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Vermont Voluntaryists

In October of 2011 I began the Vermont Voluntaryists page on Facebook, with the intention of creating a Vermont-specific internet hub for voluntaryist ideas, activism, communication, and strategies.  To date, there are a mere 77 Likes -- the vast majority of whom, while either voluntaryists or those interested in voluntaryism -- do not reside in the Green Mountains.  While all others are still most certainly welcome to remain on board and continue to join, I am seeking to build a greater body of Vermont residents who are interested in creating a voluntary society.  If that's you, or you know of someone who might fill that criteria, please Like the linked page or forward the URL.  As with this STR blog, I'm seeking to ramp up the level of awareness and interest in my own neck of the woods using a narrower focus as an additional resource.  Thanks.  Now back to drinking raw milk and eating pancakes slathered in maple syrup while carrying concealed with no license in the middle of a field full of cows.  :-)

The Origins and Purpose of State Schooling

I was unaware, until recently, that I once lived in the same city as libertarian George H. Smith for several years.  If I had known, I would have done everything in my power to persuade him to act as my libertarian mentor.  In this Libertarianism.org video, Smith details, brilliantly as usual, the criminal origins and purpose of State-funded education.

How Not to Bring About a Free Society

Political action. That's how not to do it, and there are plenty of soundly reasoned articles here in the STRchive to prove the point. But this week the Governor's race in Virginia added a nice practical iullustration to help.
 
There were a Dem, and a Rep, and a Libertarian (Richard Sarvis) running. The Rep was Ken Cuccinelli, a Tea-Party social conservative. Ron Paul has been criticized for endorsing the latter over Sarvis, and perhaps he should have just kept quiet; but the real reason may be that the Rep was more Lib than the Lib.
 
Today the LP is celebrating Sarvis' quite healthy 6.5% showing, but fails to mention that he has been credibly criticised as a LINO - a Libertarian In Name Only. Consider Charles Cooke's comments here; Sarvis is on record as saying he's not an Austrian, preferring “more mainstream economics” and that he favors "putting chips in people’s cars so that they can be taxed for their mileage."
 
And this is the best the Libertarian Party can do? After forty years? This is even worse than the tax-hike proposal by a NH Libertarian that caused me to quit that affiliate in 1998.
 
What Sarvis did achieve was to split the anti-Dem vote so that the Democrat won. In one sense that's a welcome comeuppance for the Republicans after they so viciously excluded Ron Paul from their last Convention, but the net effect is to weaken the relatively pro-freedom activity of the Tea Party faction.
 
Politics won't cut it. Systematic, universal re-education will.
 

Objections to Libertarianism, Transitioning to Free(d) Markets, and More

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In this DFW Alliance of the Libertarian Left video, Professor Robert Long answers a few basic questions about the left-libertarian philosophy.

A Property Puzzle

The story broke this week of a treasure trove of modern art, in Munich.
 
In the 1930s, the Nazi government of Germany stole its paintings from Jews, against whose right to live and work it had written laws.
 
In about 1935 it also fired Hildebrand Gurlitt from his job as art director of a museum in Zwickau, because one of his parents was Jewish. However Hildebrand was a smart cookie; he negotiated a commission to sell these Modernist paintings to foreigners, because the Nazis thought they were “degenerate.” So they hired what they called a filthy half-Jew to sell filthy pictures for filthy lucre. Which they did want, so as to shore up their revenues.
 
Hildebrand sold some, and survived the war; but when the victorious Americans asked him about the residue, he said he'd stored them in Dresden for safe keeping since that cultural haven had no military significance. Therefore the USAAF had destroyed them all.
 
However, that was a fib; he had kept them safe. Hildebrand, and later his son Cornelius, lived for the next 65 years by selling a few off, one at a time; until a “random cash check” at the border in 2010 triggered a raid on his apartment and the confiscation of the trove. Hence...
 

  • One German government stole the paintings from their rightful owners, all now dead
  • Hildebrand stole them from the thief, but after it had ceased to exist
  • Successive German governments stole money from taxpayers to compensate the Holocaust survivors, to an agreed extent
  • The current German government stole the paintings back again

 
When property rights are not respected, see how far knickers can get in a twist; and say, with reasons, to whom the paintings now belong :-)
 

"Why Are Illegal Drugs Stronger than They Used to Be?"

Professor Adam Martin explains the potency effect, in this Learn Liberty video.

New, First-Step Book

A prerequisite for embracing market anarchism is to think rationally; a theme emphasized in the Freedom Academy. Once one abandons myths like that of government, the journey there is nearly over.
 
Strictly, it's not essential to abandon other myths, like the widespread one of religion - but it helps. Otherwise, one's mind is bifurcated; rational regarding the State, irrational regarding other superstition. And that's not a slur (well, not much); one of Francis Schaeffer's final books was Escape from Reason. He knew very well that reason sounds the death-knell of faith and tried to steer followers away from it.
 
Bifurcated minds are highly uncomfortable, so last month I wrote a short e-book to ease folk away from religion and towards rational thought. It's designed for people - young ones, often - who are considering joining a Christian church – for example, confirmation candidates. It tries to give a fair account of the religion and its denominations, but at each stage encourages critical evaluation of its claims. Members of other religions (eg Muslim refugees) would also find it an informative, objective and concise introduction to Christianity. And then to rationality.
 
It's called "Which Church (if any)?" and is offered here for a mere $3 per copy.
 
Anarchism gets an important mention, but only one since the book's focus is as advertised. So it's a kind of preparatory work; I hope it will get minds better prepared to consider a zero-government alternative.
 
If you have 17 nephews, nieces, children and grandchildren in their teens, consider making each a gift (that would be $3 for your own copy, plus $3 for each of them, total $54 - hey, I do have to eat) because a prepared mind will make further persuasion that much simpler.

"Healthcare and the Free Market"

Peter Klein, in this misesmedia video, discusses a true healthcare free market.

"This Professor Slays Zombies with Economics (and Guns)"

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Zombie apocalypse economics are more complicated than you imagine, as described in this Learn Liberty video.

Stills Stilled

Having a healthy thirst and a slim wallet, I surfed today to an informative site that explains in detail how to produce one's own spirits. Not just rot-gut moonshine, but high-purity vodka and even whiskey and liqueurs. Once the kit is installed and the learning curve scaled, such beverages can be made for peanuts.
 
Under its “Wiki” tab however I learned that to do that even for one's own consumption is illegal in all major countries except New Zealand. Here therefore is another racket in which government has favored a cartel of producers with protection from low-price competition. The quid for that quo is the punitive rate of tax it collects on each bottle sold. Distillers win, politicians win, real people lose.
 
One more, 100-proof proof that government has to go; root and branch.

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