Do Children Have Rights?

I have a particular interest in bioethics.  Libertarian intellectuals have been grappling with bioethical issues for centuries.  I recently lucked upon a fascinating lecture by George H. Smith, in which he details his views regarding the rights of children.

Ex=Party of Principle

Today's email included one from the LP, asking me to take part in a survey. Seems some have been leaping the barriers around the WW-II memorial in D.C., and the poll asked Lpers whether the government ought to have “closed” it during the current “shut-down.”
At this writing the poll results are shown here, and they make me very sad. Here is the self-proclaimed “Party of Principle” standing for “Minimum Government” (minimum equals zero, of course) asking a dumb question like that. Worse yet: just look at the results, so far with more than 2,600 votes cast.
The correct answer is of course that a zero government would have prevented participation by the US in 1941, but the nearest option to that was that “a non-interventionist policy might have prevented WW-II.” So I cast my vote there... yet that option garnered only 10%.
Hence: 90% of LP members and hangers-on would not be recognized by Murray Rothbard.

"A joke is a very serious thing." ~W. Churchill


The government shutdown has spurred a number of new terms  from "Spitehouse" to "Barry-cades."  Here's hoping they stick around - *snort!*

My Time on the Battlefield


Robert Murphy comically discusses his recent adventures debating the enemies of civilization.

More 'Shutdown' Sideshows

Obama and Co. are really going out of their way to send a message. The drones still fly, the NSA still snoops, the alphabet soup agencies of coercion and plunder are still open, but Caesar is still finding ways to make it as inconvenient for us as possible.
The feds are are ordering a hotel in North Carolina to close which dared to stay open despite being ordered to close. "The Blue Ridge Parkway is not a closed national park so there seems to be no legitimate reason for the shutdown of the small business, other than to force private citizens to feel as much pain as possible." Exactly.

Outstanding Public Servants

As soon as 800,000 bureau-rats were furloughed, the tear-jerk factory went on overtime to attract public sympathy for their plight. Nowhere has it been done more effectively than on PBS' News Hour on Friday, in a segment bearing the title above.
Presenter Jeffrey Brown found some who had been recognized as having done work above and beyond the call of duty, and implied that critics of government have unfairly demeaned this class of person. One in particular was Kevin Geiss, an Air Force deputy assistant secretary for energy, whose conscientious work is said to have saved one billion dollars a year in fuel costs.
Apparently the Air Force guzzles $9B a year in jet fuel to keep its fleet aloft, and Kevin found a way to economize with synthetic- and bio-fuels. Good for him!
His contribution of 11% saving pales beside the 100% saving that will follow the evaporation of government, but it helps while we wait. And several times on the web site that encourages government employees to leave their jobs, it says “Nothing on this web site implies that you don't give your employer good value for money.” But it goes on to add “The problem is that he pays you with stolen money, and accomplishes purposes that are destructive.” Somehow, Jeffrey Brown missed that bit.
If Mr Geiss were to quit the Air Force, I dare say he would find a pile of lucrative job offers waiting for him from airline companies also eager to spend less on fuel. He could actually contribute to the Productive Sector.

Columbus or Canada?

While it's absolutely true that no Voluntaryist should wish to sanction a state-approved holiday to begin with -- at least, not merely because of that approval -- I have chosen as of last year to celebrate Canadian Thanksgiving rather than Columbus Day.  This is not because I endorse Canada as an overall better tax farm, nor am I from Canada, but rather because I see greater evil in celebrating the life of a murderous slave trader who ridiculously purported to claim territory in the name of a regent.  Thanksgiving in Canada, according to my research, while established by the Canuck state, is solely to commemorate harvesting season.  Plus, it's kind of fun to go out to a restaurant on the 2nd Monday in October and get a turkey dinner with all the trimmings roughly 6 weeks before I eat a home-cooked version with my family. 
So, my point is to both raise awareness and have fun at the same time by ditching Conqueror Columbus for Toronto Turkey.  Thoughts?  Comments?  Suggestions?  Mashed potatoes?  :-) 

The Problem with 'Reform'

"Reform" has got to be one of the most nauseating terms in the American lexicon. Have you ever noticed how government programs that have failed miserably are always in need of "reform?" I know we messed it up a dozen times before, folks, but we just need a little bit more money, authority, and coercion this time and everything will be fixed.
Thankfully, Senator Diane Feinstein is on the job! Her new NSA Reform Bill would actually - wait for it - expand the NSA's powers and give them even more leeway to monitor and spy. Because, says Feinstein, terrorism is everywhere. Except that it's not.
Screw reform, tweaks, or whatever word they want to call their shuffling of the deck chairs. Politicians will never have the answer, and it's our job alone to clean up the mess they've made by circumventing their power and spreading the ideas behind a free society to all who will listen.

Are We Rome?


Yes, even the Reason libertines concur.   

Abolish the CIA!

While reading the late Chalmers Johnson's Dismantling the Empire: America's Last Best Hope, I ran across an incredibly telling sentence about the CIA and presidential power.
"...every president since Truman, once he discovered that he had a totally secret, financially unaccountable private army at his personal disposal, found its deployment irresistible. But covert operations usually become entangled in hopeless webs of secrecy and invariably led to more blowback."
The blowback then leads to mass fear and the further erection of the national-security-state.
Johnson, throughout the book and his "blowback trilogy," details how utterly dangerous the CIA is. Rather than reform it, he says it needs to be abolished. And this is coming from a former CIA man himself.
Abolishing the CIA and the secret, unaccountable power it gives the president would be a great first step in scaling back the White House and eventually burning that damn mansion of murder to the ground.

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