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Military Conscription is Never Justified

There are those who believe that they have an argument that justifies military conscription in certain circumstances. That argument is that conscription is justified when destruction is eminent. (The below does not depend on my portrayal of this argument.)

Block's "evictionism" and the NAP

As I've written before, abortion is an unsettled issue among libertarians. There's been a very good debate between Walter Block and Jakub Wisniewski on Block's theory of "evictionism", and whether or not it's compatible with what libertarians call the Non-aggression Principle (NAP). I thought I'd share the links for your reading pleasure:

Block's original case for evictionism - http://www.walterblock.com/wp-content/uploads/publications/block-whitehead_abortion-2005.pdf Wisniewski's rebuttal - http://libertarianpapers.org/articles/2010/lp-2-16.pdf Block's rejoinder to Wisniewski - http://libertarianpapers.org/articles/2010/lp-2-32.pdf Wisniewski's rejoinder to Block - http://libertarianpapers.org/articles/2010/lp-2-37.pdf
I think at this point I'm with Wisniewski. I like his throwing "proportionality" in there. If eviction results in death, and with abortion it does, then that isn't proportionate to the baby having trespass…

Discussion Notes - Intellectual Property

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I led the LDS Liberty Study Group discussion last Thursday on the topic of Intellectual Property. As promised, here is the discussion outline we followed. I recommend reading the free resources at the bottom to understand the arguments against defending intellectual property as a libertarian. What made for a very exciting discussion were our opposing view points. I was glad to be a part of it.

LDS Liberty Study Group - October 7th, 2010 - Intellectual Property

Topic - The purpose of this discussion is to understand the true nature of "Intellectual Property". We will discuss the purpose of property rights, contrast intellectual property with real (physical) property, and how intellectual property "rights" are enforced. We will not be discussing whether or not a society should grant and protect intellectual property rights. Resources are provided that explore the nature and desirability of intellectual property rights. These are comprehensive, and should be stu…

The Case Against the Fed

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Absolutely a must read book. Murray Rothbard, in very understandable and readable language, explains the evils of counterfeiting and inflation, and how the Federal Reserve is legally allowed to do both. The wonderful book can be found in several downloadable and free formats via Mises.org. Here's its introduction:

By far the most secret and least accountable operation of the federal government is not, as one might expect, the CIA, DIA, or some other super-secret intelligence agency. The CIA and other intelligence operations are under control of the Congress. They are accountable: a Congressional committee supervises these operations, controls their budgets, and is informed of their covert activities. It is true that the committee hearings and activities are closed to the public; but at least the people's representatives in Congress insure some accountability for these secret agencies.

It is little known, however, that there is a federal agency that tops the others in…

McScrooge Laments Inflation

I just came across this beautiful nugget showing McScrooge teaching his nephews about the evils of inflations. I recently posted about the changing attitudes of our children's cartoons on money:

Free to Choose an Unlicensed Practitioner

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I recently forwarded an article to a conservative colleague that argued for America to lift it's restrictions on trade with and travel to Cuba. The conclusion contained a small argument against the belief that the government is here to allow us to do certain things:
Contrast statism with libertarianism. Libertarians, unlike statists, hold that man has been endowed by nature and God with fundamental, inherent rights that exist independently of government. Since such rights do not come from government, people don’t need to get governmental permission to exercise them.

What are such rights? Not only the right to publish or read whatever you want or to peaceably assemble with others, but also the right to sustain your life through labor, to engage in economic activity, to engage in any occupation or trade, to trade with others, to accumulate the fruits of your earnings, to travel wherever you want, and to do what you want with your own money. And all without governmental …

Do You Care About the Poor and Needy?

Since my initial self-education in economics by the pen of Walter Williams, I've believed that truly caring about the poor and the needy means that you oppose government interference in the market. The poor and needy are always affected the worse by government regulations and licensing laws. You can't support government interference in the market, other than the protection from force or fraud, without supporting those things that hurt the poor and the needy the most.

Scrooge McDuck vs. Mr. Krabs

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Times have certainly changed. I remember watching Duck Tales growing up and loved watching Scrooge McDuck swimming around in his silo of gold coins and precious stones:


However, kids these days have no clue what a gold coin is, or what it's worth.

Interstate Commerce and Your Church

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The Interstate Commerce clause of the United States Constitution is found under Article I, Section 8, and reads,
The Congress shall have power...to regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian tribes;This clause has been especially abused by the US Federal government to justify all sorts of regulations. For example, it was used to justify regulations to set quotas on growing wheat on one's own land for one's own consumption, or of the consumption of one's livestock because doing so could effect the stability of national wheat prices. A failed example has it being used to justify the Federal prohibition of firearms within a certain distance of elementary schools.

Islamocapitalism

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You've probably heard the term to describe one of neo-conservatism's biggest hobgoblins, "Islamofascism". I'm not sure who coined it (Savage?), but it's spread like wild fire over the last few years. It's a term used to spread fear and hate towards Muslims. A much more accurate term to describe the secular side of the Muslim faith would be "Islamocapitalism". Lew Rockwell's latest podcast explores Islam's capitalistic roots and love for capitalists, a sentiment I'm happy to tolerate. Here's the summary from his site:
Is Islam compatible with free markets? Turkish journalist Mustafa Akyol points out that the vast majority of the world’s 1.2 billion Muslims are tolerant, peaceable and reasonable people whose lives do not make the news. The blowback of terrorism is the result of Western colonialism and the CIA’s promotion of fundamentalism in its Afghan war on the Soviets.

Islam was founded by a successful merchant, and the religion …

The Constitutionality of Immigration Laws

Jeffrey Thayne of ldsphilosopher.com has written a thorough Q&A on the constitutionality of Federal immigration laws that sits beautifully next to Connor Boyack's article that LDSLiberty.org published here. The two together should settle the question of what business the Federal government has in peaceful immigration.

Fix Traffic by Removing Traffic Controls

What am I smoking, you ask? Wouldn't you like to know! Actually, all I'm "smoking" is oxygen, but I am serious when I say that inner city traffic problem would be fixed by removing lights and signs. Just watch this 5 minute video if you don't believe me:



Now, on to market and immigration controls!

Love the Rich, Hate the Poor?

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My wife and I were talking last night. She asks me insightful questions in order to fall asleep. You see, she asks a great question, and then uses my ramblings as a sedative. Works every time. Her drug last night was what I had to say about "rich people" and "poor people". I explained to her that I don't see two groups of people, rich and poor. I see four groups. Two types of rich, and two types of poor.

The two types of people that make up "the rich" are 1) those who made their wealth by providing goods and services for trade with others voluntarily, and 2) those who used force, ie. theft or the machinations and power of government, either directly (politicians) or indirectly (lobbyists and their principals) to get their wealth. I like rich people that are "voluntarily" rich, I dislike rich people that are "coercively" rich.

The two types of people that make up "the poor" are 1) those who are poor because of …

Utah Nullification Project

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Lehi, UT, July 6, 2010 — On the heels of the release of bestselling author Thomas E. Woods' new book, Nullification: How to Resist Federal Tyranny in the 21st Century, a local political activist has launched a project to put the book into the hands of every state legislator in Utah. In his latest work, Woods, a senior fellow at the Ludwig von Mises Institute, explains the history, purpose, and effective use of state nullification as a check on federal laws and programs that exceed constitutional authority.

On the announcement of the Utah Nullification project, Woods commented: "Thomas Jefferson warned that if the federal government is allowed to hold a monopoly on determining the extent of its own powers, we have no right to be surprised when it keeps discovering new ones. History clearly shows that it has just done that, and despite their protests, resolutions, and lawsuits, the states have repeatedly ceded their sovereignty to an ever-expanding accumulation of federal power…

Rights as Things

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What are rights? The purpose of this short essay, or collection of thoughts, is to explore that question.

So many commentators on rights treat them as something tangible, such as:

"We have rights." as compared to "We have milk."
"Don't tread on my rights." as compared to "Don't tread on my land."
"Rights are a gift from God." as compared to "Manna is a gift from God."

What is obvious is that they are anything but tangible. So why do we talk and write like this about rights? If I am alone on an island, do I have rights? What rights do I have? It seems I wouldn't have rights because I would have no need for the entire concept. Why not? Because the concept of rights depends on others. To claim you have rights is nothing more than to claim you have exclusive control and authority over your actions and behavior. Because others claim to have rights, they too have exclusive control and authority over their actions and be…

The Bill of Rights and Political Anarchy

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As I argued recently, political anarchy is the absence of unrighteous dominion. The state, characterized by its monopoly on the use of force and/or the coercive nature of its collection of funds, is one form of unrighteous dominion. Before a number of American colonies would ratify the United States Constitution, they demanded that it be amended to include what is called the "Bill of Rights". Even though the Constitution was designed to grant only certain powers to the Federal Government, these colonies understood how nearly futile it is to "chain" down the state from exercising power beyond its granted authority. They understood that political anarchy, relative to the central state, must remain in certain spheres of action. As I will argue, the Bill of Rights was designed to protect the political anarchy of these spheres, and we should be diligent in expanding political anarchy into other spheres of action.

What Are Rights?

There are two ways of looking at the conc…

The Absence of Unrighteous Dominion

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We are taught in holy writ that "when we undertake...to exercise control or dominion or compulsion upon the souls of the children of men, in any degree of unrighteousness, behold, the heavens withdraw themselves". Also, that "it is the nature and disposition of almost all men, as soon as they get a little authority, as they suppose, they will immediately begin to exercise unrighteous dominion." That is because to control or dominate over another unrighteously is evil, and where evil is, God is not. It is my belief that political anarchy is the absence of this "unrighteous dominion". I am completely aware of the objections that such a statement of belief as this may create. As I will show, these objections are misdirected, the word anarchy has been misused in contemporary thought, and a state of political anarchy is actually desirable for a righteous people.

Anarchy and Tyranny

From politicians to religious leaders, anarchy has been used syno…

Defend the State, Defend Socialism

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The state is an institution of government that receives wide-spread support among all sorts of political philosophies. The difference, however, is that different political philosophies support different sizes and scopes of the state. A few examples: your typical "conservative" favors using the state for military and national defense, as well as enforcing morality among the people; your typical "liberal" (in the modern sense) favors using the state to regulate the economy and provide social services; even your typical "libertarian" who is generally opposed to the state in favor of liberty will support using the state in a limited, defense and crime prevention capacity. As I will argue here, so long as the state can collect funds by force to pay for national defense and crime prevention, it can collect funds by force to pay for anything, and so long as the state can legitimately enforce it's monopoly of the defense and justice services, so too can it en…

The Constitution's Major Flaw, Notwithstanding

Latter-day Saint Constitutionalists have interpreted scripture pertaining to the Constitution of the United States in varying degrees. Some believe it itself is scripture, on par with the canonized Standard Works. Others have a looser (in my view correct) interpretation that only those parts “supporting that principle of freedom in maintaining rights and privileges” are inspired. It is the purpose of this article to point out the major, foundational flaw in the Constitution that is overlooked by many Latter-day Saint Constitutionalists. It is also the purpose of this article to point out how we can honor the Lord’s justification “in befriending that law which is the constitutional law of the land.”

The Highest Degree

For argument sake, I will concede the highest degree of Latter-day Saint Constitutional interpretation that the Constitution should be regarded as scripture. This quote by the thirteenth President of the Church, Ezra Taft Benson, is an example of this belief, “I reverence …

Murder, What Else?

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Hat-tip LRC:
American drones dropped in Pakistan kill at least 10 times as many civilians as terrorists and/or Taliban (Pakistani and/or Afghan),  according to a July Brookings report. Now the Pakistan government reports that 39 out of 44 drone attacks killed nothing but civilians in 2009.  Obama now owns the Afghanistan War and has stepped up the drone attacks. Note that 10/11 = a 91% deadly error rate, and that 39/44 = an 89% error rate. These confirm one another and the “success” of drone warfare against civilians.

40 Reasons for Gun Control

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LibertarianChristians.com has a great list of the best reasons for gun control. This one is by far my favorite:
8. A woman raped and strangled is morally superior to a woman with a smoking gun and a dead rapist at her feet.

Questions on Intellectual Property

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Stephen Kinsella posts a list of questions from a high school student seeking answers regarding the legitimacy of intellectual property "rights", as well as his answers. They provide a good introduction to the anti-IP position. These are the questions asked, click here for his answers:
What would you say is the most powerful argument against copyrights and patents?What would you respond with to someone who argues that resources do not have to be finite or scarce in order to be allocated as property?How would you respond to Lysander Spooner’s argument that property is wealth that is owned, and wealth includes ideas since they can be manifested into tangible wealth?What about the argument that people own their minds, so they own the mental products?Some anti-IP people believe in a right to first sell. Would you say that the original creators should have a right to sell the creation first? Why or why not?What would you respond to someone who claims that if there were copies all …