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  • Plant Immigration Rights Supporter's picture
    Plant Immigrati... 5 years 35 weeks ago
    Inside North Korea
    Web link Anthony Gregory
    This is an important documentation of true tyranny.
  • Lawrence M. Ludlow's picture
    Lawrence M. Ludlow 5 years 35 weeks ago
    Ron Paul on the TSA
    Web link Michael Kleen
    Sadly, when Ron Paul mentions those who have fallen victim to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, he consistently refuses to cite the most innocent of the victims -- not the invading and meddling soldiers that he never fails to mention, but the poor destroyed people who have fallen victim to U.S. foreign policy by the tens of thousands (and in the case of Iraq, many hundreds of thousands). Is it just a "slip," pandering to his audience, or simply because they do not vote or otherwise count in his political calculus?
  • Lawrence M. Ludlow's picture
    Lawrence M. Ludlow 5 years 35 weeks ago
    Flutter
    Page tzo
    tzo: Thanks for the article. In an analogous way, Ludwig von Mises' use of praxeology as the science of human action embodies these natural laws, and it even posits that some of them are apodictic. They have to be accepted on their face just as many other "starting points" for investigation are in philosophy. Likewise, he warned, societies that are built upon violations of praxeological insights will always fail to accomplish their stated objectives. Nice going.
  • D. Saul Weiner's picture
    D. Saul Weiner 5 years 35 weeks ago Page Robert L. Johnson
    Well, I guess that makes 2 Holocausts that FDR turned a blind eye toward. Now, remind me why he was such a great president ...
  • tzo's picture
    tzo 5 years 35 weeks ago
    Flutter
    Page tzo
    Government, in this analogy, is not really a thing but rather the lack of a thing. It is the lack of respect for the natural law. One cannot build a better bridge that can withstand flutter until the bridge respects the physical laws of flutter. Once that happens, the flaw is no longer in the blueprint. Conversely, if the flaw remains, flutter will eventually win. Excellent point about the relatively long time that passes between government failures, which makes it difficult to identify a pattern and a source of the problem. Of course, the history we learn is from the perspective of the government schools, and one cannot expect them to question their very existence as the possible cause of societal failure. They teach the opposite lesson, that societal order is impossible without government. When the USSR collapsed, a relatively recent occurrence, no news channel pondered out loud that perhaps this was the inevitable result of having a government, but rather that this was the inevitable result of having that particular type of government. If one views history without the government goggles on, then some different interpretations of the evidence can be made. But as long as governments own 100% of the land area of the planet, it is a bit difficult to put alternative ideas into practice.
  • tzo's picture
    tzo 5 years 35 weeks ago
    Flutter
    Page tzo
    My definition of government includes coercion, and so in this respect, I stand behind my statements. Government and taxes are inseparable in my definition. I understand (I think, please correct me if I'm wrong.) that your definition of government includes voluntary social organizations. Funding of such organizations would be contributions, or payments made under contract between consenting and informed parties. It would seem odd to call them taxes. Such an organization can only preside over land justly claimed and owned by its constituent individuals. This is the trickiest aspect of all of this, as the vast majority of Americans think that "their" "voluntary" "participatory" government justly owns and has jurisdiction over all the land it currently claims to the exclusion of everyone else. It just seems to me that if you include voluntary associations under the heading of government, the water muddies up a bit. But again, I think the toughest aspect of defining what is just and what is not is the determination of how the planet can be rightfully parceled out among the 6 billion humans who are currently along for the ride. Again, to pick nits, the Founding Fathers were tyrannical in that they claimed the right to collect taxes by force from all those who found themselves within the government's jurisdiction. How did the government acquire the land that corresponded with their claim to jurisdiction? Was it a just claim? Under such conditions, even a 1% tax is tyranny, because if you do not surrender the tribute, into the concrete box you go. Someone else has a higher claim upon you and your property than do you. That is the root of the problem that is government. Hopefully that ramble wasn't too incoherent.
  • GregL's picture
    GregL 5 years 35 weeks ago Web link Michael Kleen
    Well, as I understand it, airports can't really just opt out. They can hire a private firm to perform the functions of the TSA and this private firm would work under the supervision of the TSA. Not quite the same as the free market where the airports/airlines would simply be responsible for their own security without any involvement from TSA. - Greg
  • Bill St. Clair's picture
    Bill St. Clair 5 years 35 weeks ago
    Flutter
    Page tzo
    Nice comparison of physical to natural law, and interesting thesis that a central state is a violation of natural law. I think you're probably right, but you haven't shown that simply designing a better government wouldn't get rid of the flutter in the human domain just as designing better bridges has eliminated it in the physical. Unfortunately, the time for flutter to appear in the human domain tends to be more than a human lifetime ("a democracy lasts for 200 years..."), so it's very difficult to properly learn from our mistakes.
  • Suverans2's picture
    Suverans2 5 years 35 weeks ago
    Flutter
    Page tzo
    A "Must read!" if I've ever seen one. Only one small criticism. You wrote: "Government is an inherent structural flaw that would defy natural law, just as the Tacoma Narrows Bridge was built in defiance of the laws of physics." Isn't that a bit like saying, that because the Tacoma Narrows Bridge collapsed, "bridges are an inherent structural flaw that defy the law of physics"? More to the "root" of the problem, the Tacoma Narrows Bridge collapsed because it was "built in defiance of the laws of physics", and governments collapse into tyranny because they are "built in defiance of the natural law". You once wrote: "Objective ethics [natural law] is thus seen, quite correctly, to be the mortal enemy of government, in that if this idea is ever widely accepted, government necessarily disappears." [My emphasis and bracketed info added] You came very close, my friend. IMO, it would be more correct to say, "Objective ethics [natural law] is thus seen, quite correctly, to be the mortal enemy of tyrannical government, in that if this idea is ever widely accepted, tyrannical government necessarily disappears." That is why the builders of government reject the natural law, and brainwash their subjects into rejecting it as well. Thank you for your solid efforts.
  • Suverans2's picture
    Suverans2 5 years 35 weeks ago
    Taxation Is Robbery
    Web link Mike Powers
    Yahoo! Answers What does "Deafening Silence" mean? Best Answer - Chosen by Voters It's soooooooo silent because you want it to be otherwise.
  • Jim Davies's picture
    Jim Davies 5 years 35 weeks ago Page Jim Davies
    Passage of the Patriot Act was indeed a heavy loss for us, Rita, and therefore a big win for the Federal Government. But you seem to say that it was a win also for the Muslim murderers, and I don't understand that. Why would Al Q'eda wish to hand a major victory to their principal enemy? Meanwhile, if anyone has an answer to the question posed in the penultimate paragraph of my piece, I'd be eager to read it.
  • Paul's picture
    Paul 5 years 35 weeks ago Page Jim Davies
    Good point Rita. Looks like the foreign patriots (aka "terrorists") win no matter what we do. I think the best thing to do is carry some porn in your cell phone. Then just before going through the patdown at the airport, look through it and get yourself a boner (if you're able, of course). Might as well trump the TSA's absurd with some of your own. Let's see, can a person be arrested for having a hard-on?
  • Lawrence M. Ludlow's picture
    Lawrence M. Ludlow 5 years 35 weeks ago Page Lawrence M. Ludlow
    Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa. It's the same mistake made when people besmirch the ladies of joy when they call politicians whores.
  • golefevre's picture
    golefevre 5 years 35 weeks ago Page Lawrence M. Ludlow
    I do wonder if there is any cognitive dissonance within Ron Paul. He is ultimately a politician, so perhaps there is the answer. And please don't compare the walking pukes in DC to wine and cheese. I actually LIKE wine and cheese!
  • Lawrence M. Ludlow's picture
    Lawrence M. Ludlow 5 years 35 weeks ago Page Lawrence M. Ludlow
    Exactly, Wes, see my comment to Tzo...
  • Lawrence M. Ludlow's picture
    Lawrence M. Ludlow 5 years 35 weeks ago Page Lawrence M. Ludlow
    Wes and Tzo: Yes, "Now, massa', you know you're only supposed to whip us with a regulation-length-and-thickness whip and use blue latex gloves instead of lavender to probe my cellulite-ridden a**. It says so right here in my UCC booklet #C-43 ver3.2.1.4 with the update addenda memo of 11-11-2010 as amended by appeal #48. If you keep this up, I'm going to report you to the authoriTAH, and Ron Paul will really get you in trouble. Big time!!! It will be on your PERMANENT RECORD, and then a commission will be appointed to make sure that it never happens again, and we'll all be fine from now on..." ...Larry runs from room tearing out his hair and disappears into the mist...
  • tzo's picture
    tzo 5 years 35 weeks ago Page Lawrence M. Ludlow
    Yes, this whole thing is typical of a civil disobedience campaign. Put pressure on the massa to please, please, change his laws to make it a bit easier for us citizens. The structure's just fine, thanks. Just don't whup us quite so hard, OK?
  • Guest's picture
    wbertrand (not verified) 5 years 35 weeks ago Page Lawrence M. Ludlow
    Yes indeed, Larry, the grope seen 'round the world! The TSA are coming...the TSA are coming!! I suppose this just goes to show that people will tend to suffer under the most tyrannical rule as long as their most personal property is not messed with. Just look at people living in communist dictatorships, or any dictatorship for that matter, or even slave societies (not to diminish the ills of our own, of course). Obedience to "authority," especially blind and reflexive, is apparently fine and dandy until the most concrete and immediate aspects of one's personal property are infringed upon...then individuals start waking up. Well, better late than never. Yet, leave it to a politician to try to quell the outrage by introducing a Congressional Bill: Ron Paul Introduces HR 6416: The American Traveler Dignity Act (the speech) http://dailypaul.com/node/149693 (the legalese) http://frwebgate.access.gpo.gov/cgi-bin/getdoc.cgi?dbname=111_cong_bills... Unfortunately, this has practically nothing to do with American travelers' dignity, but rather with repealing immunity and subjecting those "in charge" to the same treatment...to generate a little empathy, perhaps? What amazes me is how Paul speaks so matter-of-factly about those "in charge," i.e., the people in government. Hmm, why does he speak in such terms? Because he too has incorporated the obedience to "authority" meme. You can see the conflict in his own mind about the nature of disobedience too: on the one hand he issues solutions like having those "in charge" suffer the same indignities as the taxed-and-regulated populace as well as beseeching those "in charge" to support his directive for those "in charge" to back off a bit of their oppressive acts against us; and then, on the other hand he applauds the Opt Out Day activism that really strikes the root (at least in this matter). Of course, the fact that he doesn't resign from his "in charge" position speaks volumes about his stance on obedience to "authority." Just as the TSA "procedures" are mere security theater that inculcate obedience, Congressional sausage like Paul's encourage people to remain trapped in the master/slave paradigm.
  • rita's picture
    rita 5 years 35 weeks ago Page Jim Davies
    If TSA relaxes its screening, the Muslims win? You mean the terrorists win? The terrorists won the day the so-called "Patriot Act" was passed; every violation of our rights and every invasion of our privacy before and since is another nail in America's coffin.
  • Lawrence M. Ludlow's picture
    Lawrence M. Ludlow 5 years 35 weeks ago Page Lawrence M. Ludlow
    Dear golefvre: Yes, the ironies pile up on this one. I even have some suggestions for how to use the Porn-o-Trons and general airport situation in a socially uplifting way. For example, on national holidays (especially the heavily traveled ones), why not corral the congress-critters who favor these wars, place them in the various airports where passengers are waiting to be groped, and have these politicians (preferably those who ran against them in a recent election) grope and poke each other to "search" themselves" in front of the passengers -- with or without latex gloves. They currently have exempted themselves from this indignity, and it would restore some kind of karmic balance for citizens to see them forced to do to each other what is being done to us. One such pairing -- kind of like a wine-and-cheese pairing -- would be the Clintons. It would probably be the only intimacy the two of them have had in years. And imagine how it would build in entertainment value because of their mutual hatred/disgust for each other. San Diego is full of opportunities. Like pairing Bob Filner (D, against the war, but pro-taxation) with Duncan Hunter Jr. (R, pro-mass-murder). With a name like Duncan Hunter, visions of dunkin' into Filner's underwear and "hunting" around come to mind. I don't want to know what Filner would do to Hunter. Sometimes a "visual" is way too much. Either way, airline passengers could get some comic relief if this kind of suggestion were taken up on a large scale.
  • rita's picture
    rita 5 years 35 weeks ago
    Hooray for the TSA!
    Page Paul Bonneau
    We're talking about people who see nothing wrong with police fondling children in the privacy of a school principle's office, or breaking into our homes to catch us sleeping in various stages of undress. Somehow I don't hold out much hope of any of them suddenly growing huevos. Prove me wrong, America. Please.
  • golefevre's picture
    golefevre 5 years 35 weeks ago Page Lawrence M. Ludlow
    I recently watched the movie "Inception". It is quite good and a surprisingly heady movie. In the dreams, music or a sense of falling are examples of stimulus that alerts the dreamer that they are dreaming or to awaken. Although the "chains of tyranny" may "lay lightly upon our wrists," this latest incident may be such an event that awakens many a dreamer.
  • golefevre's picture
    golefevre 5 years 35 weeks ago
    Hooray for the TSA!
    Page Paul Bonneau
    I tend to think the first state that secedes from this mess is going to be akin to someone yelling "FIRE!" in a crowded movie theater. I like that everyone is rightfully upset about the TSA abuse, but hope that this opens the eyes of Americans to the larger abuses enacted on them every day.
  • DennisLeeWilson's picture
    DennisLeeWilson 5 years 35 weeks ago
    Immigration
    Page Alex Schroeder
    The ONLY things that are "illegal" about immigration are the Federal government laws! "Immigration control is UN-Constitutional!" * REALLY! Its TRUE! The US Constitution does NOT authorize immigration control! * P.S., that goes for EXIT control also!! * "An unconstitutional act is not law; it confers no rights; it imposes no duties; affords no protection; it creates no office; it is, in legal contemplation, as inoperative as though it had never been passed." - U.S. Supreme Court, Norton v. Shelby County, 118 US 425 (1886) http://tinyurl.com/yeyd7kq Dennis
  • Lawrence M. Ludlow's picture
    Lawrence M. Ludlow 5 years 35 weeks ago Page Lawrence M. Ludlow
    Paul, I have to agree that to the degree Lew mis-represents libertarian theory, he is, in effect, lying. There is a similar concept for those who willingly refuse to disclose that this argument exist. That is called "card stacking" in the realm of rhetoric, and it is a kissin' cousin with outright lying. As a friend of mine once said: their are lies, and there are lying arguments (including invalid argument forms), and both are meant to deceive. I'm really pleased that I had so much company on this issue. I was unable to get these ideas past the transom at either lewrockwell.com, mises.org, fff.org, and fee.org. There was a deafening silence. I so admire the people at these organizations, but when they begin to act like smug organizations with all of the inbred behaviors of such things, it wounds me terribly because I always expect better of my fellow libertarians.
  • Lawrence M. Ludlow's picture
    Lawrence M. Ludlow 5 years 35 weeks ago Page Lawrence M. Ludlow
    A commenter on yesterday's page made a good observation: the best answer to a lie is not another lie. So I understand why Lew does this, but he is unintentionally mis-educating a new generation of libertarians by pretending that the viewpoint in this article does not exist. You should know that I contacted him 2 years ago about this very issue (also mentioned Hoppe and Ron Paul in a critical but admiring way), and his answer was the cone of silence. They pretend this argument does not exist. I included the religious section (part 3) because some Catholics feel compelled to be defensive about having children, so I thought I'd head it off at the pass. I have noted that Lew's acolytes also repeat -- without knowledge -- what they have learned. Mr. Kramer, who posts on the site, is so cavalier with this issue that he basically refers to the entire Malthus as done and gone, completely dealt with and proven wrong. And I doubt that Kramer has either read Mises or Malthus -- but he has received an opinion from someone he respects and now repeats is with all the assurance of an acolyte. So Lew has not only dismissed the socialist environmentalists, but he has deceitfully pretended that the arguments presented here do not exist. In so doing, he has dismissed and mis-represented a credible and thoughtful libertarian position -- in effect throwing Mises under the bus in the same way that Obama did with Jeremiah Wright (who David Henderson showed was accurate for the most part!). So Lew's approach is really dead wrong and is training up a generation of misinformed people. In advertising, they call this "eating your own dog food." It means that you have so absorbed the message of your client that you are no longer critical of it -- so much so that you now believe that it is indeed the miracle food that your ads have claimed it to be. Sadly, Lew is eating the dog food, and his followers are as well -- and they don't know (as Lew surely does) that it is dog food. On this issue, Lew is, indeed, a Lewciferian.
  • D. Saul Weiner's picture
    D. Saul Weiner 5 years 35 weeks ago Page Lawrence M. Ludlow
    Sorry Paul, emotional appeals do NOT equal lies, though they sometimes take that form. They are sometimes quite justified, to get people to rethink their positions, consult their consciences. I too am glad that Lawrence has written these articles, as I stated in an earlier comment.
  • Paul's picture
    Paul 5 years 35 weeks ago Web link Anthony Gregory
    Well, our editor took liberties with this title. The author did not make such a claim. And Prop 19 was not exactly about freedom either, but (from what I read) about regulation of pot; so it's a bit much to say "only criminals and fascists" opposed it. Maybe people who don't like regulation and taxation opposed it too.
  • Paul's picture
    Paul 5 years 35 weeks ago Page Lawrence M. Ludlow
    "Much as I admire Lew Rockwell, I am not comfortable with some of the statements he has made on environmental matters. But, in his defense, there IS a need to confront the hysteria and bullying that the environmentalists resort to from time to time... You might say, well just respond to it with facts and logic, which is the usual libertarian way. And we should. But..." No "buts" about it. If you are going to respond to lies with "emotional appeals" (a euphemism for more lies), then we are no better than the "environmentalists". This is an excellent series of articles, and much needed. Well done, Lawrence. I have never understood the need for "libertarians" to sneer, for example, at people recycling. Yes, by all means, criticize *forced* recycling. But so what if people voluntarily recycle, even in a way that makes no economic or environmental sense? It's none of your business, any more than it is their business whether or not you drive an SUV. Eventually they will figure it out; they don't need your "help" to set them right. We should indeed "stick to our knitting": if force is involved, we are agin' it. Otherwise, we're agnostics. If we want to appeal outside our little clique, we need to stop antagonizing others unnecessarily. That's basic human relations, something libertarians are notoriously bad at.
  • D. Saul Weiner's picture
    D. Saul Weiner 5 years 35 weeks ago Page Lawrence M. Ludlow
    Much as I admire Lew Rockwell, I am not comfortable with some of the statements he has made on environmental matters. But, in his defense, there IS a need to confront the hysteria and bullying that the environmentalists resort to from time to time. Otherwise, people will just take their positions as gospel. You might say, well just respond to it with facts and logic, which is the usual libertarian way. And we should. But the sad fact of the matter is that facts and logic often fail to sway large numbers of people; some level of emotional appeal is often necessary. Case in point, look at the great work that Lew has recently done in combatting TSA tyranny; it certainly has gone well beyond a reporting of the facts. So I think this human reality needs to be considered. I am not sure what the best way to respond to exaggerated threats, but our work is cut out for us in this regard. And for the record, I DO believe that there are very serious environmental problems that need to be addressed, but I get frustrated when the movement focuses on the wrong problems or the wrong solutions, which unfortunately is all too often.
  • Mark Davis's picture
    Mark Davis 5 years 35 weeks ago
    The Housing Froth
    Page Paul Hein
    That's a good angle Paul. This complacency also frustrates me to no end. The truth of your argument seems to be self-evident to those whom understand it, but eternally elusive to those refusing to see it. I'm often told, when describing the fractional reserve banking scam, that "But I can go to the store and spend the bank IOUs and can't do that with non-bank IOUs". This is true and the reason why the scam has such a powerful hold on the masses. It appears practical to go along to get along, even while the gut churns knowing it’s just wrong. I liken it to the classic story of "The Emperor Has No Clothes". Does the Emperor really have clothes on just because everybody pretends that he does? Does having a vested interest in the scam make it any less a scam? The fact that this scam will lead to a financial collapse, every time, thus undermining peaceful society is ignored universally. When the proverbial child of innocence raises her voice to reveal the obvious fact that is hidden in superficial complexities, the Emperor's clothes don't just disappear because he was really naked all along. The people will then laugh at the Emperor and ridicule his foolishness, but it is the foolishness of the dupes and knaves that supported the scam all along that deserves to be ridiculed. Alas, when this day comes in reality the financial system will be gone over night and a scramble to replace it with another, larger scam using the same model will begin immediately. Indeed, it's probably the plan. The ignorant, panicked masses will not only go along with being fitted for new chains, but will praise and thank the elite for making such beautiful invisible cloth! I too hope that we can mitigate this situation by raising our voices now to expose this scam and grow a remnant to resist these plans. A 100% reserve, free-banking system is the only sustainable and morally acceptable financial system.
  • Lawrence M. Ludlow's picture
    Lawrence M. Ludlow 5 years 35 weeks ago Page Lawrence M. Ludlow
    Hi, Mark: I have to agree with you that the statists are using the current pressures on the environment as a smoke-screen to institute even more control over humans, and of course their measures will be both counterproductive (as they always are) and yet another form of repression. Sadly as you pointed out, too many libertarians do not address those measures head on instead of dismissing the entire cause of "concern for the environment." I'm delighted that the Gulf has recovered, and yes, it is true that Mother Nature is more "elastic" than we sometimes think, but she, too, has her elastic limit, and I'm hoping along with you that people will come to their senses and respect that. One sad example is the depletion in the wild salmon populations -- which have lower concentrations of various poisons compared to farm-raised salmon. I've noticed that the quality and quantity of the fish in the cans I occasionally purchase has plummeted severely in the last several months. Anyway, I hope these articles do something to give pause to the in-your-face anti-environmental crowd that see a false dichotomy between man and nature. Thanks again for reading and commenting.
  • Mark Davis's picture
    Mark Davis 5 years 35 weeks ago Page Lawrence M. Ludlow
    A thought provoking series Lawrence. Challenging others to take a deeper look at the praxeology of our environmental core beliefs is a good thing. You also did a good job establishing a libertarian argument for promoting an environmental stewardship mindset as opposed to the counter-productive statist methods of environmental stewardship. However, I don't think that many, if any, libertarians disagree with that approach or argument. Don't let anti-statist bias be interpreted as contempt for the environment. The anti-statist mindset requires a skeptical, if not cynical, view of the fear based promotions that the elite use to consolidate and expand their power over the masses. It appears that the environmentalist agenda has surpassed even terrorism, germs and drugs as the primary propaganda effort to create fear-based promotions meant to inspire support for supra-international institutional control mechanisms. The failed man-made global warming meme has barely slowed down the Cap and Trade/World Taxing Authority folks as the primary threat is now morphing into the "biodiversity" meme. This cynical skepticism can better fight the good fight by providing libertarian alternatives to obvious environmental problems (i.e. pollution) superior to the statist solutions monopolizing this debate; largely by default. I hope that your article will inspire some healthy debate on what libertarians can do to protect the environment from statist interventions. By the way, the beaches are fine and the fishing has been great in the Gulf of Mexico the past few months; at least in Florida. Of course, the spill was a brutal assault on the Gulf ecosystem and some potential for long-term damage is still lurking; and BP should be held liable for the damages. But it appears obvious to me that the media and politicians grossly exaggerated that environmental "crisis" and underestimated the power of Mother Nature to deal with it in order to push political agendas.
  • Suverans2's picture
    Suverans2 5 years 35 weeks ago Page tzo
    G'day Lawrence M. Ludlow, I think that any attack on "Democracy" alone is missing the mark. The "power-drunk chimps" of communism, for example, are at least as bad. "Compare: 100 million people murdered by governments this century; 75% by communist regimes — to about 38 million killed in all wars and conflicts." http://reformed-theology.org/html/issue06/governments.htm In my opinion, it's is not Democracy, or any other form of government, that is at fault. It is the fact that all of them are a “law unto themselves”, which means they are “lawless”, that is at the root of the problem. law unto oneself Fig. one who ignores laws or rules; one who sets one's own standards of behavior. ~ The Free Dictionary by Farlex http://tinyurl.com/27gryw8 The laws or rules that are being ignored by every man-made government on Earth is the Natural Law (of man). It is being ignored because "recognition" of it would drastically limit their power. It is this lack of law that “enables them to commit any atrocity”. Frédéric Bastiat perhaps explains it best. ____________________________________________________________________________________ The law perverted! And the police powers of the state perverted along with it! The law, I say, not only turned from its proper purpose but made to follow an entirely contrary purpose! The law become the weapon of every kind of greed! Instead of checking crime, the law itself guilty of the evils it is supposed to punish! ... Each of us has a natural right--from God[1]--to defend his person, his liberty, and his property. These are the three basic requirements of life, and the preservation of any one of them is completely dependent upon the preservation of the other two. For what are our faculties but the extension of our individuality? And what is property but an extension of our faculties? If every person has the right to defend -- even by force -- his person, his liberty, and his property, then it follows that a group of men have the right to organize and support a common force to protect these rights constantly. Thus the principle of collective right -- its reason for existing, its lawfulness -- is based on individual right. And the common force that protects this collective right cannot logically have any other purpose or any other mission than that for which it acts as a substitute. Thus, since an individual cannot lawfully use force against the person, liberty, or property of another individual, then the common force -- for the same reason -- cannot lawfully be used to destroy the person, liberty, or property of individuals or groups. Such a perversion of force would be, in both cases, contrary to our premise. Force has been given to us to defend our own individual rights. Who will dare to say that force has been given to us to destroy the equal rights of our brothers? Since no individual acting separately can lawfully use force to destroy the rights of others, does it not logically follow that the same principle also applies to the common force that is nothing more than the organized combination of the individual forces? If this is true, then nothing can be more evident than this: The law is the organization of the natural right of lawful defense. It is the substitution of a common force for individual forces. And this common force is to do only what the individual forces have a natural and lawful right to do: to protect persons, liberties, and properties; to maintain the right of each, and to cause justice to reign over us all. A Just and Enduring Government If a nation were founded on this basis, it seems to me that order would prevail among the people, in thought as well as in deed. It seems to me that such a nation would have the most simple, easy to accept, economical, limited, nonoppressive, just, and enduring government imaginable -- whatever its political form might be. ~ http://bastiat.org/en/the_law.html [1] Any reader who is offended by the concept of God need only omit that phrase which contains it. Don't throw the baby out with the bathwater.
  • Lawrence M. Ludlow's picture
    Lawrence M. Ludlow 5 years 35 weeks ago Page tzo
    Dear Tzo: Your description of the power-drunk chimps of democracy is a good parallel to the points made by Hans Hermann Hoppe in "Democracy: The God that Failed." Hoppe notes that at least in a monarchy you know who is the badass that's totally responsible for the misdeeds. In a democracy, it's lots of your neighbors, and the idiotic belief that vox populi (est) vox dei "empowers" the chimps with a sense of self-righteousness that leads them into the hundreds of crusades that have been so bloody in the "century of democracy," which of course is the 20th century, so dipped in blood. The self-righteous worldview of the "democratic man" enables him to commit any atrocity in the name of the people -- as any number of examples have shown. Thanks for writing.
  • Lawrence M. Ludlow's picture
    Lawrence M. Ludlow 5 years 35 weeks ago Page Michael Kleen
    Michael, just as Hoppe pointed out in "Myth of National Defense" regarding the inability of the government to protect (it actually does the opposite), you are correct about their role in the food-making industry.
  • Lawrence M. Ludlow's picture
    Lawrence M. Ludlow 5 years 35 weeks ago Page Lawrence M. Ludlow
    Dear DensibleSolutions: Thanks for the comments on the life-work situation. Our life-time really is very limited, and the parasitical state is the worst type of leech. There's no respect for boundaries. I suspect that at some future time, the idea of politically controlling people will be considered (and rightly so) a form of mental illness. It violates all psychological thinking on boundaries and healthy development and individuation and autonomy in thought and life. There is a new "un-schooling" movement afoot, and the non-violent forms of communication and child-rearing are also next steps, eh?
  • willnmcl's picture
    willnmcl 5 years 35 weeks ago Page Lawrence M. Ludlow
    I have very much appreciated this second part as I did the first. I must confess Malthus was very difficult reading for me as was some of Ludlow. I particularly appreciated the conclusions stated under the heading "The Message of Mises" starting with that very fine first sentence. I like very much the notion of agnosticism regarding outcomes. I've had many discussions with a religious conservative cousin on the War of Secession, the two world wars and others and she once asked me how I knew things would be better if they had been done with my way of thinking. I said something like, " I DON'T know. I want to stick with what I believe to be healthy moral principles and I'll take my chances on the results". I have always had some misgivings about what a thoroughly libertarian society would be like but have always concluded that I would sure as hell like to find out, SOON! Professional football isn't my favorite example of goodness in humanity but a nice quote was when Parcells took over the Cowboys and they asked him how he expected his team to perform and he said "we're fixin' to find out" I hope we can find out. I'm firmly for market-based agnosticism Agriculture of the natural, sustainable, organic kind has always been near and dear to my heart and it has always been a disappointment to me that seemingly most libertarian thinkers hold it in little regard. To quote from the final paragraph "Think of the many congress-critters paid off by the powerful agricultural lobby. Is it not possible that a much larger percentage of agricultural production would be conducted locally if the subsidized agri-business, tax-subsidized desert irrigation mania, and road-building fetish did not hold sway?" My answer is yes it is possible and maybe many of the folks now unemployed in cities might have their fingers in the dirt and sun on small farms whence their best livelihood comes. Thank you Mr Ludlow. Will Palmer
  • Lawrence M. Ludlow's picture
    Lawrence M. Ludlow 5 years 35 weeks ago Page Lawrence M. Ludlow
    Hi, Mark: Yes, I love "Idiocracy." It should be screened outside of every voting booth on election day -- but that would ruin the fun of the farce, wouldn't it! Recently in San Diego (election night) a group of us invaded Golden Hall (where the politicians loiter on election nignt), and we carried signs such as "Democracy: killed Socrates and elected Hitler, Dubya, and Obama." Jom Bovard's web site covered our antics, complete with pictures. http://jimbovard.com/blog/2010/11/04/more-fine-hell-raising-by-san-diego... And I understand your concerns about the critiques in yesterday's essay. But I had to show how widespread the bias is among the many fine libertarian web sites. It really is pervasive and monolithic -- to a disturbing degree. Then, when you contrast it with the rich heritage of lengthy arguments and quotes directly from Mises' greatest work and supplemented by Rothbard, you have to ask yourself: what can they possibly be thinking? And: why are they doing this? Sometimes -- at least in academic circles -- when one plants one's flag in the sand on an issue, even if it is wrong, it becomes one's "brand," and then one must exhibit loyalty to the brand out of sheer vanity in a silly display of what Emerson warned us against: "A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds." Except they are not little minds. They are talented people who simply cannot cough up a decent mea culpa, mea maxima culpa. I hope they re-evaluate their stance on this important issue. Thanks for reading and thinking.
  • Mark Davis's picture
    Mark Davis 5 years 35 weeks ago Page Lawrence M. Ludlow
    I thought you were a little harsh on some good writers yesterday, but you did a good job of explaining your position today. I look forward to Part III tomorrow. Have you seen the movie "Idiocracy"? It offers a funny look at what happens when smart people stop breeding and idiots don't.
  • Lawrence M. Ludlow's picture
    Lawrence M. Ludlow 5 years 35 weeks ago Page Lawrence M. Ludlow
    Dear Saul: Yes, you can see the complexity of it -- it can go either way depending upon how the various contributing causes are weighted. That's why I urge the "market-agnostic" approach in which individuals make their own decisions and respect others' property rights in so doing. It is very possible that the host of government interventions have indeed created a "population bubble" that resembles the dot-com bubble, the real-estate bubble, and the related financial and purchasing bubbles. That's why I so abhor the constant theme of the apologia-type of essay that defends population growth as an unmitigated good that is unworthy of concern by libertarians. That one-sided approach is a perfect analogy to cheer-leading for the latest government bubbles. Again, thanks for reading and for your comments.
  • D. Saul Weiner's picture
    D. Saul Weiner 5 years 35 weeks ago Page Lawrence M. Ludlow
    Regarding family size, eliminating social security, medicare, and the like would tend to bolster it, since people would then need to place greater reliance in their old age on their children, as they have done in earlier times. In simpler societies, it is clearer what the carrying capacity of the "local economy" was and how much a tribe could afford to grow (absent warfare or other aggression). Today, it is obviously more difficult to tell and it comes down to an assessment of standard of living, as Mises describes. But people can be greatly fooled by government interference about these things, as the recent financial breakdown reminds us, and as descibed here. http://www.lewrockwell.com/rozeff/rozeff284.html
  • Suverans2's picture
    Suverans2 5 years 35 weeks ago
    Taxation Is Robbery
    Web link Mike Powers
    "THE Encyclopaedia Britannica defines taxation as "that part of the revenues of a state which is obtained by the compulsory dues and charges upon its subjects." That is about as concise and accurate as a definition can be; it leaves no room for argument as to what taxation is. In that statement of fact the word "compulsory" looms large, simply because of its ethical content." ~ Frank Chodorov No, Frank, the word "dues" looms large. Look up, the word "dues", Frank. Dues. Certain payments, rates or taxes. As applied to clubs and other membership organizations, refers to sums paid toward support and maintenance of same and as a requisite to retain membership. ~ Black's Law Dictionary, Sixth Edition, page 501 Notice, Frank, that "dues" only pertains to "Certain...taxes" and that it is only "requisite", i.e. "compulsory", on members who wish to "retain membership". So, if you really don't want to pay "dues", tell them that you no longer wish to "retain membership" in their organization, withdraw from membership, stop asking for and accepting "member-only" benefits/privileges, and guess what--the "dues", such as "income tax" (and some others), are no longer "compulsory"! Come on somebody, anybody...PLEASE, show me your evidence that the I.R.S. will come after individual secessionists, i.e. non-members who take no "member-only" benefits/privileges.
  • Suverans2's picture
    Suverans2 5 years 35 weeks ago
    Taxation Is Robbery
    Web link Mike Powers
    Do you use any of these...for anything? * Social Security Number "SSN" * Employer Identification Number "EIN" * Individual Taxpayer Identification Number "ITIN" * Taxpayer Identification Number for Pending U.S. Adoptions "ATIN" * Preparer Taxpayer Identification Number "PTIN" Care to guess what these are called? "Taxpayer Identification Numbers" (http://tinyurl.com/3c6yb) These numbers identify the user as a "taxpayer". Taxpayer. One who is subject to a tax on income, regardless of whether he or she pays the tax. I.R.C. § 7701(a)(14). ~ Black's Law Dictionary, Sixth Edition (c.1991), page 1462 So, if you don't wish to be a "taxpayer", why on Earth would you VOLUNTARILY use any of these and identify yourself as a "taxpayer"?
  • Lawrence M. Ludlow's picture
    Lawrence M. Ludlow 5 years 35 weeks ago Page Lawrence M. Ludlow
    Dear Saul: You have a good question about how restitution is sought. Offhand, I can only think that the usual libertarian arbitration method worked out by Morris and Linda Tannehill in "Market for Liberty," might offer a solution. In other words, probably and individual or class-action lawsuit against a polluter. And thanks for reading. I only hope the people who pretend this argument does not exist will take note. Regarding the term "market agnosticism," I only mean that because market-based information is widely dispersed and cannot be known by a central planner, we must allow the market with its trillions of market signals do the "planning" through the invisible hand -- which is really noting more than the judgments of millions of consumers and their decisions. By "agnostic," I mean we cannot know in a central-planning way. You would be surprised at how much resistance I encountered to "letting the market decide" at a recent Mises event here in San Diego. A devoted disciple of George Reisman objected to it and decided that he "knew" that nuclear power was the way to go, markets be damned. When I pointed out the sordid history of escape clauses and limited liability propped up by government permissions in that industry, my point fell on deaf ears. Reisman seems to have abandoned the market when it comes to pet peeves of his -- such as nuclear power and pollution. Mises addressed topics like this in Human Action. He pointed out that the latest and most efficient technology is not immediately adopted in a free market because the residual value of the existing technological infrastructure still has marginal utility that surpasses the new invention since it already has been paid for. That's why the decisions of central planners are absurd in an economic sense. They forget the value of the existing infrastructure and the marginal utility of using it until it is consumed. So I say that we need to stop pretending to "know" what the market needs. Let the market decide, and let us remain agnostic about what it will bring.
  • Lawrence M. Ludlow's picture
    Lawrence M. Ludlow 5 years 35 weeks ago Page Lawrence M. Ludlow
    Dear leucocephala: Thanks for writing and sharing with me your disappointment at the one-note drumbeat on this issue among so many libertarian sources -- especially at LRC and the many organizations associated with it. Ironically, while the LRC folks and other web sites cited here do so much good, they undo it when it comes to this issue. They have, in effect, become the very Kochtopus that they revile. I only hope they give it some serious thought and re-examine their stance. I have suspected that their misplace religious thinking may be behind their stance, but I can only guess. If it is a misunderstanding about Catholicism or Christianity, they have never provided a thoughtful rationale for their opinion, and they do not permit discussion of it in this way -- or why they abandoned Mises on this issue and will not discuss his views. I wrote the religious segment of this essay, to be published tomorrow, hoping that it may provide another approach from that end. Please thank Rob at STR for putting this on his pages. There's a complete blackout of this issue elsewhere.
  • leucocephala's picture
    leucocephala 5 years 36 weeks ago Page Lawrence M. Ludlow
    I'm a long-time reader of STR, but I never registered or made a comment until this article prompted to go through the hassle. I must say "about time someone brought this up!" Two things I'm passionate about: regenerative/sustainable/organic farming, and libertarianism. I love LRC but the anti-environmentalist slant often seen there has grated on me for a long while. Undoubtedly there is much within the environmentalist movement that deserves harsh criticism, but the LRC writers too often couch their criticism in the most bombastic, reactionary terms possible, minimizing any legitimate problems that exist. I make it a point to always point people towards Rothbard's writings on pollution and property rights (as you mentioned) when debating this issue. Looking forward to part II and III...
  • D. Saul Weiner's picture
    D. Saul Weiner 5 years 36 weeks ago Page Lawrence M. Ludlow
    Very interesting; I am glad to see this topic addressed. I am confused about remaining agnostic and using restitution (etc.) with respect to global warming. Don't we (or doesn't somebody) need to come to some kind of conclusion about what is happening in order to determine if restitution is in order?
  • willnmcl's picture
    willnmcl 5 years 36 weeks ago Page Lawrence M. Ludlow
    Am very interested to read part 2 tomorrow.
  • Lawrence M. Ludlow's picture
    Lawrence M. Ludlow 5 years 36 weeks ago Page Lawrence M. Ludlow
    Dear willnmcl: Thank you. Wait until you see the extensive Mises quotes in part 2 tomorrow. After reading them, you will begin to wonder (as I did) why these points are never addressed at places such as mises.org or lewrockwell.com and why no argument (as opposed to mere contrary assertion) is ever made against them there. It's as if they were never penned by Mises and must never be discussed -- down the memory hole with them!