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Joined: 2009-08-30
Columns on STR: 243
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Short bio:

Jim Davies is a retired businessman in New Hampshire who led the development of an on-line school of liberty in 2006, and who wrote A Vision of Liberty" , "Transition to Liberty" and, in 2010, "Denial of Liberty" and "To FREEDOM from Fascism, America!" He started The Zero Government Blog in the same year.
In 2012 Jim launched http://TinyURL.com/QuitGov , to help lead government workers to an honest life.
In 2013 he wrote his fifth book, a concise and rational introduction to the Christian religion called "Which Church (if any)?"

RECENT COMMENTS BY Jim Davies

Columns by Jim Davies

Liberty: Rooted in Rights
10
Jim Davies 2014-03-31 07:57
Column by Jim Davies. Exclusive to STR Everyone wants to be free, to make his own decisions without interference. That's a no-brainer; if there are any exceptions beyond those unhappily born without the ability to manage for themselves, they are very few. I never met anyone who said “Rule me, please!” Libertarians, however, add one crucial and distinguishing feature to that: We...
Vlad's Oscar
10
Jim Davies 2014-03-24 07:12
Column by Jim Davies. Exclusive to STR Everything they say, these Pols, is scripted and rehearsed. I find it really, really difficult to tell whether their endless stream of dicta is serious, or just theater. It's always theater, of course, but sometimes it's also truly meant, and that usually means big trouble, but how does one know when they're kidding and when, not? Clearly,...
The Last Days of Government
10
Jim Davies 2014-02-25 08:03
Column by Jim Davies. Exclusive to STR At about 7.35 p.m. ET on February 22nd, the NBC News TV reporter grabbed my attention with the following, as well as I can recall it: “Government has disappeared.” and “The are no policemen to be seen. Not even traffic cops.” This, again, was 2014 – not 2027. And it was not a spoof, like the alien invasion one in 1938. The...
Trade Unions
10
Jim Davies 2014-02-24 00:00
Column by Jim Davies. Exclusive to STR On February 14th the UAW took another kick in the teeth; employees of Volkswagen at its plant in Chattanooga voted 712 to 626 not to join. Trade unionists everywhere were buzzing like demented hornets; on The Guardian website I offered a little comfort (“The union lost. Boo-hoo. Get over it. Unions are parasites.”) but, alas, I was heavily...
Rothbard vs. LeFevre
6
Jim Davies 2014-02-17 22:06
Column by Jim Davies. Exclusive to STR The Complete Libertarian Forum (CLF) is a massive work, and by not hurrying I'm making some slow but satisfying progress. I'm up to October 1973, and at Kindle location 25370 there are some remarks by Murray Rothbard about Robert LeFevre. Apparently this libertarian scholar and apologist wasn't quite to Murray's liking, for I'd seen...
A Monster in the Making
9.8
Jim Davies 2014-02-04 22:16
Column by Jim Davies. Exclusive to STR Last month, I splurged a whole 99 cents on the download of an 89-year-old book. Worth every penny, it's a non-fiction horror story: James Murphy's 1939 English translation of Adolph Hitler's Mein Kampf. Its sheer blandness and apparently reasonable, normal prose is what sets it apart, in the light of what arose from it a decade or two later....
Downton Fever
10
Jim Davies 2014-01-21 08:21
Column by Jim Davies. Exclusive to STR It has struck again; Season Four is upon us, descending like a British influenza. More than six million were infected with Season Two, more than eight million by Season Three; and early reports say the present visitation will lay low over ten million Americans on the next several Sunday evenings. I myself am running a temperature. For the few whose...
Money to Burn
0
Jim Davies 2014-01-09 08:22
Column by Jim Davies. Exclusive to STR In December, the death occurred of one of Britain's most colorful characters: Ronnie Biggs. He was 84 and had suffered several debilitating strokes. He came to fame in 1963 as a member of a group of 17 professional crooks who held up the transport of used government money, being trained from Glasgow to London for incineration. I've not been able to...
Peace, Spurned
10
Jim Davies 2014-01-02 08:43
Column by Jim Davies. Exclusive to STR In October 1944, Christian Günther, the Swedish Foreign Minister, relaxed with a group of journalists and casually mentioned a telegram sent to him on June 17th, 1940 by Björn Prytz, then his envoy in London. When the news of his remarks reached London, it threw the then Foreign Secretary, Anthony Eden, into a tizzy: “It is most...
Progress in 'The Capitalist Tool'
10
Jim Davies 2013-12-24 08:18
Column by Jim Davies. Exclusive to STR Last week Forbes magazine ran an article by one Peter Reilly, to assess the merits of Irwin Schiff's stand against the alleged income tax, and drawing extensively on remarks made by his son Peter Schiff, the investment advisor. To call the article “fair” would over-rate it, but it did bring that debate to the attention of some highly...
Pessimism
10
Jim Davies 2013-12-19 08:18
Column by Jim Davies. Exclusive to STR It's very sad, to see so much of it around STR. Several whose fingers fly over the keyboard to make comments seem to think that government is a fixture, here to stay. This is not limited to STR, mind; I enjoy much of the work of Fred Reed on another site, and noticed a fine recent example called Your Papers, Citizen which expertly compared the...
Lawmaking Lunacy
10
Jim Davies 2013-12-12 08:19
Column by Jim Davies. Exclusive to STR I'd be very scared if confronted by someone armed, and evidently mad or malevolent. The first type might well do me harm, fatally maybe, because he or she wouldn't understand or be responsible for the actions about to be taken. A young child, perhaps, slashing a kitchen knife while playing some martial-arts fantasy he has dreamed up. Or an adult in...
Gold, Paper and Bits
7.5
Jim Davies 2013-12-06 08:22
Column by Jim Davies. Exclusive to STR Carl Menger's great discovery was that all economic activity consists of everyone's individual, subjective choices. His successors in the Austrian school – Bawerk, von Mises, Rothbard, et al – have amplified that and refined it, but that's the fundamental truth. That is how prices are determined and why products are produced. The...
Iron Felix
10
Jim Davies 2013-12-04 07:42
Column by Jim Davies. Exclusive to STR In 1991, while a Communist counter-coup was being repressed in Moscow, jubilant crowds pulled down a statue of Felix Dzerzhinsky which had stood in front of the KGB headquarters building, the Lubyanka. Despite his nickname, it had been made of bronze, lest a Hero of the Revolution turn rusty. Note that it was a spontaneous demolition by plain people, not...
Reality
6.66667
Jim Davies 2013-11-22 08:03
Column by Jim Davies. Exclusive to STR Better late, it's said, than never. So while I should have taken the opportunity years ago, this month I got around to it and listened to the famous interview of Ayn Rand by Mike Wallace, made for TV in black and white in 1959. You too can see it, on YouTube here (use Ixquick to find Parts 2 and 3.) It lasts 30 minutes, and it's a half hour very...
Letter to a Young Juror
10
Jim Davies 2013-11-18 08:00
Column by Jim Davies. Exclusive to STR (With acknowledgements to C.S. Lewis and Christopher Hitchens.) So, nephew, you've been called to serve on a jury. Congratulations! I was very glad to learn last month that you plan never to vote again, so it's a good idea to get yourself off the voters' list. But meanwhile, you're still on it – hence this opportunity to help some...
What They Owe
10
Jim Davies 2013-11-08 08:09
Column by Jim Davies. Exclusive to STR There was a lot of fuss recently about something they call the “debt ceiling.” Supposedly, it's a kind of limit to what the FedGov can borrow. It's all a load of horsefeathers, of course, because whenever they find the limit inconvenient, they will raise it – as they have already done, 95 times in a row. One of the key features of...
Entanglements
10
Jim Davies 2013-10-30 07:20
Column by Jim Davies. Exclusive to STR During the latter half of the last century, shopping changed its character, to accommodate the popularity of the inexpensive horseless carriage. Instead of stores being all grouped together near the town center in a manner convenient for customers who arrived on foot, either direct from nearby homes or from the bus depot, the “out of town shopping...
Naysayers
7
Jim Davies 2013-10-24 07:21
Column by Jim Davies. Exclusive to STR To protect the guilty, I'll falsify his name as “Naylor,” but last weekend I received a concise email from someone who had read my recent Murray's Missing Plan on STR; for doing which, of course, he is much to be commended. Among other things, he offered three key opinions: Universal re-education won't work, 99% of children are...
Murray's Missing Plan Recommended
9.66667
Jim Davies 2013-10-07 07:37
Column by Jim Davies. Exclusive to STR I've been continuing to read the fascinating story of the modern libertarian movement's early years, as told in the Libertarian Forum, edited and often written by Murray Rothbard. It's vast, but very worthwhile – warmly recommended. I've supplemented it recently with a re-read of parts of Justin Raimondo's excellent biography of him...
The Yoke
10
Jim Davies 2013-09-27 06:48
Column by Jim Davies. Exclusive to STR Recently there was an unusually perceptive comment posted on these pages, that noted the folly of supposing that believers in government can be expected to leave us infidels in peace. There are only two ways of getting what one wants: earning it, or stealing it. Persuade, or compel. This is the great divide, the feature that separates believers from non-...
Socialism
10
Jim Davies 2013-09-19 07:11
Column by Jim Davies. Exclusive to STR Famously, in 1922 Ludwig von Mises predicted the ultimate failure of socialism, for the good reason that in a planned economy, freely-moving prices are outlawed, while freely-moving prices are the only valid signal of what is wanted, where, when and in what quantity. It took a while – and a dreadful war – but in 1990 he was proven right. The...
Cyprus, v.t.
8.66667
Jim Davies 2013-09-09 06:57
Column by Jim Davies. Exclusive to STR Last month in The Thirteenth Year, I suggested a few dreadful government actions that would make 2013 memorable. I missed one: mea culpa. This was the year in which a minor government in the Mediterranean turned an island into a verb. Its subject is a government, its object is the money someone holds in a bank in its jurisdiction, and its meaning is that the...
Rights
7.75
Jim Davies 2013-09-03 07:19
Column by Jim Davies. Exclusive to STR They mark limits on government power. If you or I have some right or other, it means government is excluded. If we own some property by right, its agents may enter only by permission – or else by force, violating the right. If we have the right to remain silent, its agents may not rightly oblige us to speak. Government really, really doesn't like...
The Thirteenth Year
9
Jim Davies 2013-08-27 06:32
Column by Jim Davies. Exclusive to STR There's a lot of silly superstitions around, one of which regards the number 13 as unlucky, leading to irrational but septasyllabic triskaidekaphobia. Tall buildings are built with floors numbered up to 12, then 14 and beyond; it must play havoc with the design engineers. According to Shyam Sunder Gupta, in 1993 the prestigious British Medical Journal...
Punishment
10
Jim Davies 2013-07-30 07:16
Column by Jim Davies. Exclusive to STR In September 1971 there was a serious riot in the state prison in Attica, NY, which left 39 dead, and drew much comment. One of the comments was as follows. See whether you can guess by whom it was made: “Any mutiny by the prisoners is going to be put down and put down hard.” The State Governor, maybe? Or some law-n-order Conservative? Probably...
Taxation Is Theft. Always.
10
Jim Davies 2013-07-08 06:56
Column by Jim Davies. Exclusive to STR In a LewRockwell.com blog post on June 7th, Mike Rozeff offered the surprising opinion that taxation is not necessarily always theft, because some people accept the need to pay it and do so willingly. He called that an example of the “consent of the governed.” I've engaged him in a friendly email exchange since, but we still disagree....
Corporate Tyranny?
10
Jim Davies 2013-07-02 07:36
Column by Jim Davies. Exclusive to STR In a lively exchange in the Guardian comments section recently, a strong bias was revealed to the effect that government is needed to prevent corporations running wild and tyrannizing the world. That's one of the elderly fictions that is still thrust down the throats of trusting children in government schools, to assure them that government is not...
GDP, Adjusted
0
Jim Davies 2013-06-24 07:32
Column by Jim Davies. Exclusive to STR In one of the best STRticles this year, the new Root Striker “forty2oz” proved that if five people each earn $100K a year, and one of them is a cop, as a group they receive not $500K but $400K. I've never seen it done that well, and no fuzzy math is involved. Like all good writing, this stimulated thought, and mine went to the...
Mr. Snowden Departs
7
Jim Davies 2013-06-17 07:25
Column by Jim Davies. Exclusive to STR When I mentioned here last year that I'd made a little web site at TinyURL.com/QuitGov, there were, incredibly, some who poured scorn on the idea – which was, as stated, to introduce to its employees the news that it's dishonest to work for government, and so to prepare their minds for the day when one or more of their friends invites them to...
Government Chaos
10
Jim Davies 2013-06-10 07:00
Column by Jim Davies. Exclusive to STR Yet another overture is being played, for the magnum opus of Armageddon, the long-predicted final battle between good and evil (i.e., us vs. them) somewhere not far from Israel. Others have been played before, in 1967, for example, but this one centered on Syria is shaping up to be quite a doozie. Nearly all players in the region are tuning up their...
The Bubble
10
Jim Davies 2013-05-29 06:54
Column by Jim Davies. Exclusive to STR It's the name given to a chart of price movement that shows a very large rise, followed by a very large fall; its shape is more or less symmetrical, like the one shown here representing the price of shares in the South Sea Company around 1720 and denominated in pounds. As it shows, the price rose briefly by a factor of nine. This South Sea Bubble is the...
Sweatshops
0
Jim Davies 2013-05-21 06:18
Column by Jim Davies. Exclusive to STR The recent tragedy in Bangladesh took over 1,000 lives, and I hope blame is properly attributed and some kind of compensation awarded. It has unfortunately re-awoken a slew of guilt merchants known, curiously, as “liberals,” who are shrieking for something to be done to stop Walmart, J.C. Penney and other retailers doing business with Bangladeshi...
Chuck's Tummy
10
Jim Davies 2013-05-13 07:02
Column by Jim Davies. Exclusive to STR Having undergone surgery this year following a stomach ache, that's a condition I will not wish upon anyone; but if stomachs do have to malfunction somewhere, the inside of Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY) is one of the least inappropriate places--and he confirmed, last week, that the inner turmoil has already begun: 'the ramifications of make-your-own...
The Rump
5.5
Jim Davies 2013-05-06 06:33
Column by Jim Davies. Exclusive to STR Only one credible plan exists, as far as I know, for the elimination of government in short order. It's outlined here and in summary it consists of each market anarchist introducing one of his or her friends per year to a freedom school, and resigning his government job if he has one. Easy, inexpensive, unstoppable, and totally indispensable. No other...
Divides
9.4
Jim Davies 2013-04-26 07:46
Column by Jim Davies. Exclusive to STR Below is a photograph of a happy cop. He's happy because at the end of a trying day, his team accomplished its mission; a suspected murderer had been arrested. He's also happy because behind him, a crowd of local residents, whom he thinks he “protects and serves,” is applauding him and his comrades for a job well done. That doesn...
Maggie
10
Jim Davies 2013-04-10 07:40
Column by Jim Davies. Exclusive to STR Freedom cannot be imposed by force. I (and many others) have said that before, yet the Libertarian Party continues to exist. There are also those who imagine that if there is a general economic collapse, free-market businessmen will step into the power vacuum and set up a libertarian or anarchist society with which everyone else will then cooperate (or else...
Bank Robbers
9.5
Jim Davies 2013-04-08 06:47
Column by Jim Davies. Exclusive to STR There are people who rob banks, and banks that rob people. This is about the latter. Our friendly Main Street banker is a robber; in two ways now, and with a third in preparation. Way #1 applies directly and terribly, but to only a few of his customers, and until he strikes, it's fairly well hidden. Some years ago I opened a bank account, and eventually...
Marriage
10
Jim Davies 2013-03-28 05:52
Column by Jim Davies. Exclusive to STR The nation is breathless, as I write, awaiting news from the Supreme Court about what marriage is. Crowds attend its building, working themselves up into a tizzy and a froth, for inside its lobby is engraved the arrogant and outrageous claim:   IT IS EMPHATICALLY THE PROVINCE AND DUTY OF THE JUDICIAL DEPARTMENT TO SAY WHAT THE LAW IS ~ directly...
Politics Don't Cut It
9
Jim Davies 2013-03-27 06:01
Column by Jim Davies. Exclusive to STR Murray Rothbard never pretended to be infallible, and he wasn't; but when he wrote or spoke on his specialty of economics, he was . . . close enough for government work. I had the chance to hear him speak several times, and have some of his books, and say that he was the most brilliant, prolific and consistent pro-freedom writer of the 20th Century....
Labor's Price
10
Jim Davies 2013-03-20 06:41
Column by Jim Davies. Exclusive to STR The wage due for a week's worth of unskilled labor today might be $464, and so it was two or three hundred years ago – though then, it was often called a “pound.” Of silver, that is. Is that to be fixed by law as the permanent value of such labor, or is it to be free to vary subjectively with demand, supply and quality? I hope that...
Hold It, Holder
9
Jim Davies 2013-03-12 06:49
Column by Jim Davies. Exclusive to STR The great danger of criticizing specific things government does or says or fails to do or say is that readers can reasonably infer that if the opposite were done or said, all would be well. In other words, they can infer that the author envisages the possibility of a satisfactory government. I do not, ever, anywhere; for by definition (of “govern...
Buchanan's War
10
Jim Davies 2013-03-04 07:00
Column by Jim Davies. Exclusive to STR Patrick Buchanan is a conservative--and more a social or cultural one than an economic one. He makes no pretense to be a libertarian, still less an anarchist; he is or was a Washington “insider” to the extent of being on the staff of Tricky Dick Nixon, and to that of being a regular on prime-time talk shows like “The McLaughlin Group....
Spoke Removal
10
Jim Davies 2013-02-26 07:47
Column by Jim Davies. Exclusive to STR It's often said that government is good at only one thing: waging war. I doubt that. Very true that waging war is its favorite activity, but that seems to me to overstate its skills somewhat; government may be better at waging war than at anything else, but it's not really good at it at all. For starters, the success rate is on average 50%. Then...
Creeds
9.5
Jim Davies 2013-02-19 07:59
Column by Jim Davies. Exclusive to STR Faith: what a person believes, regardless of fact, evidence, proof or reason; it's powerful stuff. It can cause him to surrender his life, and to rob others of theirs, all the while retaining a strong sense of virtue, of doing the right thing. My first-ever face to face encounter with the Infernal Robbery Syndicate was an audit in Connecticut with a...
To See, Yet Not to See
10
Jim Davies 2013-02-11 07:59
Column by Jim Davies. Exclusive to STR All governments everywhere depend for their survival on their victim “citizens” failing to see (that is, to understand) what they are doing. In English, to “see” carries both meanings; we can see what they are up to, yet at the same time fail to grasp its significance. It's an amazing form of blindness, yet it affects nearly...
What Are You?
8.75
Jim Davies 2013-02-04 08:12
Column by Jim Davies. Exclusive to STR We are Root Strikers here, because rather than trying to trim the branches of the evil tree of government, we seek a way to destroy its roots. Some want a smaller or minimal government; we want none at all. It's a powerful analogy, a good name. We are also voluntaryists, for we believe every human action should be uncompelled. That's explicit, and...
Hot Money
10
Jim Davies 2013-01-28 07:20
Column by Jim Davies. Exclusive to STR It's now 100 years since fiat money was introduced to America, by the Federal Reserve Act. In that century, over 98.5% of its value has been destroyed. Suppose you found a counterfeit bill in your wallet. Would you spend it? The recipient would hand over something valuable in exchange, but when he came to deposit the bill, it would be rejected, so he...
Free Trade
8
Jim Davies 2013-01-22 08:23
Column by Jim Davies. Exclusive to STR The Tea Party is confused; no new news there. It has the great virtue of gathering together under one banner a variety of folk displeased with government, but their interests are so diverse as to prohibit a coherent alternative platform. Rather like the electorate as a whole, some want government to do A, while others want it to do Non-A. Unfortunately, I...
The Pugsley Plan Recommended
8.5
Jim Davies 2013-01-14 07:46
Column by Jim Davies. Exclusive to STR Prior to Harry Browne's first run for US President in 1996, his friend John Pugsley wrote him a passionate “open letter” urging him not to. As far as I know, Harry didn't reply, but he did continue his campaign – and repeated it four years later. He got few votes more than the LP normally receives, but his platform and campaign were...
A Deal With Government
9
Jim Davies 2013-01-09 08:04
Column by Jim Davies. Exclusive to STR World history was radically changed, in the small Turkish town presently known as Iznik. It affected a vast range of human activities during the last 17 centuries; it housed an event more significant than Rome itself with its claim to dominate Christendom, than Paris with its thousand years of prominence in trade and culture, than Florence or Venice with...
Limits of Indoctrination
8.75
Jim Davies 2013-01-07 07:58
Column by Jim Davies. Exclusive to STR Dr. Gary North is a prolific writer, as shown by his huge archive at LRC; and most of those of his articles I've read are very good. He's particularly perceptive about the future of higher education, as this recent example illustrates. Sometimes he's too long-winded for my taste, and sometimes he seems to me to get it wrong – though the...
What a Century!
9
Jim Davies 2012-12-19 07:54
Column by Jim Davies. Exclusive to STR It was the best and the worst century in human history, and it ends this month. The previous one closed in 1912, a year best remembered for the sinking of the Titanic--a story that has been skillfully tuned to incite distrust of business and reliance on governments. It's a fable, which I demolish here. But the fable served as a prélude to what...
464 Lost Years Recommended
8.25
Jim Davies 2012-12-10 07:48
Column by Jim Davies. Exclusive to STR Recently I re-read part of that seminal essay, Discourse on Voluntary Servitude by Etienne de la Boëtie, written in 1548, or 464 years ago. He said that if you want to topple a tyrant, all you need to do is to withdraw support. No violence, no sweat, just stop helping him. Yet 24 years later there was a massacre of Huguenot Protestants, indicating that...
The Invisible Export
10
Jim Davies 2012-12-04 07:59
Column by Jim Davies. Exclusive to STR One of the hottest exports from America, to judge from the vacuous rhetoric of the recent election campaigns, is that of jobs. This time it wasn't so much Ross Perot's ”giant sucking sound” from Mexico, but the unprincipled greed of the bargain-producers in China who were the main culprits. Today I found a whole fountain pen for less...
The Duty to End the State Recommended
10
Jim Davies 2012-11-30 07:53
Column by Jim Davies. Exclusive to STR Many reading this already understand the Self-ownership Axiom; that we each own our own lives by right, and hence that all government is an unnatural and ruinous appendage. Among those who do, though, surprisingly there is disagreement over what to do about it. Some hold that resistance by such voluntaryists in the present government-saturated environment...
Goodness
10
Jim Davies 2012-11-20 07:42
Column by Jim Davies. Exclusive to STR It's fairly clear what “evil” is, we know it when we see it. But what is its opposite, goodness? And are human beings basically good, evil, neutral or something else? It's important to understand that, because if for example mankind is marred with a bias towards evil, the case for a restraining government, as Paine and others have...
Leaving Government Service
10
Jim Davies 2012-11-13 07:03
Column by Jim Davies. Exclusive to STR Alex Knight's recent fine column The Post Office that Government Built relates the sad case of one of its 600,000 employees who faces a bleak future as that structure is poised for collapse. It might be useful to compare such cases with the similar ones that will take place when government servants quit voluntarily, having learned what freedom and...
Owning Land
0
Jim Davies 2012-11-06 00:00
Column by Jim Davies. Exclusive to STR As far as I know, there is no sound and comprehensive theory of the right way to allocate control (or ownership) of the Earth's 150 million square kilometers of land among its seven billion human inhabitants. Since conventional theorists are not even looking in the right haystack, it falls to libertarian ones to make the attempt, and some fairly good...
'Indians'
10
Jim Davies 2012-10-24 23:00
Column by Jim Davies. Exclusive to STR The coming free society will be rational; residents will live on the basis of reality and reason rather than myth. We will recognize government for what it is and therefore reject it on rational grounds; we will think in rational, economic terms predominantly. I can be sure of this, because a free society will not come into being until everyone does think...
St. Abe Recommended
0
Jim Davies 2012-10-22 23:00
Column by Jim Davies. Exclusive to STR When the Church of Rome has in mind to elevate one of its heroes or heroines to the status of sainthood, it follows a certain procedure – one element of which is to hear the opinion of an advocatus diaboli – a devil's advocate. His job is to reason against the proposed canonization, so reducing the probability of error. That task fell in...
Free Health Care!
10
Jim Davies 2012-10-11 23:00
Column by Jim Davies. Exclusive to STR   That was the promise, made by politicos in the England of my youth; health care, they said, is a right, an entitlement. In Churchill's wartime cabinet, William Beveridge, whom I briefly met 15 years later, had designed a scheme by 1945, and it was rushed through and implemented in 1947. The exodus of British doctors to North America began shortly...
Coal Or Wind?
0
Jim Davies 2012-10-04 23:00
Column by Jim Davies. Exclusive to STR On October 3rd I admit it; curious to see which was the more convincing actor, I did waste ten minutes watching the opening of the Presidential Debate Charade. I saw Obamney say twice, with slightly different words, that they loved the middle class. So they should; that's the segment of society from which government derives most of its loot.   Before...
Pandora's 47%
0
Jim Davies 2012-09-30 23:00
Column by Jim Davies. Exclusive to STR Mother Jones has done us all a favor, and not just Obama as intended, by publishing Mitt Romney's remark that 47% of the electorate is unlikely to vote for him because that many are all drawing government favors and would not want them reduced.   That's because he opened up the subject, never normally discussed on campaign trails, of who benefits from...
Abortion
9.5
Jim Davies 2012-09-23 23:00
Column by Jim Davies. Exclusive to STR   Last month I wrote Opinion and Reason to encourage clear, rational thinking: i.e., to begin with a premise, progress from it in logical steps, and only then to arrive at a conclusion. This sits in contrast to the much more usual method of reaching any opinion: to begin with a prejudice (a “pre-judgment”) and then perhaps look around for...
Exposed
7.8
Jim Davies 2012-09-17 23:00
Column by Jim Davies. Exclusive to STR   Last week, sales of tabloids on the streets of London were boosted by the news that a French magazine had published photos of the Duchess of Cambridge – gasp – topless.   She and her husband the future King were relaxing in a “secluded chateau” for what they reasonably thought was a period of privacy by the pool, but it...
A Letter to Young Paulians Recommended
10
Jim Davies 2012-09-09 23:00
Column by Jim Davies. Exclusive to STR You've just been kicked in the teeth, and this is to convey sympathy and comfort, as well as sincere congratulations for what you've done – along with suggestions about what you might best do next.   The way you have been treated by your own Party is a scandal that will long reverberate – and was so stupid even from the Party's perspective...
MinGovia
9
Jim Davies 2012-08-26 23:00
Column by Jim Davies. Exclusive to STR   There's a theory that holds that a government is okay provided that the people in its domain agree for it to exist and rule, and I thank David Eagle for my title, though the reasoning and conclusions are my own.   The theory seems to have two forms: One is the familiar "Constitutionalist" position that says that America was just fine...
Opinion and Reason
10
Jim Davies 2012-08-19 23:00
Column by Jim Davies. Exclusive to STR From time to time a market researcher calls me up and asks for a few minutes of my time to answer his or her survey questions. I always answer “Yes, I'll be happy to; what rate are you offering?”   “What was that, again?”   “What are you offering to pay? My opinions, on a range of topics, are highly valuable. So is my...
Compassion in a Free Society
10
Jim Davies 2012-08-08 23:00
Column by Jim Davies. One of the ugliest things said about freedom advocates is that in a society without government, large numbers of poor people would be trampled underfoot. Critics say that if all were free selfishly to pursue our own ends, many would be left behind, to suffer and starve. That such a society would be harsh, uncaring, divisive, mean. That it's necessary to have a government, to...
Love and Respect
0
Jim Davies 2012-08-02 23:00
Column by Jim Davies. Exclusive to STR   A few weeks ago my Tolstoy: Close, but No Cigar suggested from a reading of his monumental War and Peace that the novelist Leo Tolstoy was almost, but not quite, a market anarchist; and among the comments that followed its publication there were a couple that suggested some further reading about this amazing man. I thank Sir William Blackstone and...
Lament for a Flask of Gin
0
Jim Davies 2012-07-17 23:00
Column by Jim Davies. Exclusive to STR   This summer, a government agent stole from me a bottle of gin at Logan Airport.   By "stole," I mean that he removed it from my possession without leave. That's the usual way that word is understood. Federal, State and local governments steal far more from each of us than that, every day – but somehow this tangible proof, this...
Tolstoy: Close, But No Cigar
9.66667
Jim Davies 2012-07-13 05:39
Column by Jim Davies. Exclusive to STR I'd heard somewhere that Leo Tolstoy was an anarchist, so reckoned it was high time I read War and Peace. Thanks to gutenberg.org, I was able to download both that and Anna Karenina and enjoy the pair of them on vacation rainy days. Having done so, I must dismiss the rumor; he was an extraordinary author and thinker, and upset Establishment clerics and...
Very Special People
9.16667
Jim Davies 2012-07-08 23:00
Column by Jim Davies. Exclusive to STR I've tried, but have not been able to agree with Paul Bonneau's recent article Libertarians Are Nothing Special. Quite the contrary, I think libertarians are extraordinarily special.   Many of us begin by taking an interest in the political scene, and vote for a libertarian candidate in some election. That's a mistaken strategy, yes, but as a starting...
Newt's Letter
10
Jim Davies 2012-06-19 23:00
Column by Jim Davies. Government tries to justify its ubiquitous spying on private correspondence on the back of 9/11. It's just another government lie. The events below took place four years earlier.   Back in 1997, Mr Gingrich was a powerful figure in DC – Speaker of the House. Soon afterwards he swapped wives and was cast into outer darkness for a decade, but recently he ran...
Dickens, Reconsidered
10
Jim Davies 2012-06-11 23:00
Column by Jim Davies. Exclusive to STR Few novels if any can have so profoundly assisted the spread of socialism in the century following 1850 as those of Charles Dickens, for they portrayed vividly the slums in English cities during the Industrial Revolution which enabled Karl Marx, who lived in London with support from his friend Friedrich Engels, to denounce the capitalist system he said had...
Time for Civil Disobedience? Recommended
8.75
Jim Davies 2012-06-04 23:00
Column by Jim Davies. Exclusive to STR Underlying approaches to the great problem of how to rid society of government parasites without violence is the insight of Etienne de la Boëtie:   "Resolve to serve no more, and you are at once freed. I do not ask that you place hands upon the tyrant to topple him over, but simply that you support him no longer; then you will behold him, like...
Working Capital
10
Jim Davies 2012-05-28 23:00
Column by Jim Davies. Exclusive to STR "Capitalism" is another of those words, like "liberal," whose meanings have been twisted by time, use and particularly by government influence, to mean something quite different from, and sometimes opposite to, their original intent. When we see Occupy Wall Street protesters waving banners calling for its downfall, they are referring to...
So You Work as an Elections Clerk?
10
Jim Davies 2012-05-17 23:00
Column by Jim Davies. Exclusive to STR [Author's Note: Readers who know someone who helps operate elections might usefully refer him or her to this article. Should it become widely read before November, it could have an interesting effect. 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....
What a Time to Be Alive!
10
Jim Davies 2012-05-07 23:00
Column by Jim Davies. Exclusive to STR   For ten thousand years, governments have polluted the human race by stealing and squandering the products of our labor, repeatedly creating war and destruction, and choking off initiative and invention. Yet now, in this present era, there is serious hope that these parasites will cease to leech. The root of the problem is, at long last, being...
So You Work for a Prosecutor? Recommended
0
Jim Davies 2012-04-29 23:00
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...
Breivik's Defense
10
Jim Davies 2012-04-22 23:00
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 Gulch, Revisited
7
Jim Davies 2012-04-12 23:00
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
10
Jim Davies 2012-03-29 23:00
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...
The God Question
9.14286
Jim Davies 2012-03-18 23:00
Column by Jim Davies. Exclusive to STR Why does it matter, to market anarchists, whether or not God exists? Surely all would be able, in a free society, to believe whatever they wish about religion? That was the thrust of Paul Bonneau's recent article here, and he added that it's counterproductive for the libertarian spokesman to ridicule the religious. His point is well taken. In the...
Two Pillars of the State
8
Jim Davies 2012-03-02 00:00
Column by Jim Davies. Exclusive to STR The Internet is abuzz with execration of the TSA, and deservedly so, but recently Becky Akers reported on one site that the agency now rivals the IRS in the degree to which Americans detest it. That's a very notable achievement, given that it's had a mere one decade instead of ten, to attract such loathing. The report rings true. Only a minority of us fly,...
Abolishing Prisons
8
Jim Davies 2012-02-17 00:00
Column by Jim Davies. Exclusive to STR The words "escape" and "prison" fit together like hands in gloves in the mind of every prisoner, but in that of every warden, the two will never meet; or not on his watch, not if he can help it. So prisons don't have fire escapes. Instead, they are built of materials that will not burn; concrete, steel, brick. They look dull, but they...
To Govern and Enslave
10
Jim Davies 2012-02-07 00:00
Column by Jim Davies. Exclusive to STR  Given the axiom of self-ownership, there's very little difference between those two verbs. To govern someone is to override his own wishes; he wants to do X, but government commands him to do Y. Likewise, to enslave someone is to override his own plans; he wants to be an Econ Professor and columnist, but the slave-owner commands him to pick cotton, and...
1492
9
Jim Davies 2012-01-30 00:00
Column by Jim Davies. Exclusive to STR It's a bit difficult to compress a big slice of human history into a few hundred words, so if I omit some of your favorite details, I hope you'll forgive me.   I pick 1492 as being the pivotal year in that immense saga. One could of course choose from other good candidates: 50,000 years ago when mankind migrated out of Africa to populate the rest of the...
Liberty Stability
9.5
Jim Davies 2012-01-17 00:00
Column by Jim Davies. Exclusive to STR If I outline the delights of a free society, quite often the listener will say that it's "Utopian." All very nice but not practical, he means, and after clarification he usually agrees that "Utopian" means a status that is not stable; that if it is put into place, it will inevitably collapse. If I have the chance, I'll then continue by...
Where's the State?
8.75
Jim Davies 2012-01-06 00:00
Column by Jim Davies. Exclusive to STR Any phone book has a long list of government offices. So isn't this a silly question? Not really. All those listed items are departments of government, or representatives of the State, or Town etc. Where and what exactly is the state itself? Like the famous Wendy's ad from 1984, we're interested in the core of the matter: Where's the Beef?   If you...
History, Rewritten
0
Jim Davies 2011-12-09 00:00
Column by Jim Davies. Exclusive to STR As a thought-experiment, I've been trying to imagine how different US history would have been if, at certain alternative times in the past, government had altogether disappeared--if ours had become a truly free society. So let's see how it might have worked out, moving back in time in discrete steps. In each example below, all government in America is...
Ron, Reviewed
8.83333
Jim Davies 2011-11-14 00:00
Column by Jim Davies. Exclusive to STR  It's been a great pleasure to see media mention every day recently of the man who once said in my hearing that the IRS is "the world's largest terrorist organization." The mere possibility that Ron Paul could actually get elected President is enough to make any liberty lover salivate. That he should already have stacked up some straw-poll...
Vox Dei?
10
Jim Davies 2010-12-26 03:00
Column by Jim Davies. Exclusive to STR Michael Kleen's Conversation with Vox Day was an unusual article for Strike The Root, but gave a valuable insight into why theists may become good branch-trimming libertarians, but seldom ax-wielding, anarchist root-strikers. I had noticed Mr. Day at the masthead of that highly Statist, conservative publication World Net Daily, with its 24-point...
Acid Test
5.33333
Jim Davies 2010-12-09 03:00
Column by Jim Davies. Exclusive to STR The aftermath of the release of the first 1% of the recent second wave of leaks of sensitive government documents is in some ways more fun than reading of the newly uncovered secrets themselves. It has drawn a clear distinction between those who are horrified and those who are delighted; like the acid test for fake gold, this reveals what people really think...
Gropers, Peepers, and What To Do
8
Jim Davies 2010-11-18 03:00
Column by Jim Davies.   Exclusive to STR   John Pistole, our nation's Groper in Chief, told Margaret Warner on PBS' News Hour on November 16th what a shame it would be if travelers missed their connections at Thanksgiving because more of us than usual elected to "opt-out" of what are becoming known as the TSA's new "porno scanners"--in favor of a highly intrusive pat...
Terms of Association Recommended
9
Jim Davies 2010-10-15 02:00
Column by Jim Davies.   Exclusive to STR    An advocate for the US Constitution recently argued on the Peter Mac Show that any group of people in any locality properly has the right to set up an association and to define its terms. He was correct, of course. The terms agreed would relate to who can belong and who, not--and to how decisions of policy and practice shall be made, as...
Malthus' Mistakes
9
Jim Davies 2010-10-08 02:00
Column by Jim Davies.   Exclusive to STR   The Reverend Thomas Malthus was no dummy. He made a colossal and famous error by predicting at the end of the 18th Century that human population would stop growing for want of food to feed any more people, but he was a serious scholar nonetheless. He was a fellow of Jesus College, Cambridge and as well as being an Anglican clergyman was...
To Edit
9.66667
Jim Davies 2010-09-27 02:00
Column by Jim Davies. Exclusive to STR Nothing can match the institution of government for sheer malevolence and resultant mayhem, but the modern media come close; the big, established ones that report selected items of news, arranged and analyzed so as powerfully to mold public opinion and thereby help perpetuate the established order. Happily and thanks largely to the Internet and the...
Great Fictions Recommended
9.33333
Jim Davies 2010-09-10 02:00
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...
The 'Muslim Menace'
7.6
Jim Davies 2010-09-01 02:00
By Jim Davies.   Exclusive to STR   Is there one, really? Quite a few think so. I wonder how many of them know what Muslims believe. I wonder how many of those know what they believe themselves, and why. Anyway, let's take a look--and if there is one, let's think how such a menace would be handled in a free society. To those kindly concerned that I might be targeted by terrorists...
Booing the Goose
8.5
Jim Davies 2010-08-17 02:00
By Jim Davies.   Exclusive to STR   Chapter 8 of my Transition to Liberty shows that I foresee the time--in the mid-2020s, for reasons it explains--when widespread civil disobedience will play a valuable part in hastening the end of the government era. It will be a period when around one in four of the population has learned what liberty means (and what government means) and so is eager...
Bankers on Trial
9.25
Jim Davies 2010-08-10 02:00
Column by Jim Davies.   Exclusive to STR     Several of my friends insert the two letters "st" in the middle of the word, to express the view that bankers make up a large, organized criminal class. Here, I'll follow the principle that people are innocent until proven guilty, and check some of the evidence, but meanwhile leave those letters out.   At root, a bank...
Government Securities
8.75
Jim Davies 2010-08-02 02:00
By Jim Davies.   Exclusive to STR     Those who lend money to the government participate in a fraud, for all of them know that it has only one way ultimately to pay either interest or principal: by stealing it. So if they ever lose it (and they will, as below) there will be no sympathy from this quarter.   They do the lending by purchasing municipal bonds and Treasury Bills,...
A Lion in Daniel's Den
9
Jim Davies 2010-07-19 02:00
By Jim Davies.   Exclusive to STR     The abrupt termination of the distinguished, six-decade career of Helen Thomas, after she expressed her opinion about Jews on May 27th, has something fishy about it. There are layers of deception to be uncovered, and since nobody else has removed them, I will make the attempt. You read it here first.   Until that day, there had been no...
Porcupines
8.66667
Jim Davies 2010-07-07 02:00
By Jim Davies.   Exclusive to STR     In June I had the pleasure of visiting PorcFest 2010, a friendly festival of freedom-seekers held in Northern New Hampshire; so far north that, had one traveled much further, one would have entered Her Majesty's jurisdiction. One of her subjects had in fact come south, from his freedomain somewhere near the North Pole, to enhance the Festival;...
One Cheer for Obama!
8
Jim Davies 2010-06-15 02:00
By Jim Davies.   Exclusive to STR     Normally I give politics all the close attention it deserves, which is to say, next to none; but I've been unable to avoid the thick layers of hypocrisy that have been oozing out of the Mexican Gulf since BP's blowout preventer failed to prevent a blowout.   At once, it was plain that an awful tragedy was looming. Not just the tragedies of...
Quake
6
Jim Davies 2010-03-15 02:00
Exclusive to STR Among the welter of news reports about the recent tragedy in Haiti, I noticed a couple that were quite perceptive. As it happens, they both broke surface on the PBS News Hour.   One came a few days after January 12th from David Brooks, the Hour's token conservative. He observed that a slightly more severe earthquake had hit San Francisco and Oakland in 1989, which brought...
Half Full
8.33333
Jim Davies 2010-01-21 03:00
  Exclusive to STR   I've been re-reading a couple of excellent, recent articles on Strike The Root, each of which in its way predicts a gloomy future.   One is Glen Allport's "Year Ahead" and the other, Tzo's "Got Money?. Glen provides us as usual with a wealth of evidence to prove his point, piling one piece atop another until there can be no doubt of the message...
Oslo
8
Jim Davies 2009-12-15 16:00
Exclusive to STR  There's no doubt of it, Obama is one of the world's two best orators of the last hundred years, and his performance at the December 10th ceremony was stellar. Was there a teleprompter? I didn't see him even glance at a set of notes, yet the delivery was flawless. To his credit also is the way his speech addressed head-on an irony of the occasion; here was the world's...
Duty
0
Jim Davies 2009-12-07 16:00
Exclusive to STR  The word comes in two flavors, and I'd like to focus on the second; but both derive from the Latin debere, meaning to owe--hence also a "debit" to an account. In most common use, the word has to do with an obligation, contractual or moral; it is alleged for example that by some mysterious means everyone has incurred a duty to serve one's country, as in JFK's...
Handouts
6
Jim Davies 2009-11-15 16:00
Exclusive to STR  One of the debates among liberty seekers is about the extent to which it's morally right to accept or reject government handouts. In my opinion, it's one of a rather small number of issues still open to valid debate, and for sure there are good, sincere people on both sides of it and I respect all of them. Although these remarks come down clearly on one side, that respect...
Marbury
0
Jim Davies 2009-11-04 16:00
Exclusive to STR  There's a legal case which changed the face of America, and which poisons a great deal of contemporary life; it's known as Marbury v. Madison, and was decided by the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) in 1803. That was the year the Judicial Branch drove through the gaping hole left for it by Article Three of the Constitution (which gives it very few powers and...
Origins
10
Jim Davies 2009-10-25 16:00
Exclusive to STR  Where and when did government start? It's quite a mystery. Given that human beings are basically harmless creatures, how did it happen that an inherently violent institution arose in human society, whose whole raison d'tre is always to destroy the fundamental human right of self-governance? The question is important not just to satisfy historical understanding, but to...
Human Nature
7
Jim Davies 2009-10-14 15:00
Exclusive to STR  Recently some friends and I discussed the nature of hom sap so as better to understand how it could be that the violent institution of government could appear from nowhere, back before writing was invented. Are we good, or evil, or neither? We didn't reach full agreement, but the subject was given a new boost by B.R. Merrick's recent fine thought-provoker, The Heart...
A Terminological Exactitude
0
Jim Davies 2009-09-16 15:00
Exclusive to STR  Standards of parliamentary civility are maintained in the Mother of them all in London by a convention that excludes the following words from the floor of that House: blackguard, coward, git, guttersnipe, hooligan, ignoramus, liar, rat, swine, stoolpigeon, and traitor. Her cousin in Belfast prohibits calling members papish bigots and protestant bigots, to disguise the fact...
Insuring Health
0
Jim Davies 2009-08-17 15:00
Exclusive to STR My father worked all his life for one company, a prestigious insurance firm in the UK. He began from school as an entry-level clerk, and ended up its Branch Manager in the city of Worcester, where the well-known sauce is made. In all that time, he made only one key mistake of which I'm aware. Soon after he took over the Worcester branch, he came up with a plan for a new product....
Airport Conversation
0
Jim Davies 2009-08-11 15:00
Exclusive to STR Last week I waited for a Westbound flight to be called, from a gate in London Heathrow, and happened to sit next to a black lady, somewhat overweight, in a dark uniform. I made conversation with, "Are you joining this flight?" "No," she said, "I work here"--meaning, presumably, Heathrow. "I'm a profiler." "Really?" I said, in my...
Gulches
0
Jim Davies 2009-06-14 15:00
Exclusive to STR Stewart Browne's recent, eloquent column here about the need to secede reminded me of the long-running debate among freedom-seekers about the best (or at least, the most feasible) way to establish a free society: (1) to attract libertarians to populate a small independent area, a marked-off Government-Free Zone (GFZ) of some kind in which statists would have no place, or (2) to...
Beyond Rand
0
Jim Davies 2009-05-20 15:00
Exclusive to STR Larken Rose is best known for his courage in resisting the supposed US "income tax," which is enforced without having been written into law; and suffered imprisonment for encouraging folk to take advantage of the fact. Recently, however, he has taken to writing novels, and his latest, called The Iron Web, has nothing to do with the i-tax but much to do with our...
What If the Sky Falls?
0
Jim Davies 2009-05-14 15:00
Exclusive to STR As Alex Knight reminded us a few months ago, there are those who say the present recession will get worse, ending perhaps in a general breakdown of society complete with food riots and martial law; and last week an STR reader poll revealed that as many as 85% of us think that the March stock market bottom was not the bottom at all, that the Dow will go lower yet after what may...
A Measure of Freedom
0
Jim Davies 2009-04-06 15:00
Exclusive to STR Quite rightly, we tend to focus here mostly on what is happening today, rather than long ago. However, to do that all the time is a pity, for it robs us of historical perspective, which can be quite valuable. For example, consider: Are we more free today, than our forebears were in the 1900s? How can we tell? Does it matter? I think it may matter, because if we can measure...
A Denarius for Your Thoughts
0
Jim Davies 2009-03-22 16:00
Exclusive to STR Britain has turned out some pretty good mathematicians over the years, and one reason may be the complexity of its old currency system, which we were expected to understand by the age of six or so. Its structure was that of Pounds, Shillings and Pence; symbolized £, s and d and pronounced LSD (which may be why Brits of my generation did not all immediately tune in to...
Greener Grass?
0
Jim Davies 2009-03-05 03:00
Exclusive to STR The screeching from our gloom and doomster friends on the Right has become deafening in recent months: they say the US dollar is on the very verge of collapse! It's monotonous, and I usually just hit the "delete" button. Occasionally, though, when the mood takes me, I reply with some such innocent question as "When?" or "To be replaced by what?" or...
Misallocation
0
Jim Davies 2009-02-23 16:00
Exclusive to STR Nine or ten thousand years ago, mankind began to plow fields. I don't know what tools he used--perhaps some kind of wooden spades or trowels, fashioned with flint from a cedar of Lebanon; but somehow he turned the earth and cereal seeds were planted and some months later his little society had something to eat--without having had to strike camp and move along every few days or...
Geithner, Killefer, Daschle & Schiff
0
Jim Davies 2009-02-15 16:00
Exclusive to STR No, that's not the name of a distinguished firm of tax lawyers with a German flavor, and no, Irwin Schiff has not been offered a place in the Obama Cabinet. That would be the day! He did once run for President, with a cute little red plastic cowboy hat adorning the heads of his Libertarian Party supporters, but delegates instead nominated Harry Browne, who did a very creditable...
Law and Ethics: Unrelated
0
Jim Davies 2009-02-04 16:00
Exclusive to STR Like all good STR articles, the recent one by Marcel Votluka got me thinking. It got me thinking about what laws are, and what an ethic is when it's at home. Both purport to be about behavior--harmony between humans--so we expect them to coincide well and are surprised when they don't. However, I take the opposite view, and express surprise when they do. An examination of what...
Inflation?
0
Jim Davies 2009-01-07 16:00
Exclusive to STR You'll be wondering about that question mark. As Dave Barry so accurately put it, '. . . the troubled 'big three' auto makers . . . ask Congress for $25 billion, explaining that if they don't get the money, they will be unable to continue making cars that Americans are not buying.' Others suggest that once bailed-out, the Big Three will no longer make cars, but will just keep...
Public Works Don't
0
Jim Davies 2009-01-04 16:00
Exclusive to STR A financial report I encountered says that "President-elect Barack Obama, who takes office Jan. 20, has said his first priority will be to pass an economic stimulus plan that will invest in public works and create or save 3 million jobs." I don't doubt that it's accurate, and so am horrified. One thing he and his admirers have glossed over is that almost the entire...
Night
0
Jim Davies 2008-12-28 16:00
Exclusive to STR There's a very remarkable short book I recommend, called simply Night. It tells in the first person what happened to a young boy after he and his family were taken to Auschwitz from their home in a small Hungarian town in 1944. After a grueling train trip, everyone was segregated by gender and Elie waved farewell to his mother and three sisters. The two elder ones survived, as he...
Barry Sotero
0
Jim Davies 2008-12-07 16:00
Exclusive to STR I can see four things wrong with the following provision of the US Constitution: "No Person except a natural born Citizen, or a Citizen of the United States, at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the Office of President; neither shall any Person be eligible to that Office who shall not have attained to the Age of thirty five Years, and been...
M
0
Jim Davies 2008-12-02 16:00
Exclusive to STR No, this is not about a newly-discovered manuscript by Ian Fleming, revealing more amazing exploits of Agent 007 and his mysterious boss; it's about the even more mysterious subject of money; specifically, about how much of it will be needed in the coming free society. Some may feel that's rather theoretical, but I have little patience with such a view. If we are serious about...
Ponzi Reconsidered
0
Jim Davies 2008-11-18 16:00
Exclusive to STR Charles Ponzi achieved in his lifetime something very rare: his surname became part of the English Language. Thomas Crapper did that in the 1860s, when he developed and marketed the modern toilet, and so did Sir Robert Peel when he organized the British police; to this day, agents of that force may be called "bobbies" or sometimes "peelers." But how many other...
A Novel Takes Flight
0
Jim Davies 2008-11-12 16:00
Exclusive to STR George F. Smith, a regular fellow contributor to Strike The Root, has written a crackerjack novel which all here will enjoy, and could acquire to give or lend to friends whose interest in the great money swindle may have been piqued by the recent $750 billion government "failout." With the intriguing title The Flight of the Barbarous Relic, it's a cleverly crafted...
Farewell, Marshall
0
Jim Davies 2008-11-06 16:00
Exclusive to STR Marshall Fritz died November 4th, and the freedom movement is the poorer. While living, Marshall was larger than life. Large physically, this remarkable man had that mysterious quality, a "presence," that would dominate whatever group he entered--in a benevolent way, of course. To the extent that curmudgeonly individualist libertarians have a leader, he was it. And now...
A Dollar in Peril
10
Jim Davies 2008-11-02 16:00
Exclusive to STR One of the nice things about not voting is that one can enjoy a little sport at the expense of those who do. Let me share with you an example or three. A few days before November 4th, I visited a nearby town, and first called at the government postal monopoly for some stamps so that I could write to an innocent friend incarcerated in a government prison. Standing in line, I said...
"Crash Course" Caveats
0
Jim Davies 2008-10-28 16:00
Exclusive to STR Recently an "Editor's Pick" here recommended a no-charge Flash presentation by Chris Martenson about the next 20 years, appropriately called The Crash Course. I endorse that; it's outstanding. I've seen many presentations, but never one more professionally delivered. Further, its 2 ' hour total viewing time is split into 21 short parts, so as to make it easy to absorb...
Fiat Folly
0
Jim Davies 2008-09-23 15:00
Exclusive to STR Everyone seems to agree that the mess in the money trade stems from profligate mortgage lending half a decade ago; banks loaned large sums to people with poor credit rating, then sold the mortgages in bundles with other, better-quality notes, then those were resold throughout the industry, and so when some borrowers failed to repay to the terms agreed, everyone was stuck with bad...
Time for a Trim?
0
Jim Davies 2008-09-09 15:00
Exclusive to STR There's no shortage of complaints about government, nor will there ever be for as long as they may be expressed without penalty; though that may not be too long a period, Amendment #1 notwithstanding. Here's the twist: I'm going to name a few of the more common, current ones, and show simply what might be a possible resolution of each. Then I'm going to ask whether the sum of...
Tail of a Dog
0
Jim Davies 2008-08-28 15:00
Exclusive to STR There are a lot of good folk out there who think civilization is being run--badly--by the Bilderbergers and their friends. They point to such sources as G. Edward Griffin's The Creature From Jekyll Island which documents how the Federal Reserve Bank was set up a century ago, and conclude that since the Fed holds the purse strings, it governs the government; that hence, we are all...
November Games
0
Jim Davies 2008-07-17 15:00
Exclusive to STR Bob Barr was not an ideal choice for libertarians, but he got the nod, so he's the only person likely to be on most ballots in November offering a freedom-ish alternative to the two War Party candidates. His platform is halfway decent, it has a lot of good stuff. Here, however, is one form of words prominently missing, in his segment on "Taxes": "Taxation is theft...
Poised to Implode
0
Jim Davies 2008-07-17 15:00
Exclusive to STR Government is doomed. The whole miserable apparatus of local, State and Federal politicos, liars, thieves, pimps, bullies and bureau-rats will disappear a couple of decades hence and a few years later, the peoples of every other country in the world will follow our example. Those of us who understand why it has to go are now, happily, equipped to make it happen. A few weeks ago...
Gas Puzzler
0
Jim Davies 2008-07-08 15:00
Exclusive to STR Soon after landing on American soil, I found myself lining up for gasoline for 45 minutes, and that told me something was wrong with this land of free enterprise. When all the establishment media I could lay hands on failed to explain the shortage, I knew it was worse. When only a fringe magazine (The Libertarian Review, July/August 1979, with outstanding articles by D.T....
Avalanche
0
Jim Davies 2008-06-09 15:00
Exclusive to STR I've been peering into my crystal ball again, trying to see what government might do to impede a peaceful Anarchist Revolution when it awakens to the fact that one is under way. This is to give you a quick overview, and especially to ask any reader to jump in to the STR Forum, or just email me directly, if he thinks of any kind of hostile action the parasites might take, in the...
E-Day
10
Jim Davies 2008-05-26 15:00
Exclusive to STR I'll not tell you the date, but based upon a very few simple and well-grounded assumptions, it will fall in the year 2027. "E-Day" is the day that all government in America will evaporate because, having gained a proper understanding of its nature, nobody will be willing any longer to work for it on any terms; tens of millions will have done what a certain DMV...
Evil
0
Jim Davies 2008-04-27 15:00
Exclusive to STR Ever since I was nine years old, I've had huge respect for the writer Arthur Ransome. Some here will recognize him as the author of a delightful series of children's books starting with Swallows and Amazons, good for reading at any age and full of wholesome stuff; siblings in each of several families are portrayed, discovering and practising virtues like respect, self-reliance,...
Biggest Bang for the CD Buck
0
Jim Davies 2008-04-14 15:00
Exclusive to STR Civil Disobedience, or CD, is spectacular and scary and costly and courageous and inspiring, all of the above, but as I suggested in the case of Gandhi, not necessarily effective. Still, there are some occasions when it may be useful. CD means the deliberate flouting of a government law, usually in plain view. Some refused to register for the draft, when it was operating; they...
Utopia
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Jim Davies 2008-03-27 16:00
Exclusive to STR "Utopia" can be defined as "any visionary system of political or social perfection," but we most often hear it in the derogatory sense of "an impractical, idealistic scheme for social and political reform," and it falls thus from the lips of those walnut-brained idiots to whom we've just earnestly explained our vision of how a free-market society...
The Speech That Eliot Never Gave
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Jim Davies 2008-03-12 16:00
Exclusive to STR "Ladies and gentlemen, this is for me the most difficult press conference I've ever held, though not for the reasons you may be supposing. The fact is that I am--for the first time ever--going to tell you the truth. We shall see tomorrow, from your reports and broadcasts, whether you can handle the truth. "It is, of course, no small thing for the Governor of the Empire...
451 F
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Jim Davies 2008-03-06 16:00
Exclusive to STR "Why is the number of your squad 451?" asked the girl on the train, of the blond fireman in his smart uniform. His answer: "Because in Fahrenheit, that's the temperature at which the pages of books catch fire." Yes, it's true, I just watched a 42-year-old movie, "Fahrenheit 451" and enjoyed it a lot. It falls short here and there, and isn't up to the...
Why Minarchism Cannot Cut It
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Jim Davies 2008-02-28 16:00
Exclusive to STR Recently Dr. Gary North, the well-known Libertarian predictor of catastrophes large and small, wrote a thought-provoking article entitled "Non-Negotiable Political Demands" in which he listed seventeen. It's worth reading the original, because it's as vigorous an expression of the Classical Liberal position as I can recall reading, and at first sight we can say "...
Religion
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Jim Davies 2008-02-17 16:00
Exclusive to STR This is the last in my series of eight reports from the year 2030 about life in our newly-free society. I hope you've enjoyed them so far, and although they are rightly very upbeat, I hope you also agree they included "warts and all"--that they came without unjustified bias. If so, I also hope you'll be hungering and thirsting to help make it happen. Of course, with the...
Travel
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Jim Davies 2008-02-07 16:00
Exclusive to STR We move around, in this newly-free America, for the usual reasons: to visit family, to find business or employment, and for the delight of seeing all the amazing, spectacular beauties this great land has to show. The big difference is that since E-Day, there has been nobody to stop or hinder us. Forty years ago there was a TV miniseries produced called Amerika, with a K. Its...
Money
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Jim Davies 2008-01-31 16:00
Exclusive to STR Although two thirds of a century has passed since he wrote it in 1963, Murray Rothbard's classic What Has Government Done to Our Money? still has no equal as an explanation of what money is and how government distorted it. Rothbard called for free-market gold, which was of course impossible while government remained in control--but when it evaporated, three years ago, the market...
Justice
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Jim Davies 2008-01-23 16:00
Exclusive to STR For the first time ever in recorded human history, in 2027 a major society began righting wrongs and restoring damaged rights. True, I'm being a little unfair to the quite enlightened traditions in Somalia, to settlers of mediaeval Iceland, and to villagers throughout Europe in the same era--who resolved social outrages like theft, homicide and assault by arraigning the perp...
Work
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Jim Davies 2008-01-16 16:00
Exclusive to STR The great walk-out from government work, culminating in 2027, was the reason it evaporated. Nobody had lifted a hand or a shotgun against it, nobody had voted it out, and few had even withheld tax payments until a year or two prior--it merely disappeared with a whimper when nobody showed up to the office. This was a truly elegant implementation of de la Bo'tie's five-century-old...
Education
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Jim Davies 2008-01-09 16:00
Exclusive to STR I've now reported for you on the state of Ownership and Health in the newly-free America of 2030, and today I thought you'd like to know how education has fared, in the three years since government imploded on E-Day. I'd say that this is the industry that has improved most radically of all! For about 175 years before then, almost every child in America used to leave home every...
Health
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Jim Davies 2008-01-02 16:00
Exclusive to STR January 3, 2008 I turned 90 in the year that government finally collapsed, so if anyone had cause for concern about that decapitation of the health care system, I was the one. At this age, one's good health assumes an importance never considered in the carefree days of youth and prime. However, I need not have worried; as always, the market works. Political management of...
Ownership
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Jim Davies 2007-12-19 16:00
Exclusive to STR December 20, 2007
Rainbow Five
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Jim Davies 2007-12-04 16:00
Exclusive to STR December 5, 2007 Have you heard of Rainbow Five? Most have not; I had not, until I read Thomas Fleming's masterpiece, The New Dealers' War. I'd say it is one of the most important documents of the 20th Century, and yet to this day it is little known. Such is history; forget its lessons, as Santayana so famously said, and you're condemned to repeat them. The story of Rainbow Five...
Constitutional Rule
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Jim Davies 2007-12-04 16:00
Exclusive to STR November 26, 2007 Imagine the Feds were to obey and be limited by the US Constitution. Would that produce a free society? As a stick with which to defend oneself against government people, the Constitution is a lot better than nothing. They invade your privacy without "probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and...
Constitutional Rule
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Jim Davies 2007-11-25 16:00
Exclusive to STR December 5, 2007 Have you heard of Rainbow Five? Most have not; I had not, until I read Thomas Fleming's masterpiece, The New Dealers' War. I'd say it is one of the most important documents of the 20th Century, and yet to this day it is little known. Such is history; forget its lessons, as Santayana so famously said, and you're condemned to repeat them. The story of Rainbow Five...
One End in Sight
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Jim Davies 2007-11-06 16:00
Exclusive to STR November 7, 2007
A Flame of Success
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Jim Davies 2007-10-14 15:00
Exclusive to STR October 15, 2007 The 19th Century Industrial Revolution was one of the most glorious periods in human history, for the societies that took part--notably in America and Europe . Thanks to the intellectual groundwork laid a century earlier in both philosophy and science, the influence of governments was reduced at the very time when enterprise could develop key discoveries in...
Are States Irrational?
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Jim Davies 2007-10-10 15:00
Exclusive to STR October 11, 2007 In a recent essay here I suggested that the state (government, nation) is "an entity utterly irrational at its very root," and that raised a few eyebrows--so I thought to explain. The concerns were of this kind:
The Greenspan Enigma
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Jim Davies 2007-09-26 15:00
Exclusive to STR September 27, 2007 Alan Greenspan was economic advisor to governments and presidents from Gerald Ford onwards, and Fed Chairman for 19 years. He has had enormous influence for a third of a century, so it's worth trying to understand him.
Suppose Paul Wins
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Jim Davies 2007-09-16 15:00
Exclusive to STR September 17, 2007 The reputable London gambling firm Ladbrokes is offering odds of 40/1 against Ron Paul winning the White House (click on Specials > US Presidential Election), so true believers in the Paul campaign might do well to pony up a grand then pocket a handy $40,000 in November next year. That could be one benefit of a Paul victory. But what else?
Sicko, Wacko
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Jim Davies 2007-07-01 15:00
Exclusive to STR July 2, 2007 It must have been Be Kind to Michael Moore Week.
Twenty Twenty-Two
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Jim Davies 2007-06-14 15:00
Exclusive to STR June 15, 2007 It's just a year since I wrote to suggest how we can get there from here, so I thought you'd like to know that the project is proceeding nicely. In response to that announcement, about as many as I had hoped joined the Academy it introduced, and that one-time boost will bring forward by several years the day that government evaporates; it's still too early to...
The Futility of Protests
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Jim Davies 2007-06-03 15:00
Exclusive to STR June 4, 2007 It's all very exciting and good for morale. You get up early, ride to the bus station, sing along with two dozen others of like mind on the journey to the big city, then march along the streets yelling slogans, waving banners and getting photographed for the evening news as part of the latest phenom. With any luck, purveyors of the opposite view will show up across...
Shock and Au
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Jim Davies 2007-05-08 15:00
Exclusive to STR May 9, 2007 Governments wage war on anything and anyone that interferes with their insane wish to dominate everything in sight; they are only about power, for its own sake. Any regular reader of Strike The Root will know this. Still, it's amazing to watch it happen.
Article Three
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Jim Davies 2007-04-17 15:00
Exclusive to STR April 18, 2007 There is a rich variety of reasons why a "minimal government" cannot work, starting with the entirely sufficient one that since every human owns his own life, any interference with his exercise of that fundamental right imposes a negative effect upon his wellbeing.
Recollections of a Visit to a Bank
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Jim Davies 2007-04-11 15:00
Exclusive to STR April 12, 2007 Some years ago, I paid a visit to a strange bank. It wasn't "strange" in the sense of being weird or sinister, just in the sense that I'd not been there before; it was not my regular bank, and so it was strange to me. The reason I went was that I'd come across an old piece of plastic in my drawer, and wanted to try it out. It bears a symbol not displayed by any...
An Offer to Be Refused?
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Jim Davies 2007-04-08 15:00
Exclusive to STR April 9, 2007
Anyone for Sacrifice?
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Jim Davies 2007-03-25 15:00
Exclusive to STR March 26, 2007 A number of extraordinarily brave libertarians have recently shown themselves willing to suffer physically at the hands of government rather than submit to its authority. Is this a good idea? Let's probe that question in three ways: ' - Does self-sacrifice strengthen one's own resolve and self-respect? ' - Does it inspire the hesitant to take...
The Pretense of Justice
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Jim Davies 2007-03-15 16:00
Exclusive to STR March 16, 2007 Imagine: you stand in a government court, accused of wearing an orange jacket in public on St Patrick's Day. You're disconcerted to find that the judge, the court staff and even your own defense attorney are, in addition to the prosecutor, all Irish-American; and as everybody knows, Irishmen think very poorly of the color orange. You have certainly been guilty of...
But What About the Poor?
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Jim Davies 2007-03-08 16:00
Exclusive to STR March 9, 2007 Eighty percent of humanity is living in squalor. Why? The Peruvian economist Hernando de Soto asked and answered that in his 2000 book, The Mystery of Capital"--well worth reading, and the subject of a 2004 STR article here. His analysis of the cause of these anomalies is stimulating; in my view his prescription for a fix, less so.
Brown v. US
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Jim Davies 2007-03-04 16:00
Exclusive to STR The case of US v Brown is over; on January 18th, 2007 , Ed and Elaine Brown of Plainfield , NH , were convicted of tax evasion in a Federal Court. What I'll call the case of Brown v US then began, and seems set to continue through the Spring. The Feds are very clever at gaining such convictions, even though nobody has yet found any law compelling anyone to pay their "income...
What the War Was For
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Jim Davies 2007-02-25 16:00
Exclusive to STR February 26, 2007 Back in 2002 before the invasion, I chanced upon what I thought then--and now--was an unusually intelligent article about what the NeoCons planned to do in the Middle East . It was by Gary D. Halbert and derived from the Stratfor think tank, and while analysis of government policy is not normally anything of interest to anarchists, this did fascinate me because...
Tribes
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Jim Davies 2007-02-18 16:00
Exclusive to STR February 19, 2007 To which tribe do you belong, I wonder? How do you describe yourself?
Meet Your 1040 Form
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Jim Davies 2007-01-29 16:00
Exclusive to STR January 30, 2007 This is the time of year when 150 million working Americans 'fess up to owing the FedGov several thousand dollars each, and many of us pick up a free copy of the 1040 Instruction Book at the government's nearest Post Office and try to minimize the total. This offers a short guide to two pages of that 100-page book which most people never read.
In Praise of Andy Mel
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Jim Davies 2007-01-14 16:00
Exclusive to STR January 15, 2007 We know, now, that government can never be constrained in either theory or practice but must be eliminated altogether from civilized society; but I can confirm the "in practice" bit of that due in part to the dogged determination, and ultimate failure, to prove the opposite by one of the most remarkable men I've been privileged to know: Andrew...
America: from Freedom to Fascism'
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Jim Davies 2007-01-07 16:00
Exclusive to STR January 8, 2007 Here is a professionally produced, full-length movie that alerts Joe Sixpack to the erosion of his liberties, and as such it deserves our close attention. This reviews its strengths and weaknesses.
Milton, Lost
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Jim Davies 2006-11-17 16:00
Exclusive to STR November 18, 2006 The world of freedom lost a champion November 15th with the death of Milton Friedman at 94.
Hit Or Myth
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Jim Davies 2006-11-09 16:00
Exclusive to STR November 10, 2006
Freedom's Imperative
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Jim Davies 2006-10-29 16:00
Exclusive to STR October 30, 2006 Here's why every human being, who is able and willing to engage his brain, mustbecome an anarchist. The process of reasoning below is not hard. It may be true that at any one time the great majority of our fellow humans will not consider it--but that is a matter of will, not of ability. Anyone who does give this his or her attention will find that he has no...
Let's Win Another Election!
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Jim Davies 2006-10-16 15:00
Exclusive to STR There's a wonderful resource on Strike The Root, called the Non-Voting Archive--well worth a visit, if you haven't been there recently. And if you have, the title above may trigger a double-take; has Jim entirely lost his marbles? Not quite, I hope, though of course since I don't believe in government, there are those who think I lost them long ago, or that I never had any to...
What Might Have Been
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Jim Davies 2006-10-01 15:00
Exclusive to STR October 2, 2006 Carl Watner's extraordinary book I Must Speak Out is densely packed with superb material for the student of market anarchism, and one of its chapters reproduces an 1896 essay by Francis Tandy about what means are appropriate for getting from a Statist society to a free one. It is remarkable; and I got to wonder how things might have been for the last century,...
Libertarians, Both Academic and Real
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Jim Davies 2006-09-20 15:00
Exclusive to STR September 21, 2006 A recent STR article by Tony Sampognaro suggested that The On Line Freedom Academy is too "academic" and lacks "WIFMs." I led the project of putting the Academy in place, so would like to respond.
Tweedle Dee
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Jim Davies 2006-09-17 15:00
Exclusive to STR September 18, 2006 On television, there is one news program worth watching. With refreshing honesty, it bills itself as "the only fake news show in the world that admits it" and can be found on cable, at the Comedy Channel; late-night, with a repeat the next day in prime time for those of us who retire early. It's "The Daily Show," and its host at the anchor's desk is Jon Stewart...
The "Why?" of 9/11
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Jim Davies 2006-09-07 15:00
Exclusive to STR September 8, 2006 It's the key to the whole tragedy, and five years later it's even more tragic that so few are even asking that question, let alone suggesting an answer. It's one of the five that journalists are trained to ask about every story they cover (What, When, Where, Who and Why), and while the other four were answered professionally within hours of the first WTC impact...
Quiet Revolution
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Jim Davies 2006-08-27 15:00
Exclusive to STR There was a little adverse reaction to my June article on Strike The Root, How We Can Get There From Here, by some skeptical of its success because its growth projections appeared too similar to those of the notorious "multi-level" marketing schemes (MLMs) that once filled our email inboxes. It was rightly observed that most of those are spectacular failures. So I'd like to...
The Cleanup Crew
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Jim Davies 2006-07-12 15:00
Exclusive to STR
How We Can Get There From Here
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Jim Davies 2006-06-18 15:00
Exclusive to STR Market anarchists have no problem visualizing an ideal society--one rid of the age-old curse of government, so that we self-owning human beings make all our own decisions, unburdened by any obligation except those undertaken explicitly and voluntarily. Nor have we any problem seeing the ruin, misery and destruction caused by government, as it supercedes those sovereign decisions...
Dear Congressman,
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Jim Davies 2006-06-04 15:00
Exclusive to STR I'm writing about those eleven million undocumented aliens among us. You recently decided to ship them back South, and although I do have an opinion about that, please allow me to not reveal it, for today I want to urge upon you only one point: that if you do enforce the law in that way, you do so efficiently and fairly. First though, I can understand your reasoning. You make...
The Preamble Reconsidered
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Jim Davies 2006-05-17 15:00
Exclusive to STR The Preamble to the United States Constitution is surely one of the most sublime paragraphs ever written. Before this dissection begins, let's prop it up and admire it in all its glory: We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure...
What Gas Crunch?
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Jim Davies 2006-05-14 15:00
Exclusive to STR
The Real-Estate Racket
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Jim Davies 2006-04-25 15:00
Exclusive to STR In 1945, $5,000 would buy you a pretty nice house in most parts of the USA; yet according to the Inflation Calculator, that sum would equate to $52,500 60 years later, accounting just for the government's destruction of the value of the US Dollar. If someone has for sale a nice, well-maintained 3-bedroom ranch for $52 grand, please let me know. More likely, today it would go for...
The Battle of Jutland
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Jim Davies 2006-02-07 16:00
Exclusive to STR
Index Siteorum Prohibitorum
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Jim Davies 2006-01-26 16:00
Exclusive to STR There was a delicious moment on PBS' 'Lehrer News Hour' on January 25th. The segment was run by correspondent Jeff Brown, and concerned an announcement from Google about its policy in China . Only 8% of Chinese have Internet access, but that's still 100 million people, so it's a huge market for the search-engine company, which it has decided to exploit by providing new Chinese...
Snowflakes and the Second Law
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Jim Davies 2006-01-18 16:00
Exclusive to STR You probably heard this one, but here goes in case not: If the whole world were anarchist, who would enforce the law of gravity? Ka-boom. You may also have heard the Second Law of Thermodynamics, for our theist friends are fond of citing it to prove that the order found in nature is created: "In a closed system, entropy rises."
Brits in Revolt
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Jim Davies 2005-12-29 16:00
Exclusive to STR
Shark's Fin Soup
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Jim Davies 2005-12-15 16:00
Exclusive to STR
2007: The Year in Review
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Jim Davies 2005-12-11 16:00
Exclusive to STR Regular readers of Strike the Root need no reminder that 2007 was another terrible year for the cause of individual freedom; and that's just as well, for I might be arrested if I gave one. But liberty is more often eroded gradually than demolished all at once, and the events of this year had origins in 2006 and 2005--of which a quick reminder may be useful. The worst day came...
The Power of One
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Jim Davies 2005-11-21 16:00
Exclusive to STR Nobody is better qualified than my friend Per Bylund to propose, as he did in a recent STR article, that we who yearn for liberty "save the world through saving [our]selves." Per is not only a brilliant thinker and prolific author (in two languages!) he founded an anarchist website before many of us got our brains in gear and has engaged in debate there all comers from...
The Myth of a 'Social Contract'
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Jim Davies 2005-11-01 16:00
Exclusive to STR Ever since monarchs first felt the rumblings of discontent, they reached for a way to justify their miserable existences in the eyes of those upon the product of whose labor they lived in luxury; for many centuries the "Divine Right" theory did the job. The theory had it that a God exists, supremely governing the whole universe, and favors were granted to the Church to help it...
The Suppression of Dissent
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Jim Davies 2005-10-25 15:00
Exclusive to STR The jury is still out, as I write these words. Its verdict may be in by the time you read them, and there's a blog with the latest news--but that's okay because the point of this article is not to comment on the trial's outcome but to show what government had to do, in order try to silence an influential advocate of freedom. Its conclusion will be that government is wholly unfit...
Reflections in the Stream
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Jim Davies 2005-10-02 15:00
Exclusive to STR My wise friend and mentor Anthony I. S. Alexander makes the analogy of a smooth-flowing stream, peaceful and beneficial to all in its proximity and fostering all manner of productive life in its waters. He supposes that at a point in its history, some hooligan tosses in a boulder, after which all the waters below are disturbed; eddy currents develop and hew out new paths through...
A Billion Here, a Billion There
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Jim Davies 2005-09-16 15:00
Towards the end of a recent Strike The Root article I predicted that New Orleans would be rebuilt regardless of cost, by the FedGov's use of money stolen from you and me, and with none of the discipline over spending that would be imposed by a free market--which would, of course, properly address the primary question in the first place, of whether it's a good idea to rebuild a city vulnerable to...
America's Underclass
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Jim Davies 2005-09-09 15:00
It's always amusing to watch different factions of the political class lambaste each other, if only because there is truth in so many of the rude things they say. It was quite a spectacle, for instance, when Barbara Boxer (D-CA) left her own LA and flew to the other LA to lecture the Republican President on his allegedly miserable failure to do more to help the poor left stranded by the recent...
The Super Bowl in LA
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Jim Davies 2005-09-02 15:00
There's something very peculiar about the disaster in New Orleans . News reports are full, of course, of vast numbers of homeless and hundreds of dead, and particularly of heroic action by rescue people, usually government employees. I mean no disrespect to any of those; on the contrary, I want only to point to the cause, so they need never be burdened thus again.
"Christian Anarchist": An Oxymoron?
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Jim Davies 2005-08-08 15:00
Some of those responding to a recent article of mine took me to task for its reference to the doctrine of original sin as a "myth." One message hoped that I'd arrange to be buried in an asbestos suit; that was subtle, but I think I understand. So here, I thought to address the question: can one with intellectual consistency embrace both individual freedom and Christianity? Undoubtedly,...
Spam Wars
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Jim Davies 2005-06-12 15:00
Ever since large numbers of people realized that the Internet offers a way to communicate instantly and at zero marginal cost, there has been a problem called "spam." Some people get very heated about it and want the government to "do something" to impair free speech. I'm one of those who have always disagreed. Of course, I too am a victim of what is properly called "UCE": Unsolicited Commercial...
Vive la France!
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Jim Davies 2005-06-02 15:00
On May 29th, French voters rejected the European Constitution, so kicking all establishment Pols in the eye; a resounding 55-45 said "Non." A couple of days later, Dutch ones did the same by an even wider margin. Right result, wrong reasons.
A Rational Memorial Day
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Jim Davies 2005-05-29 15:00
The greatest honor we can do for the American war dead is to get our brains in gear. There's a circular argument circulating, and it urgently needs to be unspun: it holds that citizens owe a duty to fight the government's wars, because government exists mainly to defend the citizens. Let's leave aside for now the other few "justifications" for government to exist; they don't amount to much...
The AIDS Deception
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Jim Davies 2005-05-24 15:00
Government rests on a gigantic 'protection racket'; a threat is perceived, and Pols offer their services to protect people from it, in return for a grant of power. The alleged 'AIDS Epidemic' is a case in point, and doubly mendacious; there is no true threat, and there has certainly been no government-provided protection.
Blundering into World War Two
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Jim Davies 2005-04-19 15:00
Currently we're getting used to revelations that the Iraq War (Act II) was started on the basis of completely false intelligence; in other words, a total screw-up, a massive blunder. However, this is nothing new. Most other wars also started as a result of government incompetence and/or government malevolence in some mix, and the exception usually perceived, World War Two, is no exception at all...
Limited Government': A Fairy Tale
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Jim Davies 2005-04-13 15:00
Once upon a time many years ago, a group of clever men gathered in the home town of Mr. Franklin to challenge an oxymoron: they set up a "limited government." The United States of America was the result, and to this day the tale persists that its powers have limits. This Friday, April 15th, we will each be able to check that out.
Florida, Rome and Monaco
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Jim Davies 2005-04-07 15:00
Death has been in the news a great deal in recent weeks, and since it's an experience to which all of us must look forward, perhaps a further comment or two will not be out of place. Terry Schiavo
Abortion: A Market Solution?
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Jim Davies 2005-03-24 16:00
There's no possibility of reconciling the opposites in this debate, for one side regards an unborn fetus as a person with full legal rights to life and to the protection of the law, even in some cases when it's only a zygote, while the other sees it as a clump of cells entitled to neither. The first perception normally springs from religious belief, and that in its nature is never subject to...
Martha Stewart and Your Next 1040
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Jim Davies 2005-03-22 16:00
This month Martha Stewart emerged from five months' incarceration after being convicted of lying to the government. Next month you, dear Reader, will have to decide what you are going to do about your tax return. The two events are connected.
The Terrible Tens
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Jim Davies 2005-02-13 16:00
Governments ruined pretty well every decade of the 20th Century in one way or another, but those of the 1910's were arguably the worst.
John and Jane Relax
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Jim Davies 2005-01-23 16:00
John and Jane lived together. I don't really know whether they ever underwent a marriage ceremony; there are no wedding photos on their walls, but they'd been together, so their neighbors say, for several years; so even if they never signed a bit of government paper, I guess they may still be man and wife, in "common law." And they really were fond of one another, which is more than you can say...
Ethics, Religion and Freedom
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Jim Davies 2005-01-18 16:00
From the latter's recent article in Britain's Spectator magazine, it appears that the readership of Strike The Root may include such luminaries as the Archbishop of Canterbury and the distinguished free-market Conservative historian Paul Johnson; for it refers to the very themes struck in my recent piece here about the tsunami.
How to Grasp the Third Rail
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Jim Davies 2005-01-12 16:00
First off, I must declare an interest in "Social Security": I'd starve without it. That aside, all my opinions on it are strictly impartial and objective. Good, now that's out of the way. On January 11th, President Bush announced his panel to recommend needed changes in Social Security, and since for at least a quarter century anyone able to think straight and do math has been...
Random Thoughts on the Big Wave
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Jim Davies 2005-01-06 16:00
Good articles here on Strike The Root develop one single theme; authors tell readers what we are going to tell you, then we tell you, then we tell you what we told you; and all is wrapped up in a neat bundle. Sorry, but this one will be different. The only common thread below is the tsunami. These thoughts are what happened to catch my interest in the wake of the disaster, as one member of the...
A Little Bit Pregnant?
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Jim Davies 2004-12-29 16:00
The broad freedom movement in America today is united in believing that government is massively too big, too expensive, too intrusive and too dangerous; but otherwise holds quite a spectrum of opinions about why, how much, and what's to be done about it. At one end of it are people like me, who perceive that government in its essential nature is unalterably opposed to human beings in our...
Roads to Serfdom
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Jim Davies 2004-12-20 16:00
Soon after becoming a libertarian, I tried to imagine how society would function with a far, far smaller government, and I lost no time. It was not hard to see the appalling waste government produces, nor the towering inefficiency of its operations. I could quickly grasp that most major functions needed to be turned over to free competitive enterprise: health care, welfare, retirement...
Do You Know the Way to...Liberty?
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Jim Davies 2004-12-01 16:00
Notice three distinctive features, not previously seen: 1. Everyone, not just "opinion leaders," is to be enlightened. No doubt, that will be a tough job with the hard core of government junkies; but remember that every human is rational at root, and that attitudes will change with time. There is a 23-year period involved here, and today's hard case will be less resistant when, two...
The Gods Make Crazy
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Jim Davies 2004-10-31 16:00
For a long time past, those with some idea which way is up have been pointing out correctly that the electoral process is a farce, and we'll revisit some of the reasons below; but this year there has come a fresh one to confirm it, in the shape of Osama Bin Ladin. To the shock and horror of every talking head and pompous Pol, this wily A-rab released a tape which, they fumed, sought to "...
Five Reasons Not to Vote
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Jim Davies 2004-10-18 15:00
Once again, as Election Day approached the mantra intensifies: never mind for whom, but vote! It's your birthright, etc etc. For those troubled by a vague feeling that they are being hornswaggled, I write to offer comfort. 1. A first reason for not voting carries no weight with me personally, for I happen to be one who likes thinking outside the box and making up my own mind; but I mention it...
Ten Minutes With C-SPAN
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Jim Davies 2004-09-26 15:00
If you can stand the boredom, it's no bad idea now and again to watch C-SPAN for a while. The patient producers on that channel do a fine job of exposing our rulers' work to the public gaze. Sometimes, as below, a few minutes with C-SPAN can convince us afresh that no rational, acceptable alternative exists to a zero-government society. It was a dull evening elsewhere on the TV spectrum, so I...
Primary Day in the Trash
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Jim Davies 2004-09-14 15:00
Here in New Hampshire, anyway, September 14th was the day good political zombies were supposed to turn out and cast a vote. And the previous day at my Town Dump (what better locale?) a lady approached to remind me of that fact. I thanked her for her reminder, but said that I didn't believe in government. The shock of hearing that from an otherwise normal-looking and soft-spoken dumper of trash (...
Tall Tales from Garrison Keillor
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Jim Davies 2004-07-27 15:00
Few raconteurs on radio are more entertaining than the multi-talented Garrison Keillor. His insights into human nature seem penetrating. His stories of country life in Minnesota are homely and gripping, his humor can be hilarious yet he can turn from comedy to pathos on a dime, then back again just as fast. And to top it all, he can very passably sing. An announcement that his Prairie Home...
The World"s Biggest Oxymoron
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Jim Davies 2004-06-29 15:00
Oxymorons pop up all over the place, rather like the little green men of Irish folklore, or the Trolls to be found in every Swedish forest. They are there, you know they are there, but unless you look real hard, you never see them in the light of day. Let's pause to define the word. An oxymoron is a phrase with an internal contradiction, like "square circle," or "dry water...
Laws and Sausages
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Jim Davies 2004-05-25 15:00
The old joke has it that anyone who likes sausages or laws should not watch either of them being made; and there is something in that, though it's a long way short of the whole truth. Here, let's dig deeper. The viciously corrupt, immoral way in which laws are created, and their bizarre and unpredictable effects on the economy, are not the primary reasons why we should despise them all....
Nothing Learned in 60 Years
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Jim Davies 2004-05-25 15:00
Television this week is full of D-Day documentaries, because June 6th is the sixtieth anniversary of the famous invasion. Government and its audiovisual propagandists don't seem to have learned a whole lot in those six decades, for that assault is still portrayed as glorious. I was there, kind of. As a boy of 7 in the English Midlands, I awoke that day to the sound of continuous droning high...
The Source of Evil
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Jim Davies 2004-05-16 15:00
In Maine, it's famously impossible to get there from here; so as I reflected on the loathing with which much of the world now regards the fair name of America as a bomb-spitting, empire-seeking, prisoner-torturing monster, I wondered how we got here--having started 228 years ago with such a fervent passion for individual liberty, peace and trade. I went back to re-examine the Declaration of...
A Bum Rap for de Sade
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Jim Davies 2004-05-07 15:00
American torture of Iraqi prisoners has been called "sadistic" but that unjustly demeans the memory of the Marquis de Sade. It is no such thing. The merry Marquis lived (1740-1814) in La Coste, France, and had by all accounts a voracious sexual appetite and a fine disregard for convention. He threw wild parties and the partygoers indulged in orgies galore--complete with whips,...
Defense for a Free Society
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Jim Davies 2004-04-28 15:00
The Iraq fiasco is providing a powerful validation of our Libertarian theory about how a free society would best be defended. That's not of course to say that Iraq is in any sense a free society. Nor it is to disrespect the hundreds of Americans who have been killed there, nor to pass judgment on who, there, are the good guys and bad guys--an extraordinarily difficult task. Nor in particular does...
The Power of Twelve
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Jim Davies 2004-04-18 15:00
  The Power of Twelve by Jim Davies  In a zero-government society (ZGS) the only disputes that could arise would be those between individuals in society, and not between individuals and government--for there wouldn't be one. And those disputes would be settled under the terms of contracts previously agreed, as is sometimes done today in civil...
"Rule Me! Please!"
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Jim Davies 2004-03-14 16:00
Did you hear someone say that today? Or last week, last month or last year? - me neither. It's a funny thing, but although it's not hard to get someone to agree that Group X or Type Y certainly need to be controlled for the good of society (and although members of Group X may favor it for those of Type Y, and those of Type Y for those of Group X) the speaker's enthusiasm for...
Government: Who Needs It?
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Jim Davies 2004-03-10 16:00
Happily, these days the freedom movement has plenty of good web sites and magazines that routinely expose the massive harm done by government programs; and there are so many tens of thousands of government activities that such writers will never run short of material. They usually point out that among that welter of programs there are a few useful functions that would be in demand in a free...
The Suppression of Dissent
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Jim Davies 2005-10-25 15:00
Exclusive to STR The jury is still out, as I write these words. Its verdict may be in by the time you read them, and there's a blog with the latest news--but that's okay because the point of this article is not to comment on the trial's outcome but to show what government had to do, in order try to silence an influential advocate of freedom. Its conclusion will be that government is wholly unfit...
The Preamble Reconsidered
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Jim Davies 2006-05-17 15:00
Exclusive to STR The Preamble to the United States Constitution is surely one of the most sublime paragraphs ever written. Before this dissection begins, let's prop it up and admire it in all its glory: We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure...
Twenty Twenty-Two
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Jim Davies 2007-06-14 15:00
Exclusive to STR June 15, 2007 It's just a year since I wrote to suggest how we can get there from here, so I thought you'd like to know that the project is proceeding nicely. In response to that announcement, about as many as I had hoped joined the Academy it introduced, and that one-time boost will bring forward by several years the day that government evaporates; it's still too early to...
Ownership
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Jim Davies 2007-12-19 16:00
Exclusive to STR December 20, 2007
Constitutional Rule
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Jim Davies 2007-12-04 16:00
Exclusive to STR November 26, 2007 Imagine the Feds were to obey and be limited by the US Constitution. Would that produce a free society? As a stick with which to defend oneself against government people, the Constitution is a lot better than nothing. They invade your privacy without "probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and...
E-Day
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Jim Davies 2008-05-26 15:00
Exclusive to STR I'll not tell you the date, but based upon a very few simple and well-grounded assumptions, it will fall in the year 2027. "E-Day" is the day that all government in America will evaporate because, having gained a proper understanding of its nature, nobody will be willing any longer to work for it on any terms; tens of millions will have done what a certain DMV...
Justice
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Jim Davies 2008-01-23 16:00
Exclusive to STR For the first time ever in recorded human history, in 2027 a major society began righting wrongs and restoring damaged rights. True, I'm being a little unfair to the quite enlightened traditions in Somalia, to settlers of mediaeval Iceland, and to villagers throughout Europe in the same era--who resolved social outrages like theft, homicide and assault by arraigning the perp...
Origins
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Jim Davies 2009-10-25 16:00
Exclusive to STR  Where and when did government start? It's quite a mystery. Given that human beings are basically harmless creatures, how did it happen that an inherently violent institution arose in human society, whose whole raison d'tre is always to destroy the fundamental human right of self-governance? The question is important not just to satisfy historical understanding, but to...
Vox Dei?
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Jim Davies 2010-12-26 03:00
Column by Jim Davies. Exclusive to STR Michael Kleen's Conversation with Vox Day was an unusual article for Strike The Root, but gave a valuable insight into why theists may become good branch-trimming libertarians, but seldom ax-wielding, anarchist root-strikers. I had noticed Mr. Day at the masthead of that highly Statist, conservative publication World Net Daily, with its 24-point...
To Govern and Enslave
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Jim Davies 2012-02-07 00:00
Column by Jim Davies. Exclusive to STR  Given the axiom of self-ownership, there's very little difference between those two verbs. To govern someone is to override his own wishes; he wants to do X, but government commands him to do Y. Likewise, to enslave someone is to override his own plans; he wants to be an Econ Professor and columnist, but the slave-owner commands him to pick cotton, and...
The Power of One
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Jim Davies 2005-11-21 16:00
Exclusive to STR Nobody is better qualified than my friend Per Bylund to propose, as he did in a recent STR article, that we who yearn for liberty "save the world through saving [our]selves." Per is not only a brilliant thinker and prolific author (in two languages!) he founded an anarchist website before many of us got our brains in gear and has engaged in debate there all comers from...
A Dollar in Peril
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Jim Davies 2008-11-02 16:00
Exclusive to STR One of the nice things about not voting is that one can enjoy a little sport at the expense of those who do. Let me share with you an example or three. A few days before November 4th, I visited a nearby town, and first called at the government postal monopoly for some stamps so that I could write to an innocent friend incarcerated in a government prison. Standing in line, I said...
Breivik's Defense
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Jim Davies 2012-04-22 23:00
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...
What a Time to Be Alive!
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Jim Davies 2012-05-07 23:00
Column by Jim Davies. Exclusive to STR   For ten thousand years, governments have polluted the human race by stealing and squandering the products of our labor, repeatedly creating war and destruction, and choking off initiative and invention. Yet now, in this present era, there is serious hope that these parasites will cease to leech. The root of the problem is, at long last, being...
So You Work as an Elections Clerk?
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Jim Davies 2012-05-17 23:00
Column by Jim Davies. Exclusive to STR [Author's Note: Readers who know someone who helps operate elections might usefully refer him or her to this article. Should it become widely read before November, it could have an interesting effect. 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....
Dickens, Reconsidered
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Jim Davies 2012-06-11 23:00
Column by Jim Davies. Exclusive to STR Few novels if any can have so profoundly assisted the spread of socialism in the century following 1850 as those of Charles Dickens, for they portrayed vividly the slums in English cities during the Industrial Revolution which enabled Karl Marx, who lived in London with support from his friend Friedrich Engels, to denounce the capitalist system he said had...
Newt's Letter
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Jim Davies 2012-06-19 23:00
Column by Jim Davies. Government tries to justify its ubiquitous spying on private correspondence on the back of 9/11. It's just another government lie. The events below took place four years earlier.   Back in 1997, Mr Gingrich was a powerful figure in DC – Speaker of the House. Soon afterwards he swapped wives and was cast into outer darkness for a decade, but recently he ran...
Opinion and Reason
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Jim Davies 2012-08-19 23:00
Column by Jim Davies. Exclusive to STR From time to time a market researcher calls me up and asks for a few minutes of my time to answer his or her survey questions. I always answer “Yes, I'll be happy to; what rate are you offering?”   “What was that, again?”   “What are you offering to pay? My opinions, on a range of topics, are highly valuable. So is my...
A Letter to Young Paulians Recommended
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Jim Davies 2012-09-09 23:00
Column by Jim Davies. Exclusive to STR You've just been kicked in the teeth, and this is to convey sympathy and comfort, as well as sincere congratulations for what you've done – along with suggestions about what you might best do next.   The way you have been treated by your own Party is a scandal that will long reverberate – and was so stupid even from the Party's perspective...
Free Health Care!
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Jim Davies 2012-10-11 23:00
Column by Jim Davies. Exclusive to STR   That was the promise, made by politicos in the England of my youth; health care, they said, is a right, an entitlement. In Churchill's wartime cabinet, William Beveridge, whom I briefly met 15 years later, had designed a scheme by 1945, and it was rushed through and implemented in 1947. The exodus of British doctors to North America began shortly...
'Indians'
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Jim Davies 2012-10-24 23:00
Column by Jim Davies. Exclusive to STR The coming free society will be rational; residents will live on the basis of reality and reason rather than myth. We will recognize government for what it is and therefore reject it on rational grounds; we will think in rational, economic terms predominantly. I can be sure of this, because a free society will not come into being until everyone does think...
Leaving Government Service
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Jim Davies 2012-11-13 07:03
Column by Jim Davies. Exclusive to STR Alex Knight's recent fine column The Post Office that Government Built relates the sad case of one of its 600,000 employees who faces a bleak future as that structure is poised for collapse. It might be useful to compare such cases with the similar ones that will take place when government servants quit voluntarily, having learned what freedom and...
Goodness
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Jim Davies 2012-11-20 07:42
Column by Jim Davies. Exclusive to STR It's fairly clear what “evil” is, we know it when we see it. But what is its opposite, goodness? And are human beings basically good, evil, neutral or something else? It's important to understand that, because if for example mankind is marred with a bias towards evil, the case for a restraining government, as Paine and others have...
The Duty to End the State Recommended
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Jim Davies 2012-11-30 07:53
Column by Jim Davies. Exclusive to STR Many reading this already understand the Self-ownership Axiom; that we each own our own lives by right, and hence that all government is an unnatural and ruinous appendage. Among those who do, though, surprisingly there is disagreement over what to do about it. Some hold that resistance by such voluntaryists in the present government-saturated environment...
To See, Yet Not to See
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Jim Davies 2013-02-11 07:59
Column by Jim Davies. Exclusive to STR All governments everywhere depend for their survival on their victim “citizens” failing to see (that is, to understand) what they are doing. In English, to “see” carries both meanings; we can see what they are up to, yet at the same time fail to grasp its significance. It's an amazing form of blindness, yet it affects nearly...
Spoke Removal
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Jim Davies 2013-02-26 07:47
Column by Jim Davies. Exclusive to STR It's often said that government is good at only one thing: waging war. I doubt that. Very true that waging war is its favorite activity, but that seems to me to overstate its skills somewhat; government may be better at waging war than at anything else, but it's not really good at it at all. For starters, the success rate is on average 50%. Then...
Buchanan's War
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Jim Davies 2013-03-04 07:00
Column by Jim Davies. Exclusive to STR Patrick Buchanan is a conservative--and more a social or cultural one than an economic one. He makes no pretense to be a libertarian, still less an anarchist; he is or was a Washington “insider” to the extent of being on the staff of Tricky Dick Nixon, and to that of being a regular on prime-time talk shows like “The McLaughlin Group....
Labor's Price
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Jim Davies 2013-03-20 06:41
Column by Jim Davies. Exclusive to STR The wage due for a week's worth of unskilled labor today might be $464, and so it was two or three hundred years ago – though then, it was often called a “pound.” Of silver, that is. Is that to be fixed by law as the permanent value of such labor, or is it to be free to vary subjectively with demand, supply and quality? I hope that...
Maggie
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Jim Davies 2013-04-10 07:40
Column by Jim Davies. Exclusive to STR Freedom cannot be imposed by force. I (and many others) have said that before, yet the Libertarian Party continues to exist. There are also those who imagine that if there is a general economic collapse, free-market businessmen will step into the power vacuum and set up a libertarian or anarchist society with which everyone else will then cooperate (or else...
The Bubble
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Jim Davies 2013-05-29 06:54
Column by Jim Davies. Exclusive to STR It's the name given to a chart of price movement that shows a very large rise, followed by a very large fall; its shape is more or less symmetrical, like the one shown here representing the price of shares in the South Sea Company around 1720 and denominated in pounds. As it shows, the price rose briefly by a factor of nine. This South Sea Bubble is the...
Government Chaos
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Jim Davies 2013-06-10 07:00
Column by Jim Davies. Exclusive to STR Yet another overture is being played, for the magnum opus of Armageddon, the long-predicted final battle between good and evil (i.e., us vs. them) somewhere not far from Israel. Others have been played before, in 1967, for example, but this one centered on Syria is shaping up to be quite a doozie. Nearly all players in the region are tuning up their...
Corporate Tyranny?
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Jim Davies 2013-07-02 07:36
Column by Jim Davies. Exclusive to STR In a lively exchange in the Guardian comments section recently, a strong bias was revealed to the effect that government is needed to prevent corporations running wild and tyrannizing the world. That's one of the elderly fictions that is still thrust down the throats of trusting children in government schools, to assure them that government is not...
Taxation Is Theft. Always.
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Jim Davies 2013-07-08 06:56
Column by Jim Davies. Exclusive to STR In a LewRockwell.com blog post on June 7th, Mike Rozeff offered the surprising opinion that taxation is not necessarily always theft, because some people accept the need to pay it and do so willingly. He called that an example of the “consent of the governed.” I've engaged him in a friendly email exchange since, but we still disagree....
Punishment
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Jim Davies 2013-07-30 07:16
Column by Jim Davies. Exclusive to STR In September 1971 there was a serious riot in the state prison in Attica, NY, which left 39 dead, and drew much comment. One of the comments was as follows. See whether you can guess by whom it was made: “Any mutiny by the prisoners is going to be put down and put down hard.” The State Governor, maybe? Or some law-n-order Conservative? Probably...
The Yoke
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Jim Davies 2013-09-27 06:48
Column by Jim Davies. Exclusive to STR Recently there was an unusually perceptive comment posted on these pages, that noted the folly of supposing that believers in government can be expected to leave us infidels in peace. There are only two ways of getting what one wants: earning it, or stealing it. Persuade, or compel. This is the great divide, the feature that separates believers from non-...
What They Owe
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Jim Davies 2013-11-08 08:09
Column by Jim Davies. Exclusive to STR There was a lot of fuss recently about something they call the “debt ceiling.” Supposedly, it's a kind of limit to what the FedGov can borrow. It's all a load of horsefeathers, of course, because whenever they find the limit inconvenient, they will raise it – as they have already done, 95 times in a row. One of the key features of...
Letter to a Young Juror
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Jim Davies 2013-11-18 08:00
Column by Jim Davies. Exclusive to STR (With acknowledgements to C.S. Lewis and Christopher Hitchens.) So, nephew, you've been called to serve on a jury. Congratulations! I was very glad to learn last month that you plan never to vote again, so it's a good idea to get yourself off the voters' list. But meanwhile, you're still on it – hence this opportunity to help some...
Lawmaking Lunacy
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Jim Davies 2013-12-12 08:19
Column by Jim Davies. Exclusive to STR I'd be very scared if confronted by someone armed, and evidently mad or malevolent. The first type might well do me harm, fatally maybe, because he or she wouldn't understand or be responsible for the actions about to be taken. A young child, perhaps, slashing a kitchen knife while playing some martial-arts fantasy he has dreamed up. Or an adult in...
Pessimism
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Jim Davies 2013-12-19 08:18
Column by Jim Davies. Exclusive to STR It's very sad, to see so much of it around STR. Several whose fingers fly over the keyboard to make comments seem to think that government is a fixture, here to stay. This is not limited to STR, mind; I enjoy much of the work of Fred Reed on another site, and noticed a fine recent example called Your Papers, Citizen which expertly compared the...
Progress in 'The Capitalist Tool'
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Jim Davies 2013-12-24 08:18
Column by Jim Davies. Exclusive to STR Last week Forbes magazine ran an article by one Peter Reilly, to assess the merits of Irwin Schiff's stand against the alleged income tax, and drawing extensively on remarks made by his son Peter Schiff, the investment advisor. To call the article “fair” would over-rate it, but it did bring that debate to the attention of some highly...
Peace, Spurned
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Jim Davies 2014-01-02 08:43
Column by Jim Davies. Exclusive to STR In October 1944, Christian Günther, the Swedish Foreign Minister, relaxed with a group of journalists and casually mentioned a telegram sent to him on June 17th, 1940 by Björn Prytz, then his envoy in London. When the news of his remarks reached London, it threw the then Foreign Secretary, Anthony Eden, into a tizzy: “It is most...
Downton Fever
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Jim Davies 2014-01-21 08:21
Column by Jim Davies. Exclusive to STR It has struck again; Season Four is upon us, descending like a British influenza. More than six million were infected with Season Two, more than eight million by Season Three; and early reports say the present visitation will lay low over ten million Americans on the next several Sunday evenings. I myself am running a temperature. For the few whose...
Help Wanted
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Jim Davies 2012-03-29 23:00
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...
Trade Unions
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Jim Davies 2014-02-24 00:00
Column by Jim Davies. Exclusive to STR On February 14th the UAW took another kick in the teeth; employees of Volkswagen at its plant in Chattanooga voted 712 to 626 not to join. Trade unionists everywhere were buzzing like demented hornets; on The Guardian website I offered a little comfort (“The union lost. Boo-hoo. Get over it. Unions are parasites.”) but, alas, I was heavily...
The Last Days of Government
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Jim Davies 2014-02-25 08:03
Column by Jim Davies. Exclusive to STR At about 7.35 p.m. ET on February 22nd, the NBC News TV reporter grabbed my attention with the following, as well as I can recall it: “Government has disappeared.” and “The are no policemen to be seen. Not even traffic cops.” This, again, was 2014 – not 2027. And it was not a spoof, like the alien invasion one in 1938. The...
Liberty: Rooted in Rights
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Jim Davies 2014-03-31 07:57
Column by Jim Davies. Exclusive to STR Everyone wants to be free, to make his own decisions without interference. That's a no-brainer; if there are any exceptions beyond those unhappily born without the ability to manage for themselves, they are very few. I never met anyone who said “Rule me, please!” Libertarians, however, add one crucial and distinguishing feature to that: We...
Working Capital
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Jim Davies 2012-05-28 23:00
Column by Jim Davies. Exclusive to STR "Capitalism" is another of those words, like "liberal," whose meanings have been twisted by time, use and particularly by government influence, to mean something quite different from, and sometimes opposite to, their original intent. When we see Occupy Wall Street protesters waving banners calling for its downfall, they are referring to...
Compassion in a Free Society
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Jim Davies 2012-08-08 23:00
Column by Jim Davies. One of the ugliest things said about freedom advocates is that in a society without government, large numbers of poor people would be trampled underfoot. Critics say that if all were free selfishly to pursue our own ends, many would be left behind, to suffer and starve. That such a society would be harsh, uncaring, divisive, mean. That it's necessary to have a government, to...
The Invisible Export
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Jim Davies 2012-12-04 07:59
Column by Jim Davies. Exclusive to STR One of the hottest exports from America, to judge from the vacuous rhetoric of the recent election campaigns, is that of jobs. This time it wasn't so much Ross Perot's ”giant sucking sound” from Mexico, but the unprincipled greed of the bargain-producers in China who were the main culprits. Today I found a whole fountain pen for less...
Hot Money
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Jim Davies 2013-01-28 07:20
Column by Jim Davies. Exclusive to STR It's now 100 years since fiat money was introduced to America, by the Federal Reserve Act. In that century, over 98.5% of its value has been destroyed. Suppose you found a counterfeit bill in your wallet. Would you spend it? The recipient would hand over something valuable in exchange, but when he came to deposit the bill, it would be rejected, so he...
Marriage
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Jim Davies 2013-03-28 05:52
Column by Jim Davies. Exclusive to STR The nation is breathless, as I write, awaiting news from the Supreme Court about what marriage is. Crowds attend its building, working themselves up into a tizzy and a froth, for inside its lobby is engraved the arrogant and outrageous claim:   IT IS EMPHATICALLY THE PROVINCE AND DUTY OF THE JUDICIAL DEPARTMENT TO SAY WHAT THE LAW IS ~ directly...
Chuck's Tummy
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Jim Davies 2013-05-13 07:02
Column by Jim Davies. Exclusive to STR Having undergone surgery this year following a stomach ache, that's a condition I will not wish upon anyone; but if stomachs do have to malfunction somewhere, the inside of Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY) is one of the least inappropriate places--and he confirmed, last week, that the inner turmoil has already begun: 'the ramifications of make-your-own...
Socialism
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Jim Davies 2013-09-19 07:11
Column by Jim Davies. Exclusive to STR Famously, in 1922 Ludwig von Mises predicted the ultimate failure of socialism, for the good reason that in a planned economy, freely-moving prices are outlawed, while freely-moving prices are the only valid signal of what is wanted, where, when and in what quantity. It took a while – and a dreadful war – but in 1990 he was proven right. The...
Entanglements
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Jim Davies 2013-10-30 07:20
Column by Jim Davies. Exclusive to STR During the latter half of the last century, shopping changed its character, to accommodate the popularity of the inexpensive horseless carriage. Instead of stores being all grouped together near the town center in a manner convenient for customers who arrived on foot, either direct from nearby homes or from the bus depot, the “out of town shopping...
Iron Felix
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Jim Davies 2013-12-04 07:42
Column by Jim Davies. Exclusive to STR In 1991, while a Communist counter-coup was being repressed in Moscow, jubilant crowds pulled down a statue of Felix Dzerzhinsky which had stood in front of the KGB headquarters building, the Lubyanka. Despite his nickname, it had been made of bronze, lest a Hero of the Revolution turn rusty. Note that it was a spontaneous demolition by plain people, not...
Vlad's Oscar
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Jim Davies 2014-03-24 07:12
Column by Jim Davies. Exclusive to STR Everything they say, these Pols, is scripted and rehearsed. I find it really, really difficult to tell whether their endless stream of dicta is serious, or just theater. It's always theater, of course, but sometimes it's also truly meant, and that usually means big trouble, but how does one know when they're kidding and when, not? Clearly,...
A Monster in the Making
9.8
Jim Davies 2014-02-04 22:16
Column by Jim Davies. Exclusive to STR Last month, I splurged a whole 99 cents on the download of an 89-year-old book. Worth every penny, it's a non-fiction horror story: James Murphy's 1939 English translation of Adolph Hitler's Mein Kampf. Its sheer blandness and apparently reasonable, normal prose is what sets it apart, in the light of what arose from it a decade or two later....
To Edit
9.66667
Jim Davies 2010-09-27 02:00
Column by Jim Davies. Exclusive to STR Nothing can match the institution of government for sheer malevolence and resultant mayhem, but the modern media come close; the big, established ones that report selected items of news, arranged and analyzed so as powerfully to mold public opinion and thereby help perpetuate the established order. Happily and thanks largely to the Internet and the...
Tolstoy: Close, But No Cigar
9.66667
Jim Davies 2012-07-13 05:39
Column by Jim Davies. Exclusive to STR I'd heard somewhere that Leo Tolstoy was an anarchist, so reckoned it was high time I read War and Peace. Thanks to gutenberg.org, I was able to download both that and Anna Karenina and enjoy the pair of them on vacation rainy days. Having done so, I must dismiss the rumor; he was an extraordinary author and thinker, and upset Establishment clerics and...
Murray's Missing Plan Recommended
9.66667
Jim Davies 2013-10-07 07:37
Column by Jim Davies. Exclusive to STR I've been continuing to read the fascinating story of the modern libertarian movement's early years, as told in the Libertarian Forum, edited and often written by Murray Rothbard. It's vast, but very worthwhile – warmly recommended. I've supplemented it recently with a re-read of parts of Justin Raimondo's excellent biography of him...
Liberty Stability
9.5
Jim Davies 2012-01-17 00:00
Column by Jim Davies. Exclusive to STR If I outline the delights of a free society, quite often the listener will say that it's "Utopian." All very nice but not practical, he means, and after clarification he usually agrees that "Utopian" means a status that is not stable; that if it is put into place, it will inevitably collapse. If I have the chance, I'll then continue by...
Abortion
9.5
Jim Davies 2012-09-23 23:00
Column by Jim Davies. Exclusive to STR   Last month I wrote Opinion and Reason to encourage clear, rational thinking: i.e., to begin with a premise, progress from it in logical steps, and only then to arrive at a conclusion. This sits in contrast to the much more usual method of reaching any opinion: to begin with a prejudice (a “pre-judgment”) and then perhaps look around for...
Creeds
9.5
Jim Davies 2013-02-19 07:59
Column by Jim Davies. Exclusive to STR Faith: what a person believes, regardless of fact, evidence, proof or reason; it's powerful stuff. It can cause him to surrender his life, and to rob others of theirs, all the while retaining a strong sense of virtue, of doing the right thing. My first-ever face to face encounter with the Infernal Robbery Syndicate was an audit in Connecticut with a...
Bank Robbers
9.5
Jim Davies 2013-04-08 06:47
Column by Jim Davies. Exclusive to STR There are people who rob banks, and banks that rob people. This is about the latter. Our friendly Main Street banker is a robber; in two ways now, and with a third in preparation. Way #1 applies directly and terribly, but to only a few of his customers, and until he strikes, it's fairly well hidden. Some years ago I opened a bank account, and eventually...
Divides
9.4
Jim Davies 2013-04-26 07:46
Column by Jim Davies. Exclusive to STR Below is a photograph of a happy cop. He's happy because at the end of a trying day, his team accomplished its mission; a suspected murderer had been arrested. He's also happy because behind him, a crowd of local residents, whom he thinks he “protects and serves,” is applauding him and his comrades for a job well done. That doesn...
Great Fictions Recommended
9.33333
Jim Davies 2010-09-10 02:00
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...
Bankers on Trial
9.25
Jim Davies 2010-08-10 02:00
Column by Jim Davies.   Exclusive to STR     Several of my friends insert the two letters "st" in the middle of the word, to express the view that bankers make up a large, organized criminal class. Here, I'll follow the principle that people are innocent until proven guilty, and check some of the evidence, but meanwhile leave those letters out.   At root, a bank...
Very Special People
9.16667
Jim Davies 2012-07-08 23:00
Column by Jim Davies. Exclusive to STR I've tried, but have not been able to agree with Paul Bonneau's recent article Libertarians Are Nothing Special. Quite the contrary, I think libertarians are extraordinarily special.   Many of us begin by taking an interest in the political scene, and vote for a libertarian candidate in some election. That's a mistaken strategy, yes, but as a starting...
The God Question
9.14286
Jim Davies 2012-03-18 23:00
Column by Jim Davies. Exclusive to STR Why does it matter, to market anarchists, whether or not God exists? Surely all would be able, in a free society, to believe whatever they wish about religion? That was the thrust of Paul Bonneau's recent article here, and he added that it's counterproductive for the libertarian spokesman to ridicule the religious. His point is well taken. In the...
A Lion in Daniel's Den
9
Jim Davies 2010-07-19 02:00
By Jim Davies.   Exclusive to STR     The abrupt termination of the distinguished, six-decade career of Helen Thomas, after she expressed her opinion about Jews on May 27th, has something fishy about it. There are layers of deception to be uncovered, and since nobody else has removed them, I will make the attempt. You read it here first.   Until that day, there had been no...
Malthus' Mistakes
9
Jim Davies 2010-10-08 02:00
Column by Jim Davies.   Exclusive to STR   The Reverend Thomas Malthus was no dummy. He made a colossal and famous error by predicting at the end of the 18th Century that human population would stop growing for want of food to feed any more people, but he was a serious scholar nonetheless. He was a fellow of Jesus College, Cambridge and as well as being an Anglican clergyman was...
Terms of Association Recommended
9
Jim Davies 2010-10-15 02:00
Column by Jim Davies.   Exclusive to STR    An advocate for the US Constitution recently argued on the Peter Mac Show that any group of people in any locality properly has the right to set up an association and to define its terms. He was correct, of course. The terms agreed would relate to who can belong and who, not--and to how decisions of policy and practice shall be made, as...
1492
9
Jim Davies 2012-01-30 00:00
Column by Jim Davies. Exclusive to STR It's a bit difficult to compress a big slice of human history into a few hundred words, so if I omit some of your favorite details, I hope you'll forgive me.   I pick 1492 as being the pivotal year in that immense saga. One could of course choose from other good candidates: 50,000 years ago when mankind migrated out of Africa to populate the rest of the...
MinGovia
9
Jim Davies 2012-08-26 23:00
Column by Jim Davies. Exclusive to STR   There's a theory that holds that a government is okay provided that the people in its domain agree for it to exist and rule, and I thank David Eagle for my title, though the reasoning and conclusions are my own.   The theory seems to have two forms: One is the familiar "Constitutionalist" position that says that America was just fine...
What a Century!
9
Jim Davies 2012-12-19 07:54
Column by Jim Davies. Exclusive to STR It was the best and the worst century in human history, and it ends this month. The previous one closed in 1912, a year best remembered for the sinking of the Titanic--a story that has been skillfully tuned to incite distrust of business and reliance on governments. It's a fable, which I demolish here. But the fable served as a prélude to what...
Politics Don't Cut It
9
Jim Davies 2013-03-27 06:01
Column by Jim Davies. Exclusive to STR Murray Rothbard never pretended to be infallible, and he wasn't; but when he wrote or spoke on his specialty of economics, he was . . . close enough for government work. I had the chance to hear him speak several times, and have some of his books, and say that he was the most brilliant, prolific and consistent pro-freedom writer of the 20th Century....
The Thirteenth Year
9
Jim Davies 2013-08-27 06:32
Column by Jim Davies. Exclusive to STR There's a lot of silly superstitions around, one of which regards the number 13 as unlucky, leading to irrational but septasyllabic triskaidekaphobia. Tall buildings are built with floors numbered up to 12, then 14 and beyond; it must play havoc with the design engineers. According to Shyam Sunder Gupta, in 1993 the prestigious British Medical Journal...
A Deal With Government
9
Jim Davies 2013-01-09 08:04
Column by Jim Davies. Exclusive to STR World history was radically changed, in the small Turkish town presently known as Iznik. It affected a vast range of human activities during the last 17 centuries; it housed an event more significant than Rome itself with its claim to dominate Christendom, than Paris with its thousand years of prominence in trade and culture, than Florence or Venice with...
Hold It, Holder
9
Jim Davies 2013-03-12 06:49
Column by Jim Davies. Exclusive to STR The great danger of criticizing specific things government does or says or fails to do or say is that readers can reasonably infer that if the opposite were done or said, all would be well. In other words, they can infer that the author envisages the possibility of a satisfactory government. I do not, ever, anywhere; for by definition (of “govern...
Ron, Reviewed
8.83333
Jim Davies 2011-11-14 00:00
Column by Jim Davies. Exclusive to STR  It's been a great pleasure to see media mention every day recently of the man who once said in my hearing that the IRS is "the world's largest terrorist organization." The mere possibility that Ron Paul could actually get elected President is enough to make any liberty lover salivate. That he should already have stacked up some straw-poll...
Government Securities
8.75
Jim Davies 2010-08-02 02:00
By Jim Davies.   Exclusive to STR     Those who lend money to the government participate in a fraud, for all of them know that it has only one way ultimately to pay either interest or principal: by stealing it. So if they ever lose it (and they will, as below) there will be no sympathy from this quarter.   They do the lending by purchasing municipal bonds and Treasury Bills,...
Where's the State?
8.75
Jim Davies 2012-01-06 00:00
Column by Jim Davies. Exclusive to STR Any phone book has a long list of government offices. So isn't this a silly question? Not really. All those listed items are departments of government, or representatives of the State, or Town etc. Where and what exactly is the state itself? Like the famous Wendy's ad from 1984, we're interested in the core of the matter: Where's the Beef?   If you...
Time for Civil Disobedience? Recommended
8.75
Jim Davies 2012-06-04 23:00
Column by Jim Davies. Exclusive to STR Underlying approaches to the great problem of how to rid society of government parasites without violence is the insight of Etienne de la Boëtie:   "Resolve to serve no more, and you are at once freed. I do not ask that you place hands upon the tyrant to topple him over, but simply that you support him no longer; then you will behold him, like...
Limits of Indoctrination
8.75
Jim Davies 2013-01-07 07:58
Column by Jim Davies. Exclusive to STR Dr. Gary North is a prolific writer, as shown by his huge archive at LRC; and most of those of his articles I've read are very good. He's particularly perceptive about the future of higher education, as this recent example illustrates. Sometimes he's too long-winded for my taste, and sometimes he seems to me to get it wrong – though the...
What Are You?
8.75
Jim Davies 2013-02-04 08:12
Column by Jim Davies. Exclusive to STR We are Root Strikers here, because rather than trying to trim the branches of the evil tree of government, we seek a way to destroy its roots. Some want a smaller or minimal government; we want none at all. It's a powerful analogy, a good name. We are also voluntaryists, for we believe every human action should be uncompelled. That's explicit, and...
Porcupines
8.66667
Jim Davies 2010-07-07 02:00
By Jim Davies.   Exclusive to STR     In June I had the pleasure of visiting PorcFest 2010, a friendly festival of freedom-seekers held in Northern New Hampshire; so far north that, had one traveled much further, one would have entered Her Majesty's jurisdiction. One of her subjects had in fact come south, from his freedomain somewhere near the North Pole, to enhance the Festival;...
Cyprus, v.t.
8.66667
Jim Davies 2013-09-09 06:57
Column by Jim Davies. Exclusive to STR Last month in The Thirteenth Year, I suggested a few dreadful government actions that would make 2013 memorable. I missed one: mea culpa. This was the year in which a minor government in the Mediterranean turned an island into a verb. Its subject is a government, its object is the money someone holds in a bank in its jurisdiction, and its meaning is that the...
Booing the Goose
8.5
Jim Davies 2010-08-17 02:00
By Jim Davies.   Exclusive to STR   Chapter 8 of my Transition to Liberty shows that I foresee the time--in the mid-2020s, for reasons it explains--when widespread civil disobedience will play a valuable part in hastening the end of the government era. It will be a period when around one in four of the population has learned what liberty means (and what government means) and so is eager...
The Pugsley Plan Recommended
8.5
Jim Davies 2013-01-14 07:46
Column by Jim Davies. Exclusive to STR Prior to Harry Browne's first run for US President in 1996, his friend John Pugsley wrote him a passionate “open letter” urging him not to. As far as I know, Harry didn't reply, but he did continue his campaign – and repeated it four years later. He got few votes more than the LP normally receives, but his platform and campaign were...
Half Full
8.33333
Jim Davies 2010-01-21 03:00
  Exclusive to STR   I've been re-reading a couple of excellent, recent articles on Strike The Root, each of which in its way predicts a gloomy future.   One is Glen Allport's "Year Ahead" and the other, Tzo's "Got Money?. Glen provides us as usual with a wealth of evidence to prove his point, piling one piece atop another until there can be no doubt of the message...
464 Lost Years Recommended
8.25
Jim Davies 2012-12-10 07:48
Column by Jim Davies. Exclusive to STR Recently I re-read part of that seminal essay, Discourse on Voluntary Servitude by Etienne de la Boëtie, written in 1548, or 464 years ago. He said that if you want to topple a tyrant, all you need to do is to withdraw support. No violence, no sweat, just stop helping him. Yet 24 years later there was a massacre of Huguenot Protestants, indicating that...
Oslo
8
Jim Davies 2009-12-15 16:00
Exclusive to STR  There's no doubt of it, Obama is one of the world's two best orators of the last hundred years, and his performance at the December 10th ceremony was stellar. Was there a teleprompter? I didn't see him even glance at a set of notes, yet the delivery was flawless. To his credit also is the way his speech addressed head-on an irony of the occasion; here was the world's...
One Cheer for Obama!
8
Jim Davies 2010-06-15 02:00
By Jim Davies.   Exclusive to STR     Normally I give politics all the close attention it deserves, which is to say, next to none; but I've been unable to avoid the thick layers of hypocrisy that have been oozing out of the Mexican Gulf since BP's blowout preventer failed to prevent a blowout.   At once, it was plain that an awful tragedy was looming. Not just the tragedies of...
Gropers, Peepers, and What To Do
8
Jim Davies 2010-11-18 03:00
Column by Jim Davies.   Exclusive to STR   John Pistole, our nation's Groper in Chief, told Margaret Warner on PBS' News Hour on November 16th what a shame it would be if travelers missed their connections at Thanksgiving because more of us than usual elected to "opt-out" of what are becoming known as the TSA's new "porno scanners"--in favor of a highly intrusive pat...
Abolishing Prisons
8
Jim Davies 2012-02-17 00:00
Column by Jim Davies. Exclusive to STR The words "escape" and "prison" fit together like hands in gloves in the mind of every prisoner, but in that of every warden, the two will never meet; or not on his watch, not if he can help it. So prisons don't have fire escapes. Instead, they are built of materials that will not burn; concrete, steel, brick. They look dull, but they...
Free Trade
8
Jim Davies 2013-01-22 08:23
Column by Jim Davies. Exclusive to STR The Tea Party is confused; no new news there. It has the great virtue of gathering together under one banner a variety of folk displeased with government, but their interests are so diverse as to prohibit a coherent alternative platform. Rather like the electorate as a whole, some want government to do A, while others want it to do Non-A. Unfortunately, I...
Two Pillars of the State
8
Jim Davies 2012-03-02 00:00
Column by Jim Davies. Exclusive to STR The Internet is abuzz with execration of the TSA, and deservedly so, but recently Becky Akers reported on one site that the agency now rivals the IRS in the degree to which Americans detest it. That's a very notable achievement, given that it's had a mere one decade instead of ten, to attract such loathing. The report rings true. Only a minority of us fly,...
Exposed
7.8
Jim Davies 2012-09-17 23:00
Column by Jim Davies. Exclusive to STR   Last week, sales of tabloids on the streets of London were boosted by the news that a French magazine had published photos of the Duchess of Cambridge – gasp – topless.   She and her husband the future King were relaxing in a “secluded chateau” for what they reasonably thought was a period of privacy by the pool, but it...
Rights
7.75
Jim Davies 2013-09-03 07:19
Column by Jim Davies. Exclusive to STR They mark limits on government power. If you or I have some right or other, it means government is excluded. If we own some property by right, its agents may enter only by permission – or else by force, violating the right. If we have the right to remain silent, its agents may not rightly oblige us to speak. Government really, really doesn't like...
The 'Muslim Menace'
7.6
Jim Davies 2010-09-01 02:00
By Jim Davies.   Exclusive to STR   Is there one, really? Quite a few think so. I wonder how many of them know what Muslims believe. I wonder how many of those know what they believe themselves, and why. Anyway, let's take a look--and if there is one, let's think how such a menace would be handled in a free society. To those kindly concerned that I might be targeted by terrorists...
Gold, Paper and Bits
7.5
Jim Davies 2013-12-06 08:22
Column by Jim Davies. Exclusive to STR Carl Menger's great discovery was that all economic activity consists of everyone's individual, subjective choices. His successors in the Austrian school – Bawerk, von Mises, Rothbard, et al – have amplified that and refined it, but that's the fundamental truth. That is how prices are determined and why products are produced. The...
Human Nature
7
Jim Davies 2009-10-14 15:00
Exclusive to STR  Recently some friends and I discussed the nature of hom sap so as better to understand how it could be that the violent institution of government could appear from nowhere, back before writing was invented. Are we good, or evil, or neither? We didn't reach full agreement, but the subject was given a new boost by B.R. Merrick's recent fine thought-provoker, The Heart...
The Gulch, Revisited
7
Jim Davies 2012-04-12 23:00
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...
Mr. Snowden Departs
7
Jim Davies 2013-06-17 07:25
Column by Jim Davies. Exclusive to STR When I mentioned here last year that I'd made a little web site at TinyURL.com/QuitGov, there were, incredibly, some who poured scorn on the idea – which was, as stated, to introduce to its employees the news that it's dishonest to work for government, and so to prepare their minds for the day when one or more of their friends invites them to...
Naysayers
7
Jim Davies 2013-10-24 07:21
Column by Jim Davies. Exclusive to STR To protect the guilty, I'll falsify his name as “Naylor,” but last weekend I received a concise email from someone who had read my recent Murray's Missing Plan on STR; for doing which, of course, he is much to be commended. Among other things, he offered three key opinions: Universal re-education won't work, 99% of children are...
Reality
6.66667
Jim Davies 2013-11-22 08:03
Column by Jim Davies. Exclusive to STR Better late, it's said, than never. So while I should have taken the opportunity years ago, this month I got around to it and listened to the famous interview of Ayn Rand by Mike Wallace, made for TV in black and white in 1959. You too can see it, on YouTube here (use Ixquick to find Parts 2 and 3.) It lasts 30 minutes, and it's a half hour very...
Handouts
6
Jim Davies 2009-11-15 16:00
Exclusive to STR  One of the debates among liberty seekers is about the extent to which it's morally right to accept or reject government handouts. In my opinion, it's one of a rather small number of issues still open to valid debate, and for sure there are good, sincere people on both sides of it and I respect all of them. Although these remarks come down clearly on one side, that respect...
Quake
6
Jim Davies 2010-03-15 02:00
Exclusive to STR Among the welter of news reports about the recent tragedy in Haiti, I noticed a couple that were quite perceptive. As it happens, they both broke surface on the PBS News Hour.   One came a few days after January 12th from David Brooks, the Hour's token conservative. He observed that a slightly more severe earthquake had hit San Francisco and Oakland in 1989, which brought...
Rothbard vs. LeFevre
6
Jim Davies 2014-02-17 22:06
Column by Jim Davies. Exclusive to STR The Complete Libertarian Forum (CLF) is a massive work, and by not hurrying I'm making some slow but satisfying progress. I'm up to October 1973, and at Kindle location 25370 there are some remarks by Murray Rothbard about Robert LeFevre. Apparently this libertarian scholar and apologist wasn't quite to Murray's liking, for I'd seen...
The Rump
5.5
Jim Davies 2013-05-06 06:33
Column by Jim Davies. Exclusive to STR Only one credible plan exists, as far as I know, for the elimination of government in short order. It's outlined here and in summary it consists of each market anarchist introducing one of his or her friends per year to a freedom school, and resigning his government job if he has one. Easy, inexpensive, unstoppable, and totally indispensable. No other...
Acid Test
5.33333
Jim Davies 2010-12-09 03:00
Column by Jim Davies. Exclusive to STR The aftermath of the release of the first 1% of the recent second wave of leaks of sensitive government documents is in some ways more fun than reading of the newly uncovered secrets themselves. It has drawn a clear distinction between those who are horrified and those who are delighted; like the acid test for fake gold, this reveals what people really think...