The Humble Libertarian

Mind your business.



Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Drug War puts California hunters, wildlife at risk

While the Sacramento Bee article concluded with some sound advice for hunters who stumble across an illegal marijuana farm (note the location and withdraw immediately, avoiding confrontation), it didn't mention any long-term solutions from the panel at Sunday's convention. What can be done to prevent a California hunter from ever having to use the above advice while staring down the barrel of an automatic rifle in the hands of a criminal? And what can be done to protect California's natural habitats from what has been called their No. 1 destroyer?


Read my entire article at CAIVN.

Also:

Check out some information about
hunter safety course California.


Wes Messamore,
Editor in Chief, THL
Articles | Author's Page

Humble Libertarian Featured on NYT

Cool huh? While live tweeting the president's State of the Union address last night, I got one of my tweets featured on the New York Times website. It was about privatization. To review my live-tweeting session and real-time responses to the speech, check out my Twitter account.

My overall impression of the speech?
Summary of #obama #sotu "Work harder! Innovate more! We're running out of stuff to loot!" #tcot #tlot #teaparty


Wes Messamore,
Editor in Chief, THL
Articles | Author's Page

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

CPAC Giveaway Contest: T-shirt & Cash Prizes!

Now is the time to ACT: It is absolutely CRITICAL that we pack CPAC with as many students as possible this year and help Ron Paul win the presidential straw poll again. We need every last student we can get to show up because this year they're ready for us and will do everything they can to prevent last year's coup from happening again!

To that end I am offering some pretty sweet prizes for students who sign up to go to CPAC this February 10 - 12 in Washington DC. Through Campaign for Liberty's steeply discounted tickets, it only costs $11 for student tickets to attend CPAC and $89 for adult tickets.

Go to CPAC and you help THL raise funds: Young Americans for Liberty is offering cash incentives to recruiters for bringing students to CPAC. If you buy your discounted student ticket through Campaign for Liberty and use the promo code: HUMBLELIBERTARIAN, you will help raise funds for the operation, maintenance, and marketing of this website. YAL will write me a check for $100 if I get just THREE people to buy student tickets and use the promo code: HUMBLELIBERTARIAN. If I can raise an army of TEN students YAL will put $250 in my pocket. If TWENTY-FIVE students join me at CPAC and use my promo code to get there, YAL will drop $500 on The Humble Libertarian.

THE PRIZES:

This is part of why I'm raising an army for CPAC. So I'm going to give the FIRST FOUR people who purchase their student ticket through CFL and use my promo code (HUMBLELIBERTARIAN) a t-shirt courtesy of Amagi Clothing. This IS NOT A DRAWING. If you're the first person to buy a student ticket using my promo code, you get a t-shirt. Second person? You get one too. And so will the third and fourth.

Here are the four t-shirts up for grabs: Two Liberty Starts Here t-shirts, one black Amagi Clothing t-shirt, and one kiwi green Amagi Clothing t-shirt.

CASH DRAWING:

Now should I meet any of the recruitment goals of 3, 10, or 25 listed above, and thereby score a nice check from Young Americans for Liberty, I'm going to split it 50/50 with one lucky winner. Anyone who uses my promo code to buy a student ticket will be put into a drawing to win 50% of any recruitment bonus I should win from YAL. Again this is conditional upon meeting one of these bonus requirements. So if you sign up and use my promo code, you have every incentive to sign up a friend and promote my giveaway, because the more people who sign up, the bigger the pot of money gets that you could win. I will use every last cent of the remaining 50% to promote THL- probably through pay-per-click advertising coupled with another promotional marketing campaign, but I'm not positive yet. I'll let you know when I do though.

HOW TO ENTER:

You MUST visit this page on Campaign for Liberty's website; scroll to the bottom and register for a student ticket; use the promo code: HUMBLELIBERTARIAN; and forward me your e-mail confirmation from CFL that you have purchased a ticket (use my e-mail address: wemessamore -at- gmail.com). After confirming that you used my promo code, I'll need your mailing address to send you your prize. If you have any questions whatsoever about my contest or CPAC, e-mail me. I'd be glad to talk to you on the phone and help you make arrangements if you'd like to come, but feel overwhelmed about planning and finding a place to stay. There are plenty of inexpensive options in DC. Contact me. I'll help you out. We need to RAISE AN ARMY of youth liberty activists to attend this conference.

LEGAL:
  • I will need a name and shipping address for winners so that my sponsor can ship you your prizes, and when I announce the winners on this blog, I will announce them by first name and state or city only unless I have your permission to use your full name.
  • If you win a prize, I will be contacting you at the e-mail address you use to forward me your CFL confirmation. So make sure it's a valid one that you check regularly.
  • I reserve the right to amend the terms of the contest as necessary. I'm sure that won't happen (and so far hasn't for the five contests I've run here), but it never hurts to say so in writing just in case. We live in that kind of world, sadly.

OUR SPONSORS:

Thanks to Campaign for Liberty for providing discounted CPAC tickets to both students and adults! (What are you waiting for? Go buy that ticket and use the promo code HUMBLELIBERTARIAN!)

Thanks to Young Americans for Liberty and its generous donors for sponsoring students and incentivizing the raising of a student liberty army to storm CPAC and move conservatism in the right direction!

Finally, thank you to Amagi Clothing for offering these four awesome t-shirt prizes! Amagi Clothing's mission is to provide high-quality products with a simple message: personal freedom and individual liberty.Why "Amagi"? The Amagi symbol for liberty can be traced all the way back to the Sumerians 4,000 years ago. The symbol is Sumerian cuneiform and is the first symbol known to man to represent liberty.



Wes Messamore,
Editor in Chief, THL
Articles | Author's Page

What Explains Crystal Meth?

"Most people have never really met crystal meth; sure, they talk about it on the news a lot, but how many average Americans know anyone who is a meth user? The drug goes by many names: methylamphetamine, N-methylamphetamine, desoxyephedrine, speed, and — most commonly — meth. Regardless of what it is called, methamphetamine is absolutely one of the most dangerous and addictive drugs on the black market today.

... economics provides the best explanation for the surge in popularity of meth despite the disproportionate danger of its use. Increased enforcement of drug laws, backed by increased penalties, led to higher prices and decreased availability of preferred recreational drugs such as marijuana and cocaine. High prices and periodic shortages led drug dealers and consumers to find substitutes — ersatz goods that would produce similar results but at a lower cost.

The scourge of crystal meth is another example of the "potency effect" or what has been called the "iron law of prohibition." When government enacts a prohibition, increases enforcement, or increases penalties on a good such as alcohol or drugs, it inevitably results in substitution to more adulterated, more potent, and more dangerous drugs."

Read the rest of this article
by Mark Thorton on Mises.org

Eric Sharp,
Regular Columnist, THL
Articles Author's Page

Smarter Protectionist Demagogues, Please

For years, I’ve had to listen to bilious rhetoric about “anti-Americanism,” “treason” and the like from the Legion and Dittoheads. Now I get to enjoy the same kind of posturing from “Progressives” — with Keith Olbermann, Lawrence O’Donnell and their ilk sounding like a bunch of know-nothing Republicans.
The latest case in point is Ian Fletcher (“Libertarianism, the new anti-Americanism,” Huffington Post, Jan. 19), writing in criticism of an article by Don Boudreaux.
Fletcher quotes a very short snippet from Boudreaux to the effect that an increase in the economic well-being of a South Korean is as worthy of celebration as an improvement for a South Carolinian (“Another Open Letter to Ian Fletcher,” Cafe Hayek, Jan. 9).
Of course Fletcher eschews any context, like Boudreaux’s remarks on the long-term benefit to American workers from increased productivity and better and cheaper goods. No, he prefers to keep things simple (even at the cost of folding, spindling and mutilating the truth): libertarians “just don’t care” about Americans.
I would contest a couple of Fletcher’s unstated premises:
Read the rest of Kevin Carson's article
at The Center for a Stateless Society.

James Tuttle,
Regular Columnist, THL
Articles | Author's Page | Website

Monday, January 24, 2011

#MusicMonday - A Perfect Circle cover: Imagine

Today's Music Monday song is A Perfect Circle's cover of John Lennon's iconic piece, Imagine. I can't say I agree with everything Lennon is trying to say in the words to Imagine, but I like the spirit of genuine benevolence and the earnest desire to live in a peaceful world. I think Lennon is perhaps a bit confused in his tacit criticism of capitalism and not-so-tacit criticism of religion, but I submit that his confusion should be blamed squarely on those who have masqueraded as the best representatives of religion and capitalism, while in fact undermining both, and (possibly even to a greater degree) on those true representatives of each who sat silently by and allowed the impostors of both the spirit and the flesh to win by default without a fight.

So here it is, John Lennon's Imagine, covered by A Perfect Circle, and illustrated by a pretty fantastic video. Don't let the very creepy CGI baby who appears about the middle of the video and then pesters the viewer for the rest of the song bother you too much. I think it's an Arthur C. Clark reference, which is actually extremely fitting, clever, and poetic for this piece, but the visual execution of the reference is so poorly done that it distracts the viewer from the weightiness of the rest of the video. As I have done with the lyrics, I simply choose to focus on the good and leave the bad or the "in-poor-taste."

Enjoy!





Wes Messamore,
Editor in Chief, THL
Articles | Author's Page

Win Almost $100 Worth of Silver!

Don't forget that Silver Circle has a contest going to promote its Fiat Money Bomb on Feb 1st and is giving away 3 ounces of silver (as of this posting, silver spot prices are around $27) to the YouTube video with the most views. Here's my contest entry:



Make your own video. Contest details here.


Wes Messamore,
Editor in Chief, THL
Articles | Author's Page

Libertarian Defense of Paul Krugman

As someone who defends Paul Krugman more often than not, I know I stand out from the libertarian mainstream. But given the realities of the form of state capitalism we live under — an essentially corporatist system whose resemblances to the “free market” are mostly coincidental — I find the Keynesians have it right when it comes to analyzing the causes of the Great Recession.
Those on the Right who think the problem is that the rich lack money to “invest in jobs” are living in a dream world. No, the rich invested money in Ponzi schemes like the real estate bubble precisely because they had more capital on their hands than they could find productive ways to invest. The economy was already plagued with excess industrial capacity that could barely be utilized, even with the level of demand revved up by debt on bubble-inflated equity. The rich already have more money than they’re willing to invest, because no sane person would hire people to produce more stuff in an environment where there are fewer employed people out there buying stuff — and the purchasing power of those who are employed is no longer inflated by home equity loans from ditech.
Simply put, it’s not the level of investment that’s the problem — it’s the level of demand.
Read the rest of Kevin Carson's Article
at The Center for a Stateless Society.

James Tuttle,
Regular Columnist, THL
Articles | Author's Page | Website

A Dire Warning to Tyrants

Arab politicians fear that the revolution still working itself out in Tunisia is inspiring their own subjects to revolt. The escalating protests that managed to unseat the 23-year rule of Zine El Abidine Ben Ali were immediately sparked by the self-immolation of a fruit peddler after police seized his vending cart, an event that people chafing under political repression and economic marginalization could not ignore. As an anarchist — an advocate of maximizing individual liberty by eliminating authority — I recognize the Tunisian revolution is unlikely to immediately establish my ideal, but I celebrate it nonetheless.
The flight of Ben Ali from the country he once ruled is a warning to other tyrants, particularly those in the Arab world. There are limits to the amount of oppression people will suffer passively. Tyrants who go too far in their domination and looting of the ruled will lose their seats of power. The top oppressors might be able to take some loot with them and retire under the protection of fellow criminals, but even they should not rest easy in a time of revolution. When enough individuals are motivated to withdrawal acquiescence to government, tyrants will be unseated. The powers of persuasion, solidarity, technology, strike, and direct action can help freedom-seeking people overcome all the lies and terrorism that ill-gotten wealth can purchase.

Read the rest of Darian Worden's article
at The Center for a Stateless Society.

James Tuttle,
Regular Columnist, THL
Articles | Author's Page | Website

Friday, January 21, 2011

Enforcement is the State’s Systempunkt

John Robb, who writes about asymmetric warfare and networked organization, is one of my favorite writers. A central theme of his work is what he calls “systems disruption.” To disrupt centralized, hierarchical systems, it’s not necessary to take over or destroy even a significant portion of their infrastructures. It’s simply necessary to destroy the most vulnerable of their key nodes and render the overall system non-functional.
These vulnerable, high-value nodes are what Robb calls the “systempunkt.” It’s a concept borrowed from German blitzkrieg doctrine. The “schwerpunkt” was the most vulnerable point in an enemy’s defenses, on which an offensive should concentrate most of its force in order to achieve a breakthrough. Once this small portion of the enemy’s forces was destroyed, the rest could be bypassed and encircled without direct engagement. Likewise, a few thousand dollars spent incapacitating several nodes in a gas or oil pipeline system can result in disruption that costs billions in economic damage from fuel shortages and spikes in prices.

Read the rest of Kevin Carson's article

at The Center for a Stateless Society.

James Tuttle,
Regular Columnist, THL
Articles | Author's Page | Website

Ron Paul Address the House's Constitutional Commitment

  On Wednesday, Texas Congressman Ron Paul took to the House floor to discuss the new-found fondness many in Congress are now showing toward the Constitution. Dr. Paul questions the genuineness of this affection, lays out the proper view one should hold regarding constitutional governance, and notes positive developments at the grassroots level, in the video below.





Daryl Luna
,
Regular Columnist, THL
Articles | Author's Page

House Vote to Repeal ObamaCare Is More than Mere Symbolism


The symbolism of today’s House vote is striking. Within a year of ObamaCare’s enactment, the House of Representatives has voted overwhelmingly to repeal it.

That didn’t happen with Social Security. It didn’t happen with Medicare. Social Security and Medicare did not face sustained public opposition from the moment they were introduced in Congress. They did not pass by one vote, in the dead of night. They were not challenged as unconstitutional by half the states in the union.  They were not struck down as unconstitutional by a federal court within a year of enactment.

The House vote to repeal ObamaCare is just the latest sign that ObamaCare goes too far, that it creates a more intrusive government than the American people are willing to accept. But the House vote is not mere symbolism, as the Obama administration would have us believe.


Read the rest of the article by Michael F. Cannon
at Cato-at-Liberty.org

Michael F. Cannon is the Cato Institute's director of health policy studies.


Filed by Grant Davies,
Regular Columnist, THL
Articles | Author's Page | Website

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Facebook Vitriol

So a friend of mine on Facebook recently left the following status update and I couldn't resist making it the "target" of my most recent political correctness shenanigans.

You commit thought-crime on Facebook, and Wes Messamore will knock you down.


Photobucket



Wes Messamore,
Editor in Chief, THL
Articles | Author's Page

Ivory Coast Power Struggle: 99 44/100% Pure Propaganda?


It’s a familiar story, re-told three or four times a year with few alterations apart from geography: A dictator, long ensconced in power, holds formal “elections,” claims victory versus a proponent of “real democracy” despite clear evidence of loss, attempts to remain in power, but is eventually overthrown by his country’s people (with a little help from the United Nations, or the United States, or some regional organization of states).
The current version of the tale comes to us via western Africa’s Cote d’Ivoire, or as we English-speakers put it, Ivory Coast, where sitting president Laurent Koudou Gbagbo continues to hold out against the alleged democratic victory of Alassane Ouattara to succeed him in office.
Plot familiarity alone constitutes reasonable cause for suspicion. States love old standards and tend to recycle successful propaganda, rinsing and repeating until the colors fade completely out before moving on to new narratives.

Read the rest of Thomas L. Knapp's article
at The Center for a Stateless Society.

James Tuttle,
Regular Columnist, THL
Articles | Author's Page | Website

How You Could Tell I Was Just Kidding

I've gotten a lot of responses about yesterday's parody announcement that we wouldn't be using any martial metaphors here any longer, which looked like it might have been serious until thirty seconds into the video. But if you only gave the post a quick glance, here was a dead giveaway that I was just trolling around:

Photobucket
lol


Wes Messamore,
Editor in Chief, THL
Articles | Author's Page

Video Contest: Win 3 Ounces of Silver!

This week Silver Circle is asking you to put together YouTube videos about its upcoming Fiat Money Bomb and share them with friends. How you win? Whoever has the most views will be awarded on February 1st (the day of the Money Bomb).

The content of your video is to help promote their current fundraiser, the Fiat Money Bomb. The Sundance Film Festival Deadline is September 3rd and they want to make it there. Their goal is to raise $10,000 in pledges by February 1st, then on February 1st they will ask for all pledges to convert to donations. This will create a “bomb” of money within one day! A great story for their track to success as well as a great way to show the need for liberty films to distributors around the country.

Contest details here.


Wes Messamore,
Editor in Chief, THL
Articles | Author's Page

Swap Debt Limit for 'Cut and Cap'

Gross federal debt just hit $14 trillion and will soon reach the legal limit of $14.3 trillion. House Republicans are wondering what spending reforms they can extract from the Democrats for their support of a debt-limit increase.

I propose a "Cut and Cap" strategy. The GOP should insist on the $100 billion in initial cuts they promised, and also demand passage of a legal cap on overall federal spending. A simple form of such a cap would specify that total federal outlays cannot rise more than inflation plus population growth each year. If it did, the law would require that the president sequester, or cut, spending across-the board to meet the limit.

Read the rest of Chris Edwards article
at downsizinggovernment.org

Chris Edwards is the director of tax policy studies at the Cato Institute


Filed by Grant Davies,
Regular Columnist, THL
Articles | Author's Page | Website

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Important Announcement: No More Violent Rhetoric on The Humble Libertarian

In this video, Wes Messamore, editor in chief of HumbleLibertarian.com announces that this website will no longer employ martial metaphors or language in the aftermath of the Arizona shooting:




Wes Messamore,
Editor in Chief, THL
Articles | Author's Page

I Retaliate Your Retaliation

Remember Mohamed Osman Mohamud, the 19-year old alleged terrorist who was set up and arrested by the FBI trying to detonate six 55-gallon drums of mock explosives in a van in downtown Portland?

You don't have to be a conspiracy theory sympathizer to wonder exactly how much of the story you're getting when it's a completely one-sided narrative courtesy of the FBI. But the FBI does have tapes where Mohamed claims that the act is in retaliation for America's killing of Muslims in Iraq and Afghanistan. And it's quite plausible he would say that. After all, if the FBI were truly fabricating the entire story, they might have tried convincing us he said he did it, "Because I hate their freedom!"

So, merely as an experiment in critical thought, let's take the FBI at their word and Mohamed at his. In order to "retaliate" for our military actions in the Middle East, he'll blow up a city. And what do you think our "retaliation" to that would have been if he was successful?

I'm having trouble seeing the Disney/Spielbergian ending here that some generals and politicians are still telling me I'm a quitter for not believing in.


Eric Olsen,
Regular Columnist, THL
Articles | Author's Page | Website

Waging War on Black Teens


Congress believes it has the solution to America's epidemic of joblessness: a so-called jobs bill whose centerpiece is a tax credit for companies that hire one of the 15 million unemployed.

Many legislators from the Congressional Black Caucus criticize the bill for not going far enough. And they are right. It doesn't remove one of the many factors that has caused higher unemployment: a government-imposed minimum wage.

Today, black unemployment is almost 16 percent and was at a 25-year high, even as the overall unemployment rate declined from 10 percent to 9.7 percent.

Read the rest of the article by Richard W. Rahn and Izzy Santa
at Cato.org

Richard W. Rahn is a senior fellow at the Cato Institute and Izzy Santa is an adjunct researcher at the Center for Freedom and Prosperity.


Filed by Grant Davies,
Regular Columnist, THL
Articles | Author's Page | Website

Statism: An Unfalsifiable Religion

Libertarians frequently argue that government entities are recompensed for failure, not by going out of business, but by having their budgets increased. A bloated educational bureaucracy churns out illiterates despite spending thousands of dollars per pupil every year, and “public education” advocates call for more education spending. The U.S. government acts as policeman for global corporate capitalism and churns up the resentment of people all over the world, and when the resulting blowback causes thousands of American deaths the national security state’s amen choir immediately demands more foreign interventionism and more “defense” [sic] spending.

As Ivan Illich put it, bureaucracies solve problems by escalation.

Read the rest of Kevin Carson's article

at The Center for a Stateless Society.


James Tuttle,
Regular Columnist, THL
Articles | Author's Page | Website

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

#MusicMonday Video - "Adult Children"

Okay, so it's actually Tuesday. Whatever. Listening to political prog-rocker, Ben Sommer's most recent album "america'd." The first song off the album, Adult Children (lyrics) has a pretty entertaining music video, which I've embedded below:




Wes Messamore,
Editor in Chief, THL
Articles | Author's Page

On Gun Control and Violence

The terrible violence in Arizona last weekend prompted much national discussion on many issues.  All Americans are united in their sympathies for the victims and their families.  All wonder what could motivate such a horrible act.  However, some have attempted to use this tragedy to discredit philosophical adversaries or score political points.  This sort of opportunism is simply despicable.

We are fortunate to live in a society where violence is universally denounced.  Not one public official or commentator has attempted to justify this reprehensible act, yet the newspapers, internet, and airwaves are full of people trying to claim it was somehow motivated by someone else’s political rhetoric.  Most disturbing are the calls to use government power to censor certain forms of speech, and even outlaw certain types of criticism of public officials.  This was the completely apolitical act of a violent and disturbed man.  How sad that the attempted murder of the Congresswoman who had just read the First Amendment on the House floor would be used in efforts to chill free speech!  Perhaps some would feel safer if the Alien and Sedition Acts were reinstated.


Read the rest of Ron Paul's


Daryl Luna
,
Regular Columnist, THL
Articles | Author's Page

Campus Counter Economics: Free Market Textbooks

It's back to school for some of us.

Time to wind down the eggnog and time to stock up on coffee and energy drinks.
And of course, it is time to buy our books. Many campuses feature an on-campus book store that can serve everyone's needs- for a price of course.

This is where local entrepreneurs enter the picture. Around any campus one will surely find several bastions of counter economics. Among these shops are stores that buy and sell used text books as well as stores that rent out text books for a price cheaper than buying even a used copy.

Many college campuses are rife with critics of the free market who are blind to how it helps them tremendously at the beginning of every semester. Almost everyone knows that the campus bookstore overcharges on both their new and used books, and so the shrewd student will shop around at all of the off-campus bookstores to find the cheapest price.

Critics of the free market are quick to malign the dreaded profit motive but it works beautifully here. The founders of these businesses may well have intentions of helping students or they may be solely in it for the money. But as the principle of spontaneous organization dictates, the intention is irrelevant. The market forces and competition among all the stores benefits the students.

As a result the campus bookstore knows that it can only charge so much before students will go elsewhere. In other words, there is a ceiling placed on their prices by competition with the other bookstores.

Imagine how much books would cost in the absence of any competitor to the campus bookstore. There would be virtually no limit to how much they could charge. And people think text books are expensive now!

The lesson to take from this observance is, of course, that the free market benefits us all, regardless of one's opinions about it.

Eric Sharp,
Regular Columnist, THL
Articles Author's Page