Monday, January 31, 2011

We Simply Have Weak Soldiers

The comedian Jerry Seinfeld has a great bit about "the invention of the helmet." Paraphrased, he jests at how, rather than stopping the participation of our skull-cracking activities, we simply invented the helmet so that we might continue undeterred. Keep that in mind before you read this next statistic.

Congress.org has reported that for the second year in a row, the U.S. military has lost more troops to suicide than it has to combat in Iraq and Afghanistan. I was shocked by this - unaware that the numbers were even close. The idea that more active and post-active soldiers are killing themselves on a day-to-day basis than are dying in the fields of battle is mortifying.

Perhaps our soldiers are just weak. Back in the good ol' days (of the crusades), men took pride in dying for causes they were convinced to believe in.

Or perhaps our soldiers' mental state isn't a sign of weakness after all. But a completely natural reaction to the witness of destructive barbarism we need to reconsider. Because our helmets apparently work better than ever before. We simply need a new kind of blindfold to avoid the consequences of being able to remember that which we've done.


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

Friday, January 28, 2011

If Someone Kills A Football Player, It's All This Guy's Fault

Reports CBS: "ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) – A sports bar owner in St. Paul is showing his support for the Green Bay Packers in this weekend’s game against the Chicago Bears in a very literal way — by roasting a bear."

Now any violence that happens against a football player in this country will be the fault of this irresponsible bar own in St. Paul.


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

The State of the Right: by Jack Hunter

"State of the Union speeches are sort of like listening to cheating husbands apologize to their wives. Not only are we told that any past mistakes are yesterday’s news and the worst is behind us, but in an effort to show how things will be different we are given a laundry list of promises that paint a rosier future..." -Jack Hunter




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

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Global Warming Beach Party Time! (NSFW)


Get out your bikinis, because we're getting hit by global warming everybody! Oh wait. We're not? Well that just leaves us all in our swimsuits in the snow! Silly us. Yes it's that time again. Time to make fun of the global warming alarmists as the North East gets pummeled by record amounts of snow. I know, I know- warming could actually lead to more snow and even to colder weather in some places. I've heard that before. Have you ever heard of Karl Popper?


What's a climate skeptic to do at such a perfect time? Laugh. Laugh really, really hard at how silly the alarmists look. And post lots and lots of pictures of beautiful women in their bikinis enjoying all the "global warming" we've been getting, global warming beach party-style. (Yes, this is my libertarian, global warming skeptic homage to Stacy McCain's Rule 5). Since this was such a big hit last year, and it's snowing even more this year, I figured why not :-)



(To view the sources for any of these photos of lovely ladies enjoying all this "global warming" in their bikinis, simply click on the images.)


I am not an animal rights activist myself, but I do love the "I'd rather go naked than wear fur" campaign. I like that it makes the point cleverly, humorously, and peacefully. You've got to hand it to them as good marketers. Climate realists should use this same strategy. I'd love to see a campaign with pictures like this and captions like "Still waiting for that warming catastrophe..."


Speaking of which, have you heard of LOLA? It's the Ladies of Liberty Alliance. They sell awesome calendars and they organize like crazy to turn out libertarian activists to important events, spread and defend the libertarian platform, and do some solid community service (like sending care packages to the troops).


And I know, I know: climate and weather aren't the same thing. Cold weather doesn't prove the climate isn't warming. Outliers don't mean there isn't a warming trend. It's not just warming, it's climate change- more extreme weather of all kinds. Yeah- and we've always been at war with East Asia, right?

I also dare you to look me in the eye with a straight face and say that if we had an unseasonably sweltering winter, that warmists wouldn't be touting it constantly as they argued for an oppressive global carbon regulatory scheme. We both know they would be.

Now if you'll excuse me, I think I'm going to go put on my thong and some flip flops and grill some burgers on the deck. Peace!


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

The Revolving-Door Polity of Corporatism

“President Obama,” writes The Atlantic’s Daniel Indiviglio, “is announcing today that General Electric CEO Jeffrey Immelt will take over as head of [the Economic Recovery Advisory Board].” Reflecting on the “conflict-of-interest” that Immelt’s new role potentially creates, Indiviglio points out that “[c]ritics of the coziness between big business and Washington aren’t likely to be pleased with today’s announcement.”

By now, though, Barack Obama’s fondness for turning high-powered corporate executives into federal government footmen is no secret. From Tim Geithner, to William Daley, to Roger Altman, the President has been very cozy with big business indeed, and not just big business, but the biggest. It is, to be sure, a very confused, twisted political lexicon that would adjudge the President as hostile to business, but that judgment is no more absurd than the myth that to be pro-business is to be pro-free market.

And regardless of the sound bites they direct at the public, politicians and CEOs understand full well that the myth is just that, a handy piece of rhetoric intended to obfuscate what’s really going on. As Immelt himself said in 2009, “It’s never been a free market; it’s never gonna be a free market. That’s just the way it is.” That’s just the way capital wants it too, preferring for the corporate world “to work in concert with” the state to foster a secure and sheltered environment for the economic exploitation of privilege.

Read the rest of David D'Amato's article

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

History of an Idea: Could the state have access to the same information as the private sector?

In 1920, Ludwig von Mises published an argument against the workability of “socialism” (by which he meant state ownership of the means of production), an argument subsequently elaborated by himself and his student Friedrich Hayek.

The idea in a nutshell: the value of a producers’ good depends on the value of the consumers’ goods to which it contributes. Hence in deciding among alternative production methods, the most efficient choice is the one that economises on those producers’ goods that are needed for the most highly valued consumer’s goods.

But there’s a difference between technical efficiency and economic efficiency.

Suppose we’re comparing two ways of making widgets; method A uses three grams of rubber per widget produced while method B uses four grams of rubber per widget produced (with everything else being the same). In that case method A is clearly more efficient than method B; that’s a case of technical efficiency, because we can figure out which is more efficient just by looking at quantities expended without concerning ourselves with any economic concepts like demand.

But why couldn’t a state-socialist central planner have access to this information?

Read the rest of Roderick T. Long's article


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

A Rational Response to The State of the Union Speech

Many have seen the President's State of the Union Speech and the Republican response to it, but not too many have seen a non-political "what we think and why" assessment of it yet. So here is what a group of the most rational people I know of think about it.



Cross posted to WhatWeThinkAndWhy


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

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

The ACTUAL State of the Union (Infographic)


This is the ACTUAL State of the Union. If you want fluff, go pet a kitten. If you want facts, they're all here. This is the state of our union. Precarious. Please share this:



The ACTUAL State of the Union, by: HumbleLibertarian.com



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

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

Ron Paul's State of the Union Address Response


Ron Paul gives his reaction to the president's address in the video below. Needless to say, he was not impressed.





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

Thirty Years of Deficit Disaster

The national debt has just passed $14 trillion. It’s approaching the so-called “debt limit” of $14.3 trillion, and members of Congress face a vote on raising the limit that doesn’t limit. President Obama will no doubt stress his commitment to reducing deficits in his speech tonight, but it’s unlikely that he will propose any actual budget cuts or any serious entitlement reforms. And we’re told that he will propose new spending on infrastructure, education, and research in the face of trillion-dollar deficits as far as the eye can see.

We’ve become so used to these stunning, incomprehensible, unfathomable levels of deficits and debt — and to the once-rare concept of trillions of dollars — that we forget how new all this debt is. In 1980, after 190 years of federal spending, the national debt was “only” $1 trillion. Now, just 30 years later, it’s sailing past $14 trillion.

Read the rest of David Boaz's article
at Cato-at-liberty.org

David Boaz is Executive Vice President of the Cato Institute


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

Somalia: New Players, Same Problems

Somalia’s troubles are in the news again, as Erik Prince of Blackwater fame is reportedly backing a private military company’s bid to work for the embattled Somali government.

With the varied meanings of the word, it’s easy to write off Somalia’s issues as merely the fruit of “anarchy.” But Somalia’s problems were created by rulers and aspiring rulers, not by any anarchists advocating no rulers. Somalia does not have anarchy, nor does its situation serve as evidence that anarchism is unlikely to work.

Anarchy didn’t establish dictatorships, make International Monetary Fund agreements, or deploy foreign militaries to Mogadishu. The problems in Somalia have been, and continue to be, caused by authoritarians and looters in government, business, and banking.

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

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