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Monday, April 27

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photo courtesy of Terry Chen

Column by Paul Hein. Exclusive to STR You are notified by a group of strangers that you must send them a large amount (by ounce? gram?) of money. The request is reasonably polite, although there is, in small print, or hushed, mumbled tones, a promise of unpleasantness should you decline the request. Or perhaps you learn, by TV or newspaper, that henceforth you will be required to do something which you had not previously been required to do: carry certain papers on your person at all times,...
Original article "In a series of articles, Eric Lipton of The New York Times examines the explosion in lobbying of state attorneys general by corporate interests and the millions in campaign donations they now provide."
Original article "American foreign policy has been the instrument of the corporate class since the turn of the last century. This is what empires are all about – and, as imperiums go, ours is in a class of corruption all by itself."
Original article A brief critique of some lesser known selections from Marx.
Original article "Some 900 people from Libya may have died when their boats capsized in the Mediterranean Sea as they fled the barbaric chaos that the Obama administration helped unleash in Libya in 2011. Yet, the mainstream U.S. media has amnesia about the bloody American hand in this tragedy, writes Robert Parry."
Original article "Turse has unearthed a continent’s worth of bad behavior, even as U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM) went out of its way to obstruct his reporting and the documents he obtained under the Freedom of Information Act were so heavily redacted that ink companies must be making a fortune."
Original article "The growing 1,200-file record is comprised of 8,900 Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests for the files of various FBI informants and government employees engaged in “domestic intelligence work” since the 1950s."
Original article The real problem is the belief that all our social problems can be solved with force.
Original article "It's a strange demand to make on a political philosophy -- that it instantly fix everything that the opposing philosophy has broken. Moreover, I'm concerned that some libertarians, in their justifiable enthusiasm for "the market," inadvertently lead nonlibertarians to think that this unrealistic expectation is part of their philosophy. Of course, that is not good because nonlibertarians won't believe that the market would make all things right overnight, and so they...
Original article "In a landmark 2009 report, the National Academy of Sciences concluded that, aside from DNA, there was little, if any, meaningful scientific underpinning to many of the forensic disciplines. “With the exception of nuclear DNA analysis … no forensic method has been rigorously shown to have the capacity to consistently, and with a high degree of certainty, demonstrate a connection between evidence and a specific individual or source,” reads the report."
Original article "But in hindsight, there’s a giant, glaring problem with my educational experience: I hardly did any real thinking, and I didn’t really give a damn about learning. At least not for most of that time. For the vast majority of my “education”, I wasn’t asking deep, probing questions; I wasn’t generating original ideas about the topics at hand; I wasn’t engaging in creative problem-solving; I wasn’t imagining multiple perspectives or...
Original article "Why in the world has JP Morgan accumulated more than55 million ounces of physical silver?  Since early 2012, JP Morgan’s stockpile has grown from less than 5 million ounces of physical silver to more than 55 million ounces of physical silver.  Clearly, someone over at JP Morgan is convinced that physical silver is a great investment."
Original article "Reflecting on the diverse ways in which libertarians seek to reduce the states impact in our lives, a general theme emerges. When previous revolutions have been loud, confrontational and very often violent, the libertarian revolution in its myriad forms is all about evading, creating and finding more ways in which we can avoid conflict. It is not about resisting but simply not complying, which may make it the quietest, and best, revolution to date."
Original article Some of the history and business models of various blockchain startups.
Original article Will recent breakthroughs in computer science make truly free markets a reality?  
Original article "Since early in 2013, Darkcoin has been a permanent fixture in the daily digital currency news. From Darkcoin’s initial meteoric rise, quickly reaching a USD value of $15, to the level of security and innovation it provides for privacy seekers, to the failures and triumphs of the “Masternode Network”, Darkoin has been almost as interesting and intriguing as Bitcoin itself. And 2015 is shaping up to be a year of rebirth for Darkcoin, which is now Dash. We discuss...
Original article Learn how to use PGP (Pretty Good Privacy) to protect your communications.
Theft by Any Other Name Is Still Theft!
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Paul Hein 2012-05-04 00:00
Column by Paul Hein.   Exclusive to STR   You encounter an ominous character on the street who stops you, points his finger at you and declares that he wants your money—all of it---and he wants it now, and you’d better give it to him, or face the consequences.   You reach into your pocket, but instead of pulling forth your wallet, pull forth your .38 caliber automatic...
The Future of Not Voting
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Alex R. Knight III 2012-05-01 00:00
Column by Alex R. Knight III Exclusive to STR  Given that those in government have designated this another election year, we’re going to be hearing a lot about this biennial farcical charade for the next several months. And in truth, one could compile a small library just out of the amount of writing voluntaryists have done on the subject since at least the 19th Century. Thus...
So You Work for a Prosecutor? Recommended
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Jim Davies 2012-04-30 00:00
Column by Jim Davies. Exclusive to STR  [Author's Note: Readers who know someone working in a prosecutor's office might usefully refer him or her to this article. It's adapted from one of a series at the new web site TinyURL.com/QuitGov, which aims to help government employees lead honest lives.] Getting bad guys off the street is surely a good and noble objective, a vital task in a...
Neocons and Progressives: One Big Family of Aggressors and Central Planners, with Delusions of Grandeur Recommended
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Scott Lazarowitz 2012-04-26 00:00
Column by Scott Lazarowitz. Exclusive to STR Regarding the traditional left-right scheme and modern uses of the terms “conservative” and “liberal,” the neoconservatives are hardly conservative and the liberals and progressives are hardly liberal or progressive. Rather than viewing “left” as liberal or progressive, and “right” as conservative or...
Discrimination
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Paul Bonneau 2012-04-24 00:00
Column by Paul Bonneau. Exclusive to STR  The sign in the window said, “No Firearms Allowed Inside”. First thing that came to my mind was, “Great, now what am I supposed to do? Leave my gun out here lying on the sidewalk?” My next thought was, “I am trying to do business with morons.”   I was in front of the local office of my ISP provider, a company...
Breivik's Defense
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Jim Davies 2012-04-23 00:00
Column by Jim Davies. Exclusive to STR Is Anders Breivik bad, or mad? If his Norwegian judges find him insane, they will lock him up at the King's pleasure with crazies until he proves he loves Big Brother, and that may be forever; but if they find him criminally liable for murdering 77 people last July, he will spend about 20 years in the company of others, about half of whom are probably...
The Ballad of Cullen Mutrie
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Alex R. Knight III 2012-04-20 00:00
Column by Alex R. Knight III. Exclusive to STR It’s made national news by now, and so the information I’m getting is from the Washington Post: Apparently, around 6 p.m. on April 12th, members of the New Hampshire Drug Task Force went to serve a search warrant on Cullen Mutrie of Greenland. They were ostensibly searching for steroids, and if they found any in Mutrie’s...
Shadow Boxing
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Paul Hein 2012-04-17 00:00
Column by Paul Hein. Exclusive to STR It takes two to tango. Who could deny it? Have you ever seen anyone dancing the tango, or the fox trot, or the waltz, by himself?   Would you buy a ticket to a fight if the fighter entered the ring and boxed or wrestled with himself?   And yet there are instances of fights against nobody: the War on Poverty is an excellent example. Poverty seems to...
The Gulch, Revisited
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Jim Davies 2012-04-13 00:00
Column by Jim Davies. Exclusive to STR  Perhaps the most delightful chapter in Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged is the one describing Dagny Taggart's visit to Galt's Gulch. Exhausted and frustrated by trying to run a railroad in the teeth of bureaucrats and bloodsuckers, she drops in to see what a free society is like--and is given a vision of liberty. If Rand had never...
Help Wanted
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Jim Davies 2012-03-30 00:00
Column by Jim Davies. Exclusive to STR  The power-crazed psychopaths running government need one thing above all: a supply of employees to do their grunt work. With that, they can survive any crisis, any criticism, any revenue shortfall, any desertion by voters; but without it, they are powerless. Therefore, those wishing to enjoy life without government in practice as well as in theory need...
C.S. Lewis Called for a Christian Theocracy
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Robert L. Johnson 2010-09-09 03:00
By Robert L. Johnson.   Exclusive to STR   After reading articles by David J. Theroux of the C.S. Lewis Society which had links at www.strike-the-root.com and which paint the Christian apologist C.S. Lewis as a freedom loving libertarian, I had a hard time reconciling what little I do clearly know of Lewis with the claims made by Theroux. The only book I’ve read that Lewis wrote...
Great Fictions Recommended
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Jim Davies 2010-09-10 03:00
By Jim Davies.   Exclusive to STR   Is the state a fiction, a myth? How in either case does it compare to a business company, also sometimes called a fictional entity? Or to a religion?   I'm using "state" not so much to mean a particular political organization like the State of New Hampshire, but more in the sense used by Oppenheimer in The State, or by Bastiat in his...
Libertarianism in 42 Words, 9 Premises and 4 Conclusions
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Jakub Bozydar W... 2011-04-26 03:00
Column by Jakub Bozydar Wisniewski.   Exclusive to STR   1.     Intention presupposes liberty.   2.     Morality presupposes intention.   3.     Property presupposes morality.   4.     Exchange requires property.   5.     Efficiency requires exchange.   6. ...
Heartless Libertarians Recommended
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tzo 2011-11-03 00:00
Column by tzo. Exclusive to STR   The specter of the heartless libertarian arises when it is suggested that society could perhaps be better organized without a coercive government at its core. The proponents of this shocking scheme are dismissed as being either blatantly naïve or else accused of being calculating, soulless monsters who don’t want to be bothered with the less...
Vermont's Raw Arrogance
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Alex R. Knight III 2011-11-17 01:00
Column by Alex R. Knight III. Exclusive to STR Of course, it’s already common knowledge for the most part that Vermonters have the temerity to carry firearms without any form of government say-so – even neighboring “Live Free or Die” New Hampshire will not suffer such uppitiness from the mere non-governmental hoi polloi. But another freedom – albeit not nearly...
The Post Office That Government Built
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Alex R. Knight III 2012-10-19 00:00
Column by Alex R. Knight III. Exclusive to STR As I continue to do my small part to ultimately wipe government off the face of the Earth forever, I can offer at least two prognostications which, although modest in scope compared to any actual voluntaryist destination, are almost sure to occur in the relatively near future. One, is marijuana legalization – even if only in some heavily taxed...
Teach Your Children Well, Part I
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tzo 2012-11-28 09:07
Column by tzo. Exclusive to STR Introduction and Disclaimer It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men. ~ Frederick Douglass In previous essays, I have put forth the idea that in today's society, most people have had at least a portion of their rational faculty damaged by the coercive institutions that are in place, and that repairing this damage is difficult, as it is...
The Lowest Common Denominator
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Alex Schroeder 2012-12-18 08:30
Column by Alex Schroeder. Exclusive to STR The unspeakable tragedy that recently befell Newtown, CT has reignited the national discourse on gun control. Victims’ families grieve, parents across the country remain in a state of shock, and confused schoolchildren are bombarded with heightened security protocols. Emotions are running high across the country, and will continue to do so. The...
A Robber By Any Other Name
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Paul Hein 2012-12-18 08:40
Column by Paul Hein. Exclusive to STR From time to time I receive in the mail demands from strangers for money, often a rather large amount of money. The people making these demands may have impressive titles, such as Revenue Director, or Collector of Revenue, but the writer is often anonymous, although on an impressive letterhead that, presumably, is sufficient to convince you to send the money...
Melpomene's Magnum Opus
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tzo 2013-06-20 07:56
Column by tzo. Exclusive to STR It seems fairly easy to feel sorry for Edward Snowden, assuming he is in fact a well-meaning individual who was just doing his job and—seeing that the system was being abused to the detriment of others—bravely called it out and is subsequently being persecuted for his actions. One might—and many do—even venture to label him a hero. But...
Do We Need a Vaccine for Hubris? MUST READ
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D. Saul Weiner 2015-02-13 09:13
Column by D. Saul Weiner. Exclusive to STR There are a lot of heated exchanges going on right now in social media related to vaccination. Many people have become convinced that parents who do not vaccinate are jeopardizing the health of others and that vaccines for children should be mandated. Politicians who are expected to run for president in 2016 are starting to weigh in on the topic and some...
'Obamacare Nightmare Edition' of Ringo's Law and the Healthcare System of Doom MUST READ
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Glen Allport 2013-10-30 08:02
Column by Glen Allport. Exclusive to STR Introduction for this 2013 Edition As I write this – October 28, 2013, more than four years after the column below was posted (here with minor edits; see the original at this link if you wish) – NBC News is reporting that the Obama administration “knew millions could not keep their health insurance" under Obamacare, and has known...
An Armed March on Washington? MUST READ
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Alex R. Knight III 2013-05-07 06:52
Column by Alex R. Knight III. Exclusive to STR Perhaps never before have I encountered a proposal within Liberty Movement circles that has generated more controversy faster and further than Adam Kokesh’s planned July 4th march on Washington, District of Criminals, in which he states that himself and the other participants “will march with rifles loaded & slung across our backs to...
The Orwellian Paradigm--Killing You, For Your Own Safety MUST READ
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fmoghul 2013-04-10 08:12
Column by Faisal Moghul. Exclusive to STR Almost 30 years ago, cultural critic Neil Postman argued in Amusing Ourselves to Death that television’s gradual replacement of the printing press has created a dumbed-down culture driven by mindless entertainment. In this context, Postman claimed that Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World correctly foresaw our dystopian future, as opposed to George...
Frameworks, Virtual Reality and Civil Society: A Manifesto for the Doctrine of Love and Freedom MUST READ
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Glen Allport 2012-12-06 08:44
Column by Glen Allport. Exclusive to STR Perhaps I should say this paradigm shift is resuming. The healthier incoming paradigm is a modern, more accurate, better-supported, and better-understood version of one that began the shift towards a free, healthy, and prosperous world more than three centuries ago and which informed the creation of the United States itself: Classical Liberalism. - 1...
Timeline of a World-Killing Paradigm Shift MUST READ
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Glen Allport 2012-05-14 00:00
Column by Glen Allport. Exclusive to STR   Part 3 of "Could the Non-Aggression Principle Stop the Sixth Great Extinction?"   Part One of this series discussed the Non-Aggression principle, calling it "the libertarian half of the Golden Rule" (compassion being the other half) and describing the function of aggression in creating not only tyranny and war but also...
Terrorist Alert: Government Extremists Threaten Americans MUST READ
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Glen Allport 2012-03-26 00:00
Column by Glen Allport. Exclusive to STR   Question: are you more terrified by Muslim extremists, by "domestic terrorists" – or by your own government? Which group is more likely to assault you? To kill you? To unjustly imprison and even torture you?   The U.S. federal government has ALREADY:   Built and is staffing a huge gulag of concentration camps [...
The State Is a Firing Squad MUST READ
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JGVibes 2012-02-17 01:00
Column by JGVibes.   Exclusive to STR   Although the common perception of human nature is very negative, the truth is that most people who aren’t mentally ill have a very difficult time committing acts of violence. Usually it takes a sizeable payment and a fair amount of manipulation to convince someone to act violently, and even then a tremendous amount of guilt typically...
How the 1% Took America's Wealth--and How to Get It Back MUST READ
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Glen Allport 2011-12-01 01:00
Column by Glen Allport. Exclusive to STR  - 1 - Plundering Wealth vs Producing Wealth   In recent decades, the rich have gathered an increasing share of the total wealth in the United States. As this wealth disparity grows and especially as large numbers of the formerly middle class fall into poverty and even into homelessness, this flow of wealth from main street (from anyone not...
'Anarchy or Minarchy' Is Only Half the Question, Part 2 MUST READ
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Glen Allport 2011-04-13 03:00
Column by Glen Allport. Exclusive to STR  This is Part 2 of a response to a column by Wesley Messamore. Last week's Part One of this column discussed the following:   ·      Minarchy: Lighting a Match to the Fuse of Tyranny ·      Anarchy: By Itself, Yang without Yin ·      The Missing Key...