LRC Blog

Monopoly the Game: Socialism Version

An anti-market game gets a (somewhat pro-market?) repackaging. I’m betting there are game creators out there who could better.

11:46 pm on August 25, 2019

Martha MacCallum on the Patrick Byrne Saga

I get the intense interest, but this is the last clip on this topic unless there’s another huge development. Tucker makes some good points, but the main attraction is a hilarious Andy McCabe denial statement of the whole affair toward the end. If you’ve had a not-so-great weekend, check it out for a good laugh.

11:46 pm on August 25, 2019

The Idea of the “Deep State” in American History

Three historians presented talks about the concept of the “deep state” in American history and political debate. Topics ranged from recent books about an alleged “deep state,” to President Eisenhower and the military industrial complex, to J. Edgar Hoover’s tenure at the FBI. This program was part of the Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations annual conference. (Deep State resources)

5:51 pm on August 25, 2019

Land Reparations For Grandchildren of Slaves, From Government

From: B
Sent: Wednesday, July 17, 2019 12:11 AM
To: wblock@loyno.edu
Subject: Reparations

Dear Professor Block, thanks again for all your great work and for sharing your valuable time.

Should the ancestors of slaves be able to sue the government, in the same way that you suggest they sue the original slave owner’s estate? Breach of contract for the 40 acres, maybe?

One last question if I may and I promise no follow ups.  What do you think of the idea of actually giving them land now?  If the FED’s gave each of the 35 million eligible decedents 5 acres, that’s still only a fraction of what the FEDS and States “Own”. Decedents could get first crack at the land and then the rest could be given out to everyone else.   (5 acres per extended family member is of course far more than 40 acres per estate.)

Your friend in liberty, B

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8:49 pm on August 24, 2019

What Is The Appropriate Punishment For British Airways For Its Data Breach?

From: P
Sent: Monday, July 08, 2019 1:22 PM
To: Walter Block
Subject: Appropriate Punishment and Proportionality in British Airways data breach

Dear Prof. Block,

Recently, British Airways has faced a fine amounting to around 280 million dollars (see [1]) for having had inadequate data protection measures in place, resulting in a hack and ’theft’ of data back in 2018. What does libertarian theory say about cases like these, where no property has been stolen, and where no physical harm has been committed against anyone? Has British Airways really committed a crime? What would a proportionate punishment be if that’s the case? Of course, the culpability of the hackers is another question, but not the one I’m curious about here. Related, but not exactly the same, what would a proportionate punishment be for Facebook’s and/or Cambridge Analytica’s behavior in the Facebook-Cambridge Analytica data scandal be (see [2]))? My intuition tells me that punishment will happen ’through the market’ so to speak. Customers discovering what has happened in both cases can act in a sort of punishing fashion, i.e., by not buying or using the respective companies’ services and products. But many feel that this is not punishment enough. Best regards, P

[1]: https://www.newscientist.com/article/2208964-british-airways-faces-largest-ever-data-breach-fine-for-2018-hack/

[2]: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Facebook–Cambridge_Analytica_data_scandal

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8:45 pm on August 24, 2019

Socialist/Communist Elizabeth Warren Thinks Market Competition Is Bad

Warren is the Democratic front-runner at 29 cents to Biden’s 27 cents on Predictit. This socialist/fascist/anti-capitalist/totalitarian again caught my attention with her clearly-expressed view of business:

“Look at the business model of an insurance company. It’s to bring in as many dollars as they can in premiums and to pay out as few dollars as possible for your health care. That leaves families with rising premiums, rising copays, and fighting with insurance companies to try to get the health care that their doctors say that they and their children need. Medicare for All solves that problem.”

Warren understands competition in politics, but she’s completely blind to competition in the insurance business and other business markets. No wonder she’s an anti-capitalist socialist. She is clueless as to how free markets or business competition work. Does the dimwitted Warren not know that capitalism is what puts bread on the table and a television set in both the living room and bedroom at prices so low that almost everyone can afford them?

According to Warren’s inverted understanding, Toyota wants to charge the most it can for a car and produce one with the lowest costs (and quality) it can. And she thinks that this process in markets results in rising prices and fighting with companies to get the cars, bread and television sets people think they and their children need.

In Warren’s world, there is no competition. There is only one-sided market power of producers. They make excess returns, and the government must step in to undo the defects of the market. Warren’s concept has no dynamics of competition; it’s a completely static view of one company versus the consumer. This kind of limited concept is why Warren over and over and over reveals to us that she’s a communist and an ignorant socialist. It seems that Warren has absorbed her John Kenneth Galbraith or his Marxist progeny in universities.

Not only that, Warren would not be the least bit reluctant to impose her vision on all of us. She is a totalitarian, which goes along with the communist-socialist turf.

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7:59 pm on August 24, 2019

Sara Carter on Patrick Byrne’s Bombshell Story

The verifiable parts (so far) are checking out. Doesn’t hurt credibility that the NY Post hates him.

3:35 pm on August 24, 2019

Michael Tracey on DNC Plan for Blocking Tulsi Gabbard from Future Debates

Right out of the old RNC playbook for blocking Ron Paul: exclusion of inconvenient polling data.

3:29 pm on August 24, 2019

Daniel Turner on Bernie Sanders’ $16 Trillion Climate Boondoggle

Yes, the people who draft these plans (despite hiding behind the mantle of science) are really in fact dumb and innumerate.

3:47 pm on August 23, 2019

Patrick Byrne Bombshell: Resigns Overstock, Reveals Role in Deep State Plot

Bill Barr will either be a hero or one of the worst sellouts of all time. Time will tell.

3:42 pm on August 23, 2019

David Koch, R.I.P.

The billionaire philanthropist has passed.

11:05 am on August 23, 2019

Republican Nanny Statists

Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has introduced a bill to raise the federal minimum age for purchasing tobacco products to 21.

9:10 pm on August 21, 2019

Conservatives Have Lost Their Minds

Is there any stupid thing that Trump says or does that they won’t defend? Since the Danish elite have horribly mismanaged Greenland, liberals shouldn’t mock Trump’s idea of the United States buying Greenland, says a popular conservative woman.

9:08 pm on August 21, 2019

Get Rid of Discrimination Laws

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 abrogates rights (see here and here). This is typical of laws against discrimination.

State laws mimic Title VII. The 50 states and numerous localities set up bureaus and agencies whose job it is to enforce all these anti-discrimination laws. Anchorage, Alaska is involved in a typical case. Hope Center, a Christian charity caters to women only. A (drunk) man dressed in a nightgown appears and asks for admittance. He’s turned away. He goes to the local Anchorage Equal Rights Commission. They prepare a complaint against Hope Center.
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9:12 am on August 21, 2019

Lester Holt Visits Iran (Postscript)

Iranians are wary of Western journalists. Hmmm, I wonder why?!

2:33 pm on August 20, 2019

Lester Holt Visits Iran (Part II)

How Iranians have coped with sanctions over 40 years. The governing class does okay, the people suffer.

2:28 pm on August 20, 2019

Lester Holt Visits Iran (Part I)

Surprisingly mentions 66th anniversary of CIA’s 19 August 1953 overthrow of Mosaddegh. Zarif’s version of his dealings with Trump vs. the White House denial (1:11) definitely worth a look.

2:18 pm on August 20, 2019

Judge Jeanine Pirro: No Way Jeffrey Epstein’s Death a Suicide

While I can’t say I’m a fan of Jeanine “Bomb Them” Pirro, this is as persuasive if not more so than any other challenge to the official narrative.

2:07 pm on August 20, 2019

New York Times to Reinvent History

The New York Times is throwing a lot of dough at keeping America divided. Byron York of the Washington Examiner on the latest stunt from Dean Baquet & Co.

Perhaps when you think of the founding of the United States, you think of the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, the Federalist Papers. Now, the New York Times wants to “reframe” your understanding of the nation’s founding.

In the Times‘ view (which it hopes to make the view of millions of Americans), the country was actually founded in 1619, when the first Africans were brought to North America, to Virginia, to be sold as slaves.

This year marks the 400th anniversary of that event, and the Times has created something called the 1619 Project. This is what the paper hopes the project will accomplish: “It aims to reframe the country’s history, understanding 1619 as our true founding, and placing the consequences of slavery and the contributions of black Americans at the very center of the story we tell ourselves about who we are.”

As Dean Baquet stated, recently, at an employee town hall: “We’re not just a print newspaper anymore.”

1:46 pm on August 19, 2019

Milton Friedman’s Negative Income Tax

From: J
Sent: Saturday, April 27, 2019 8:33 PM
To: wblock@loyno.edu
Subject: Question

Dr. Block, My name is J, I was watching your wonderful speech at the Mississippi libertarian party convention on Facebook live stream today

(https://www.facebook.com/MSLibertarianGal/videos/295923901329672/)

and I wanted desperately to ask so many questions, unfortunately I was unable to attend. However, given that you gave your email address for everyone in attendance to ask you a question if they were not able to, I was hoping that even though I was not in direct attendance that you would be willing to answer just one question I would have asked if I were there in person.

That question is, what are your thoughts on Friedman’s negative income tax plan as a temporary replacement for welfare?

Once again, I really enjoyed watching and listening to you today and want you to know that I have read privatization of roads and highways and I absolutely loved it.

Thank you. Sincerely, J

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12:38 pm on August 19, 2019

Free Will Trumps Pet Scans

From: P
Sent: Thursday, April 25, 2019 10:56 PM
To: wblock@loyno.edu
Subject: Brain Scans for Government Officials

Hi Walter,

With all the talk about murder and attempted murder,  my thoughts naturally turned to those most prolific murderers in  government who are immune from  prosecution. As PET Scans of the brain can detect psychopathy, maybe a  medical organization could scan individuals such as prospective generals and candidates for congress and cabinet.  That could be a way to screen out some of the most dangerous people, to somewhat lessen the damage done by government. What do you think? In Liberty, P

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12:36 pm on August 19, 2019

Business Roundtable Advances Socialist Thinking

The Business Roundtable today made a small, symbolic but significant move: 181 of the nation’s top CEOs agreed that driving shareholder value is no longer their sole business objective.” See also here.

Nearly all of The Business Roundtable’s companies signed on to a new “Statement of the Purpose of a [business] Corporation”. The document lists 5 areas of corporate purpose, more or less to be treated equivalently, a patent impossibility.
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8:47 am on August 19, 2019

Old Right, New Right

The decline of the Old Right opposition to the welfare/warfare state created by Roosevelt and Truman began in the 1950s with the infiltration of its ranks by two ideological elements created and fostered by the intelligence community: the synthetic “Conservative Movement” and the Neoconservatives.

Human Events was a premier publication of the anti-interventionist Old Right opposition to FDR’s New Deal and Harry Truman’s Fair Deal, and their collectivist programs both domestically and abroad. It was founded in 1944 by Old Right stalwarts Felix Morley, who was from 1933 to 1940 the editor of The Washington Post; Frank Hanighen, who was co-author of The Merchants of Death (the famous 1930s expose of the arms industry throughout the world); and former New Dealer and publisher of key Old Right authors and WWII revisionist history Henry Regnery. In 1951, Frank Chodorov, former director of the Henry George School of Social Science in New York, replaced Morley as editor, merging his newsletter, analysis, into Human Events.

I’m sure there was some continuity of financing sources from the anti-New Deal, Fair Deal Old Right of the American Liberty League, the American First Committee, and the Committee for Constitutional Government, and its offshoot, America’s Future, Inc. I am not familiar with this specific detailed history as it relates to individual donors and “angels.” Some of these same individuals may have been involved in funding the Foundation for Economic Education (FEE), the Volker Fund, Spiritual Mobilization, Human Events, the American Mercury, the Bricker Amendment forces etc.

The tricky thing is when Bill Buckley and the CIA-enabled synthetic New Right “Conservative movement” arose to displace the non-interventionist Old Right.

Some of these guys got carried away with Senator Joe McCarthy’s (and Buckley’s) anti-Communist fervor and were swept away from their Old Right moorings in the tidal wave (McCarthyite Murray Rothbard stood fast). Such persons coalesced behind Buckley’s National Review, Alfred Kohlberg’s China Lobby – the Committee of One Million (linked with the Asian heroin narcotics triad syndicates and Chaing Kai-Chek’s KMT), and other such fronts created by Buckley tool Marvin Leibman such as Aid Refugee Chinese Intellectuals, the American Emergency Committee for Tibetan Refugees, the American-Asian Educational Exchange, the American African Affairs Association, the American Committee for Aid to Katanga Freedom Fighters, and the World Anti-Communist League. In addition, Liebman was an early supporter and co-founder of Buckley’s Young Americans for Freedom and the American Conservative Union. Among his later notable clients were: the Friends of Free China, the Friends of Jim Buckley, the Committee of Single Taxpayers, the American-Chilean Council, the Ad Hoc Citizens Legal Defense Fund for the FBI, Firing Line, and Covenant House.

With Buckley’s declared war on the Old Right, the marginalizing of Nockian acolyte Frank Chodorov, John T. Flynn, Rose Wilder Lane, and the deaths of Robert Taft, Garet Garrett, and Colonel Robert McCormick, publisher of the Chicago Tribune, the Old Right died. Some people undoubtedly went over to Robert Welch’s John Birch Society, and Willis Stone’s Liberty Amendment Committee, while Rothbard and his little band of followers moved temporarily into elements of the anti-war, anti-conservative left in hope of creating an anti-war, anti-draft, anti-militarism Old Right/New Left coalition against the welfare-warfare state.   (more…)

12:01 am on August 19, 2019

None Dare Call It Conspiracy

The recent controversies surrounding the death of Jeffrey Epstein prompt a brief review of the concept of conspiracy in history.

Let us first examine this concise summary article by Dr. Gary North. North is an Austrian School economic historian and has authored or co-authored over fifty books on topics such as Reformed Protestant Theology, economics, and history. He is an Associated Scholar of the Ludwig von Mises Institute, and LRC’s most prolific contributor. In his superb article Dr. North refers to the two scholars and their influential books below:

Tragedy and Hope: A History of the World in Our Time.

Carroll Quigley was a highly respected professor at the School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University. Previously he was an instructor at Princeton and Harvard, and consultant to the U. S. Department of Defense, and the House Committee on Astronautics and Space Exploration.

Fire in the Minds of Men: Origins of the Revolutionary Faith.

James H. Billington was the long serving Librarian of Congress, and one of America’s most decorated and highly regarded public intellectuals.

American Pravda: How the CIA Invented “Conspiracy Theories,” by Ron Unz

1:23 pm on August 18, 2019

Title VII and Gender

The U.S. Supreme Court recently accepted a trio of cases addressing whether Title VII’s prohibition of ‘sex’ discrimination in employment contexts should focus on biological male and female distinctions, or if it should be expanded and redefined to cover ‘sexual orientation’ or ‘gender identity.’ Lower federal courts have split on these issues. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has favored such expansiveness, while the Trump administration is opposed. Thus, our nation’s highest court is poised yet again to reshape the legal landscape on deeply divided cultural issues.”

If Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 is extended to more categories, its existing tyranny will become more evident.

Legally, to discriminate is to make a choice on grounds other than merit. A proper libertarian will say that, insofar as discrimination doesn’t initiate physical violence on a person, it’s an individual right. Title VII abrogates that right. It declares that certain kinds of discrimination are unlawful or crimes.
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8:51 am on August 18, 2019

RINO William Weld, The Last Rockefeller Republican?

I greatly suspect former Taxachusetts Governor William “Bill” Weld remains one the last 21st century specimen of a Northeastern Seaboard Establishment Rockefeller Republican: uber-hawkish CFR, “fiscally conservative, socially liberal,” and trying to out SJW the SWJ progressives. The Rino Weld has been strongly pro-choice for the entirety of his career, and has been a consistent supporter of LGBT rights, and the right of same-sex marriage. In many ways his career path has followed this earlier dynamic Rockefeller Republican prosecutor/governor who became presidential fodder, or even this guy.  At this point one wonders if Weld will even show up as a blip on the 2020 campaign radar before the New Hampshire primary in challenging President Donald Trump for the GOP presidential nomination.

As this Wikipedia entry demonstrates, Weld is quintessential New England Yankee elite. His ancestor Edmund Weld was among the earliest students (Class of 1650) at Harvard College. He would be followed by eighteen more Welds at Harvard, where two buildings are named for the family. Weld’s father David (1911–1972) was an investment banker; his mother, Mary Nichols Weld (1913–1986), was a descendant of William Floyd, who was a signer of the Declaration of Independence. Weld was a principal at Mintz Levin, and co-chaired the Independent Task Force on North America under the Council on Foreign Relations, which studied the liberalization of markets and free trade between the USA, Canada, and Mexico. Weld began his legal career as a counsel with the U.S. House Judiciary Committee during the Watergate impeachment inquiry, where one of his colleagues was Hillary Rodham. He and Ms. Clinton remain close friends and colleagues.

The big question is whether he will pass the #NeverTrump “smell test” from neocon grand pooh-bah Bill Kristol and his co-conspirators at the Heritage Foundation, American Enterprise Institute, The Jewish Institute for National Security of America (JINSA), Commentary and National Review? Will Weld bear the imprimatur of AIPAC?  Otherwise his narcissistic vanity candidacy will implode.

1:23 pm on August 17, 2019

Should We Trade With Dictators, Slave Owners, Nazis, etc.?

From: W
Sent: Monday, April 22, 2019 4:27 PM
To: wblock@loyno.edu
Subject: Help w/ the N.A.P. on moral gray areas

Hello,

My name is W. I’m a college student who’s interested in libertarianism, more specifically voluntaryism. I found this email address on www.walterblock.com.

I have a question on the topic of consumer responsibility. Is it a N.A.P. violation, or an act of aggression, for a person to buy cotton that was picked by slaves in the early 19th century? Along the same lines, say a group of humans were involuntarily enslaved and butchered like cattle. Would it be a N.A.P. violation to buy human meat at a grocery store or restaurant? I apologize for graphic details. I don’t mean to be obscene.  If you can answer this question, I’d greatly appreciate it. I am a big fan of your work. I watch your lectures, and I also read your book Defending the Undefendable.

Best regards, W

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9:17 pm on August 16, 2019

Is Voting Only For Fools? No.

From: G
Sent: Sunday, April 21, 2019 7:08 AM
To: wblock@loyno.edu
Subject: Voting

Good morning Dr. Block,

I will have to respectfully disagree with your stance on voting. Although, if there could be an exception, Ron Paul would qualify. The problem with voting is that it is in and if itself an acceptance of the political system, and as so, requires one who votes to accept the outcome, regardless of the “winner.” This fact I think negates any justification. As I recall, you made this same argument during Trump’s election, and many  have done the same, saying that voting for the lesser of evils is warranted. I have said many times that voting is a fool’s game, as regardless of the  outcome, the same rotten underlying system is still in place with its  “majority” (actually minority) rule mentality. Anytime one can vote for  another to have power over others, then corruption is imminent. That is why  a peaceful anarchical system is better. As a realist, I do fully realize the current impossibility of this kind of  system due to centuries of brainwashing common citizens to believe the  idiocy of democracy, but we are talking in the abstract. If no one voted however, no one would be elected, and that would make a much  better world.

Respectfully, G

From: Walter Block [mailto:wblock@loyno.edu]
Sent: Sunday, April 21, 2019 8:01 AM
To: G
Subject: RE: Voting

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9:15 pm on August 16, 2019

re: A Terrible Rumor

Lew,

I wonder what the bloodthirsty, warmongering, government-of-Israel-worshiping, endless-war-promoting evangelical Christians would think of this knowing that Ben Shapiro said in an interview in his whining, fingernails-on-the-chalkboard, high-on-speed voice, that Jesus Christ was not the son of God or even a prophet but just another trouble-making Jew who tried to overthrow the Roman government and got killed for it?

1:28 pm on August 16, 2019

Does Existence Precede Essence?

The notion that each of us may choose gender means that each of us can choose our sex, and more broadly it means that we can choose a vast range of sexual identities. This is individual freedom taken to a new limit, one that’s destructive of self and society.

The people who are pushing for gender fluidity want to teach children freedom of gender and freedom of sex and freedom of sexual practices and freedom of family arrangements. These ideas and others like them invade and overturn our society’s foundations. These ideas encourage improvidence and immorality. They oppose standard virtues and the building of character. They oppose sacrifice, work and love.

The philosophy behind this is Existentialism or really a bastardized form thereof.
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9:51 am on August 16, 2019