal. He should reveal Democratic machinations and corruption because it’s the right thing to do. He shouldn’t be reactive to Democrats by promising “the same thing”. He should rise above them, articulate his program and press for its passage. (The more libertarian, the better.) The House can be blamed for its obstruction, its delay, and its useless focus on his style.

Trump has been seduced by Washington rhetoric. It’s far from being populist to say of the House: “There are many things we can get along on without a lot of trouble, that we agree very much with them and they agree with us. I would like to see bipartisanship. I’d like to see unity.” This emphasizes personalities, politics and deals, the endless Washington machinery.

Trump shouldn’t be speaking about agreement between them and us. He shouldn’t be speaking about bipartisanship or unity, which are Democratic ploys. These were not what he ran on. He needs to stay on point. He should say “The American people elected me to enact a program. My budgets call for making that program happen. I will call upon the House and Senate, whatever their party compositions, to do their part by writing the appropriate legislation and passing the funding bills. There is one guiding and meaningful goal that the 2016 election approved, and that is to ‘Make America Great Again’.”

3:03 pm on November 12, 2018

100 Years After The ‘War To End All Wars,’ Lessons Of History Are Still Unlearned

12:26 pm on November 12, 2018

Empirical Measures of Economic Freedom

From: W
Sent: Saturday
Subject: Measure of gov manipulation in markets

Hello Dr. Block,

We spoke after your talk to LPMC today.

I was asking how to get a measure of how the government interferes in the markets in ways not generally recognized- the size of the ESF and how it is used, agreements between central banks to purchase stocks etc., and how much this invalidates mainstream financial analysis.

Thanks for your attention! W


1:57 pm on November 11, 2018

Trump’s Tariff Wars

From: M
Sent: Friday,
To: walter block (more…)

6:59 pm on November 10, 2018

Dead Republican Defeats Living Democrat in Nevada Election

A dead brothel owner won a seat in the Nevada state assembly, defeating his Democratic challenger by a margin of 68 to 32 percent. Too bad more dead people don’t appear on election ballots. They would be my first choice against either a Democratic or Republican candidate.

6:30 pm on November 10, 2018

Is Trump Racist?

Many celebrity, political and media figures accuse Trump of being racist. A new example: CNN’s legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin said “…there is also a huge racial dimension to this. The fact that the president is always attacking black people.”

Jeff Sessions, James Comey, and Hillary Clinton are not black. Elizabeth Warren isn’t black and neither is CNN’s Jim Acosta, two recent instances of Trump attacks. These counter-examples don’t prove that Toobin’s accusation is wrong. They suggest that more serious inquiry is needed to shed light on the hypothesis that Trump is racist. For one thing, Trump’s insults are legion. In mid-2017, the New York Times wrote of 650 such insults. They form a population to be examined. If 38 percent of Americans are not white, are Trump’s insults directed to non-white people significantly higher than 38 percent of this population? That’s only a start at analysis because racism is only one of many motivations to attack people. Complicating the analysis is the fact that race, religion and ethnicity are correlated with political positions and ideologies. Hence, one must do a multivariate analysis to see if race survives as an independent variable in competition with other variables that measure other motivations.

Let those who are relentlessly attacking Trump on grounds like racism do their homework by referring us to well-constructed studies. If they existed, wouldn’t they be citing them?

9:40 am on November 10, 2018

Trump: Murderer, Robber

Obama the murderer has been replaced by Trump the murderer. Whom has Donald Trump murdered? One example only: He could have ended American bombing raids in Syria. Instead, he made more: “The US-led anti-IS coalition acknowledged carrying out over 100 air strikes in Syria between October 28 and November 3.” These killed numerous Syrian civilians. The latest report says at least 80.

Obama’s robberies have given way to Trump’s. One example only: Trump has robbed Maine lobstermen. Tariffs on Maine lobster exports to China have directly robbed hard-working fishermen. Maine Senator Susan Collins should have extracted a tariff exemption for her vote on Kavanaugh. After all, he can be replaced easily with better candidates. He didn’t own the position, but Maine lobstermen do own their capital and goodwill built up painstakingly over years. Trump robbed them for no good end.

9:06 am on November 10, 2018

Was Woodrow Wilson a War Criminal?

I got into a long, drawn out debate with C over whether or not Wilson’s entry into WWI was (legally, according to libertarian law) responsible for the rise of Hitler, and then WWII. If so, he’s a criminal. I said yes, C said no. C’s main argument is that even if Wilson caused WWII, people are not responsible for what they cause. Hitler’s parents “caused” Hitler, but are not (legally) responsible for his evil deeds. The Chinese invented gunpowder a while back, but are not responsible for gun deaths nowadays. I agreed with this, of course. My main attempt at a refutation is that there is a disanalogy: giving birth to a child, inventing guns or gunpowder, are not per se rights violations; heck, they are not rights violations at all. But, entry into a non-defensive war is indeed a rights violation, and, thus, Wilson is indeed guilty of a crime, at least according to libertarian law. If you are interested in the details of this convoluted debate, keep reading (from the bottom up, so as to follow the discussion). As for the timing, there are no limits. I don’t believe in explicit statutes of limitations. Yes, there are implicit, legitimate statutes of limitations, in that the further you go back into history, the harder it is to prove guilt, beyond a reasonable doubt.


11:53 am on November 9, 2018

Stop Antifa Lawbreakers

New York City Police Commissioner Bernard Kerik has the right idea: Stop Antifa lawbreakers. The goal is to insure domestic peace.

His proposed measures are sensible and defensible, given our current system of securing the peace. The alternative, which is doing nothing or even praising them, as Matthew Yglesias has, is to encourage their escalation to more violent means. It is also to encourage anti-Antifa groups to form and take to the streets, producing street war.

If Antifa is classified by the Department of Justice or FBI as a domestic terror group, an accurate description, it immediately places state and local police authorities in a position of greater action against Antifa. It treats them as a serious problem that warrants action. Police have to start arresting Antifa members and bringing them to justice.

The anonymity of Antifa participants must end. That’s what enables them to adopt tactics of threat and intimidation.

The financing of Antifa has to be investigated to find out who is behind them.

Steps like these are overdue.

Too many highly-placed Democrats are stirring up trouble with statements that are aimed at direct action against their targets. These Democrats are breaking the domestic peace and tranquility. Their inflammatory remarks are reinforcing the activities of Antifa.

11:34 am on November 9, 2018

Florida’s Stalinist Election Supervisor

One Brenda Snipes, the Broward County election supervisor who was found guilty of destroying ballots two years ago so that Debbie Blabbermouth Schultz could pull out a very shady last-minute election victory by 7,000 votes, is now busy “discovering” thousands of supposedly uncounted votes, days after Governor Scott was declared the winner of the senate election. His margin has gone from more than 70,000 on Wednesday to 15,000 today.  The Democrats have sent the “lawyer” who paid for the phony baloney “Russian dossier” to help out.  Kind of reminds me of something Stalin supposedly said, that it’s not who votes that counts, but who counts the votes.

10:46 am on November 9, 2018

Reconciling Liberating Property From the Unjust Government and Reparations for Stolen Property in the Past

From: Sam Hage []
Sent: Sunday, November 04, 2018 3:28 PM
Subject: Libertarian Scholars’ Conference

Mr. Block,

I meant to email you right after the Libertarian Scholars’ conference in NYC, but it slipped my mind until now. I was hoping to expand on the question I asked about your Ragnar Danneskjöld presentation.

You said that if I can prove your grandfather stole my grandfather’s watch and handed it down to you, you have to give me the watch back. You also said that if the state steals my car, then you steal it from the impound lot, you are not required to give it back to me. Now I’m not sure there’s a contradiction there, but it seemed as though there might be. A clarifying question: if Mr. Salerno steals my watch, then you steal it from him, are you obligated to give it back to me?

I think I understand that once the original theft happens, you’re not really committing violations of the NAP by ‘stealing’ from the thief, but wouldn’t that also be true in the grandfather example? Is that example different because the thief died and you’re merely the unwitting beneficiary of a theft? I hope you can help me understand this idea.

I thought you did a tremendous job at the conference, particularly with your impromptu talk during the Marxism section.

I look forward to hearing from you.

All the best,
Sam Hage

On Mon, Nov 5, 2018 at 8:00 PM Walter Block wrote:

Dear Sam:

Yours was just about the best question/challenge, I’ve ever had at any public gathering, such as this one. Please tell me about yourself. I won’t say that yours was the only thing I’ve been thinking about since that conference, but I won’t deny that either. I am very grateful to you for pointing this out.

The way I see matters, I barely escape contradicting myself by the fact that there is a disanalogy in the two cases. In the Ragner case, there is an intermediate person, that is, Ragnar himself. In the other reparations case, there is no intermediary to complicate matters. Does this satisfy you? If not, please let me have your misgivings.

Best regards,


4:40 pm on November 8, 2018

Trump Fires Sessions – A ‘Constitutional Crisis’?

12:51 pm on November 8, 2018

Bolshevik Mob Terrorizes Tucker Carlson’s Family

A mob of American Bolsheviks that calls itself “Smash Racism DC” descended upon Tucker Carlson’s home last night around 7 PM, ringing his doorbell and screaming “Racist Scumbag Leave Town!!” and “We Fight! We Know Where You Sleep at Night!” One thug threw himself against the front door so hard that he cracked the door.  One member of the mob was heard talking about bringing a pipe bomb next time.  Carlson’s wife hid in the pantry and called the police, who showed up within minutes.  The family will no longer be opening packages sent to them in the mail.

This of course is just the latest episode in the Bolshevik Left’s attack on free speech, taking their cue from the late German Marxist Herbert Marcuse (a “celebrated” academic after coming to America, naturally), who popularized the notion in commie/Leftist circles back in the ’60s that only “the oppressed” (i.e., fellow Marxists) deserve tolerance and free speech, and “the oppressors” (people like the evil Tucker Carlson, or Yours Truly) do not.

The tactic of appearing at peoples’ homes to terrorize their families is right out of the Obama “community organizing” handbook, inspired by Obama/Hillary Clinton idol and inspiration Saul Alinsky and originally used by the union goon movement, but now part and parcel of Democrat Party strategy in general.

Meanwhile, Antifa has reportedly posted the addresses of Tucker Carlson’s brother, his business partner, Ann Coulter, and Sean Hannity online.

5:46 am on November 8, 2018

A Nice Letter

From: T
Sent: Tuesday, October 30, 2018 9:00 PM
Subject: A Kind Letter

Mr. Block,

I have been a big fan of yours for years. I sent your “Privatize Everything” video lecture at the Mises Institute from last year to my City Council here in Duckburg, CA. They were not impressed. Ha! There are five members of our town’s (pop. 12,000) city council. One is from Nebraska like me and I’ve had a couple of beers with him. He’s receptive to Libertarian ideas. Another councilman is more conservative/Republican and doesn’t really trust me. The other three council members are women and so liberal that I would call them Communists. XYZ, the most progressive of them, wrote to me that “I wish I could find a way to automatically delete your emails.” She is running for re-election and our town is littered with lawn signs endorsing her. It is somewhat depressing to me.

This is life in liberal ABC County. 80%+ voted for Obama and 65%+ votes for Hillary here.

I do what I can and for argumentative ideas I use many of your ideas in your lectures at Mises. Thank you! I also appreciate your great sense of humor.

T, Duckburg, CA

Dear T: Thanks. This letter made my day. Best regards, Walter

8:59 pm on November 7, 2018

House Goes Blue – Blessing In Disguise For Trump?

12:31 pm on November 7, 2018

Social Justice Left-Libertarians Finally Dropping the Name Libertarian

It’s about time. Now they can focus more on the evils of climate change and recommend a policy response, which they do think is warranted.

8:07 pm on November 6, 2018

What a Colossal Waste of Money

I heard the chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee say that the committee raised $186 million to help Republicans hold on to their majority in the House. Giving money to the GOP—what a colossal waste of money. I can’t think of anything more useless to spend money on unless it is giving money to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.

8:00 pm on November 6, 2018

I Am a Heretic

In the eyes of most of my conservative Christian brethren. Why? Not because of any doctrinal, biblical, or theological reason, but because I did not go vote today.

7:45 pm on November 6, 2018

The Deep State Will Be The Ultimate Winner of Tuesday’s Election

The biggest myth in politics is that political parties are in business solely to win elections. These criminal cartels are in business to maintain their networks of crony corruption, patronage, and payoff which are their reasons for being. The National Security State, driven by the imperial presidency, an acquiescent congress and a complacent federal judiciary, has destroyed the American Republic. Their parasitic welfare-warfare state, enabled by the Fed, fosters and promotes the profligacy and dependency which is at the root of this destructive process

The Deep State will be the ultimate winner of Tuesday’s election.

One of the great lies about American politics is that Republicans genuinely subscribe to a substantial set of core convictions that make the GOP different from Democrats.

Day by day, their meaningless stands on cosmetic diversionary issues such as immigration, same-sex marriage, or the “war on drugs” have merged until little distinction remains. They are now but factions in the one true political party in America — the Incumbent Party. Despite all posturing and pretense, their only real dispute concerns whose clients will get the loot. . . and whose the bill.

Trump, in his arrogantly and hubristic fashion, has revealed this truth. And they hate him for it.

Capitol Hill has become one vast congressional clip-joint, where members “service” their constituents the way a second-story man “services” a luxury condo. This lies at the root of every economic ill plaguing the country — Wall Street bailouts, massive foreign and domestic debt, Pentagon plunder — the list could go on and on.

Because of this thievery, your income is 60 percent of what it should be. The other 40 percent is forcibly taken by politicians and given to tax-consuming special interests. The parasitical profiteers return some of the ill-gotten gains to their benefactors in the form of campaign contributions, gifts or fees.

Here is how the ruse works in detail: Politicians allocate (steal) taxpayer funds for programs under the guise of alleviating the plight of the poor, the homeless, the sick, the elderly and the unemployed, and serving the “public interest” or “national security.” Yet it is not the mother’s milk of human kindness and compassion which lubricates the intricate gears of political machinery. It is the snake oil of expediency.

The bureaucrats who administer this flim-flam provide taxpayer funds to political advocacy groups through massive grants and contracts, ostensibly intended to fulfill program objectives. However, much of the money received by the special interests is used to lobby, campaign and organize support for the mandarins to manage, additional funding for existing programs, and the re-election of their shills who favor the appropriations which play politics with human misery.

Farcical public hearings are staged to persuade the complacent and compliant news media that greater spending is essential to deal with these pressing problems. Incumbents then appropriate more funds for existing malevolence and initiate new mischief through legislative legerdemain.

In turn, they mass their campaign contributions from clients and franking privileges for their re-election efforts. The bureaucracy awards more pilfered taxpayers’ funds to the special interests, and the process begins all over again.

The losers are the hapless taxpayers who pay for this sophisticated protection racket and the truly unfortunate members of society who receive only a fraction of the promised benefits of the programs set up in their names.

The winners are those tax-consuming bunko artists and wirepullers who gorge themselves at the public trough. The looted tax monies are siphoned off by special interests to promote their schemes, by public employees who want to finance the expansion of their petty bureaucratic empires, and by grasping politicians who want hard cash for re-election kitties and for conversion to their own personal use.

4:55 pm on November 6, 2018

It’ Hard to Believe the Entire World Once Feared These Guys

Cross-dressing Nazis.  Perhaps these pictures will cause the cultural Marxist Left to rethink how it uses “fascist” and “Nazi” as negative connotations.

4:54 pm on November 6, 2018

Ragnar Danneskjold

From: B
Sent: Wednesday, August 22, 2018 8:15 AM
Subject: On the subject of taking government money

First a little foreword: I’m a swedish/finnish 20 year old electrician, who’ve had the luck of having a friend who is an anarcho-capitalist/austrian who had read a lot of Rothbard and Mises. He first convinced me that taxation was theft, and to start listening to Tom Woods and you. Thankfully I took his advice and now I am myself a libertarian/AnCap in the school of Murray Rothbard, and I am constantly trying to learn more about austrian economics. Secondly, this mail is coming completely from a place of respect, and not bad will.

Okay, so mainly I have two things I want to attack you on.

The first one is your discussion or debate that you had with Bob Murphy on the Tom Woods show episode 470. On there you made a point about taking government money isn’t only moral it is also desirable. The reason for this being is that stealing from a thief is good since it’s not his legitimate property.

My main objection with this is that when the cost ultimately and without exception is put on the taxpayer’s/thief’s subjects, it is no longer stealing from the thief, but stealing from the thief’s subjects. And by indirectly stealing from the thief’s subjects makes them directly poorer I would equal it to an active action (taking money from the government voluntarily) leading to the active reaction of the government taking MORE money from the taxpayer. My point being is that we should desire to take as little money from the government as possible, to give it less of an excuse to steal more of the taxpayer’s money, since it will use the fill up the “lost revenue” with more taxes.

My other objection would be more specifically towards the phrase: You (say you) can’t steal from a thief. I don’t think that’s quite right, I believe that you CAN steal from a thief. Just because the thief stole from an innocent person doesn’t give me, a third unaffected party a right to steal from the thief, since he didn’t take anything that was rightly mine. However, when this phrase is laid fourth against the government, it is also taking my money and this phrase is rightly applicable. I just don’t think it is applicable in all cases like you’ve made it sound like.

My last thought on the subject is that you’ve said that only libertarians can rightfully take government money. This I believe is completely wrong, since that would mean that I can change the morality of an action by simply having different thoughts in my head. That would lead to some very odd hypotheticals where my intentions suddenly changes an immoral action into a moral one.

Thanks for reading and keep doing what you do, I appreciate all your work! Cheers, B


12:59 pm on November 6, 2018

‘The Most Important Election Of Our Lifetime!’ – Does It Really Matter?

12:28 pm on November 6, 2018

Run for the Hills! Get Your Emergency Supplies!

“Trump Stirs Controversy,” shouts a headline today on AOL News.  He did this by saying “Oprah was a friend of mine until I ran for office.”

Have you ever heard of anything so controversial?  I certainly have not.  How dare he criticize Pope-Ruh for supporting a poorly-educated female version of Bernie Sanders (minus the charm) for governor of Georgia!  This could start World War III!

10:31 am on November 6, 2018

Jordan Peterson: Foreword to The Gulag Archipelago: 50th Anniversary Edition

“I had the great privilege of writing the foreword to the 50th anniversary version of the abridged version of one of the most important books of the 20th century, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn’s The Gulag Archipelago, a devastating account of the absolute horror wreaked upon the people of the Soviet Empire by the acolytes of the doctrine of Karl Marx. I read the foreword here, in its entirety, and encourage everyone to purchase and study the book. It changed the world.”

8:23 am on November 6, 2018

Non Scarce Things Can’t Be Privatized

From: A
Sent: Monday, September 10, 2018 8:50 PM
To: Walter Block
Subject: Re: Internet and Scarcity

Dear Dr. Block,
I recall you telling me at Mises U that non scarce things can’t be privatized. If this were true, how could the oceans be privatized? Additionally, if someone were to somehow monopolize air (very ridiculous, but for the sake of argumentation), then wouldn’t this non-economic good hence be privatized? Thank you! A

Dear A:

In this book of mine I try to make clear that at present, the oceans are not scarce, and cannot, yet, be privatized. But, soon, they will be. We’re getting pretty close with the South China Sea. Rivers like the Hudson, the Mississippi, I think, can now be privatized.

Block, Walter E. and Peter Lothian Nelson. 2015. Water Capitalism: The Case for Privatizing Oceans, Rivers, Lakes, and Aquifers. New York City, N.Y.: Lexington Books, Rowman and Littlefield;

As for air, it, too, is not scarce. But airplane routes are. They are in the air. See this book on that:

Nelson, Peter Lothian and Walter E. Block. 2018. Space capitalism: the case for privatizing space travel and colonization. Palgrave Macmillan;;;;;;

Hey, I’m On TV: C-Span

2:41 pm on November 5, 2018

I Won’t Be Surprised . . .

. . . if the Republicans gain seats in both the House and the Senate tomorrow.  I did several radio interviews the day before and on election day in 2016 and said I thought Trump was going to win based on: 1) seeing 10,000 people or more show up to Trump rallies for months on end, while Hillary was speaking to “crowds” of 200 or so; and 2) knowledge that all those “network polls” were not polls taken by “news” organizations but by the Clinton campaign itself, since the LMS (Lying Media Scum) have long been nothing more than the Pravda-esque propaganda arm of the Democrat Party.  This should be obvious to everyone by now (how quaint that people used to actually argue that “liberal bias” in the media is a myth!).

Trump is pulling the same sized crowds across the country today in support of Republican candidates.  The Democrats are experts at vote tampering and election rigging, but even with that, as I said, I wouldn’t be surprised if the Party of Trump pulls it off.  If that should happen, then expect civil war type violence and the setting of cities on fire from the American Left.

12:19 pm on November 5, 2018