Posts

Showing posts from 2011

Thought Experiments on The Violence of The State

Michael Suede of LibertarianNews.com has some excellent thought experiments on the violence of the state:
-Your mother grew illegal vegetable matter and gave it to her sick friend. If found guilty, she faces 1 year in jail and a 1000 dollar fine. – would you convict her?

-Your mother is the CEO of her privately owned corporation and she hid corporate income in order to avoid taxation. She used the money she kept to help you pay for your college. If found guilty, she faces 5 years in federal prison and a 100,000 dollar fine. – would you convict her?

-Your mother owns a restaurant and she agreed to allow a 15 year old waitress to work overtime during the summer so she could save money up for a car. She is guilty of violating child labor laws. If found guilty, she faces 6 months in federal prison and a $10,000 fine. – would you convict her?

-Your mother installed an addition to her home without asking the State permission before doing so. She is guilty of failure to obtain a build…

The So-called Divinely Inspired Constitution

Image
Here's something that I just wrote up for an online conversation regarding the Constitution:

Derek, let's start from the beginning. For the moment, let's not even consider whether or not God established the Constitution. Let's pretend that we don't know that yet.

Is the Constitution a socialist document? Did the Founders establish a socialist government with the Constitution? The answer to both questions is yes. The Constitution is a socialist document and the Founders used it to establish a socialist government. Read Hoppe's "A Theory of Socialism & Capitalism" to better understand what socialism is. He tackles totalitarian, social democractic, conservative, and constitutional socialism in his treatise.

Did it establish totalitarian socialism? No. It established limited socialism, but socialism nonetheless. Study socialism from those who understand socialism, and you'll understand why these are true statements. There's a one line spectru…

Government Debt and the Libertarian Solution

Image
Government debt's a big problem in the US and all over Europe (and I'm sure elsewhere). What's to be done? For starters, governments need to cut spending across the board. That'll prevent more debt. As for the existing debt, there's only one libertarian solution. I give you Rothbard via "The Ethics of Liberty", chapter 24, paragraph 5:
Many libertarians fall into confusion on specific relations with the State, even when they concede the general immorality or criminality of State actions or interventions. Thus, there is the question of default, or more widely, repudiation of government debt. Many libertarians assert that the government is morally bound to pay its debts, and that therefore default or repudiation must be avoided. The problem here is that these libertarians are analogizing from the perfectly proper thesis that private persons or institutions should keep their contracts and pay their debts. But government has no money of its own, and payment…

Ron Paul, The Only One We Can Trust

Image
This video is absolutely superb. If you value life and freedom at all, Ron Paul deserves your support.

Ezra Taft Benson, Anarchist

Image
I'm not sure why I've been fixated on this the last few days, how it entered my mind's eye, but I can't shake it until I get it out. I believe that Ezra Taft Benson, former President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saint, and prophet of God, was an anarchist of the voluntaryist/libertarian sort, and that's a good thing.

He spoke often about the need to defend and preserve the Constitution of the United States. Now, it is also my belief that constitutional government is a "pure manifestation of Socialism". How do I reconcile the belief that Ezra Taft Benson was both an anarchist and a Constitutionalist? That's easy, for the same reasons that I'm both an anarchist and a Constitutionalist.

One of the most popular essays of Ezra Taft Benson is his "The Proper Role of Government". He begins this essay with these verses of LDS scripture on the proper role of government:
We believe that governments were instituted of God for the be…

Socialism & Capitalism - Hoppe

Image
Oh boy I wish I read this book sooner. I would have become an anarcho-capitalist a long time ago had I started with this book. Hoppe completely obliterates the argument for socialism in any degree, from a limited nightwatchman state to democratic socialism to full-blown Soviet Union totalitarian socialism. And he does it in under 300 pages.

How great is this book? His first 6 chapters look at every degree of Socialism, and using step-by-step logical deduction shows it to be economically inferior to free market, voluntaryist capitalism. Included in this analysis is an attack on empiricism used by mainstream, non-Austrian, economic theory. He then takes Socialism down with a rock solid ethics/moral argument. But he doesn't end there.

Hoppe completes his masterpiece with a case against the fear of a monopoly producer in a free market, and for the private production of security. He even takes down the "public goods" argument for the state. This book truly has it all. From l…

Consistent For 30 Years

Image
The below video demonstrates rather briefly the consistency in the fight for liberty, sound economics, and a non-interventionist foreign policy that has permeated Ron Paul's congressional career.

"How It's Made" - Market Miracles

Image
My 6-year-old son's always asking me how different things are made. He sometimes has some unusual requests. I can only tell him so much before he just gets confused. Enter the Science Channel's "How It's Made". I've watched this program in the past, but he was too young to care. I re-discovered it while channel surfing. I quickly got him to watch it with me, and he fell in love with it. We set up our DVR to record the last 2 episodes, so there's always something new for him to watch.

What is "How It's Made"? To me, it's Leonard Read's "I, Pencil" on steroids. For those unfamiliar with Read's essay, it's a story of creation from the perspective of an everyday pencil. The essay's thesis is that it's impossible for any single person to make a pencil. The story traces the pencil's coming together after it's parts are found all over the world. It takes thousands of people, all of whom are working to satis…

Ron Paul, Electable, IF He Survives

Image
I've been debating with myself on whether or not I should even make this post. My thoughts on what I'm about to say have a dual meaning. First, on just how far-reaching and consistent Ron Paul's libertarian principles are, and Second, how far I believe we've strayed as a society from the Christian principles to love our neighbor as well as our enemies.

In theory, everything points to Ron Paul being electable. He can out-left the Left and out-right the Right. But I think that's also his downfall. He has too many enemies, and those enemies have too much power. Just look at this list:
The Federal ReserveWall Street BankersMilitary ContractorsFederal Drug WarriorsBig Labor, UnionsBig AgricultureForeign Recipients of Federal AidAnd the list goes on. I see too many special interests with too much on the line (money) to allow a Ron Paul victory. He wants to capsize the boat that is Big Government. And here's the really disturbing part, I even go as far as believing in …

When Does Law Become Criminal?

Image
If you've ever criticized taxation in front of an average statist, be them liberal or conservative, you know that it quickly turns awkward. They insist that taxation is necessary for certain services and that they're happy to pay it. They sometimes even assume you're advocating not paying taxes, then the conversation turns towards a discussion on the merits of "obeying the law".

We are just supposed to obey the law, people say. My fellow Latter-day Saints are even more insistent on this, throwing out the knee-jerk 12th Article of Faith reaction. We are supposed to support "government" and obey the law. We are supposed to be good little citizens. If we don't like the law, we can write a letter to our congressman, our run for office ourselves, etc.

But what about when the law becomes criminal? What, you don't believe the law can be criminal? You say: "Taxation isn't criminal. Government interventions in my business transactions isn't …

Ron Paul, Raising the Title of Liberty

Image
Chapter 46 of the Book of Alma, in the Book of Mormon, chronicles the time that Captain Moroni of the Nephite Armies rallies his people together to fight for their liberty. The seminal moment came when he created "the title of liberty":
And now it came to pass that when Moroni, who was the chief commander of the armies of the Nephites, had heard of these dissensions, he was angry with Amalickiah. And it came to pass that he rent his coat; and he took a piece thereof, and wrote upon it:

"In memory of our God, our religion, and freedom, and our peace, our wives, and our children,"

and he fastened it upon the end of a pole. And he fastened on his head-plate, and his breastplate, and his shields, and girded on his armor about his loins; and he took the pole, which had on the end thereof his rent coat, (and he called it the title of liberty) and he bowed himself to the earth, and he prayed mightily unto his God for the blessings of liberty to rest upon his brethren, so l…

Scarcity and Property Rights

Image
It is a simple fact that our world is a world of scarcity, that is, that human wants exceed the amount of usable resources to satisfy them. This is not say that usable resources are not being discovered, or that human wants will not change. Of course change happens. Oil was once considered a nuisance, but now it's considered a usable good.

When people need the same resources (economic goods) to satisfy their wants, conflict ensues. This is what economists call the "economic problem": How are things to be produced and the factors of production allocated in a world of scarcity? There are ways of handling conflict over scarce resources. People can fight over them, and to the victor go the spoils. Or, people can reason. They can use the resource between their ears to come up with ways of ending, reducing, and preventing conflict, leading to the creation of wealth and prosperity. One of those ways has been through the formulation of a theory of property rights.

Every school o…

Ron Paul, a Scholar, Not a Politician

Image
It's perfectly clear to me that Ron Paul is unlike anyone else in Washington, and unlike any of the other candidates vying for the Republican nomination for President. But it may not be perfectly clear to you. I'd like to invite anyone unfamiliar with Ron Paul's breadth of principle and scholarship to look at a few things.

Books - Ron Paul has written or co-written several books, all of them (except his medical works) with one purpose: to spread the message of freedom. You'll also notice that not a single one of them engages in self-aggrandizement, unlike many others. In chronological order: 1981 - Gold, Peace, & Prosperity1982 - The Case for Gold1983 - Abortion and Liberty1983 - Ten Myths About Paper Money1984 - Mises and Austrian Economics1987 - Freedom Under Siege1990 - Challenge to Liberty: Abortion1991 - The Ron Paul Money Book2007 - A Foreign Policy of Freedom2008 - Pillars of Prosperity2008 - The Revolution - A Manifesto2009 - End the Fed2011 - Liberty Defined

Multi-Million Dollar Copyright Infringement, Every Day

Image
Over the last few years, I've pitched my tent on the anti-copyright and anti-patent side of the libertarian camp. In other words, I don't hold that ideas are property, or can be property, and the granting of such monopoly privileges by the state is an act of theft and wealth redistribution of all real property owners.

John Tehranian of the University of Utah's S.J. Quinney College of Law has written a fantastic paper for the Utah Law Review that looks at the disparity between copyright law and copyright norms. It's worth a full read, however, what I wanted to share here is his making plain just how often the average person, in this case the average college professor, infringes on copyright, to the tune of billions per year:
To illustrate the unwitting infringement that has become quotidian for the average American, take an ordinary day in the life of a hypothetical law professor named John. For the purposes of this Gedankenexperiment, we assume the worst-case scenario o…

It's About Love

Image
I am wont to harp on non-libertarian political philosophies because of their foundation in violence. I'd like to take just a moment to explain something that I haven't done a good enough job explaining.

Libertarianism to me is about one thing, Love. I've said that the libertarian political philosophy can be summed up in one phrase, "Keep your hands to yourself." Why should we do this? There're all sorts of reasons why we should practice libertarianism, but I believe the primary reason should be out of love and respect for other people.

I want liberty for you as much as I want liberty for myself. I know that freedom is the only way that prosperity can be achieved, and I want you to have prosperity. I want you to pursue and find happiness. I want you to be free from the control of others. And I want you to be free to serve your fellow man.

Liberty implies responsibility. If the social contract exists, it exists as an implied contract between civilized men to ke…

Supporting Ron Paul

Image
I have shared content and posted about Ron Paul a little more often than usual lately. For those who know me, you know that I don't care to waste my time voting nor get involved in elections. However, Walter Block has convinced me that I should be doing all I can to promote Ron Paul.

Now, let me explain why Ron Paul is different. Yes, he's the only candidate, nay, the only member of the Federal Government that can be considered a voluntaryist. All the rest are coercivist crooks. The entire lot of them. Ron Paul has been battling these crooks for 30 some-odd years, in and out of Congress. He's been consistently principled, and has consistently fought for liberty. He's truly an anomaly. That's not a platitude. That's not something that you can say about any candidate since the founding of the United States. That is a fact.
I've studied Ron Paul the last few years and own several of his books. I've added him to my list of people I consider Great. He truly is…

Ron Paul is a Voluntaryist

Image
I've noticed a certain type of libertarian that not only follows and promotes Ron Paul, but that Ron Paul keeps around him. They include Lew Rockwell and the crews at LewRockwell.com and Mises.org. The overriding theme among them all is that they are voluntaryists, or anarcho-capitalists. Since first studying Ron Paul and following this crowd, I've believed that Ron Paul is in actuality a voluntaryist, posing as a Constitutionalist. The video below demonstrates this using quotes from Ron Paul's books, and clips from a few interviews.

The By-product of Freedom

I am primarily a libertarian for philosophical reasons. This wasn't always the case. My ascent into libertarianism began with a study of economics. It began with the columns of Walter Williams. He frequently gives an economics lesson woven within his commentary on current events. I read almost every one of his columns available in his archive. I soon discovered his "Economics for the Citizen" series, a concise introduction to several principles of economics.

From here, I discovered Thomas Sowell, a close friend of Williams. His "Basic Economics" was the first book I purchased on economics. (I've since purchased several of his books.) It taught me all about supply and demand, and why price floors and price ceilings have negative unintended (supposedly) consequences in an economy. I understood, from an economics point of view, the disaster that is government interference with voluntary trading among people, ie. "the market".

I soon discovered the Au…

You've Got a Gun Pointed at Your Head

Image
You can't truly embrace liberty and the libertarian political philosophy until you understand something very important. Every second of every day, you have a gun pointed at your head.

What do I mean? It's obvious. Right now, you have a gun pointed at your head, ready to shoot and kill you. But you can't see it. My goal is to help you see it. It's there. It's always been there. Since the day you were born, it's been there.

There are people in this world, many of them, who want to control you. They aren't content with controlling only themselves. They want to control you, too. And the only way to do this is with violence. Some of them will walk up to you, point a gun at your head, and tell you to either hand over your money, or to get into their car. Others will walk into a ballot box and file a secret ballot, voting for the candidate who's made all sorts of promises that amount to controlling you. The means are somewhat different, though not really, but …

Button Pushing and the Radical Libertarian

Image
Since I claim to be a radical libertarian, the question presents itself, "What is a radical libertarian?" Though I'll give my own thoughts on the question, I could not answer this any better than one of the greatest of radical libertarians, Murray Rothbard:
The true test...of the radical spirit, is the button-pushing test: if we could push the button for instantaneous abolition of unjust invasions of liberty, would we do it? If we would not do it, we could scarcely call ourselves libertarians, and most of us would only do it if primarily guided by a passion for justice.

The genuine libertarian, then, is, in all senses of the word, an "abolitionist"; he would, if he could, abolish instantaneously all invasions of liberty, whether it be, in the original coining of the term, slavery, or whether it be the manifold other instances of State oppression. He would, in the words of another libertarian in a similar connection, "blister my thumb pushing that button!&qu…

Legend of the Guardians - A Libertarian Allegory

Image
What a wonderful movie this was! I was enthralled the entire time. It had everything a libertarian could hope for. "Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga'Hoole" is a story about good versus evil, cowardice versus bravery, slavery versus freedom. I don't want to give away any spoilers but allow me to run it down.

The story begins with a family of 5 owls, 2 parents, 2 brothers, and a little sister. One of the brothers, Soren, loves to repeat his father's stories about "the Guardians of Ga'Hoole", a "mythical group of warrior owls, who once saved all owlkind from the evil 'Pure Ones' in a great battle in which the Guardians' leader, Lyze of Kiel, defeated the Pure Ones' leader Metal Beak" to his little sister, Eglantine. The other brother, Kludd, teases Soren for his "dreams" and soft-headedness.

After the brothers are given a lesson in flying from their father (Soren being the better flyer) and their parents leave…

Call Me Mr. Radical Libertarian

Image
A few months ago, my Bishop, as part of an introduction of sorts to someone else, called me a "radical libertarian". Ever since then, I've put a lot of thought into that title, and have decided to completely embrace it. I've since added some flare to my website in that same vein (adding "anarcholibertarian" to my title image and an anarchocapitalist emblem I designed 2 years ago on the left panel). I've become very comfortable with these types of titles. In fact, I've started to wonder why more people don't wear their politics "on their sleeve", as it were. And I think I have an answer.

You see, unlike my "radical libertarian" politics, Democrats and Republicans rely on the coercive and violent power of the state. Their political philosophies depend on government force. Mine doesn't. The only way that Democrats can "spread the wealth around" is by picking up a gun and pointing it at the heads of the wealthy. The …

Joseph Smith's Prophecy on the US Government

I just read this great paper titled "Joseph Smith: The Profile of a Prophet". On page 16, he shares a prophecy given by Joseph Smith while in conversation with Stephan A. Douglas, which reads:
unless the United States redress the wrongs committed upon the saints in the state of Missouri and punish crimes committed by her officers, that in a few years the government will be utterly overthrown and wasted, and there will not be so much as a potsherd left, for their wickedness in permitting the murder of men, women and children and the wholesale plunder and extermination of thousands of her citizens to go unpunished, thereby perpetrating a foul and corroding blot upon the fair fame of this great republic, the very thought of which would have caused the high-minded and patriotic framers of the Constitution of the United States to hide their faces with shame.The author of this article goes on to explain that he believes this prophecy concerned mostly the Whig party (see 3b) at the …

Social Contract Theory, Defined & Destroyed

Image
Social Contract theory has been a thorn in my side for quite some time. I knew it was bogus, have studied some things that argue such, but could never quite shake it. Stefan Molyneux to the rescue:

Stanislaw Burzynski, Saver of Lives, Modern Superhero

Image
I've recently watched an incredible documentary detailing the bitter and greedy persecution of Dr. Stanislaw Burzynski. As of this post, that documentary can be viewed here for free.

I highly recommend watching this documentary in order to completely understand the evil and tyranny that has slowed down this very important progress in cancer therapy. It shows the relentlessness of the Texas Medical Board, the Food & Drug Administration, the US Federal Government, and the devious practices of the National Cancer Institute, in protecting the profits of special interests in the cancer therapy "industry".

For his courage, his perseverance, and his medical breakthroughs, I am adding Dr. Burzynski to my list of people who I consider "great". More information on this documentary can be found here. Dr. Burzynski's clinic's website can be found here.

I will also add, if I or any of my loved ones have to go through the ordeal of treating cancer, I will do ever…

Polygamy and the Liberation of Women

Image
Yesterday, I shared three articles that have given me a brand new perspective on the institution of polygamous (plural) marriage. I thought I'd say a little bit about them. Here they are again:
Article: Why Most Americans are PolygamousArticle: Why Most Women Benefit Under Polygamy, Men SufferArticle: A Feminist Studies Mormon Polygamy And, Remarkably, Finds That It Liberated the WivesThe first one does a good job at expelling the notion that polygamy is weird or unusual. It explains how many Americans are today polygamous, mathematically speaking. I don't have much else to say about this one.

The second one introduced to me something about polygamy that I had never considered, how it's beneficial for women. Married men of high status (prestige, wealth, or both), would no longer be considered off-limits. They would very much still be in the running, competing with other men. I think this would cause a higher number of men to improve themselves, their skills, their attractiv…

Celebrating July 4th Properly, Post-4th Thoughts

I did a lot of complaining this year on the State of Utah recent lift of their ban on the private use of aerial fireworks. It, along with the everdepressing show of blind nationalism by everyone, kept me in a rather dreary mood all throughout the holiday (which in Utah, isn't over until after Pioneer Day, the 24th of July). In order to avoid this hard-heartedness next year, I've been thinking of ways that I can celebrate.

This got my thinking about why we celebrate the 4th of July. It's call'd Independence Day for a reason. What happen'd on the 4th of July? 200+ years ago, our American ancestors seced'd from the largest empire in the world, Great Britain. They claim'd their independence from a distant tyrant. So we could celebrate the 4th by studying that seemingly ancient history, OR we could celebrate the 4th by studying modern history. What do I mean by that?
What a better way to celebrate the 4th than by studying the growth and tyranny of the largest empi…

Full-body Cavity Searches For Everyone

Image
That's it. What a scary revelation. Terrorists could be hiding bombs inside their bodies. I can't believe this. It is absolutely paramount that the TSA start conducting full-body cavity* searches on all passengers. If they don't do this, then how am I going to feel safe getting on an airplane? How am I going to feel secure that I won't be blown up by a terrorist hiding a bomb inside his body? The only way the TSA can guarantee my safety in light of this new information is to require a full body cavity search of every passenger. That's it. That's the only way. Nothing else will do. Terrorists are a serious threat to everyone, and the TSA should take that threat seriously. If the TSA is going to be trusted as having our security as their number one priority, they will immediately start full-body cavity searching every passenger on every flight. They can't be trusted otherwise.

* When I say "full-body cavity" search, this includes finding surgical in…

Utah Gives License to Aggress

Image
Emitting a loud noise can be an act of aggression. The test of whether or not you are committing aggression through your emission of loud noise was given by Rothbard:
Most of us think of homesteading unused resources in the old-fashioned sense of clearing a piece of unowned land and farming the soil. There are, however, more sophisticated and modern forms of homesteading, which should establish a property right. Suppose, for example, that an airport is established with a great deal of empty land around it. The airport exudes a noise level of, say, X decibels, with the sound waves traveling over the empty land. A housing development then buys land near the airport. Some time later, the homeowners sue the airport for excessive noise interfering with the use and quiet enjoyment of the houses.

Excessive noise can be considered a form of aggression but in this case the airport has already homesteaded X decibels worth of noise. By its prior claim, the airport now "owns the right" t…

Do I Hate My Country?

Image
I've several times been accused of hating my country with the accompanying suggestion to move, but this is plain and simply a false accusation. That people would infer as much by my opposition to my [many layers of] government is a testament to just how badly people have been educated regarding the state and society.

I want to be perfectly clear, I absolutely love my country. I love our genius and our ingenuity. I love our passion and our charity. I love most of everything there is to love about my country. HOWEVER, I don't confuse "my country" with "my government" or "my nation". In fact, I see, as Albert Jay Nock wrote, that the state is the greatest enemy of mankind. That is, my government is my country's public enemy number ONE.

I take Christ's commandment to love our neighbor as ourselves seriously, which is why I not only want bad government (though I repeat myself) out of my life, but also out of my neighbors'. I want liberty an…

"Click-it or Ticket" Rant

Image
I don't understand the "Click-it or Ticket" campaign. It makes no sense to me. I recently attended a driving class to get out of a ticket. The question was asked of the instructor if one can be pulled over for not wearing their seat belt. The instructor unhesitatingly answered, "No." He said that not wearing your seat belt was a "secondary offense", but that it's very easy for a traffic officer to find a "primary offense" of which to stop you, in order to ticket you for not wearing a seat belt.

Socialism or Anarchism

Image
I'm reading Murray Rothbard's "Betrayal of the American Right". Chapter 7 talks about his conversion from conservatism to libertarianism, then to anarchism. I found it refreshingly similar (the logic) to my own conversion. Thought I'd share:
My conversion to anarchism was a simple exercise in logic. I had engaged continually in friendly arguments about laissez-faire with liberal friends from graduate school. While condemning taxation, I had still felt that taxation was required for the provision of police and judicial protection and for that only. One night two friends and I had one of our usual lengthy discussions, seemingly unprofitable; but this time when they’d left, I felt that for once something vital had actually been said. As I thought back on the discussion, I realized that my friends, as liberals, had posed the following challenge to my laissez-faire position:

They: What is the legitimate basis for your laissez-faire government, for this political entity …

Overtime Regulations Hurt Workers

Image
Since the beginning of the year, I've held a second job working as a part-time cashier for Lowe's. This is my first job in this type of retail environment. My mother has worked at Target for over decade, and what I'm about to say as held true for her as well.
Most states, if not all, have some sort of law requiring employers to pay their employees 1.5 times their pay for overtime. Most states stipulate that overtime is any thing over 40 hours a week. Other states look at it daily, and require anything over 8 hours be paid as overtime. Here's why these laws hurt works, and are inconsistent.
Both Lowe's and Target do a very good job at keeping their employees from working anywhere too close to 40 hours. And one of the ways they do this is by hiring more employees, and diluting everyone's hours. I hear it all the time from upper management, "Are you near 40 hours?", "Don't hit 40 hours", etc. I submit that it's the overtime laws that do t…